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October 14, 2003

Joe Torre


Q. Is it possible to have a series, where there's less connection between events day-to-day and where there are more unwarranted assumptions being made by people about what might happen?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, I think when you have good baseball teams, what makes a good baseball team is to be able to just throw that day before away and concentrate on what you're doing. It's certainly, of course the momentum, it's been said, is the next day's pitcher. You know, Boomer was terrific. Derek Lowe was tricky. He threw 120 pitches, whatever the hell it was. We had him on the ropes a couple of times and he kept wiggling off. He pitched a gutsy game tonight.

Q. When you have moments like these, does it make you think that David's high maintenance ways in the spring and summer are worth it?

JOE TORRE: We know what he's capable of doing, there's no question. Any time -- and a manager and coach's job is to facilitate whatever a pitcher needs or whatever a person needs. There are certain restrictions, obviously. Everybody has to follow the rules and stuff like that. You know, whatever it takes to get the best out of someone, we're all in this thing for one reason and that's the win. But he certainly is capable, and tonight was -- I can't tell you how huge it was for us to win this.

Q. When we first got the lineup, Dellucci was pencilled in to start in right field. How did it take place that you ended up making the switch to put Garcia in and how do you feel about the way he rose to tonight's occasion?

JOE TORRE: His eyes lit up when I said, "You're playing tonight." He thanked me actually. Yesterday he couldn't swing the bat in batting practice. I watched him hit a couple of balls in the bullpen and asked him how it felt throwing and he said no problem and we just made the switch.

Q. What did you see from Boomer in the fifth, any reaction getting out of that jam -- having to face Manny with the bases loaded?

JOE TORRE: I thought the pitchers had more strikes thrown than what they got. It looked like Derek had a reaction a couple times and Boomer didn't. Sometimes when that happens, a pitcher gets off his game a little bit and starts thinking about the last pitch and gets frustrated. The only thing Mel went out to talk to him about was getting to back to right now. You knew he had good stuff and could throw a strike any time he wants. He got some huge outs and getting Manny with the bases loaded, that was unbelievable.

Q. You've been through so many situations in October through this run, taking two-out-of-three here under the circumstances, all of the things going on during the series, the way that these two teams have been evenly matched over the course of the season, where does this rate?

JOE TORRE: I tell you, you think -- and then people say, well, you had the experience, you've been through this before, it doesn't bother you, you know what you're doing. But your stomach just growls. You're in there, you wish -- you are throwing every pitch with the pitcher and swinging every bat with the hitter. Any time you play this team during the course of the season, it's a highlight. But when you do it in October like we did in '99, it takes on more significance and makes it that much better.

Q. As far as having home-field advantage or not having home-field advantage at this time of year, and given these two teams, they took a game from you down in New York and you grabbed two, absolutely a non-factor or do you feel good about only needing one getting back home?

JOE TORRE: I think we have played each other so often. They came down there and kicked our brains out for two games in the last series, first two games of the last series and I think the first two games of the series before that, they beat us up. So they are, I don't want to say comfortable, as they would be here. But again, it's not a strange thing and it's not a strange place. So, yeah, I don't -- obviously, home-field advantage is important. If you happen to be hitting in the ninth inning, a tie game, you score and don't have to protect the lead and stuff like that. The fans, these fans will certainly try to get your attention away from what you should be thinking about, and the New York fans are very similar. But home-field advantage when you have two teams that are evenly-matched like ours, I'm glad we have it, but I don't think it really makes it lopsided.

Q. You're going home and you're ahead 3-2, Pettitte on the mound, going against the fifth starter for Boston, have you been through enough of these where you don't have to give them the pregame speech about not taking this one too lightly, and obviously this time of year you are not taking them lightly --

JOE TORRE: You can't take anything lightly. We have a pregame every night but it's not necessarily to tell the guys to pay attention. It's more just to let everybody know what we're doing and how we're doing and what we need to do. You know, Burkett has been down that road before. He faced us when he was at Texas and didn't give us anything that first game in '96. Certainly he has the experience. I've watched him, yeah. He gets whacked around every once in awhile, but when you watch him not panic and stay with it, you know, he fights his way through games. So, yeah, he may not have the knockout stuff that a lot of pitchers have, but he has the know-how and the calmness that you have to have to work and not take anything for granted.

Q. Mariano got touched for a run but rebounded strongly. Can you talk about his performance this evening and his ability to give you a so-called seven -inning game?

JOE TORRE: We have done this so often with the two-inning safe. Mel looked at me tonight -- if we had scored another run, we would have brought in Contreras in the eighth inning. The eighth inning, I know we were bringing him in for two, but the eighth is where he has to fight through the 2, 3, 4 and 5 guys in the batting order. So in essence, the first inning is probably the safe inning with who he has to face. But he's been down this road before and he is, to me, he's the best. He had that problem in '97 and he gave up the home run and I think when you look back with all of the great ones, you are always going to find something that they have had to deal with. Of course, Eckersley gave up the home run to Gibson and stuff like that. But the good ones just know how to bounce back from that.

Q. What he did tonight --

JOE TORRE: Yeah, he's great, he surprises everybody. He gives up a run. I hope to hell that's always a surprise. Again, he settled in and pitched terrific. He gives up the triple to Walker, and the next two guys, actually the next three guys because Ortiz has beat us up. But when you have Nomar and Manny and Ortiz coming up, you know he has to hitch the belt up. Yeah, we had a little breathing room and we certainly needed it.

Q. Garcia has gotten a lot of attention the last couple of days for things that happened in Game 3, a lot of it negative. Was how these things may have affected him weighed at all in your decision to go with him tonight? And you had said that you had spoke to him about what was going on; what did you tell him?

JOE TORRE: What do you mean?

Q. You said a couple of days ago that with all of the stuff, with him being in the news and the police stuff, that you had taken him aside and Nelson aside and talked to them.

JOE TORRE: Actually, they came in just to tell me their side, and it was too far for me to see. You know I never really had to tell them and probably Nellie more because Nellie is probably a little more excitable than Karim. You know, we are here to do one thing. If there's one thing we say all the time, yeah, there's problems you don't feel good, whatever it is, this comes along very seldom. I went through my whole baseball career without experiencing this, so I certainly put a premium on October baseball and how exciting it is and how rare it is. If you ask a Jeter, it's not that rare; he does it every year. But it's something, especially when players come from other organizations, how they feel, you could see the light in their eye.

Q. Burkett had one good outing against you guys, I think it was in July; what did he do that day, do you remember?

JOE TORRE: The whole thing with John is command, and being able, again, as I say, he doesn't have the overpowering fastball, it's not as good as it used to be. But it's changing speeds, being able to hit the corners, and if I remember correctly, he really kept the ball off the fat part of the bat. You know, again he's not looking to strike a lot of people out but he's looking to keep you from having a good swing at him. And when he has that kind of control, you're going to have to work for it and that's what I remember. He took a lot of pitches. I know the guys a little on their front foot but he's an artist when it comes to that. He was with Maddux for a couple of years, and that stuff has to rub off on you.

End of FastScripts...

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