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October 5, 2003

Joe Torre


JEFF IDELSON: Questions for Joe.

Q. Joe, how good was your starting pitching in this entire series?

JOE TORRE: Well, that was it. I mean, that's the main reason. You know, people keep asking about last year, what the difference was. That's the difference. You know, last year we just didn't pitch well. We didn't pitch up to our standards. And I said going into this series I just felt more comfortable with the way we were pitching toward the end of the year. I think last year we may have drained them, not meaning to. We seemed to make a lot out of this home field advantage stuff. I think both emotionally and physically they may have had to give us more than they really needed to do at that time. But, I mean, Andy Pettitte, after losing the first game, in which Moose pitched a wonderful game, really, really set the tone for Game 2 and gave us an opportunity to win.

Q. With the way things went, the guys were so great in the order you threw them, do you think you'll use the same order next round or will that factor in with what happens tomorrow?

JOE TORRE: I'm not sure. I think, sure, match-ups do play a part in how we go about things. We don't get ahead of ourselves. We have not discussed it at all. In fact, Andy Pettitte, you notice he threw in the ninth inning, because he was going to be available for us today if we needed him out of the bullpen. We don't know what we're going to do. We'll certainly have by Wednesday, let me see, everybody but the last two guys, you know, will be eligible for us, both Moose and Pettitte.

Q. There was a typical panic in New York when you guys lost the first game. What does it say about your team to come back and win three in a row?

JOE TORRE: Well, I can't say we're used to that. But I think the fact that we didn't play well in the first game, we didn't respond well to the pressure of Game 1, I think we got over the top, tried a little bit too hard. I know they say, you know, home field advantage is two, two and one. I think when you start Game 1, sometimes it's a little bit more of an advantage playing on the road when you're not trying to put on such a good show and having to win. But the off day was a problem for us because, you know, there was a lot of negative stuff being talked about. That was my only concern, is that these players remember who they were and what they're capable of doing. As I said, Andy really, really set the tone. But we fought our way through it. We know there are a lot of distractions in New York, but when you get to the post-season, you have to multiply it.

Q. You had decided that Wells was going to pitch this game, even before Game 2 was over. Can you talk about that thought process?

JOE TORRE: You know, I'm not really sure. But when you start naming a fourth starter in a five-game series, you're allowing yourself to say, "We're going to lose one." You know, that may have been part of it. My plan was after Game 2, but we told him before Game 2 to see if a lefty or righty was that much more dominant. I just basically left it open. We felt that he was going to pitch, even though Boomer didn't know. He didn't really push us to find out. I think a big part of it in the back of my mind, when you start naming a fourth starter when you only have to win three games, it just bothers me, I never like to think negatively.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the Minnesota Twins.

JOE TORRE: I could talk a lot about the Minnesota Twins. They have great leadership. I have a great deal of respect for Gardy. These guys, I remember seeing that tirade he had after a game or a number of games where they responded to him. They're a feisty ballclub. I know we've had a lot of success with them over the last couple of years, but you cannot let your guard down against this team because they keep coming at you. They fight, they fight, they fight. They're very proud of what they have done. I think Gardenhire has done a great job with them. Each and every one of these guys, they're respectful, yet they want to beat your brains out. You know, I give them a lot of credit.

Q. Do you think you have the advantage for the championship series because the other two teams have to fly back and forth?

JOE TORRE: Well, I'd like to believe we have an advantage. When you get in post-season, the adrenaline gets you over that stuff. We did it two years in a row. You know, one year we won the World Series, the next year we got to the World Series. So, yeah, I mean, you don't like it. I know that flight we took in 2000 was the flight from hell for us because we lost Game 1, we won Game 2, won Game 3, lost Game 4. Here I am leading two games to one, have no off day after Game 4, I'm telling my players in New York, "Guys, come dressed to go home, but bring a bag just in case." It's not a good, positive feeling. Then when we had to get on that flight and make that trip, it's very tough. But, again, you bounce back from it. As I say, this time of year, there's no patience for being tired.

Q. Physically, obviously the adrenaline can get a team through the travel, but emotionally whoever wins tomorrow may still be a little beat up compared to where you guys are.

JOE TORRE: As I say, I hope so. But I'm not going to count on that.

Q. Regarding today's game, seemed like Nick Johnson, hadn't had a hit all season, then had a big hit. How big was that hit for you?

JOE TORRE: That was a huge hit. I mean, I can't remember the last hit he got, to be honest with you. I think for a time he went into a little bit of a dive, then all of a sudden it seemed important for him to hit .300 and he put more pressure on himself. Then all of a sudden, you know, he gets that huge hit, especially with two strikes, into right centerfield. That was an enormous hit for us right there because we really haven't been able to score a lot of runs at any one time. But the one thing I really have to credit Nick with is it never affected his defense, and he gave us some great defense in this series.

End of FastScripts...

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