October 27, 2001
PHOENIX, ARIZONA: Game One
Q. You've always had really good starting pitching in the World Series and for Mussina to start out like that, could you talk about how you feel?
JOE TORRE: I'm always surprised when something like that happens. He could not locate the pitches the way he wanted to, and we paid the price, basically. I would never hesitate or ever doubt when he goes out to the mound because I have a great deal of trust in all of them.
Q. How many of the hard-hit balls were mistakes and how many were off good pitches?
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, he was having trouble locating, and first of all, that's -- that's the old question, you know, whether you still beat your wife -- I mean, how do you answer that question. The only thing about it, if I say they were all bad pitches, then I'm taking away from what the Diamondbacks did and I don't want to do that because they had a hell of a game, and they played us very tough and they beat our brains out. Mussina just was not Mussina tonight but I don't want to say that it was totally his fault, as opposed to what they did to us.
Q. Mike got hurt on 0-2 and 1-2 pitches in that third inning, how unusual is it for him not to finish someone off?
JOE TORRE: That's usually a pretty good indication. He got hurt early on Counsell, got behind early and he hit the home run. After that he tried to put people away and he was not able to do it. He missed -- I know the one pitch to, I think it was Gonzo where he looked like he was trying to go away, the ball came down and in. He missed his spot quite often.
Q. The two errors from Justice and Brosius, was it the unfamiliarity of the ballpark having anything to do with it?
JOE TORRE: I don't think so, especially Brosius, it's one of those you catch it -- same thing with Soriano, when he made the play at second base, you scoop it and there it is. As far as Justice, that could have been because when you run along the wall in ballparks you have never been in, you are not as sure as you would be in more familiar ground, but he caught up to it.
Q. Would you talk about Counsell, he's become sort of an unsuspecting menace in the post-season?
JOE TORRE: I know one thing, he knows how to hit when he hits in front of who he hits in front of. That's important. He's a very patient hitter. Mussina got behind on him 2-1, and he was sitting on a pitch and he knew what to do with it. Obviously, we knew coming in he won the MVP the last series and he's a good player. He's gotten some big hits. The thing about it, not only, you know, he can hit home runs, we know that, but he certainly knows what to do with an at-bat. He uses both sides of the field. Again, it was not anything that caught us by surprise. We understand that he hits second in the batting order, he knows he's going to get good pitches to hit, and he's a very patient hitter and it's paid off.
Q. Your assessment of Hitchcock?
JOE TORRE: I thought he did fine. You get in one of those things, in a National League ballpark when you know you have to pinch-hit, especially when they get to your starter early, I thought Hitchcock pitched pretty well. He gave us the innings we needed where we did not have to go deep into our bullpen. He changes speeds. Kept the ball down. He's been a starter for us, so he knows what it is to do.
Q. Schilling had said he was going to try to use your patience against you by throwing first strikes, what do you think?
JOE TORRE: It's really tough to tell because the game got out of hand -- I say 5-1, but 5-1 is out of hand with him on the mound, it's tough to evaluate him on that. For sure we knew going in that we would like to be patient, but we cannot make the pitches hurt us by having him get ahead in the count like he can, because he has too many weapons to push you away. You know, he's a good pitcher. He knows what to do with a lead, that's for sure because he's not going to beat himself. He had a good splitter. I know he had two pitches called on Justice the first time up, and then it got to 2-2 and he struck him out with the splitter. He had good control tonight and, you know, I thought the first inning the situation, we score a run, and then Womack made a hell of a play on Tino otherwise we have a two-run lead, but it all gets back to we didn't pitch well enough to expect to win.
Q. How big of an issue is the relative defense between Justice and O'Neill?
JOE TORRE: Oh, I don't know. Paul O'Neill, he's out there with a broken foot. It's healed pretty much, but he still has the effects late in the game. Justice has been a good outfielder for us. He's caught up to a lot of balls and he got to that ball -- he may get to a ball a little bit better than O'Neill. O'Neill may have more experience catching it because DJ has DH'ed a lot, but I think at this point, physically he may be able to get to more balls than O'Neill because he's got two sound legs.
Q. Joe, there's nothing physically wrong with Mussina ?
JOE TORRE: No. If there's anything physically wrong with him he would not have started to night. He's fine. He's fine. He just wasn't very good tonight.
Q. Was it frustrating, were your moves working against you tonight?
JOE TORRE: A lot of my moves worked, but for the other team. There's no guarantee. I've been very fortunate that a lot of the stuff I've done has worked but I understand there's the other side of this thing, you do what you think is right at the time, and then live with it.
End of FastScripts....