October 18, 2001
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: Game Two
Q. Could you just go through the thought process of walking Suzuki with put the go-ahead run on base?
JOE TORRE: Because he's Suzuki. There's not many rookies you're going to walk, but he's a special player. I turned to Mel I said, "What about walking him?" I said to Zimmer -- the hesitation put the answer in my mind putting the leading run on base. No disrespect to McLemore, but he just puts the ball in play too much and gets too many hits to do that. I've done that before. And again, it can come back to bite you in the rear end sometimes, but I really felt that that was the thing I wanted to do. It's the right thing if you get the next guy out and it's the wrong thing if you don't.
Q. You stuck with Brosius even though he has not played well in the post-season. Can you talk about your decision to stick with him in this game?
JOE TORRE: He's gotten big hits for us in the clutch before in post-season and other games. But the main reason I stayed with Scotty is the fact that we rely on our pitching. And pitching really needs defense for it to function properly, and he is such a good third baseman. I know statistically his numbers didn't show that this year, but he's still a third baseman that -- he's Gold Glove quality for me and I trust him over there with the -- you know, with ground balls and knowing how to play over there. I think it's mainly he's in there for his defense and whatever he gives us offensively as a bonus and it was a big hit tonight.
Q. Are your pitchers doing more than maybe you had expected? What are they doing to be so successful?
JOE TORRE: Well, we have had over the years a lot of information. Again, I don't think it's any tricky stuff. We have a lot of scouts, advance scouts, both clubs do, all clubs do. You know, we probably go into it in more detail. But again, I don't think there's anything that I could tell Lou that would surprise him how we are trying to pitch certain people, but it's the idea of being able to pitch there. If pitchers threw the ball where they wanted to every single pitch, nobody would ever get a hit, maybe except Suzuki. But it's being able to execute and we have been able to do that pretty well here in the first two games.
Q. Which is more soothing to your stomach at this time of year, green tea or Mariano?
JOE TORRE: Mariano. The green tea makes me run into the clubhouse a couple of times during the game. Mariano, he makes me want to stay out there and watch him. Especially with an off-day tomorrow you don't hesitate to use him in the eighth inning. I probably would have gone to him if there was nobody out and we were in trouble in the eighth inning. You watch him, I don't remember anybody better than him.
Q. 22 straight post-season saves, how remarkable is that?
JOE TORRE: It's remarkable, considering what a short period of time it's happened. You know, again, it's not going to happen every single time, but I know one thing, he comes in there with the frame of mind that it is brand new every time and he knows what he wants to do with each hitter and he's able to execute that. From the first one to the 22nd, there's been a lot going on in that time where he's sort of refined what he does with the baseball.
Q. Lou came in here and very emphatically declared that this series is going to come back to Seattle. You can understand he's trying to fire his club up, but what's your response?
JOE TORRE: You play all year from February, and the kind of year they had, he knows what they are capable of doing. You know, it's similar to what I said to my club in Oakland, down 0-2 in a best-of-five series. It's the confidence you show in your ballclub, and I'm sure that's the big part of why Lou feels that way.
Q. I guess it's repetitive to talk about Jeter, but that throw that Tino made to him on the force, did that have your heart stopping momentarily?
JOE TORRE: No question. We knew that Tino had to do that to keep the fast runner off second base, and it's very tough for a first baseman throwing into the runner like that, but again, Jeter, he never loses his cool and managed to stay on the base and hold onto the ball. Yeah, I did swallow a little bit.
Q. Most of Mussina's outs were fly balls and pop-ups. Was he using their own park against them a little bit?
JOE TORRE: He can do a good job, but he had trouble with his changeup tonight. He just could not get it down and it took one of his weapons away. He had a tough time with the bottom of the order. Stan had a few pitches and then walked and I think it was a high changeup he hit for the home run. But again, he saved his best pitching for the last two innings. We didn't know if we were going to get past five with him, but because he pitched so effectively, the sixth was his. He can pitch to the big part of the ballpark because he has that type of ability, but again, he was not as sharp tonight as he has been. But again, nobody could stay as sharp as he was.
Q. When did it all change for you, you were down 2-0 to Oakland, was it the Jeter play where Giambi didn't make the slide?
JOE TORRE: I think what got us going was Mussina. He went in there and had to do what he did. We went in there and scored one run and it held up. You cannot expect a pitcher to shut out a ballclub unless somebody does something spectacular defensively. So that play that Jeter made was certainly a good sign for us. I thought he had no chance at that point when I saw the 2 cutoff man with the overthrow, but there he was and we made the play. We were lucky. We were lucky. I think that was a good sign for us, but what enabled us to come back was the way Mussina pitched Game 3.
Q. How much are you liking your new Knoblauch?
JOE TORRE: That's great. We have been looking -- the first half of the year he was terrific, and then he struggled and he could not get it going; he would start and stop. Right now, this post-season has been really big for him because he's been able to get on base. He disrupts a little bit. He's been aggressive on the base paths, and I'm certainly happy for him and I'm happy for us. We're a better team when he's leading off because we don't have to mess up the lineup that much.
Q. Mussina had so much going for him in Oakland, what does that say that he did not have the changeup but still walked out with a lead?
JOE TORRE: It speaks volumes. Again, the ability not to lose your cool, the ability to realize that this is not working, so I have to try to manufacture something else. And he does have a number of places to go. He's got the slider, he's got the curveball, he can change speeds with it, and the fastball is probably more effective for him when he has all of those offspeed pitches going, but I just think keeping his composure is the most important thing in a situation against this ballclub.
End of FastScripts....