October 20, 2001
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Game Three
Q. It looked like El Duque was fighting his control even before the big inning; could you talk about what was going on with him and how it fell apart?
JOE TORRE: I don't know. The first couple of innings I thought he was very aggressive and pitched well. Then it looked like he was trying to make the perfect pitch, which happens with him from time to time. That's what got him basically. His pitch count got up there, and he walked a couple guys and they scored the two runs and tied the game up. It's just very tough to give this ballclub any kind of an opening and they take advantage of it. I know it was a bloop base hit, but they can put a little thunder on the board like they did later on.
Q. Olerud led off the sixth inning with that home run, and it was their first lead in the series and obviously they went on to win by 11, but did they seem to get a monkey off their back there?
JOE TORRE: When they tied the game up it sort of had them breathe a little bit. We had the lead and we were pitching well. Even though Duque was walking the tight rope, he was still managing to get the last out in the inning. You don't know this; you hope that you can keep them down, keep them down and keep them down, try to keep the pressure on them but you know they are capable of doing this if you don't pitch as well as you need to. I think it was the fact that they broke through with the bases loaded because of the two walks more than anything else, I think really changed the momentum a little bit.
Q. What was your thoughts about bringing El Duque back in; I think he had 115 pitches going into the sixth inning?
JOE TORRE: I really didn't hesitate. I think I mentioned it yesterday or the day before, that I thought he was capable of 120, 130 now. He threw 111, I think, his last outing, and physically I think he's fine. He may not be as sharp consistently as we need him to be, but I still think his stuff is good. There's nothing that he doesn't throw. I don't think he's staying away from anything. It just looked like he had trouble really being able to find the spots where he wanted to pitch tonight.
Q. Considering you had a 2-0 lead, and you had a first-inning home run and it looked like Duque was pitching well, do you think you let something get away?
JOE TORRE: No question. We get a lead, we feel we put the pressure which is what momentum is all about and we were not able to hold on. We are used to pitching a lot better in the second half of a game than we did tonight. But we felt, even though we only had one hit up there off Jamie, and he played -- he pitched real tough, also. But we certainly felt that, you know, we had the chance to do some good things, and I think you have to credit Jamie, also, for keeping us right there at two runs. We let it get away. But again, I don't think it's as much that we squandered it as much as they did what they are capable of doing.
Q. Were you hesitant to bring Stanton in in the sixth, because of considerations for Roger's health tomorrow?
JOE TORRE: Not really. Mike is pretty durable. He can come back. They had a lot of left-handers in their lineup and switch-hitters, so Mike was the first one out in the situation. I was not hesitant at all, basically, because we were trying to win the game, and the sixth inning was fine.
Q. Do you think Knoblauch had the ball on Boone's hit?
JOE TORRE: I can go by the reaction of the fans, it sounded like he did have it but bounced it around and dropped it. We can't see anything. He disappeared when he dived for the ball. And it sounded like a good result, but then the "Ah" was followed by the cheers and I knew where we were.
Q. After Game 3, I'm sure you are taking the same approach like, that it was a lopsided game, but okay, it's 2-1 now. Do you feel that the next pitcher, Clemens, can stop the momentum?
JOE TORRE: There's no question that momentum is your next day's pitcher. We have lived with our pitchers and they have won many games and many championships for us, and that's what we rely on. I think as recently as last week when Cleveland did this to Seattle and they bounced back the next day, it's just something that you have to dismiss and, you know, maybe you hope they got tired today. They won't be as spry tomorrow. But you have to discount it as one game. We know they are capable. You don't win 116 games and put the numbers that they put up without knowing they are capable of beating your brains out.
Q. Do you think Soriano had enough time on that play in the fifth, and were you disappointed in the execution of your team today?
JOE TORRE: There's no question. We need to do a better job of throwing to the bases, the pitchers. Soriano, yeah, I think he had time to throw the ball to first base. The only problem was he had to reach for the throw and I think that sort of got him off balance a little bit, you know, as far as reaching for the ball in his glove. I think if the throw was maybe chest-high or something, he probably would have been able to turn the dp, but I can't really fault him there. I think it was just a reach for the ball and Chris probably got him on the wrong foot or something.
Q. On the force play that Soriano did not get to second, that's all his doing, has nothing to do with Jeter, I assume? And can you remember any other performances similar to this at all in your era in the post-season?
JOE TORRE: Well, no -- yeah, well I've got to take that back. The first game that the Braves played us in '96 they killed us, whatever the score was, 12-1 or something like that. But, yeah, he should have been at the bag quicker than he was. You credit Bret Boone for running hard, which he does all the time. But we certainly, you know, we need to clean that up.
Q. Can you talk about Stan Javier's catch and how key that was?
JOE TORRE: You realize there are not going to be a lot of runs scored when Jamie pitches and that would have given us an extra run. Stanley is a good player. He's been a good player for a lot of clubs. He's one of those role players that -- and he's played in a lot of post-season games, but that was certainly a momentum -- I don't want to say shifter because we still had the lead, but it -- you know, it kept us right there. You never know; we could build on it after that. But that catch was big for them.
End of FastScripts....