October 11, 2001
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Game Two
Q. Do you feel like in the ninth there you had a shot and you had a good opportunity; it was like right in front of you?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, I thought we had a few shots. We had a couple -- I think three opportunities to hit with men in scoring position, and, you know, I continue to have confidence in these guys when they come up because they have done it for us so many times. But, yeah, I had a good feeling in the ninth. Jorge was working a good at-bat. You have to give credit to their pitchers. Isringhausen went right after them and made a hell of a pitch. We were able to match them tonight, almost, pitch-for-pitch. That, in essence, was the difference.
Q. Along those lines, what can you say about Pettitte as a typical post-season game?
JOE TORRE: Andy taught me a long time ago to trust him in big-game situations, and he didn't let us down again. He's got a great, big heart, and he may get a little jumpy at times, but when the chips are on the table, he gives you every bit that he's got. He pitched his tail off tonight. But, so did Hudson. I mean, Hudson did a hell of a job.
Q. About Ron Gant's home run -- did you think he would be able to hit a home run and what do you think of him as a productive hitter?
JOE TORRE: Arty picked him up for that threat. They are a home-run-hitting ballclub and if you put the ball in the wrong spot, he's going to hurt you. I think Andy got that ball probably down and in a little bit. I could not tell from the side but it looked like he was able to drop the fat of the bat on it and that was the difference until the ninth inning.
Q. Is this the most on the ropes you've felt in six years?
JOE TORRE: Well, yeah, considering it's a five-game series. In '96, we had a seven-game series going for us and we were down 2-0 going into Atlanta. And what we have to do is go on a three-game winning streak. That's what we have to do. My feeling in a short series, and I've said that, we need to go out there and win and hopefully the momentum changes and just build on that. We need to hit a little bit. We have not hit. Again, I don't know if it is that we are as inefficient as they are efficient. They have really pitched us tough and they have not made many mistakes and when we have hit the ball hard, they have been there. So, you have to tip your hat to them.
Q. With you guys up against the wall like that, and the fact that you guys have not hit, do you not necessarily change the lineup, but change the approach, start laying down bunts, start trying to move runners and force the issue?
JOE TORRE: I don't see us changing the approach as far as the lineup. I don't have to think about that tonight. We'll work out tomorrow and see what it feels like, and then we'll show up on Saturday.
Q. A hallmark of your teams during this run has been patience at the plate; you've forced the other team to go deep in the counts and today it was just the opposite. Hudson had a lot of quick innings and Pettitte had to go into a lot of deep pitch counts; what was different?
JOE TORRE: We were patient tonight. Hudson threw a lot of strikes and they made Andy work. They knew like everybody else knew that he did not have as long a leash as I normally would because of the inactivity. For a club that hits a lot of home runs, they worked the count well and I was impressed with that. Again, not much I can say tonight, other than they just outplayed us by that little bit.
Q. Paul O'Neill's at bat in the sixth, did you have a feeling he was going to put the ball in the gap?
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, if I'm going to have a visualization, I want to see the ball go in the upper deck. (Laughs). When Jorge was up there and Justice in the ninth, I was sort of visualizing that. I have a great deal of confidence in these guys. As I said, I don't want to say we failed as much as they succeeded.
Q. You mentioned being down to Atlanta, that's when you said to Steinbrenner that you would win and you did that. Do you think going on the road will relax the guys a bit more?
JOE TORRE: We hope so. Again, we're uptight, we're grinding it, we're getting frustrated, there's no question. But we played well and that type of thing isn't going to intimidate us. We just need to go out and win a ballgame. Sounds simple for a club that won 90-something games but so for we have not been able to do that.
Q. Was it considered that Posada would bunt in the ninth?
JOE TORRE: No, I didn't. Not at all. He's been -- knocked in 95 runs or something like that. He's been the guy that's going to deliver the goods and that's the way guys have done it for us all year.
Q. Are you surprised at the way the Oakland pitchers handled the situation here?
JOE TORRE: No. I think they had a taste of it last year. No question. They are tough kids. They are tough kids. They have a lot of confidence right now and it does not surprise me, as well as they have pitched. We would like to believe that we are patient and can fight and can break through for a run here and a run there. This was our type of game tonight. We've just come up short. I'm not surprised at all. I respect them a great deal and they certainly have proven this year that they are ready for something like this.
Q. Hindsight is always going to be 20/20, but a couple of those situations late in the game, did you wish maybe you had a big left-handed bat on the bench?
JOE TORRE: No, not really because when I start visualizing, I still visualize him hitting the three-run home run off Pedro. He's been a big-game player for us. He hit that home run off Trevor out there in San Diego. I never hesitate with Biscotti.
Q. Do you think they are making you look old at all, being a younger team?
JOE TORRE: I don't know about old, but they are certainly making us eat some dust right now because of the way they are playing us. You know, they are hitting the home runs and we know they are able to do that and we have not been able to stop them from doing that. I don't believe teams get old overnight. Last year, we struggled down the stretch and played very efficiently in the post-season. No, I can't use any excuse here, other than credit their team.
Q. What does it say about this series, that you are down two games and they have not driven in a run with scoring position?
JOE TORRE: It means stats doesn't mean a whole lot. (Laughs). We have been pitching well. We have been pitching well. But, again, you know we still need to score along with the pitching.
End of FastScripts....