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October 14, 2000

Joe Torre


Q. For all of the games you've played in and that you've managed, is this the most impressive pitching performance that you've seen?

JOE TORRE: No question. With what's at stake here, he was dominant; and got to about the fifth inning or sixth inning, and I could visualize Bob Gibson pitching against Detroit, or anybody else for that matter in the World Series, and it was just total dominance. I was going to give him help and send somebody out there in the ninth inning, and he wanted to go out there in the ninth inning. He had every bit as good of stuff as he had in the first eight.

Q. His approach early on, going after Alex high and tight, did it set a precedent?

JOE TORRE: I don't know. He throws hard. You have to pitch in to be effective. He's not trying to hit anybody. If he is, it surprises me. You still have to pitch your game. The thing is, when you talk to pitchers about pitching in off the plate, if you're going to make a mistake, you have to make it in a little bit further, because if you make a mistake the other way, it is over the middle of the plate and somebody knocks your brains out. So I don't think he set any precedent or anything like that. I think he was just trying to be aggressive, and that's the way he pitches. And don't get me wrong, when he was pitching on the other team, he used to aggravate me, too, because that's the way he pitches. But you always respected the fact that he went after people.

Q. How impressed were you tonight? Where would you rank this?

JOE TORRE: It's really tough to beat this one for a post-season game. Don Larsen's post-season game was pretty damn good, but this was total dominance tonight. I just felt very comfortable watching him pitch. First inning, again -- and I think first inning -- first couple innings for a lot of pitchers, they try to settle in and get used to the mound. He got ball one, ball two, ball three, and all of a sudden he settled in. But this is right up there in one or two great-pitched games.

Q. Do you think the talk that he had not had great success in post-season got to him a little bit?

JOE TORRE: I think he's probably tired of answering those questions, just like probably John Elway was probably tired of answering those questions about not winning the Super Bowl. When you look at his career, I think we expect so much from pitchers like him or players like Barry Bonds; it's just tough, because it's tough to satisfy people. And I'm sure he was determined to pitch well and get a chance to get very close to getting the World Series. He won Game 4 for us last year; seems like a hundred years ago.

Q. Piniella walked out of here railing about if pitchers want to throw at hitters. Would you just comment about it.

JOE TORRE: I love Lou. You know, Lou is animated. I know Paul O'Neill over the past few years has had to clean his uniform off a few times when we've come in here. I've never felt or accused them of trying to hit O'Neill, but it just so happened that just about every game, he was pitched under his chin. It's part of the game. I mean, I'm sorry -- well, I can understand. Let's put it this way: I can understand, because Lou's a fiery guy. He is a great leader and has done a great job on this ballclub and every other ballclub he's managed. But this stuff has been going on in baseball for a long time.

Q. Hirschbeck had words with Clemens after the second inning. Did you hear anything of the exchange?

JOE TORRE: I didn't ask him. I don't talk to my starting pitchers during the game. I don't know what that was about.

Q. Just as far as what your approach or the Yankees' approach tonight that has silenced the Mariners bats throughout the series, has there been a specific approach that has been so successful that you know of?

JOE TORRE: We have so many scouting reports, like all clubs do. But in Roger Clemens' case -- and I've talked to Roger about this several times -- don't worry about the hitters. Pitch the way you need to pitch. He's a power pitcher. It's a lot different than, you know, finessing both sides of the plate and trying to trick somebody. Roger doesn't trick many people. He rears back and lets it go. But again, we have scouting reports, and the scouting reports can help if you can execute what they tell you to do. But I don't think we're doing anything different now than the way we tried to pitch them, than when they beat our brains out in New York.

Q. Can you talk about what you think it shows, when he gives up the hit in the seventh inning and has to get through A-Rod, Edgar, and Olerud, and he does, at a moment where he might be disappointed. What does that show you?

JOE TORRE: Well, there's a lot of determination out there. Obviously, as soon as Al got the hit, I got the bullpen up, because it was an emotional game for him. He struck out a lot of people; throws a lot of pitches. It was never an easy inning because it was 0-0 for five innings before Jeter broke through, but he really settled in. As I say, it probably reminded me of Gibson more than any other pitcher, just the way he hitched up the belt and went after people. It's not like going through the seven, eight, nine guys. You're going through the middle of the lineup. I can't tell you how impressed I was with Roger tonight.

Q. These home runs that you're suddenly getting, is it law of averages? What's going on?

JOE TORRE: I don't know. Jeter -- that was a hell of an inning for us. We had a chance to score early. Lou popped up and so did Brosius, and all of a sudden two out and nobody on, we get a single and a walk. And Jeter has been a big player for us, and so has Justice. Justice, what a great deal that Brian Cashman made for David Justice, because he is a perfect fit for us. I don't know what the answer is. We are not a home-run hitting club, but it seems that we are saving for important times; it's not planned. It just works out that way. And to hit two home runs over the centerfield fence is not easy. This ballpark is very fair.

End of FastScripts....

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