October 3, 2000
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: Game One
Q. Would you talk about the mind set of the team?
JOE TORRE: I thought the game was a good game. I mean, we played a clean ballgame. We got a 2-0 lead. We're not a high-scoring ballclub. As far as the on and off, I don't buy it, because we went through what we went through at the end of the season. It has nothing to do with trying and thinking you had it locked up. We just didn't play very well. But the mindset, you know, obviously we're down one game to none in a five-game series. We need to come out here and split it tomorrow.
Q. How big a test is this of the Yankees and your ability to come back to lose this first game?
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, this is something we need to do. And it is a test. There's no question. Because if we lose tomorrow, I'll come up with a reason why it doesn't matter, you know. But we're going to fight every day, and hopefully, we win three games before they do.
Q. Through six innings Heredia threw three fewer pitches than Clemens. How would you rate the pitching?
JOE TORRE: I think that was a big part of it. That he was strike one and Rocket really wasn't. He had a lot of 3-ball counts early. And I think that was a big part of the pitch count. Gil did a terrific job of going strike one. He had a lot more -- I don't want to say a lot more left, but he was a lot more diligent in that area.
Q. Does the way the A's approach Clemens and their lineup remind you of what you guys have become famous for?
JOE TORRE: There's no question. We knew that coming in; that they were a very patient ballclub. And as I said earlier, they are playing with a lot of confidence right now. But yeah, that's sort of what we would like to do, and go out there and make the pitcher throw strikes, and Roger, as I say, got himself in a pitch count early.
Q. Did you think that you had a chance to dent that confidence a little bit at the start when Roger looked very confident and the A's look the kind of tense?
JOE TORRE: No question. When you get a two-run lead, that's a big thing especially in game one but we were not able to hold onto it. The thing is we tried to be aggressive, we tried to do some things, but they came back at us. They got the lead, we came back and tied it, and they kept getting base hits. The bottom of the order beat our brains out. We scored with the bat at the bottom of the order earlier. But I thought it was a well-played ballgame and probably what I expected as far as not too high a scoring game.
Q. Are O'Neill and Justice well, are they sound?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, they are. They are both healthy. Pauly is fighting himself right now. Hit that ball to the shortstop in the first inning for the double play. But they are both as good as they have been all year as far as health-wise.
Q. The bottom of the order went 5 for 8. How surprised were you to have them hit the ball like that against Roger Clemens?
JOE TORRE: Well, there's no question when you're talking about the A's, you're going through the middle of that lineup, and they are very tough. We obviously don't take anybody for granted but I thought they were very patient at the bottom of the order and I thought Hernandez had a terrific approach, hitting the ball the other way. Yeah, I'm surprised that the bottom of the order was 5 for 8 against Roger Clemens. There's no question.
Q. Could you comment on the A's relief pitching?
JOE TORRE: Arty Howe used them perfectly tonight. He has been doing that all year. He doesn't change his approach. I think Jim Mecir has been a terrific addition to that club. He helped us win in '96 and he's out there pitching with a lot of confidence. When you go from a last-place club to a club that's fighting for the pennant, it gives you a little shot of juice, here and he has certainly come in this tough situations and done a great job.
Q. Is there any concern that a team so young as the A's, I mean, they play with such enthusiasm that you can get snowballed by their power?
JOE TORRE: There's no question that they are playing with a lot of enthusiasm. That's a good word. And confidence. They know no fear. They have already accomplished more than people thought they would. So this is all bonus time for them as far as I'm concerned. They are a young club, a young upstart club that -- they cling together and it is very impressive for me.
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