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October 6, 2000

Joe Torre


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe.

Q. Can you talk about El Duque's pitching in the fifth and sixth innings and what your decision was to send him back there in the seventh.

JOE TORRE: Probably didn't think about it until you just asked that question. You guys were loaded for bear at that point in time. I thought he straightened himself out in the sixth inning, and he felt so badly about how he pitched the first five. I sensed that he was very frustrated. I think the sixth perked him up a little bit. It's just a trust factor at that point in time. You make a decision and you're sure you're going to lay home if it doesn't work out and if Luis doesn't make that play and maybe kick yourself in the rear end. But I gave it a lot of thought and I just decided to leave him in there.

Q. How much is that based on his history?

JOE TORRE: It's probably all based on his history. If you base it on the first five innings, you probably don't do it. Knowing what he's done for us in the past, not unlike the way we felt last year about Pettitte, not judging him by what we were seeing but by what we knew about him. As I said, Luis made the move okay.

Q. Can you talk about how you guys have been able to limit Jason Giambi's opportunities.

JOE TORRE: Well, pitching, I mean he is so tough because he doesn't really swing at bad balls. You have to say it's lucky. I mean, we have pitched him well, but he had a certain element of luck, too. I guess they've had trouble with the middle of their line-up. We haven't had a lot of production from the middle of our line-up so I think it's been a push there. If it wasn't for the bottom of our line-up, we would have been limited as far as how many runs we have scored.

Q. The new sign that's in the hallway at the tunnel, "There is no substitute for victory," is that something the team has just lived for the last few years?

JOE TORRE: Well, there's one -- a lot of advantages to winning, especially when you get to post-season play, and part of that is believing in yourself and not wanting to settle for anything else. I don't think we need signs to tell us that. We feel it, and we've been able to live it and hopefully we're on our way to doing something special this year.

Q. Who put the sign up?

JOE TORRE: I don't know.

Q. You made a number of line-up positions all year long based on defense. Have you ever seen a team survive by playing bad defense, are you winning this one basically on defense?

JOE TORRE: Well, not very likely. Unless they're going to put up a lot of runs. But to me, when your strength is pitching, you need defense to compliment that pitching, otherwise you're really going to maybe allow the opposition an extra out or two and when you get into post-season play, those outs will kill you because you have the cream of the crop at the end of the year. But some of the plays we've made, I mean, the one Justice made in left-centerfield, it looked like his legs felt good today, and it's just been a lot crisper ballclub since we started the post-season. I know we lost the first game, but I thought we played well. We just weren't able to hold on to a lead. But tonight's game was something. I don't think I ever remember a game -- of course I'm never comfortable sitting in the dugout, but when I'm watching El Duque, who's normally bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, struggling the way he was, I didn't even want to ask Billy Connors how many pitches he threw.

Q. How would you describe your offense tonight? How you got your runs?

JOE TORRE: We took advantage of opportunities they gave us. There's something to be said about contact. I think that's pretty much the word I would use to describe how we scored the runs. We didn't allow them to strike us out, and men were in scoring position, and we didn't hit it very hard or very far, but we certainly benefited from what opportunities we had.

Q. Can you tell us, if this was June 6 or July 6, when El Duque might have been out of this game and what's your philosophy because it's October 6th?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think it's October 6th, but also the last five or six starts by El Duque were really good. I think that had more to do with it than anything else. Sure, if we're in June and he was struggling pretty much and he had had back problems and his arm got a little cranky, but after watching him -- you know, you go in with a game plan. Someone asked me earlier today, when do you know when to take him out. I don't want to take him out. That's basically -- I'm trying to get to the seventh inning with our starters because we've had some problems being consistent in the middle. I still feel good about Stanton and Nelson, but when it got to the eighth inning and their middle of their order was coming up, I had no hesitation as far as bringing him in.

Q. What is it about the post-season that makes El Duque and Mariano that much harder to hit.

JOE TORRE: I really don't know. Other than knowing how this is what we strive for. I can't think of anything magical other than they've been here before, they've had success, they like the taste of winning. And Rivera, I think more so than El Duque, not that he's better than El Duque, but I think Rivera, there's so many questions with Mo earlier this year about, "Is he still Mo?" You have to really ask people just to be patient, let's not judge him yet. Because he had set the bar so high for himself that it was so hard for him to live up to himself. He certainly has that look in his eye now.

Q. When you have an opportunity to knock a team out the way tomorrow, just the importance of seizing that opportunity, you guys have done it very well in the past in a post-season situation.

JOE TORRE: It was just the idea of closing it down tomorrow, we have an opportunity. We hope we can do it. Roger has the ball tomorrow. I have a great deal of faith, sure, he's pitching on short rest. But I still feel that he's ready to do this, and hopefully we can. It's a big game for us tomorrow. Obviously, it's big for them also. But we don't want to go back to Oakland. We have an opportunity to end it here in our home ballpark. Hopefully we can score some more runs, but we certainly have made the most of what we have scored here lately.

Q. Can you talk about the mental errors contributing to the A's losing, especially the Hernandez error on the Brosius bunt, the Hudson thrown home on the fielder's choice, and the Tejada infield single ball on Jeter that Tejada could have held the ball on to?

JOE TORRE: I think if you're going to characterize any of them as mental errors, it had to be Hudson throwing home with Bernie at third base. The other ones, I mean, they weren't mental errors. I didn't think that throw to Tejada was that bad at second base. If Tejada makes that play in the hole, it's a hell of a play at that point in time, the ball went off his glove. I don't know what to say about it. I didn't think -- you make errors as part of the game. We took advantage of it. I think that's important. And we had to play squeaky-clean defensively because they have some thumpers. I didn't notice that they were rattled in any way.

Q. Rivera pitched two innings today. Would you hesitate to use him tomorrow?

JOE TORRE: I hope I get an opportunity to find out.

End of FastScripts....

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