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October 7, 2000

Joe Torre


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mr. Torre.

Q. How shocking is that home run?

JOE TORRE: Well, I hope I'm always surprised by a home run off of Roger Clemens. The thing that bothered me, I know bothered the Rocket, was the two walks. Home runs are okay as long as there's nobody running around in front of the guy who hit it. But that gave us a hill to climb right away, and we had a couple well-hit balls early but Zito settled in and pitched well. As did Roger. He had to fight a few things after that first inning, but he was striking people out. I thought his stuff was good. He wasn't able to pinpoint it like he likes to.

Q. Could you just elaborate on what you thought of Zito's performance.

JOE TORRE: He's got a lot of poise for a youngster. He's got good size, changeup, curveball, I think that's probably his signature pitch plus he can throw the fastball by you if you're looking for something off speed. He impressed us here. Today was obviously a must-win for them and he pitched like a pro.

Q. Is there an answer or an explanation as to why Roger walked the first batter without a strike?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think when pitchers go out there, they try to find where the strike zone is. He wasn't missing by a great deal. I mean, you go back through the history of a lot of pitchers who struggle in the first inning, one that comes to mind most recently is probably Glavine, for a number of -- I mean a couple of years anyway, he had problems in the first inning. What Roger and I spoke in the third inning, he said he was just starting to get into a rhythm. Obviously he wasn't as comfortable in the first inning as he was later on. But he threw the ball good, and from the side, some of them looked like strikes. We can only see up-and-down. We can't see in and out. I guess that's where they were. He wasn't missing by a lot.

Q. With Roger not sharp on three days, are you concerned about Pettitte on three days?

JOE TORRE: I really can't worry about it because he's my starter tomorrow. When we made this, we gave it a lot of thought going into this series, about how we were going to do it. You make that commitment, you go for it. I'm just glad that Andy got out there, and that's probably the most important thing with what the travel is going to be now. Not only for us, for both teams.

Q. Can you talk about the travel, what that does to a team in a key game like this, especially a team that maybe is a little bit older against yourself --?

JOE TORRE: Now wait a minute. I don't think it really has a whole lot to do with anything. When you get to the one-game series, the last game of a five or seven-game series, if you don't come ready to play, that's your fault. But sure as hell we don't want to make a 3,000 mile trip and not show up. Again, it's just like the other parts of this series, whoever gets to the quality pitching is the club that's going to prevail. Hopefully, we can get some hits. That's been the most frustrating part of it, for me, for my coaches, for my players, because they're all up there prepared, but we just haven't been able to come across with any offense. Obviously, we can do that. We hope tomorrow is the day.

Q. Do you credit the lack of offense to the Oakland pitching?

JOE TORRE: Well, there's no question. I'll never diminish the effect of the way they've pitched. That's how they got here. But we faced good pitching before, and we just really have been flat. When I say flat, we haven't been able to sustain anything offensively. So, sure, I'm not taking anything away from the Oakland staff, but I think we're still capable of putting some runs up there.

Q. You've been behind every game except the --?

JOE TORRE: Pettitte game.

Q. Yeah.


Q. Roger came out a couple minutes after the guys were out there. Was he okay? Was he getting something wrapped? At the start of the game.

JOE TORRE: Yeah, he's done that before. He's done that before. He goes in and whatever ritual he goes through, Neagle has done the same thing. The umpire looked at me, I said, "He'll be out here, I don't know when but he'll be out here." (Laughter.)

Q. During the end of the season in a losing streak, you said you had a talk with your team, a meeting, Derek Jeter got up and spoke. Now is it long past that? Now is it just that they know what they have to do and it's, "Come on, fellas, let's go out there and do it."

JOE TORRE: We're getting on this plane tonight, we're going out there for a reason. I don't sense that anything has to be said. I really don't. This club never gave up. We didn't -- I mean the final score doesn't show that. But these guys were screaming when we were down by 3, when we were down by 6. They didn't want to go to San Francisco -- I mean Oakland -- because they wanted to fight this thing out tonight. When they show up tomorrow, we'll be there. Hopefully we'll come back with more work to do.

Q. Is it unreasonable to ask or to expect more on three days' rest?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think just if it wasn't for the two walks in the first inning, you get out of that first inning 1-0, you go through five 1-0, that's not too damn bad. You put pressure on the opposition. Again, I'm not saying he was trying to walk people, wasn't trying to throw strikes. Roger and I have had this conversation actually last year and when he felt he was effective, he said he would rather pitch on a day short rest than an extra day. Before we made this decision, we obviously talked to the pitchers who were involved, and that's the way we decided to go. Obviously, to me, he's not going to be as strong as he would be on the extra day. But Roger Clemens maybe at 80 percent is still better than a lot of pitchers at 100 percent.

End of FastScripts....

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