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October 12, 1999

Joe Torre

NEW YORK CITY: Workout Day

Q. In your experience when a team gets 44 runs in the last three games, is that more due to bad pitching or are these guys on a roll?

JOE TORRE: Well, you don't miss the pitches, you know, sometimes when you throw pitches in the middle of the plate, you foul them back. They didn't foul any back. But there is no question that the Boston Red Sox has given us all we can handle this year. They are a very aggressive-type lineup. But again, I mean, if you ask Charles Nagy about that first pitch to O'Leary he would like to have it back. So I think they made some mistakes pitching, but again, they don't have to always hit them and they seemed to do that the last few days.

Q. Pitching rotation?

JOE TORRE: Pitching rotation, it will be Hernandez tomorrow, David Cone, Clemens, and Pettitte.

Q. Any thinking?

JOE TORRE: There is no thinking. Just the way we -- obviously wanted to get David Cone in the mix. In pitching David the second game, it gives us an extra day for Game 6 for him and that is what we look for every time we pitch him, that extra day's rest.

Q. That kind of sets up a Pedro/Clemens matchup. Your thoughts on that on Saturday?

JOE TORRE: Going to be a lot of fun. Only thing I can think of. Obviously what Roger has meant to that organization and that ballpark for a number of years and of course what Pedro has done this year, I think it will be -- especially pitching in the shadows; if the sun is out, it ought to be interesting.

Q. How does Paul O'Neill feel today?

JOE TORRE: I am waiting for him to come off the field now. He said he felt pretty good. Probably felt as good as he did in the early part of the Texas series. Again, we really don't know what that is going to -- how that is going to translate until -- he gave himself a good work out today and continues to do it. Then we will see tomorrow morning and we will try to push it right up against the deadline as far as announcing the roster.

Q. Of course Pedro is only human but is there a mystique about him?

JOE TORRE: Maybe. He is much more than that. There is no question that aside from all the physical things that Pedro brings to the table, he has got that psychological edge of what he has accomplished this year. There is no question. We will go out there and hopefully be able to match him. That is all you can think about doing. You don't think first of all, when you have a Roger Clemens going or a Pedro, you know you are going to have your work cut out for you so just hopefully we can match and they can match us and it will be the game it is supposed to be.

Q. When you made your return in Boston this year, were you a little taken back that the Red Sox fans were giving --

JOE TORRE: I was very touched by that. In fact I wasn't going to take the lineup card up. I was going to save that for coming home and I asked -- actually Rick Cerrone had suggested that I take it up there and I asked my mentor, Mr. Zimmer. He said there is no question, you should take it up there because he knows what kind of fans they have there. I was very -- I don't want to say surprised, but very touched at the people standing and the length of the applause and stuff like that. I didn't expect that.

Q. Putting your thoughts on having a rested staff against Boston, which is very fatigued at this point?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think Jimy hit it last night when he said we are not tired. You don't get tired when you are in postseason play. Sure, they can't pitch -- maybe they can't line their pitchers up the way they would normally like to do that, but they are on such a high right now against the odds, not only of beating a Cleveland Indians ballclub but coming back down 2-0. They have ridden this thing. They will be tired when it is over for them; whether it is this week, next week, the week after, whatever it is. Then I think exhaustion sets in. But right now, they will do it on fumes if they have to and I don't see any fall back other than not being able to maybe lineup people the way you want to do.

Q. Does pitching give you an edge because of that?

JOE TORRE: Seems to only because we have had the time to line them up. You still have to execute. Still have to pitch the way you feel you are capable of pitching. We did against Texas and we hope that continues. Sometimes too much rest is as much of a hinderance as not enough rest. David Cone -- it will be 12 days since the last time he pitched. So I think there is something to be said for both ways.

Q. Could you talk about how it was that Hernandez became your number one starter on a staff that is so strong?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think with El Duque, first of all, both he and Roger have the durability to be able to pitch long and then come back and pitch long the next time. Hernandez was picked for Game 1 against Texas because he has put a lot of numbers up as far as number of innings pitched, 7 and 8 innings, 7 and 8 innings and he didn't disappoint us. Roger didn't either obviously. But Roger couldn't pitch Game 1 because he just pitched. David has to pitch Game 2. So pretty much that fell into place for us the way we needed it to fall into place. Everything we have done over the last couple of years is trying to get that extra day for David Cone and that is why we pitched him in Game 2.

Q. Can you people talk about what a big game pitcher El Duque has become. What are the qualities that make him sort of effective in those situations?

JOE TORRE: The challenge -- maybe he is an underdog or he could something and to watch him pitch the way he did against -- Texas of course, but the way he pitched against Cleveland in Game 4 that is the one we all keep going to. That was the biggest game of his career and the biggest game of our year last year and then a foreign ballpark, of course every ballpark is a foreign ballpark to him. But the fact that he wasn't pitching at home I think added that much more credibility to what he did. As far as what drives him, I think he put it in perspective last year it is only baseball after what he has had to contend with getting over here.

Q. Did you talk to Roger Clemens about pitching in Game 3 and does he want to pitch in Fenway?

JOE TORRE: We talked to all the starters. We brought them in one at a time then talked to them together and Roger never hesitated as when he found out he was the Game 3 starter. I think after the last outing he is anxious to get the ball again.

Q. What about the Red Sox, have they impressed you during the regular season?

JOE TORRE: No question, they grind at you. They beat us up here that weekend two well-pitched ball games 11-10 or 12-11, whatever that middle game was in that series. They take advantage of whatever weakness they may happen to spy on any particular day. I am very impressed and I had mentioned it to the guys that I thought Jimy Williams has manager of the year for keeping that ballclub focused on what they have to do with all the injuries they have had. They lost Saberhagen a couple of times, Gordon all year, even Pedro for a time after the All-Star break. And I was one of them that thought Toronto was going to pass them. I guess it was in August sometime there in going for the wild card. But he has kept that ballclub believing in themselves. So there are maybe a lot of things you look on paper that they shouldn't beat the Cleveland Indians club but you are not surprised they did.

Q. Modern players aren't given a lot of credit for knowing the history of their game. Do you think that your players understand just what Yankees Red Sox means and what this series could mean?

JOE TORRE: I don't know if end of the century stuff is coming into play, but they know what it means to play in Fenway Park. There is no question. That is quite -- I don't even want to say -- that is a middle-ring type of thing as it is here. And we just sense the energy every time we go to that ballpark. I am sure we wish we had more room in the clubhouse. I am sure they feel the same way. But as far as playing them, there is no speech that I could make that could get them excited more than knowing they are going to Fenway Park and that the Red Sox are coming here. It has been a rivalry back before me and before them. But I think even if they don't know the ancient history that has these two clubs involved, I think they have seen Bucky Dent's home run more so on that scoreboard than they wanted to, especially with my bench coach being the manager of the Red Sox at the time. But there is no question that you feel that this is going to be something special.

Q. Did you appreciate this rivalry even before you took the job and how does it measure against the intracity rivalries that you grew up with the Dodgers --

JOE TORRE: I think it was -- it is tough to try to match a Dodger/Giant thing only because they had a share of the same city, same newspapers, the same everything. This one puts city against city and two highly energized cities. It is two great East Coast cities that love their sports, love to win and you know, of course the most recent history was back in 1978 with what went on in that series, and giving the Yankees all the credit for coming back, but realizing, I think -- what did the Red Sox win 99 or 98 games or something that year? It is dynamite. It really is. We had no idea -- I sat down, watched that game last night and I had no idea what was going to happen in that game. I really didn't. Then to watch it start the way it did and all of a sudden settle into this pitcher's dual, again, that didn't surprise you and to see you know, Pedro pitched up a ball and goes out in the bullpen and you know, we can all do the guessing and what the conversations were, but once you saw him pick the ball up and head out to the bullpen I thought the most telling comment was Bob Brenly with the spikes in the dug out. To me that was an indication that he definitely was going to pitch and again Jimy said he didn't know how well he was going to pitch, but he didn't maybe have the velocity, but he pitched. That is what separates him from a lot of pitchers.

Q. Considering all that as you were watching the game last night any part of you (inaudible) --

JOE TORRE: I hate to even get into a mental game like that with myself because you try to pick an opponent on who you'd rather face and you find yourself getting knocked off. I just enjoyed the game of baseball last night really not having to pull for either side. But knowing the challenge for both of us -- and you go up and down that Cleveland lineup, it is not something you want to go into, and then go into that ballpark, those fans will let you know. Then of course, Boston, it is a whole different scenario. I think the Red Sox and the Yankees, if both clubs were battling for fourth or fifth place that would be the rivalry -- still be a rivalry where I think if we go to Cleveland in the same situation it wouldn't be. So there is no question that this is probably a lot more exciting for both clubs.

End of FastScripts…

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