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October 5, 1999
NEW YORK CITY: Game One
Q. Does it feel like the right decision now to start Hernandez in Game 1?
JOE TORRE: When he was sharp early, I felt good about it. It usually takes him a lot of
time to settle in. He threw a lot of strikes early. It looked like when he walked Rafael
early, it looked like he sort of wanted to do that. I don't think anybody wants to pitch
to him with men in scoring position. He has a lot of confidence in his ability to throw
strikes when he wants to, and he certainly got a big out when he struck Zeile out. They
got a base hit there, couple runs, you don't know what it does to the psyche of the team.
Q. What about Bernie?
JOE TORRE: Bernie, he's a special person, a special talent, he's the same guy, you
know, making ten cents. He's the same person. For him to have -- well not only the night
he had tonight, the year he had this year, it's very impressive. Because he's, you know, a
lot of times he comes in and it's like he shouldn't be playing baseball, he should be
doing something else. That's the mentality he has. But he works so hard at it, and he's
always looking for help as far as, you know, can I do something better. And he's very
refreshing. The night he had tonight was unbelievable. He came up to me, because I was
bothered by Zim. When I heard that ugly sound, and I'm saying to myself why don't I just
reach my hand instead of just getting out of the way, it was bothering me. Bernie saw I
was dazed a little bit. He came up to me and said," Are you with us, are you okay?
" I said, "Yeah, I'm okay." It was like he lit a fire. From his first
at-bat to that at-bat you saw a different player. That's what happens with Bernie. You
never know when that thing is going to get a hold of him and it's going to become
something he can't get out of.
Q. When Johnny went to the bullpen tonight, it let him down. If that sort of thing
happens and you can't rely on your bullpen in the post-season, can you win?
JOE TORRE: Obviously every move you make in the post-season is very important. I go
back to '96, we had to go out there against Texas and come in with David Weathers and
Nellie, and everybody came in and did their job. You go out there and you rely on them all
year. These are the people that put you in the post-season. So you keep going out there.
But obviously if players -- pitchers are going to come in and give up some runs, you know,
that's one of those things. I mean that's what's great about this game; is that one-on-one
thing on a day-to-day basis, you never know who's going to win or lose. The fact of the
matter is it's not like somebody failed when a pitcher doesn't get a hitter out. It's more
that the hitter, you know, succeeded. Because to me, too much is made of what somebody
doesn't do as opposed to giving the guy on the other side of the ball credit.
Q. Can you talk about the effectiveness of Orlando Hernandez? It seemed like he was
going to reach the 100-pitch mark, but he settled down and showed a lot of durability.
JOE TORRE: Well, El Duque is very strong. I think both he and Clemens could be the two
strongest ones we have as far as the durability. He's a well-conditioned athlete, and,
again, he threw a lot of pitches early because he didn't want to give up anything. And he
seemed to be picking and choosing on who he wanted to face. Not that anybody's easy in
that line-up, but when he gets behind in the count, he's not going to give in. That was
the perfect thing to do, especially when we didn't have the lead early in the game. But,
again, he had a couple easy innings where he got them one, two, three. That saved him. I
think his pitch count was under 120 or close to that, which was fine.
Q. What did happen to Don Zimmer and what is his condition now?
JOE TORRE: He's fine. He came back out to the dugout. He turned his head luckily, and
it hit him on the jaw and ear, his ear was bleeding. And I didn't expect him out. I know
when -- who was it -- in fact Yogi came up in the dugout, peaked out and said he's okay.
He knew I would be worried about him. When his wife came to see him, I was told George
Steinbrenner was in the clubhouse, told him his wife was there, he said tell her to go get
a hot dog. When I heard that, I knew that, you know, he'd be okay. I didn't expect to see
him back out on the bench again.
Q. Johnny Oates said it's mind boggling that his team hasn't been able to even get a
run by accident, as he said he'd expect. Four games now post-season, they have one run
against you guys. Is it kind of a little mind boggling to you, too?
JOE TORRE: No question. Before the game, I was in here saying that's one series I
didn't want to play again last year. We gave them one run in three games. They're, you
know, they're so good offensively, but, again, and I allude to the Pedro Martinez pitching
in the All-Star Game, he can dominate. You have McGwire, you have Sosa, you have, you
know, all those good players, but pitching, if you do it -- I don't want to say do it
right, but if you're on your game, you can control the game somewhat. And we have been
fortunate against this club that we have been able to pitch well as starters, and, you
know, of course the guys come into the bullpen, when they're asked to have a little bite
here or there, again, they've done their job. But it's been pitching. And, again, I don't
care, back when I played in the dark ages, good pitching stops good hitting. That's what
this game is based on.
Q. When you're sitting in the dugout watching El Duque put some men on early, can you
just sit back and be confident in his ability, or do you get nervous as hell on the bench?
JOE TORRE: Well, when he walked Rafael, you know, it didn't surprise me that he did
that. You know, he walked Rusty, that was another story because you don't want to get into
the teeth of that line-up and have to face Juan with first and second all the time.
Because you have to throw a strike. It gets you a little uneasy when you watch that. But
he kept his cool, so I'll prefer to be uneasy and have the pitcher stay calm. That's fine
End of FastScripts