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October 5, 1999

Joe Torre


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 with me.

End of FastScripts…

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