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October 6, 1998

Joe Torre


Q. Joe, your assessment of Wells this evening?

JOE TORRE: He was great. We gave him a little breathing room in the first inning, which is something we haven't been able to do over the last few games. Getting those runs, you know, doesn't waste them. He throws strikes, very uncharacteristic if he walks somebody. He did walk the one. But it was -- he is the one you want to have pitch with a lead because he is going to throw strikes.

Q. Mike Hargrove talked about seeing the number one guy out there, David Wells, now you got Cone coming in tomorrow. Does that give you a little bit of a relief knowing that you got Cone coming right after Wells?

JOE TORRE: Well, our starters, I mean that has been our strong suit and I know Mel Stottlemyre likes to say whoever is pitching that day is the number one pitcher. Sure any time David Cone pitches, he knows what he is doing, he is a big game guy in the World Series in '96 we pitched him in Game 3 because he was the one most familiar with pitching in Atlanta and pitched Game 3, gave us the final one in Texas. Sure, I feel good any time -- I feel good. We sent Petitte out there and I am looking forward to finally seeing Hernandez say too.

Q. Could you talk about the performance of the top of the order and what it means?

JOE TORRE: Well, that was big. It is the one thing if I was going to keep my fingers crossed, it was just let's get off the schneide pretty quick with Knoblauch and Jeter getting the base hits. This is what we become used to seeing all year and then O'Neill with the big key 3 and two base hits. I thought that was that was the one that sort of got us over the hump.

Q. You guys have a little bit of a history with Jaret Wright. I know a win is very important the first game. Was there any extra satisfaction with knocking him out in the first inning based on everything that has happened?

JOE TORRE: I think the extra satisfaction is that he is a good pitcher and you are able to get to him in the first inning because that is a letdown for the other team. Anything more than that, no. This game will come and bite you in the rear end if you start pounding your chest about certain things. You have got to try to keep yourself under control, but as I say, when you knock a starter out in the first inning, yeah, that is a big thing for us.

Q. Can you compare this game to his first game in the division?

JOE TORRE: Well, he used more pitches in that game and it was obviously a tougher game the one and two runs that we scored, he didn't have any breathing room there. I thought that game probably took more out of him. This one I had no trouble sending him out there for the 9th because he had only thrown 103 or 104 pitches up to that point. He was way under his pitch count and coming in with a couple extra days rest. But the thing about it, and when he throws strikes, he makes you hit the ball. And that is a manager's dream because so many times nowadays, you see pitchers out there where they don't want you to hit the ball and it is ball one and ball two. You really wind up getting yourself in trouble, but the Boomer doesn't do that.

Q. Beginning your lineup to go back to that, seven hits or something they out did the whole series against Texas. Are you a believer that that could have a carry-over that that gets them going?

JOE TORRE: No question. As former player myself, you get a base hit, it is sort of relaxes you. It keeps you from pressing, especially the two guys at the top of the order because I think it makes it easier for the 3, 4, 5 guys to hit when there are people on base. Because there is really no place to pitch around somebody. No way you can pitch around somebody you have to make pitches. But the top two guys in the order are very, very important for us, yeah, I like to believe it is relaxing them. It will relax them.

Q. Wondering if you felt especially that Bernie also seemed to get off to break out?

JOE TORRE: Well, again, when you are clean-up hitter, the base hit in the first and then the double, later on, yeah, I need for all of them to do it. Tino, hit the ball hard, Justice made a great play on him. I would love to see him get a base hit also. But I just like coming out there, I think it takes a lot of pressure off when you win the first game. It sort of gets you off on the right foot. You are supposed to win when you play at home and you know, just puts a little extra pressure on you and I am just pleased that we did.

Q. What is the working relationship between Wells and Posada?

JOE TORRE: Very well. He has caught them all year. I know Joe Girardi has caught the Boomer maybe four, five, six times, but they are good. And the Boomer is very animated as you can see. He gets aggravated because he is so into the game sometimes and he doesn't realize what he shows out there. But their relationship is good. They talk a lot between innings, and it is -- as I say, I think he has taught Posada a lot because Jorge is still learning, this is his first year really have

catching just about regular on a big league ballclub.

Q. Was he intimidated last year by Boomer?

JOE TORRE: He didn't catch a lot last year.

Q. By Wells, I mean?

JOE TORRE: He could very well have been. I don't recognize that fact. I think if a young kid is, you know, maybe a little more fragile than a veteran and may make more of something than there really is but knowing the Boomer, knowing the big picture that is him. That is the whole package, so, it may be a little animation more so, you know, sometimes -- I mean at times, but you know, it is no big deal.

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