October 9, 1998
CLEVELAND, OHIO: Game Three
Q. Could you talk a little bit about "El Duque" and his development over this
JOE TORRE: It's interesting how he surfaced in the ballpark in New York. We didn't
think David Wells was going to pitch and then all of a sudden Cone got bitten by a dog and
he became a starter. Showed us good stuff early on, mixed it up, fastball, breaking ball,
lefty, righty and all of a sudden left hand started giving him trouble. In fact, it was
right here that he got beat up by the Indians and since that time, that game and then
pitches a game against the Angels that he was hit pretty good. Since that time made a lot
of adjustments as far as using both sides of the plate. It just seems, obviously, his
first year in the Big Leagues, but with all the experience he's had before this has made
him grasp things quicker and make adjustments a little quicker. Right now of course he
hasn't pitched for two weeks, so keep your fingers crossed not being on the mound other
than for a little practice. Approach is good, very sound. Seems to pitch his best game
when there's more at stake.
Q. Joe, what was the thinking with Chili as the DH today?
JOE TORRE: Tim hit the double in Texas and really hasn't had as good of at-bats as he
has in the past. Going through a little bit of a slump and I just decided to change to
Q. I was just curious, you've been over it probably a hundred times, how has the ending
of Game 2 affected the way the players are going about their business in tonight's game?
JOE TORRE: You know, you try to do it the same way, but obviously after you've lost a
game, whether it's in Game 2 of the postseason or during the regular season, you want to
get back on the field and the off day yesterday, you know, kept that from happening. But
we're, as far as our preparation, I had a little bit of a meeting a few minutes ago just
to make sure -- with everything that's been going on for the last day and-a-half. I just
want to make sure we go out there and think about tonight instead of trying to make up for
something that happened the other day. But we're basically doing things the same way.
Q. You touched on this briefly yesterday. What will it take to get Tino on track and
what maybe is he doing that's not normal for him?
JOE TORRE: I think Tino's problem is a lot of guys who care a lot. He's trying too
hard. He thinks he should be doing more than he does, more than he has done, I mean. I
don't agree with him because to me, every little thing you do in postseason goes a long
way to helping you win a ball game. I think the only thing Tino needs to do is change his
approach because his swing is fine but if you start thinking in terms of -- let me have
this at-bat and then the next at-bat instead of trying to do a lot of things -- make up
for some stuff and try to do too much when you get up there it's a lot easier for me to
tell them that and sit here and talk about it, but if I go back, God, it's a long time
ago, 25, 30 years, it's not that easy to do.
Q. Livan had a pretty outstanding postseason last year. Do you ever think possibly that
after that game to have two family members doing so well in postseason?
JOE TORRE: It was ironic when we started talking about Hernandez and signing him,
knowing he was related, it is a little strange to realize a year later that we're -- we
have another Hernandez in the postseason. Hopefully our guy makes as good an impact as
Q. Can you speak to the great faith you have in Andy. Even when others have been --
you've never wavered with him, why is that?
JOE TORRE: I've always appreciated people had faith in me and trust in me because
playing this game, I think the best way to look at it is pick up a press guide and see
what people do over the course of the season. And for me to change my mind on Andy because
of what he's done in half a year is not fair to him, especially what he's given us. He's
already proven that he's won big games. First year I was here in '96, he beat Baltimore in
a couple of games in a big series. He goes out there -- and of course, the one I mentioned
yesterday, Game 5 of the World Series. You can't win a bigger game than that. This is Game
3 of a similar situation on the road and to do what he did in Game 5, that will stay in my
memory bank and the only thing that will change that is if something changes dramatically
with him. Because the emotional part and the stomach and heart that he possesses, it
doesn't leave you when you have that to think about.
Q. The meeting that you said you had with your players -- was that something you
thought of a day ago or was it just a spontaneous decision?
JOE TORRE: No, it was yesterday I started thinking about it. Basically because -- so
consumed with umpires, Chuck Knoblauch and you just can't do anything about that. Whatever
the results were the other day, whoever messed up, it's over with, we can't do a damn
thing about it. I thought about it yesterday -- basically, I think managers meetings are
for him, for the manager. Just so you feel good, that you felt you wanted to say something
and you are maybe aiming at this guy, but this guy will hear it, too. And it was very
short, if it lasted a couple of minutes, it was a long time. I just wanted to tell him
that we have a new day here and can't do anything about it and we've won a lot of games
during the course of the year, so we must have been able to bounce back from bad
Q. Other than the first inning of Game 1, runs have been tough in the postseason. Have
you had another --
JOE TORRE: For everybody.
Q. -- have you had another stretch for the Yanks during the season?
JOE TORRE: It had to be. I think first of all you're facing the best teams, so you have
to consider the pitching. That's why those teams got here also. And then the pressure
involved. And it's just a lot of things that you have to deal with. Sure, we've gone
through some stress, I mean, you play 162 games you're going to go through some dry
periods of not swinging the bats real well and we've done that. But normally, we find a
way to get the job done because we don't really rely on any one person and we don't really
rely on any one way to score because we like to run and we like to do a lot of things.
However, in order to do those things you still have to get men on base and we haven't been
able to do that. We've had it before, but I think it's more magnified now.
Q. Do you remember the last time you felt compelled to talk to your team about any
subjects before taking the field?
JOE TORRE: We did this before Game 1. And we had a meeting before Game 1 of the
Q. Were you worried about their focus, wanted to make
JOE TORRE: Wanted to make sure that the signs were right and stuff. This is the first
one that didn't involve signs --
Q. Kind of a checkpoint meeting, wanted to see what they were thinking?
JOE TORRE: Again, I just want to let them know what I was thinking, more so -- because
I don't ask them what I was thinking I want them to know what I'm thinking and if it's not
a problem, fine, dismiss it. But if you are beating yourself up for what happened the
other day or still thinking about, wow, we could have won that, forget it. You can't let
Q. Games tighten and pressure increases, how much more important is Girardi's role with
JOE TORRE: To me I think catchers are such a big part of it because pitching is such a
big part of it and Joe Girardi, he has a trust, he has the trust of all the pitchers and
not only the two that he catches because he's going to catch relief pitchers also and he's
been in postseason, '89 with the Cubs and with Colorado in postseason. So that experience,
which I think is very important to me, he has a huge role. Plus he's swinging the bat
pretty well. He did a lot of hitting -- I think .270, .280 this year. He doesn't do it in
a big way, but he knows what he's doing. I'm very comfortable with Joe Girardi whether
he's at the plate or behind it.
Q. For those of us who haven't seen "El Duque" a lot, is there one thing that
you look for to check, see whether he's having a good game?
JOE TORRE: I think it's command. It's not overpowering, he needs to use both sides of
the plate and it may take him an inning or two to settle in. First of all with the emotion
involved in postseason play and hasn't been out there in two weeks. He has so many
different weapons, not a one-pitch pitcher and just basically a command of his stuff.
End of FastScripts