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October 11, 1998

Joe Torre


Q. You talked the other day about one of the things you admire most in David Wells is his ability to get out of jams and do well when he doesn't have his best stuff. What were you thinking when the first three guys got hard hits and how did he get out of that first inning?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think that's the big change in the Boomer this year. Last year when it wasn't -- everything wasn't right, he seemed to have trouble, he became a thrower, I think. I was a little uncomfortable when he got behind Lofton, because that's not his operation, that's not what he does. But the one thing about it, a managers not going to sit on his hands, he's not going to change with what Boomer has meant this year. He was going to have to pitch long this year, uncharacteristically in the first inning. Normally he shuts it down, but I evidently didn't have a good command. Stuff was good.

Q. Talk about how he got out of the inning with minimal damage?

JOE TORRE: That's the difference. As I said, he fights it, battles it. I'm probably prouder of his effort tonight than maybe the shutouts and even the perfect game, for that matter because of when it happened and what it meant to us and he didn't panic. He just calls on himself. In fact, he had so much fun with this tonight that went Thome hit that ball wherever he hit it, he said, wow, that's giving a tater right there. He came in the dugout with that, saying those things. He's an animal, he goes at you. Tonight was -- it was a really great performance on his part.

Q. Did Wells voice much displeasure when you told him he was coming out of the game?

JOE TORRE: We pretty much had this plan going out there. He was -- he had some left, but some left when you go through the middle of that lineup is really tough. So that was pretty much our plan. For a while, I wasn't sure it was a good plan, the way it developed. But he was just kidding with me, I have some left, just send them back. He wanted me to send them back. That's basically what he was saying. Just go off and get the round of applause and he said, yeah, right. He knew it was coming.

Q. Your team has outscored the Indians in this series 10 to 2 in the first inning. What does that do to your team when that happens?

JOE TORRE: Anytime a team gets a lead, can you afford to be a lot more aggressive and of course the confidence and in series such as this, very little moves that pendulum back and forth and when we get a lead, we feel we can build on it. Probably the most impressive inning for me tonight was after they came back with two in the first that we scored one in the 2nd and if it wasn't for Vizquel, we may have gotten more. To me, that was something that we've been missing, not being able to score in a number of innings. Tonight we were able to do that a little bit.

Q. What was the point where you decided to become so aggressive in this series and why was that decision made?

JOE TORRE: I don't really think I decided in the series. This has been pretty much what we try to do all year. I think we've been flat, not a lot of men on base, especially the right men. Talked yesterday about trying to apply pressure, try to go out it, steal some bases. I did tell a number of them yesterday I don't care if you get thrown out. Let's be aggressive and try to put the pressure on.

Q. Wells -- what was your reaction, did you say anything to him. At one point Wells ran to the dugout for a foul ball, a little unusual for a starting pitcher. Did you say anything to him?

JOE TORRE: I was afraid to say anything to him because he may be charged. Talk to the pitcher one time. Basically what he said to me, he got all the way to the dugout, am I allowed to come to the dugout to catch the ball and we answered his question. Yes, you are. He was goofy all night. That's -- I think that's what keeps him loose and keeps everybody else pretty loose. He helps with the rest of the team that way.

Q. Why do some guys seem to pitch better in the postseason than they normally do and where does Wells rate among postseason pitchers that you have seen?

JOE TORRE: Well, I've got a couple of pretty good ones in David Cone and Wells. John Smoltz, for a guy who doubted himself for a while, has really come full circle and has been dynamite. The thing about Wells, I think he loves the challenge, loves for people to dare him to do things and it seems every time he goes out there, it's like a dare and that's what he wants to show people. I know last year when I pitched him here in Game 3 and held him off until Game 3 and didn't really tell him he was going to pitch Game 3 it aggravated him and he showed me. Which was okay. But I think at that point in time, I felt that what you have to do with David Wells, probably, is basically dare him to do


Q. Are there any players that he's like? Have you had to learn about this personality type through him?

JOE TORRE: Well, he's just one of many colorful players that play the game. After a victory like tonight, nobody comes to mind. Probably in 10 minutes somebody will. But he's a loose horse. There's no question about it, he enjoys the game, and as I say, it's catchy because the rest of the club seems to relief some pressure. Even yesterday when he volunteered to pitch yesterday's game.

Q. Was there any difference at all before these past two games and now going back to New York in terms of the mood of the club personality right now?

JOE TORRE: I felt a difference in the club today. I think yesterday was a very high tension, high pressure game that "El Duque" gave us a dynamite start. I felt during batting practice everybody seemed to be loose and enjoying it, having fun, very confident. So I think yesterday's game really sort of got us over the hump. Got us even, basically. Otherwise you're down 3 to 1 and I've been proud of this team because every time they've been face with any kind of a challenge, they've responded. Not necessary to have won at the time we've been challenged, but they've played a quality game.

Q. So much of your lineup is struggling, can you talk about the production you got from Chili Davis?

JOE TORRE: Well, he picked up the slack for losing Strawberry, no question. To get up in a hurry at 60 or 70 at-bats. Chili is a professional hitter. The thing about it he's not going to try to do more than he can do and he'll accept a walk, which to me is a big part of what we do. We like to get deep in the count, like to make the pitchers work, like to be able to move runners and he's a good contact guy. He's professional, been down this road before, the Minnesota club when they won the World Series, it's nice having experienced people in those roles.

End of FastScripts…

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