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October 15, 2009

Joe Torre



Q. Any thought to getting Kershaw out of there earlier?
JOE TORRE: I mean, I had guys warming up. Certainly unexpected. I had a choice; he gets -- after the three-run homer he walked the pitcher, gets a ground-out and a strike out, then we have two left-handers coming up, and I have to make a decision whether I want Scott Elbert to pitch to them or Clayton Kershaw.
You know, to me he's a starting pitcher in Game 1, so I felt that that's what I wanted to do.

Q. As kind of a follow on that, was it a consideration as that was kind of developing to get Cory up and maybe have him, or was it too early to consider --
JOE TORRE: That's too early for Kuo, yeah. I mean, I've got a quality left-hander on the mound. Things didn't work out. We gave away too much as far as the number of walks we issued. But I mean, this young man, I trust him a great deal, and it just didn't work out tonight.

Q. The way this game turned out, do you worry at all about maybe your team believing the Phillies kind of have your number with the way last year turned out?
JOE TORRE: Well, I mean, the Phillies are good, we certainly respect what they've done, what they did last year, what they continue to do this year. But I think just the way we bounced back and the number of innings, I don't have any worry about my team's personality at this point in time. No, I'm not concerned about that.
I mean, tonight was a prize fight. We just came up a little bit short. We had a number of hits. We had a number of opportunities and hit some balls hard, but we just, as I say, seven walks is a little bit tough to overcome.

Q. Talk about Sherrill's performance tonight, kind of surprising he hasn't given up that many runs since he got here.
JOE TORRE: Yeah, I think that was a shock for everybody, especially the walks, which really hasn't been something that he has done a lot of. You know, that was a blow. But again, he'll get the ball tomorrow in the eighth inning. It's just one of those things.

Q. When a guy as young and as inexperienced as Kershaw kind of hits a bump like that, is there any thought that that is some way the moment telling on him or the circumstances or any of that? Do you see any of that in him, or did he just have a rough inning?
JOE TORRE: He's a tough kid. He had a rough inning. It looked like he tried to over throw the ball. It looked like he got frustrated out there.
Again, as I say, he's a tough kid, and he's going to battle every pitch he throws out there. Unfortunately it got away from him quickly. But again, it looked like he reined it in a little bit when he got Rollins and he struck out Victorino. But those next two guys are pretty tough. But I'm not worried about him.
Yes, he is inexperienced, and yes, he's been tested with us. I know I mentioned this yesterday and probably before that, that he had the ball next to the last game of the season, and if he doesn't win that game, we're tied with the Rockies.
So as far as the pressure of the game, he certainly can handle it. But sometimes things get away from you, whether you have experience or you don't have experience.

Q. The Phillies' bullpen has been much malined this season. Tell me what you saw from them tonight and what you think about them going forward in this series?
JOE TORRE: They were aggressive, and we were, too. Madson has great stuff, and Brad does, too. I just thought we had very good at-bats. We had a lot of quality at-bats. Chan Ho Park did a great job when he came in for them.
But again, we probably know as much as you want to know about the Phillies from watching them and then all the scouting reports both ways, so we're -- you know, we have a lot of confidence in ourselves. We just hope we can take advantage of situations.
But the thing we have to get back to is doing a better job of keeping their guys off base.

Q. I think in the fourth inning Howard threw a couple of really -- there was a couple close pitches that maybe could have been strikes and were called balls. Do you think any of that was in Clayton's mind, the strike zone kind of thing?
JOE TORRE: I didn't talk to him about that. I don't think so, just because his first four innings were so quality. I think after four innings he had like 50-something pitches, which probably may have been a lower pitch count than he's had at any time this year.
I was very comfortable watching him early in the game. He through a lot of strikes. That's why that fifth inning, as quickly as it got away from him, where his pitch count was, as far as I'm concerned, he's going to have to fight his way out of that, that early in the game.
But again, it's another steppingstone for him, and he'll get the ball again here in four games.

Q. How frustrating is it to lose a game in a game in which you had 14 hits and six runs. Really the offense did its job today.
JOE TORRE: We kept bouncing back. You fall behind four runs to this group, and we did it two different times and fought our way back into it. As I say, the frustrating part is how many walks we issued, because then there's really no defense for that. Opportunity is what it's about. Even against the Cardinals, we left a lot of guys on base against the Cardinals. It didn't take anything away from us because this time of year you want opportunities, and we're very confident we're going to cash in. Tonight, as I say, we hit some balls hard. They had some guys standing there, and I mean, the ball Russell hit to right center was first and second, Werth, it was probably a double play if he was going to throw to third base, and he over threw second base.
So we've responded well in my eyes to the pressure of the game and the fight that these guys -- they're a completely different ballclub than we were last year.

Q. Talk about Ruiz. He seems to have this team's number --
JOE TORRE: Tell me about it.

Q. He's got amazing numbers against this team. Do you tip your cap to him?
JOE TORRE: We have to. We walked him the first time up, and -- he's hit lefties and righties, he's that guy that seems to be that pain in the neck, or some other part of your body.
But he certainly battles us, and he's had good success against us. I think there's always probably one guy on each team that gives certain teams hell to pay. And when it's the eighth-place hitter, it frustrates you. But it's certainly something he's done more than once.

Q. You said before you don't plan to use Kuo for two days in a row, but the sense that Kuo has been dominating against the Phillies, do you think he might be available again tomorrow?
JOE TORRE: We've used him two games in a row, we just haven't been in the habit of doing it. But his pitch count was low today, and he'll be available for us tomorrow I'm sure.

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