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October 18, 2009

Joe Girardi


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe Girardi.

Q. Wanted to ask you about Alex Rodriguez. He's really got some incredible numbers at Angel Stadium. I'm wondering if you can talk about that. What makes a player perform so much better at one ballpark? Have you noticed something different? A couple of the other guys talked about the one thing that Alex is missing in his great career is a real dominant postseason. He seems to be having that one this year. I'm wondering if you've noticed a change in him?
JOE GIRARDI: As far as dominating in a stadium, you know, I wouldn't really look at the ballpark here in Anaheim as being a hitter's ballpark. He has played a lot of games out here in the West. He's had unbelievable success, and he's matched up probably well against the pitching staff that the Angels have had over the years. But that's always changing.
As far as the postseason, you know, his career numbers coming into this postseason were about. 285. 290, maybe not the home runs or RBIs that he's had before. But he's had some good postseasons.
The one thing that Alex is probably missing that people want to see in his career is a World Series ring. But it takes more than Alex. It takes 25 guys to do that and sometimes even more. So to me he's had a great postseason so far. And we're looking forward to him to stay high.

Q. Who will be your starter?
JOE GIRARDI: Our starter in Game 4 will be CC Sabathia.

Q. Who is going to start Game 4, can you just discuss your decision using CC in that game?
JOE GIRARDI: We he went out and did some work today, and we wanted to make sure he felt fine and did great. We're comfortable with him going on short rest. He's had success going on short rest. If you look at last year's numbers, so we're comfortable doing it. He feels good, and we're going right to CC.

Q. That was your plan coming in if there was no weather problems to use him three times. If you looked at how the series lined up with you guys that first round, was it an easy decision to use him on short rest knowing you only have to use him once on short rest if it goes the distance?
JOE GIRARDI: We had thought about possibly going to the four-man rotation. But with this extra day off it allows us to do that. You wouldn't be asking him to go short rest twice in a seven game series if it went all seven.
So we felt that we could do this. We were able to cut back on his work in September late August which we felt allowed us to do this.

Q. I was just wondering if you could talk about the usage of the bullpen so far? Mo has had the longest outing, a lot of guys haven't thrown the full innings. Can you discuss the schedule of the days off in between or what were your thoughts behind that?
JOE GIRARDI: A lot of it was impacted by all the days off you did in the postseason. You don't necessarily have to worry about a guy working three days in a row. We don't have to face that in this series as well. We didn't face it in this series last year because you felt you could stretch guys out a little bit.
Knowing we had a day off today and how few pitches Mo threw in those four outs we felt we could go back to him. He was sharp today. He feels good today. I expect him to be fully available tomorrow.
You know, you look at match-ups and when you've got postgames and you look at the stuff you your pitcher has, and the type of stuff that their hitters like to hit, sometimes you mix and match a little bit more this time of the year.

Q. Derek was talking about going into this game and looking at it as being just as important as Games 1 and 2, even though you were up two games to none, and the Angels would presumably be looking at this, can you just talk about keeping that mindset and keeping momentum on your side which was an open exchange in this series?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it's important to keep that momentum and the good feeling you have in your clubhouse and winning any type of game. And we know this has been a place that can be very tough to play in. The Angels are a good club, the last thing you want to do is give them some momentum. We listen to this 0-0 or 3-3, however you want to say it. And this is a very important game for us. We'll take that approach every night.

Q. Generally, physically you guys came through last night with no concerns?
JOE GIRARDI: No, physically I feel that we're pretty good. I didn't see all the guys today, and I didn't see them play catch, necessarily, our guys in our bullpen. But I would expect everyone to physically be good tomorrow.

Q. When you look back at the beginning of this weekend with the forecast and some uncertainties, really this is obviously being up 2-0 is the best case scenario. But you're also still lined up where you can go with CC in Game 4. This just seems to be an even better best case scenario as far as rested as your team's going to be, and just how everything lines up?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, I mean, that's the way we were hoping it would work out. If we got rained out yesterday and had to play today, then you have to make a decision on your Game 5 starter as well if you go on short rest there or if you go to one of the other guys.
So it has worked out pretty well. I've never been in New York where a Nor'easter has not gotten there. The ones that I've been a part of have been really nasty. And the first one I remember was during the '96 World Series they cancelled the first game.
So we were very fortunate to get those games in and not have any delays. And we feel really good about the first two games.

Q. Do you have any lineup changes you expect for tomorrow night?
JOE GIRARDI: We'll definitely talk about it as a staff when we get there tomorrow. It's going to be a little bit different than the Game 2 lineup.

Q. Will it be different than the Game 1 lineup?
JOE GIRARDI: I'm not quite sure yet. There are some things I'm still looking at. But I don't expect a lot of changes.

Q. You hadn't used Mo for more than four outs all year. Was it easy for you to let him go seven outs? Were there any concerns about that and do you think he'll be fine for tomorrow?
JOE GIRARDI: I did talk about it with Dave, I talked about it with Gene Monahan, our trainer. I talked about it with Tony and how we felt. Because of the amount of pitches, we felt he was okay to go out there.
There's always a little bit of concern this time of year when you maybe stretch a guy out a little bit further than you have during the course of the year.
But the bottom line is he didn't throw a ton of pitches yesterday. We felt we could send him back out there for the second inning. And I figured the second full inning he pitched was after midnight, so it was on the second day.

Q. A bunch of your players last night were talking about how there is so much confidence in that dugout no matter what the score is and how far you are behind. As a manager having a team that truly believes that and has come back time and time again throughout the year, what is that feeling knowing going into the last inning or two your players honestly believe they're going to be able to come back and win?
JOE GIRARDI: It's a good feeling as a manager. And you're extremely proud of them that they have that feeling. Because you have been on clubs before -- I've been on clubs before that you don't have that success coming back, and it's not necessarily a great feeling in the dugout when you get behind.
But as far as the manager, I'm very proud of how they go about their work. How they prepare themselves. And they have the ability to come back. A big part of that is the belief that you can come back, and they definitely believe.

Q. Everybody has been amazed by Alex here, but is there kind of a sense that this is the kind of impact player you all expected he could be in the postseason?
JOE GIRARDI: I've always believed it. If I'm not mistaken there was one year against Minnesota, in the first three games against Boston he was extremely hot. And we know that Alex can be an impact player at any time. He showed us that day one when he got back, the impact of him being in our lineup. We've always felt that he could do that.
Alex has had a great postseason so far. We expect him to continue with it. You look at every home run that he's had, it's tied the game either in the ninth inning or eleventh inning, I'm not sure, seventh inning. I mean, he has been absolutely huge for us.
You need contributions from everyone else. They can't all fall on Alex. I'm not sure where we'd be right now without him.

Q. You made a point during the year of trying to get as much time for your bench guys and your relievers. Do you think you're starting to see the benefits of that now instead of just a bunch of guys that were cold and didn't get many opportunities to play during the year?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it's important that you do that during the course of the year for two reasons. There are times that you're going to need to play an important role. There are times that your regulars need a day off. And those bench players if they can get some consistent at-bats or consistent innings, they can be very helpful during the course of the year. We saw that from our bench players, and we saw that from everyone in our bullpen making huge contributions.
I think the confidence that they gain during that time in an important series in big games is helping them out right now.
I think David Robertson is a prime example of what he's been able to do in the couple of games that he's pitched. His first playoff taste, won against Minnesota, and won last night. He's been very, very good.

Q. There's been so much talk about Alex's state of mind and things to that effect. But I was just wondering when you look at him from a strictly baseball standpoint, from a physical standpoint, what's he doing so well?
JOE GIRARDI: I think he's been patient. He's looked for his pitch. He's not been in a hurry to get something done. There are times they're not going to give him anything to hit. As a hitter you have to be willing to pass the baton. But when he's got his pitch, he hasn't missed it.
I think that just shows that he has confidence hitting late in the count. He doesn't mind hitting with two strikes. He'll take different approaches on different pitches. He's in a groove right now, and I think that's where we want to keep him. I think the days off physically help him. I think it helps all our guys. Alex is as good physically as he's been all year long which is extremely important.

Q. We've seen great players in the past sort of get in that mode where maybe they're not getting many pitches to hit, but when they do get pitches to hit, they're sort of maximizing it. Is that essentially what we're seeing here with Alex?
JOE GIRARDI: I think so. And I don't think that Alex has felt, you know, that he has to carry this club. I think that's a tough position for any player to be in, because, as I said, I think it takes 25 guys to win a World Series. A lot of times it takes more than that.
But I said all along, I think Alex is in a great state of mind. He's very comfortable. He feels good at the plate. Physically he feels good. Andhe's not trying to do too much.

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