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October 29, 2009

Joe Girardi


JOE GIRARDI: Lineup is Jeet, Damon, Teixiera, Alex, Matsui, Cano, Hairston, Cabrera, Molina.

Q. Why Hairston?
JOE GIRARDI: He's had a lot of success off of Pedro. We also like the way they kind of match up against each other, and that kind of shows up in the numbers. So we thought we'd give Jerry tonight.

Q. Would you have done this if Swisher wasn't struggling?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, that's something that we would have had to weigh. I can't tell you because we're in a position where he is struggling, but Jerry has real good numbers off of Pedro.

Q. I know it's a smaller sample size, but that's all we have at this time of the year. Teixiera's numbers haven't been the equivalent of what you got out of him in the regular season. What are your expectations for him the rest of the way?
JOE GIRARDI: Just good at-bats. Have good at-bats, continue to play the solid defense he has played. He's helped us a lot defensively. Sure, everyone would love to be hitting .350 in the playoffs, but we know that's not going to happen. We're getting in a position where we're going to start playing a little bit more regularly, and I think that will help him out.

Q. Obviously there's some urgency, it's the World Series. Can you talk to us about the weighing the loyalty that you have to guys who have been giving it to you all year and the need to put a lineup that's going to win some ballgames here?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, the guys that got us here, there's a reason we're here, and it's because of the way the guys have played. And at times you'll see a match-up during the course of a season that will catch your eye, and you'll say, you know what, I've got to think about that, and you'll look into it, you'll look into the numbers, you'll look into the way the pitcher throws and how you think your hitter hits, and sometimes you make a change.
I was on a couple of teams here where there were some situations where a regular guy might sit down because of another guy they thought was a better match-up, whether it was '96, '98, '99, I happened to be part of that. And you believe in all your guys, but sometimes you look at a little different lineup because of match-ups.

Q. How much does the rapport Molina and Burnett have outweigh Posada's numbers with Pedro?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, we think that's very important. A.J., except for the first inning out in Anaheim, has thrown the ball very well and has been a very effective starter for us. We believe that that's very important.

Q. Two things on the Swisher-Hairston: One is, did you know last night after the game that this was what you wanted to do, or you slept on it and figured it out this morning? And the second thing is what was Swisher's reaction when you told him?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, it was something that I kicked around in my head, and I talked to my staff when we got here, and we talked about it. We made the decision to go with Jerry.
As far as Swish, like any other player, like I was when I didn't start in some of the World Series games, I want to really be out there. But Swish is a team guy, and he understands, and I told him be ready because you never know when we might need you, and he said, okay.

Q. From your experience as a player, at this stage of the year, is there a tendency to try to do too much on a stage like this? And when a player does have a bad game or makes a blunder out on the field, what does he have to do to bounce back from that?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think everyone puts all the hard work to get to this point, a chance to play in the World Series, a chance to win a World Series. So obviously there's a lot of emotions that go into these games. Can players try to do too much? Absolutely. Some players are extremely relaxed in these situations. Some players are extremely relaxed that have been here before, and there are players who have never been here before extremely relaxed.
If you have a bad day, the one thing about baseball is during the course of 162 games, you're going to have some bad days, and you have to learn how to bounce back. Sometimes the more a guy has experienced, he'll bounce back maybe a little bit easier. But then you have those free spirits that are able to always put yesterday behind them.

Q. Burnett pitches tonight down 0-1 after being up 1-0 the first two rounds. From your experience in working with starting pitchers, are there some who sort of absorb the series context and some who don't? Does that impact their approach to the game whether they're up or down in the series?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it can. I think it can work in different ways, but I think whether you're down 0-1 or ahead 1-0, a pitcher feels like he's got to get it done for his team because you'd love to be 2-0 and you don't want to be 0-2. So I think it's a lot of these same emotions in a sense when you're talking about the second game.

Q. This is the first time in the post-season, this post-season, that your players are behind.

Q. Did you feel the need to say to them, guys, we're just looking to get even tonight, not get it all -- we're not looking to win the whole series tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: No, I didn't. The one thing that our club has been is very resilient this year. We've been through some bad streaks, and I'll take the temperature and we'll watch our club, but I feel good about the way our club has bounced back all year long. They've taken it upon themselves to do that. It hasn't been anything magical that I've said, it's just been the type of club this year's unit has been. So I expect much the same.

Q. Except for Mariano, you guys have been having some issues with the bullpen. How concerned are you especially in light of how much youth you have there?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I mean, obviously at times we have struggled, and at times we've been very good. As far as worrying, worrying doesn't do you any good. Your job is to try to put guys in the best situation to be productive, and we evaluate that every day and which hitters we want certain guys to face. So to me, I have a lot of confidence.
This bullpen that is constructed now has been really, really good for us all year, and at times you're going to have some hiccups. But that doesn't mean that you don't stop believing in them and understand the type of stuff that they have and the job that they can do.

Q. Does it mean you make changes, though, given the urgency?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I mean, just like any other time, we look at match-ups to see how our bullpen is shaped against the different clubs, and we'll continue to do that.

Q. I read a quote from Dave Eiland regarding Phil Hughes that kind of alluded to Hughes being too fine or attempting to be too fine. As a former catcher, do you have more of an ability to get into a pitcher's head than any manager because you've dealt with pitchers your whole career? And if so, do you deal with these types of things, or do you leave it all on Dave?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, I think whether you're a catcher or not, I think managers are going to have different rapports with every player. You're going to click with some players better than others. You're going to have an easier time getting through to some players than others. Some you might have some different approaches. I give any of our coaches freedom to talk to any of our players at any time, and I will do things, as well.
So no, it doesn't just fall on Dave Eiland. I think it's a big vote of confidence when as a manager you show players that you still believe in them if they're struggling. It's one thing to tell them, but I think it's important that you also show them.

Q. As a player in '98, that Game 4 in Cleveland was probably as close to a moment of truth as that team faced in the post-season. What do you recall about the feeling that day? And do you think it's different or similar to what your players are probably experiencing today?
JOE GIRARDI: Wow, I've always said I've taken a lot of foul tips. I remember butterflies in my stomach. But besides that, I don't remember a lot. I remember having a good feeling about that club because we had won so many games, and we knew the challenge that was ahead of us in Cleveland. It was a very difficult lineup to navigate through.
But I felt good about our team, just because of all the things that we had went through during the course of the season.

Q. What do you think is different or similar to the way your players are feeling today?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, it's different people, so you can't really assume how others are going to think. I know if I was in that room, maybe I would think the same. But maybe I would draw from that experience and say, you know what, I felt good then, I feel good now.
I can't necessarily think for my players and know what's going on in their gut. But as I've said all along, I believe this club is very resilient and has a confidence about them.

Q. With Hughes, did you have a reaction or did you address with him his yelling at the home plate umpire both as he left the mound and from the dugout? And would you go to him tonight in the eighth?
JOE GIRARDI: Players have emotions. The one thing that you don't want to take away from a player is emotions. I even talk about to the instance, if they react negatively towards me in the heat of the battle, that doesn't bother me. And I think the reason that doesn't bother me is because I'm used to that pitcher-catcher relationship when I had certain pitchers that loved to let some steam off at times. It's the next day that I'm concerned about. I'll take his temperature today.
It's not something that you want your players to do, but all that does is tells me that he really, really cares about what he's doing out there and for this team. Would I use him in the eighth inning tonight? Yes, I would.

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