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October 29, 2009

Joe Girardi


Philadelphia Phillies 1
New York Yankees 3

Q. What do you think of your team today? What did it do today? What were you telling them in the locker room before the game today?
JOE GIRARDI: Nothing. Our club has been resilient all year. The one thing that we've been able to do is we've went through some tough losses and we've seemed to bounce back. It was just business as usual for us today.

Q. Mariano threw 40 pitches, will he be available for Saturday, if necessary?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I would think so. I won't know that until Saturday. I'll check with him on Saturday. But I think he threw 34 against the Angels, and he would have been available with a day off, if we had to play again, or he probably would have been available again the next day. So I think he'll be fine.

Q. How impressive was A.J.'s curveball and his ability to throw a first-pitch strike?
JOE GIRARDI: Extremely impressive. He was great tonight. He gave up the one run, but he gave us seven extremely strong innings and kept his pitch count down, and was able to work in and out with his fastball and throw his good curveball and get some good swings and misses tonight.

Q. Is this the benefit of having CC and A.J. back to back, that it's tough to beat both those guys on back-to-back nights?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, you look at this time of year, you're going to see a good pitcher every night. Pedro threw an outstanding game, as well. Usually the two teams that get to this point have good starters all the way throughout. We had this in mind when we went and got both of them. We felt it was important to build up our rotation, and that's exactly what our ownership and our front office did.

Q. As great as Mo is, how much of a luxury is it to have a closer who can pitch two innings in the post-season and maintain his focus and effectiveness for two innings?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it's extremely important, and Mo has been doing it for a long time. Even in 1996 when I caught him and he was a setup guy, he would go more than two innings at a time. It's something he's accustomed to doing. It's not something we like to do during the season because we think it's important to keep him healthy for the long run. But it can be real effective for us.

Q. You said "business as usual," but this was something new for A.J., the circumstances, this atmosphere, this environment. Were you pleased to see him get through the first inning the way he did? And what do you think it did for his emotional state, I guess, to get through that?
JOE GIRARDI: I thought it was extremely important. I think for anyone who goes out there, getting through the first inning is extremely important, and I think it just settles you down as a player. You have those feelings as a catcher when you run out there for the first time, as well. But I thought the way he got through the first inning was very important.

Q. With the series going to Philadelphia for the next three games, how important was it to even the series in your mind?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it was extremely important. We're playing a very good baseball team, and you don't want to spot them two games when it's the best of seven. For us I thought it was extremely important.

Q. How much did Molina's pickoff throw change the tenor of the game?
JOE GIRARDI: I thought it was real important because it changed his pitch count. It got him through that inning. I thought it was extremely important. He got behind Werth 3-0 and kind of battled back, and then Werth hit a single. I thought that was real, real important.

Q. Given the names in both lineups, does it surprise you through the first two games the story has been the starting pitcher?
JOE GIRARDI: No. Usually if you're going to win a game, your starting pitcher is going to do a good job. For me that's not surprising.

Q. Was Jeter bunting on his own one thing? And the other is what went into the hit-and-run decision rather than bunting?
JOE GIRARDI: With two strikes it was on his own, and we had taken it off. You know, he felt that he could do the job. And Derek Jeter is a very smart baseball man. If he feels he can do the job in that situation, I'm not going to bark at him. He felt he could get it done, and he didn't get it done.
As far as the other question, I don't really like to talk too much strategy.

Q. In the first game you guys needed big hits, and you had the two big ones today. How nice was it to especially see Teixeira back in the mix?
JOE GIRARDI: I talked about it. I think for Tex -- we've had so many days off, and Tex seems to be a rhythm hitter, and playing a couple days in a row, and we're going to have another day off and then we're going to play three days in a row. Getting to play, I think, is important. All the days off can be frustrating sometimes for players, for hitters. And some other hitters it helps physically.
But I thought it was an important base hit for us. Obviously it's a big hit. It ties the ballgame. We hadn't done much against Pedro up until that point, and it kind of got us going.

Q. Two things: Matsui's home run and your plans for him in Boston (sic), and how difficult would it be for you taking his bat out of the lineup.
JOE GIRARDI: That's something we're going to have to talk about. We'll see how he's doing. We'll have to see -- we'll make a decision when we get there. We have all day to think about it tomorrow. That's the one thing about playoff baseball; you get a lot of time to think about things.

Q. And his home run, how big it was?
JOE GIRARDI: His home run was huge. It's the first lead we've had in this series in the two games, and it allows you to get your bullpen up in a sense the way you want to.

Q. A.J. struck out two of the last three in the seventh inning. Any thought of giving him a batter in the eighth? And did he talk to you about coming out and starting the eighth?
JOE GIRARDI: Ruiz has had some success off him, and I just felt with the kind of long inning it was probably time to go to Mo.

Q. As Pedro's rolling along early, mixing things up, what are you guys saying on the bench to try to get to him a little bit, and what did you think of the pace he set early in the game?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I thought our at-bats were pretty good off him. We had some long at-bats and we had make him work extremely hard and his pitch count was pretty high after the first three innings, so that I liked. We put some barrels on the ball and popped them up and I thought our bats were good. Stay on him, stay on him, keep grinding out your bats and some good things are going to happen.

Q. After what you saw from him in the first two rounds are you surprised what Alex has done in the first two games, six strikeouts?
JOE GIRARDI: No, I know he'll bounce back. Obviously you want him to continue on the torrid pace that he was on, but he'll bounce back, and we'll get it going with him in Philly.

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