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October 7, 2010

Joe Girardi


New York Yankees 5
Minnesota Twins 2

THE MODERATOR: Joe Girardi in the interview room. First question for Joe, please.

Q. Joe, you hadn't seen Andy look particularly sharp for a couple of starts. What did you think of him tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: He was tremendous. I thought he used his fastball, curveball and cutter extremely well tonight. I thought the big inning was the second inning when they had the bases loaded with one out and he only gave up the one run.

Q. Joe, Lance expressed that he was concerned he wasn't hitting for power. Did you see anything different in his swing tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: He hit for power (laughing). You know, Lance is a guy that really works the ball from gap to the -- the right-field gap to left field. And that's what he did tonight. He drove the ball. And, you know, isn't to me a traditional home-run hitter even though he hit a lot of home runs. He hits a lot of line drives and his line drives sometimes go out of the ballpark. He is a great hitter.

Q. Joe, Andy two innings in a row right there where he got out in short pitch counts. When he gets to that point, do you start seeing him and saying, this is the Andy that I remember --
JOE GIRARDI: The thing about Andy when you see him get out of jams and limit the damage, you think that's Andy, because he has a way to get a double play. He gets the double play in the first inning, he has the bases loaded in the second inning with one out, only gives up one run, that's Andy Pettitte. We have seen him get big double-play balls his whole career and you feel good about that when he is doing that.

Q. Joe, I know you are optimistic and expressed a lot of confidence in regards to Andy, even after the last couple of starts. Was there even a small part of you that wondered if he had the command and stamina to get through this?
JOE GIRARDI: I think stamina maybe a little bit more than command. I felt that, you know, he was kind of in a funny situation because he was trying to get back and trying to get all of his pitches going, but we were also trying to win ballgames. And it puts us in a funny predicament. Because he wants to get his pitch count up, he wants to feel like he can give you 100 pitches or 100-plus. He wants to make sure all of his pitches there are when we get to this point. So he was in kind of a funny predicament. And I felt that what I saw on Saturday in Boston with his slider, it made me feel a lot better about him. Then when he talked about his bullpen, it gave me an easy feeling.

Q. Joe, when Berkman gets the call on Pavano on that very close pitch and Pavano seems to get flustered, do you expect something good to happen on a the next pitch?
JOE GIRARDI: Not necessarily. Carl Pavano has been there all year long and still has the ability to make an outstanding pitch. He's a control guy. He gets ahead of you and he has weapons to put you away. You don't necessarily think that, you know, that Lance is going to hit a double in that situation. But it worked out.

Q. I know you focus on your own team. When you think about that call, Mauer with Cuzzi last year, do you think, wow, we got some breaks against them?
JOE GIRARDI: I think you could look at calls and say, you know, during the course of 150 pitches thrown on each side, that pitchers are going to get some strikes and maybe they don't get a strike. I mean, that's going to happen. I mean, these umpires aren't robots and they don't have X-ray vision. There are pitches that sometimes we think are strikes and we don't get them, and that's part of the game, and you have to be able to overcome those things.

Q. Joe, do you worry at all going into a series, Berkman hadn't had a real important moment for you that he could -- last chance maybe to do it in the playoffs as a Yankee, that he could press. And if not, why not if you didn't feel that he might?
JOE GIRARDI: Because I hadn't really seen him press during the course of the season. And Lance Berkman is an accomplished hitter. This is not a guy that, you know, is a first- or second-year player that's never done it on a big stage or never been a guy that's been asked to be a huge part of a line-up. Lance Berkman has hit third most of his career. And our lineup is deep and you think about him hitting eighth. I wasn't really worried about him.

Q. Joe, you were talking about Andy's ability to get a double play when necessary, and to make the big pitch in a tough spot. Where do you think this extra gear comes from?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think Andy, when he gets in big situations, knows how to handle it. He's not going to try to make the perfect pitch. He's going to stay aggressive and just try to do what he does. And I think a lot of that is just from experience. He's done this so many times.

Q. Joe, why do you think your team dominates the Twins so much?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, you know I've talked about our series with the Twins the last two years, and it just seems like every game can go each way. And tonight was the same kind of game. So I mean, they're a very good ball club and we understand that. And we still have a lot of work to do.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Joe.

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