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October 15, 2010

Joe Girardi


Q. You've gone through this before with division series sweeps, how do all of the off-days during the post-season affect the natural rhythm of a baseball team?
JOE GIRARDI: I've seen it help clubs and I've seen it possibly hurt clubs, as well.
I went through it as a player in '96 when we had like six or seven days off and we lost the first two games to Atlanta and we came back and won the next four. Your concern is timing a little bit, maybe a little sharpness in your pitcher, being a little bit too strong the first couple of innings.
But after that, I think guys settle down and it's back to normal. And sometimes it helps clubs. It helps them get healthy. If you're an older club, I don't think the rest ever hurts.

Q. When Alex goes to visiting ballparks and hears it from the fans, do you think that he blocks it out? Do you think he uses it to motivate him? Do you think it does get to him in some way? What do you think his reaction is to things like that?
JOE GIRARDI: It's probably a better question to ask him. But it's happened so much in his career, whether it's any team in our division, or it's other places that he's played or teams that he's had a lot of success against, which is a lot. He's probably pretty used to it. And I wouldn't think that at this point in his career that it would have a bearing either way, because it's happened so many times.

Q. Rangers added two lefty relievers to their roster, wonder how much you enjoy those late inning chess matches with the other manager?
JOE GIRARDI: You can definitely enjoy them. And it's part of the game. And they have a number of lefties that they can go to in situations. You know, our lineup against left-handers and right-handers is a little bit different. We spread our lefties out a little bit more. You have Robi surrounded by a bunch of right-handers, so that might be a situation where they use a left-hander for one hitter. And we have switch hitters and different things.
You do enjoy it. That's part of the game, and they have a lot of options.

Q. Can you just talk about the development of Hughes this year and how much you think that last start against Minnesota will do for his confidence going into tomorrow's start?
JOE GIRARDI: You would think it would give him some confidence, and I think he's developed great for us. There were huge expectations on him in 2008, and he went through a difficult season with some injuries.
2009, he started in Triple-A and made some starts for us and Chien-Ming Wang, I thought he threw well and went to the bullpen and took off for us and was dominant in the bullpen. He's been really good for us for most of the year, and every pitcher is going to go through a period where they struggle a little bit. I think that post-season start against Minnesota, where he had to face some different things in that game where he had a long break between the fourth and the fifth, came in and they got some runners on in the fifth and they had a scoring chance in the fifth and the sixth and he got out of it without giving up any runs. I think he grew a lot in that game.

Q. Joe Torre used to say that Game 3 in a best of seven was the most important. Do you have a theory on a best of seven? Obviously they are all important but is there one game that's more pivotal in terms of how the series goes?
JOE GIRARDI: The clinching game maybe?
I've heard a lot of discussions about Game 3, and thinking about experiences that I was involved in, you think about the Game 3 that we had in Atlanta in '96. If we lose that game, we are probably done. And it can be a momentum game and you can feed off of it. So I do think it's an important game, but you know, when you're in a short series, every game is important, because you're either one step closer to where you want to be or you're one step closer to where you don't want to be. But Game 3 can be really pivotal.

Q. You guys haven't seen Colby Lewis in quite a while. Is that an advantage for the pitcher or is it an advantage for the hitters because the pitcher is unfamiliar with them as well?
JOE GIRARDI: We have a couple of guys that have seen him, and he's different than he was when our guys saw him. So our guys don't necessarily have a very good idea of what he's going to try to do to them, and runner in scoring position, what he might do behind in the count, ahead in the count.
So it's different. They are not sure, you know, his 90-mile-an-hour fastball, his 92-mile-an-hour fastball, if it's going to be sneaky or not. Sometimes that first time through can be an advantage for the pitcher.
But today with video, you watch him as much as you can and compare him to maybe somebody you've seen and try to attack him that way.

Q. Hughes has had a couple of notable games here, flirting with a no-hitter, and wondering if that played into your decision to start him here and maybe a comfort level he might have?
JOE GIRARDI: It's one of the factors we talked about. And like I said yesterday, there's a lot of factors that come into making a rotation. There's a number of them. And we can sit and talk about all of them, but we don't have enough time in the day to do that.
And having success here, a pitcher usually feels good at the parks that they have success.

Q. You talked about the adversity Phil has dealt with; does he have the perfect personality for dealing with stuff like that?
JOE GIRARDI: His personality is pretty laid back. He doesn't seem to get too emotional one way or another, whether it's a day he's starting or a day he's not starting, and I do like that about him. He seems to be able to turn the page quickly, as well. His demeanor, I believe, really helps him.

Q. How did Texas acquiring Molina make them a tougher opponent in a series like this?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, this is a guy that has World Series experience and has been to the playoffs a number of times and played important games, and expected to be a big part of the lineup, has been a clutch hitter in his career, has seen our hitters a lot. Knows how to read scouting reports.
I've had a chance to manage his brother, and I've had a chance to play with one of his brothers. Bengie is the only one I really haven't been around. But if he's anything like the other two, he's well prepared and he knows what he's doing back there.

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