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October 18, 2010

Joe Girardi


Q. What's the importance of getting out of the gate quickly after falling behind those first two games, and knowing how Lee is better later sometimes than earlier?
JOE GIRARDI: A lot of times pitchers can get on a roll. In Texas one time we got to him later in the game.
But you love having a lead, because the games play a little bit different. In the five playoff games that we have played, we haven't had a lot of leads early. So I mean, you would love to get out of the gate early, but if you don't, then you've got to battle back.

Q. Just looking at A.J. coming to the next start, just how would you describe his year in your opinion?
JOE GIRARDI: It was an up-and-down year. And I was just discussing about, as players, we always believe in each other because we have all been through ups and downs. You might go through an 0-for-20 and then the next time a week later you go 13-for-20, and it happens, because players belong here, and they are talented. And we all know what A.J. can dial up, and we believe in him.

Q. I think you were talking about Joba last week, and you were saying, when he had his bad spots, it got really bad. Is A.J. kind of a similar guy that when he has those rough times, they are just more glaring than some others?
JOE GIRARDI: A.J. can be susceptible to some big innings, yes, and that was the same thing with Joba would give up a few runs in one inning and it takes awhile to get that ERA down. You give up eight runs in a row, four runs in an inning, and all of the sudden you have a pretty high ERA.
The key for A.J. is if he gets in a little pickle is getting out of it and getting out of it quickly and staying ahead in the count and making these Texas hitters expand the zone.

Q. Is there any chance you would change your mind on A.J. depending on tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: We are on rotation, is probably the easiest way for me to put it.

Q. How much does your room for error vary with your starting pitchers depending on the season they have had? In the playoffs do you give less rope, I guess?
JOE GIRARDI: You might. I think you go more on the way the guy is throwing the baseball. I mean, you can give up some runs by not getting hit hard. That's the bottom line. And then you know, you give up two infield hits and then you give up a home run. Well, he wasn't really hit too hard and it's kind of a bad break.
I think you look more at what the outs are like, and that's what you look at.

Q. Josh Hamilton homers his first at-bat in Game 1, four walks in Game 2, you intentionally walked him twice. Are you going to be pitching around him carefully or is it just the situation?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, it was more the situation. And you have to pitch careful to Josh. We all know the numbers that he put up against right-handed pitchers. He hit over .400 from June to August, and those three months are probably as good as any player has ever had. You have to be careful.
Saying that, the two guys behind him are pretty good too, and the three guys behind him, and they have a good lineup and you have to be careful because of the power and type of hitter he is.

Q. Have you decided who is going to be your catcher tomorrow?
JOE GIRARDI: No. We will worry about that tomorrow.

Q. A lot of people are looking at this as Game 7 of the World Series, so I just wanted to know what you think is the importance of this game in the big picture in this ALCS?
JOE GIRARDI: I mean, obviously, the team that wins this game is going to have a lead, but it's not Game 7. Both teams really want to win this game. I've heard managers and people talk about the importance of Game 3.
I think sometimes it plays a much bigger role if it's a two-game deficit, as opposed to 1-1. This is an important game. You know, it's a five-game series, and we have got three of them at home. You'd like to start off by winning the first one at home.

Q. When you think back to last November and the last game, I believe it was, that A.J. pitched here, what were your thoughts on just what was working absolutely right for him, and how that compares to what you've seen from him this year.
JOE GIRARDI: Well, at times we've seen the same A.J.
When his curveball has depth more than across, that means his breaking ball, and usually his mechanics are right. That's one of the things that you look for.
The other thing you look for with A.J. is strike one, because A.J. is the type of guy that can expand the zone with the depth of his breaking ball, and that's important.
I mean, to me, when you watch Cliff Lee and you say, well, what makes Cliff Lee so great, is he's strike one on everybody. He throws more first-pitch strikes than I think anyone in the American League. And that's what makes him so effective.

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