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October 4, 2011

Joe Girardi


Q. Joe, can you talk about the importance of understanding how quickly things turn in a five-game series and the ebbs and flows.
JOE GIRARDI: It can change on an inning. That's the bottom line. It can change on one at-bat. Because it is such a short series, and teams get momentum and things can change. I think you see how hard both teams are playing, because you want to try to stay away from that, and if you are down, you're trying to change the momentum.

Q. Joe, because of the circumstances, the way the games have played out, you haven't really been able to use your big weapon, your back-end bullpen, the way you ordinarily would like to use them. Would I assume that you're kind of looking forward to seeing Mariano somewhere tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: I would love to see him. Obviously, that's the guy you always try to get to, no matter when the time of the year is. We got a chance to use Robertson and Soriano yesterday. But Mo is the one guy you want to see in the game.

Q. Joe, after the great game that Cano had in Game 1, how have the Tigers pitched him differently to kind of neutralize his power and effectiveness?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I mean, it's a club that has good pitching. And they're not in this position if they don't have good pitching. The bottom line is you have to make your pitches. Even sometimes when you don't make your pitches, guys are still going to get base hits.
But I think they've pitched him tough. They've lived on the edge, they've changed speeds, they've done all the things you would expect a pitcher to do.

Q. Joe, how impressed were you with Gardner's at-bat against Verlander last night? And would that sort of run production make you less likely to pinch-hit for him?
JOE GIRARDI: I think you have to look at the game and who is in the game and who he's facing. I've been very impressed with his at-bats, his ability to get on base. He had the bunt base hit as well and the big two-run double yesterday. He swung the bat pretty well for us.
In the postseason, you never know where your hits are going to come from and where your runs are going to come from. The big thing is you get them. And he's been a big part of it.

Q. How much different do you manage this game, especially the bullpen? A guy like Robertson, the most he's gone this year is two innings. Can he go three or four?
JOE GIRARDI: Guys can always go more innings if they're still effective. You manage pitchers by their effectiveness a lot of times, not necessarily how many pitches they can give you.
Everyone's down there today. Obviously CC isn't, but everyone's down there. You have to manage it like it's your last game.

Q. I guess tangential to that, do you keep Game 5 in mind at all, like Nova?
JOE GIRARDI: He's kind of your last resort, in a sense. If we need him, I'll use him. God willing, we win this game, I'll figure out 5 when we get there.

Q. Staying with that theme, how much leeway do you give Burnett tonight? Do you have scenarios in your mind, even perhaps early in this game, where you would consider going to get him?
JOE GIRARDI: Again, it's how a guy is throwing. I don't have a crystal ball and I can't tell you what is going to happen. I can't tell you what scenario is going to come up. You just can't. You understand the importance of this game and it's a must-win. But as I said, I don't have a crystal ball.

Q. Joe, if you needed him tonight, could Freddy give you an inning or two?
JOE GIRARDI: I told Freddy, "put your shoes on."

Q. Joe, if you go back to your first year with the Yankees as a player in '96, you saw the offense did not allow Kenny Rogers to lose any of his starts in the postseason. Do you feel in that context the onus is on the lineup tonight to try to carry the day for a pitcher who has had his share of struggles?
JOE GIRARDI: It's everyone's responsibility. You don't win because of one guy or nine guys. It's everyone's responsibility to do the best they can tonight. And then you figure it out from there.
At times your offense picks up your pitching. At times your pitching picks up your offense. I expect A.J. is going to pitch well. I do. We just need to get one more run than they do. That's the bottom line.

Q. Joe, even with a short leash or whatever in a game like this, is A.J. harder to maybe get a read on when to take him out, when not? Because he tends to maybe be going along well and then things can blow up on him.
JOE GIRARDI: The one thing I've done since we've been in Detroit, because it's been cooler, is I've gotten relievers up a little before I thought I was going to use them to have them to start tossing and throwing because it takes longer. That might be something I will do tonight as well.

Q. Joe, you've played in these Division Series earlier in your career. Is there anything that you learned or observed that you're imparting to the players in this series?
JOE GIRARDI: To me the importance is understanding that you still need to relax and you still just need to go out and do what you do. And I think a lot of times it's the attitude of a clubhouse, the attitude of the coaching staff, the managers that kind of leads that situation.
I feel our club is ready to go, and I feel our club is relaxed. That's how I want them. Just go out and play your game, and let's just see what happens.

Q. After a night to sleep on it, you're good with how Soriano went after Delmon Young? You're fine with the pitch? You're fine with him just knocking it out and that being the end of it?
JOE GIRARDI: It's interesting, being a catcher, sometimes pitches get second-guessed. That's the bottom line. If he hangs a breaking ball and he hits a home run, someone says why didn't you throw a fastball? The bottom line is he missed location. That's the human element of the game. Soriano threw the ball, I thought, pretty well last night. That's going to happen, because you know what, as a pitcher once told me when I went to the mound, they don't have a Nintendo controller in their pocket. There's human error, and he just missed the spot.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Joe.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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