Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

ALCS Game 3: Joe Girardi pregame interview

MLB.com

Q. Charlie Morton told us yesterday when he was a kid he and his sister were at the Yankees Spring Training complex, and there was one guy running in the rain, they went to get his autograph, and that person was kind enough to do it, and you were that guy. What do you think about that?

JOE GIRARDI: Well, I hope someone one day reminds him that he's old, was my first thought (laughter).

Q. Charlie Morton told us yesterday when he was a kid he and his sister were at the Yankees Spring Training complex, and there was one guy running in the rain, they went to get his autograph, and that person was kind enough to do it, and you were that guy. What do you think about that?

JOE GIRARDI: Well, I hope someone one day reminds him that he's old, was my first thought (laughter).

:: ALCS schedule and coverage ::

I'm glad I did it. I just hope he returns the favor tonight and is nice to me.

Q. Is there anything that Aaron can do to adjust to the low strikes that are being called on him in this series and generally?

JOE GIRARDI: It's part of what's going to happen to him because he's so tall. And he works on hitting a low pitch. And he'll continue to get better as time goes on. I think there are some pitches that were called on him during the series that haven't necessarily been strikes. There's a big difference between 1 and 1 and 2 and 0, 2 and 1; there's a big difference in the way it changes an at-bat. Hopefully he'll start getting some that go his way, and they start making some mistakes up.

Q. How do you work on that?

JOE GIRARDI: They have drills. They have drills for everything.

Q. What is the energy like tonight, especially after having that rest day yesterday for the guys?

JOE GIRARDI: I think the energy is probably really high. I think it would have been really high had we not had a rest day because we're coming home, too.

I look at the series, we've lost two games 2-1. There has not been a lot of offense on both sides. We've pitched well. They've pitched extremely well. You're a hit away in each game or a play away in each game. We know how tight the games have been, and hopefully we get that turned around tonight.

Q. Have you seen umpires call the same strike zone whether the batter is Judge, Altuve? Do they adjust it or go with their own version of it?

JOE GIRARDI: No, I think they adjust. But I look at it this way, I think left-handers always have more strikes called on them than right-handers for different reasons. But if you're an umpire that sees 500 pitches a week or whatever it is, because they -- week after week, year after year, in your mind you're going to have an idea of what's a strike and not a strike.

And the bodies change. And the rare bodies are the Altuves and the Judges. So a lot of times they might get more or less strikes called on them because it's different. If I was to guess a guy like an Altuve or a Torreyes, they might get more high strikes called on them than other hitters, because in their mind an umpire sees a pitch, and it's a quick reaction. Think about how little time they have to make up their mind.

I'm not faulting them, but I imagine I would be the same way if I was an umpire. In your mind it's a strike, and the body type might be a little different, and it really isn't.

Q. You mentioned the fact that you're coming home and playing here tonight, you have the best record in the American League at home this season. Why do you think the team responds so well here?

JOE GIRARDI: I think our fans have a lot to do with that, I think the way some of our right-handed hitters are built for this ballpark have a lot to do with that. And I think sometimes during the regular season you can use your bullpen different at home than you can on the road, a lot of times.

So I think that those three things change what we do at home and on the road. And our guys are comfortable. And we know the nooks and crannies of our field.

Q. We talk a lot in New York about the future of your team. When you see the Astros, what do you see in the future of their team?

JOE GIRARDI: I think it's pretty darn good. You look at the core of their players, they're pretty young, obviously. So two teams with I think really bright futures. And I think you can throw a lot of other teams that have a good core of young players. And we've seen a lot of that in baseball lately.

Q. I've asked about him before, but from Frazier, from your vantage point, how he's assimilated and enjoyed being part of this. And what he brings maybe to you personally. I've read some of the things you've said. And what he brings to the clubhouse.

JOE GIRARDI: He brings energy, he brings an excitement to play the game every day. He's always cheering for his teammates in a way that you really feel that this guy believes in you and helps you get it done. He's a leader in the clubhouse, I think. He's got a ton of fight in him.

And when you put those things together with his talent I think it makes him a special player and a special guy, and a guy you want to be around. And a guy that you want to match.

Q. Following up on her question, Terry Francona was saying that the old stadium was unique in that the fans were right on the opposing team and it was intimidating. Do you still feel this way about this ballpark? Do the fans influence the opponent's state of mind?

JOE GIRARDI: Oh, I think they can, absolutely. I think the fans, when you look at the three games that we've played at home have been huge, the excitement. That first Minnesota game, we got down 3-0 and how loud it got right away when Gardy got on base.

I think that's a factor. And it's noise that you want to hear. We go to other places we get noise we don't want to hear a lot of times. I think they do play a role.

Q. It's not an elimination game but going down 3-0 is tough to come back. How do you manage this game? Is it like an elimination game in the sense of how you're going to use your bullpen, knowing that you need this win?

JOE GIRARDI: I'm going to manage it very similar to the way I have been managing it. I think I managed that way in Game 2. I brought my closer in a tied game in the 9th because I wanted to win that game and I didn't really want to lose that game and he didn't have a chance to pitch.

Yeah, I believe this is a really important game. I'm going to do whatever I can.

Q. Sonny Gray has not pitched so well at Yankee Stadium. Why do you have CC today and Sonny pitching at home?

JOE GIRARDI: We looked at the guys that were throwing the best, and it's kind of how we lined them up. And Tanaka had the start before -- right before the end of the season was tremendous. His start in the playoffs was tremendous. So we led off with him. Seve was not lined up to pitch on whatever day that was, Friday, so we threw him Saturday.

CC is lined up to pitch today, so that's why we're throwing him.

Q. CC was a guy who if he didn't pitch seven or eight innings was mad at himself. Do you see him going out for five or six and being okay than he was five or six years ago?

JOE GIRARDI: I think he understands what his role is. He still doesn't like when I take him out. He still doesn't. But I think he's more understanding that when we think about CC, it's about also being able to make the next start and the next start, where if you wear him down and if you overuse him you could have some issues.

So he understands, give us five or six good innings, whatever you can give us, we'll take it. If your pitch count is lower, and you can give us seven, do it. He's going to give us everything he's got.

Q. Aside from being back at home, what do you feel best about right now with your team?

JOE GIRARDI: I think just how we're competing. Again, we're down 0-2, but I like the way we're competing and how we're fighting. The experience that these guys have been able to take from the first eight games in the playoffs where we've been behind, we've been down 0-2, we had to fight. I love their heart.

Q. When you're putting a pitcher on the mound with 20 postseason starts to his name, what advantage might that give you, particularly when the opposing pitcher doesn't have that experience?

JOE GIRARDI: You hope it gives you a lot, to be honest, just because you feel like the situation is not too big for him or he's not going to try to overthrow.

The difference between Seve, start one, start two, and start three, the first one he really tried to overthrow, he was too amped up. And you hope that bothers someone on the other side and they're wowed and we get some free baserunners and they make some mistakes.

But I don't ever worry about the situation affecting CC. I never have. Whatever the game was, he's a big game pitcher. It's not going to be a situation that keeps him from pitching well.

Q. Understanding that you've been facing some really tough pitchers, but do you worry when your offense as a whole is not scoring well, that the guys try to do it too much, have you seen them getting away from their typical approach?

JOE GIRARDI: Not so much, no, I haven't. I think we tried to continue to grind out at-bats. Verlander, he threw strikes. And if a guy is doing that with the stuff that he's got, it's going to be a tough road, it really is.

No, I have not had a problem. I like the way we're still grinding things out and the effort. And hopefully tonight we score more runs.

Q. Sonny Gray, in starts that he's good or starts where he's not so good, what's the biggest difference for him, command or certain lineups?

JOE GIRARDI: It's command and long counts. If he gets in long counts a lot of times that's when he gets in trouble.

Q. It seems like Sanchez may be chasing a little more, too. Is that the way they're pitching him or is he just pressing because of trying to do too much in the postseason?

JOE GIRARDI: It's probably a little bit of both. I think they've pitched him extremely well, and we have some young players. When you look at it, maybe the averages aren't where we want them, but they've had some big hits, home runs, driven-in runs. You see mature players go through this. When you face really good pitching you're going to see a mature player go 2 for 20, a superstar go 2 for 20. That's just part of being in the playoffs.

Q. Have you taken any time to offer a speech to the team in any way, any time since that game and right now, maybe before the game tonight?

JOE GIRARDI: Again, I don't talk about what I say to my players. And sometimes I have speeches. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I'll do it individually.

I feel good about where these guys are at, I do, from a mental standpoint.