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ALCS Game 6: Girardi pregame interview

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Q. Headley has had a few ups and downs in the time with the Yankees. Position switch this year. How much do you think his general demeanor has helped him get through and you guys get him through?

JOE GIRARDI: I think there's a real mental toughness in Chase. I think there's a real fight in Chase to want to be the best, and I think that is what has probably continued to help him through this, the position change, the bad start, a bad month, and how he's able to respond because he is such a fighter. And I believe it's helped him tremendously.

Q. Much different feeling than the last time you were here, down 0-2. Has it sunk in that you're one win away from the World Series?

JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, I try not to think about it, because I think sometimes that can cause more anxiety and you can overthink things, in a sense.

You know, it's kind of strange when you get in these seven-game series, we're so used to changing teams after three games and doing all new work all over again, and you don't do it. And you feel like, Did I do everything? Yeah. We already did that. We already did that.

So I'm trying to treat it as win one game. It's kind of been what we talked about the whole time we've been in the playoffs. And you just focus on that.

Q. With Severino, any concern about him bouncing back? Do you watch him more carefully?

JOE GIRARDI: No, I feel good about him. I've said all along, there's really no limitations on him. We feel pretty good about where he's at.

But he is in a new territory. You are going to be maybe a little bit more cautious, in a sense, and that's what caused me to take him out of the last game. But he had no ill effects the next day, he was fine. We didn't do any test. And he passed both exams with the doctor with flying colors.

So he might be in a better spot today because he only threw 60 or so pitches, than we would have been had he not.

Q. The four weeks that Gary missed earlier in the year, is that almost a silver lining at this point, just because he might not be quite as beat up as he would have been if he played the whole season?

JOE GIRARDI: I think you can look at it that way. I really never thought about it. But I think that's probably a good way to look at it.

When he got some time off, unfortunately, because of his suspension, that might have reenergized him a little bit as well. I think all those things can help in a long season. You can look at it with Didi, too, that he went through it.

Q. Headley has had a few ups and downs in the time with the Yankees. Position switch this year. How much do you think his general demeanor has helped him get through and you guys get him through?

JOE GIRARDI: I think there's a real mental toughness in Chase. I think there's a real fight in Chase to want to be the best, and I think that is what has probably continued to help him through this, the position change, the bad start, a bad month, and how he's able to respond because he is such a fighter. And I believe it's helped him tremendously.

Q. Much different feeling than the last time you were here, down 0-2. Has it sunk in that you're one win away from the World Series?

JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, I try not to think about it, because I think sometimes that can cause more anxiety and you can overthink things, in a sense.

You know, it's kind of strange when you get in these seven-game series, we're so used to changing teams after three games and doing all new work all over again, and you don't do it. And you feel like, Did I do everything? Yeah. We already did that. We already did that.

So I'm trying to treat it as win one game. It's kind of been what we talked about the whole time we've been in the playoffs. And you just focus on that.

Q. With Severino, any concern about him bouncing back? Do you watch him more carefully?

JOE GIRARDI: No, I feel good about him. I've said all along, there's really no limitations on him. We feel pretty good about where he's at.

But he is in a new territory. You are going to be maybe a little bit more cautious, in a sense, and that's what caused me to take him out of the last game. But he had no ill effects the next day, he was fine. We didn't do any test. And he passed both exams with the doctor with flying colors.

So he might be in a better spot today because he only threw 60 or so pitches, than we would have been had he not.

Q. The four weeks that Gary missed earlier in the year, is that almost a silver lining at this point, just because he might not be quite as beat up as he would have been if he played the whole season?

JOE GIRARDI: I think you can look at it that way. I really never thought about it. But I think that's probably a good way to look at it.

When he got some time off, unfortunately, because of his suspension, that might have reenergized him a little bit as well. I think all those things can help in a long season. You can look at it with Didi, too, that he went through it.

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Q. How do you think he's doing?

JOE GIRARDI: I think his body has responded extremely well.

Q. As far as the mentality of the grind?

JOE GIRARDI: The foul tips, the energy level, everything you go through as a catcher, I think he's responded really well.

Q. You guys have played so well at home all year, and really this postseason. How do you go about trying to keep the momentum going now?

JOE GIRARDI: You just focus on today. And you focus on, if you're a pitcher, each at-bat. If you're a pitcher, each pitch. That's the only way. And you go out and compete, what you're used to doing. And you see where the chips fall.

But we played extremely well at home. And we've been here. Our guys kind of have an idea what to expect from the fans, so hopefully they're more familiar with that. And we respond well to them.

Q. With Sanchez, just talk about him. Did you see improvement in the last two games?

JOE GIRARDI: I did. I said all along, people ask me, Do you think about moving people in the lineup? These guys are good hitters, and they're going to make adjustments.

You have to remember, for a lot of our kids they haven't seen these guys very much. Sometimes it's the first time facing them, maybe the second. And they don't have an idea. And those were things that I saw when we played in our division, how guys made adjustments when they saw pitchers the second, third, and fourth time during the course of a season. And it made me think that they had the ability to do it now.

Q. With his defense, what has stood out to you?

JOE GIRARDI: He's played extremely well back there. He's done a really good job. And I don't expect anything to change there.

Q. Last time you guys were one won from the World Series was '09, it was a very different kind of team. How has this ride been compared to that first one that you had? What's the difference for you?

JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think the difference is it was expected with that club, because I think we led the American League in wins. And I think the mentality, the whole time, as we're entering September, if you don't win the World Series, it's a failure. I know as a player in 1998 we felt more pressure that year for the World Series because we felt like we had to validate the season.

So this has been a little bit different. And in the month of September that year we didn't have to push quite as hard as we had to this year. So I think there's a much different feeling because we were a Wild Card, we weren't a division winner with the best record. We were the underdog in most series that we've been in. I think our guys have handled that very well.

Q. You talked about the adjustments you've seen your young guys make. Can you talk about the maturity and when you noticed from the start of the season to now, with some of your younger players.

JOE GIRARDI: I think a lot of times with young players, they believe going into the season they're extremely talented. They believe they're going to have a good year. But in a sense they have to prove it to themselves. And you feel that you belong but until you actually do well, go through a slump and do well again, you're not really sure.

And young players have a tendency to look over their shoulders if they're going through struggles, is this the day? They tap me on the shoulder and say, Come into my office. From that standpoint I think our young players have done extremely well. They have fought through adversity. They have fought through slumps. They have fought through injury and they have really produced at a high level at an important time.

Q. You guys had a losing record on the road this year, you're 1 in 4 in playoffs on the road, but that one, winning that Game 5 in Cleveland, can that translate into calming you guys down out here in this situation?

JOE GIRARDI: Man, I sure hope so. Obviously we went to Cleveland, we lost the first two and tough place to play here, here is a tough place to play, playing against very good teams.

But in the end we were able to win that last one, and I think it was because of momentum that we had. And guys went out and produced at a high level and had a really good game. And that should give them confidence going into today.

Q. Just wondering, what has today been like for you, are you nervous?

JOE GIRARDI: The days are long. I never thought I would say that I like the 5:00 start, but I did. The day was a little short. I think when you have those 5:00 starts you worry about shadows. Well, the shadows were not a problem in our park at 5:00. So it's just a little bit longer.

You still get up early and you go through your preparation and try to make sure that you do everything that you would normally do and then come to the ballpark. I worked out, you know, it's been a good day.

New York Yankees