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Oct. 13 Joe Girardi pregame interview

October 13, 2017

Q. Can you explain your decision going with Holliday as DH tonight?JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, we talked about it at length as a staff and we looked at Manny's numbers off of left-handers and how much damage he's done this year, and we chose to go that way. Q. Any concern

Q. Can you explain your decision going with Holliday as DH tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, we talked about it at length as a staff and we looked at Manny's numbers off of left-handers and how much damage he's done this year, and we chose to go that way.

Q. Any concern because he hasn't had an at-bat?

JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, there's some concern, which was part of the reason I had him take about seven or eight at-bats yesterday to try to get used to that velocity and seeing movement on pitches. So there's some concern.

Q. The last series the Yankees did an admirable job of quieting the bats of the Indians. What kind of challenge do you expect that might be against this offense, the Astros, which not only led the league in offense but also came up very hot opening series?

JOE GIRARDI: We know it's challenging. You have to make your pitches. And you have to make pitch after pitch, you can't give them free base runners, you can't walk people, you can't make the errors, because they are so dangerous. You got to pay attention to their aggressiveness on the base paths. There's a lots of things you have to do to this offense to try to contain it.

It starts with quality pitches, getting ahead, and not letting them get in counts where they can really do a lot of damage.

Q. The 2012 team won the Division Series in five games but not coming back down 0-2. Just wondering, how much do you look at what you guys did, kind of riding a wave now off the five-game series versus just trying to manage any exhaustion?

JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, when you talk about trying to manage exhaustion, I think the emotions of playing in the playoffs negates a lot of that. It's different if it's the regular season and you get in at five o'clock in the morning and you're playing -- we had a night off and guys had a chance to run around yesterday and to try to get some of that out of them and probably went to sleep fairly early last night. But I think the excitement of this is what carries you through. It is your adrenaline.

And being down 0-2 to Cleveland and being able to come back I think obviously it's a tremendous feat, but it allows your guys to understand that you have the ability to come back. I think that's important against a really good team. We faced a really good team in the Cleveland Indians. And one game at a time and just take it from there.

Q. How vital a role do you think the bullpen will play in this series? And how pleased were you the way they elevated their game in the ALDS?

JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think it's been a formula for us since we really made those trades, but really for a long time here the bullpen has been extremely important. We added depth in Robertson and Kahnle and the emergence of Green has really helped us out. And I think they're going to play a vital role. Again, because this is a team that, they talk about working pitchers, but they talk about getting your pitch.

So if we make quality pitches, hopefully we can get ahead of them and they don't do a lot of damage. But I think your bullpen is going to be really important in this series.

Q. How much time did you find yourself spending on trying to figure out how to keep Jose Altuve off the base paths?

JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think that obviously he's a tremendous player. There's a lot of guys in that lineup you got to figure out a way to keep off the bases, not just him. They have had guys that have had great years, they have four or five guys that are near 90 RBIs or above 90 RBIs. They have a couple others in the 70's. They're just a complete lineup, and I think they can beat you in so many ways.

So I think that your focus has to be one hitter at a time. It can't be, Okay, we can't let this guy beat us, because they have about eight or nine guys that can beat you, and that's why it's a tough lineup to navigate through.

Q. Severino really bounced back after the Wild Card game. Were there any conversations that somebody on the staff or a veteran on the team had with him? I mean, he seems to have a lot of confidence naturally, but I'm wondering if there was a specific experience that uplifted him.

JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think Larry talked to him a lot. I'm sure some of the other guys got to him and talked to him. And the thing about this game is, Derek Jeter said it great, he said, Stay humble or this game will humble you. And you really have to learn to bounce back in this game. And really, anything in life, any sport, any job, you're going to have your bad days and you got to learn to bounce back. I think Seve understands that.

Seve spent a whole year trying to bounce back last year, and he figured it out. And it really turned about the last week in spring training for Seve and I think that experience probably helped him.

Q. You've been facing Justin Verlander for years. What qualities stick out about him?

JOE GIRARDI: Oh, he's a fierce competitor. Besides the great stuff he has, I mean, he's got great stuff, he's got four pitches, throws hard and they got great movement. But he's going to fight and fight and fight. And that's who he is.

Our job is to fight him back. It's to match his competition level and make him work. And he's very talented, he's pitched great since he's come over here, I believe he's 7-0, and has even elevated his game more. So it's another challenge tomorrow.

Q. The games that Tanaka has pitched against the Astros, is there a tell for you tonight of just what he has to stay away from or just a concern that you have?

JOE GIRARDI: Well, it's a dangerous offense. So, again, you're going to have to locate with good movement. His slider's going to have to have good break, his split's going to have that good downward plane like it did his last start, his last two starts. If he does that, he's going to be able to compete.

It's like any other pitcher, if you don't have your A stuff against this lineup, they're probably going to make you pay.