Oct. 13 Joe Girardi pregame interview
Q. Joe, the way Alex has struggled against right handers, any hesitation putting him back in the lineup?
JOE GIRARDI: This is a guy that we expect a lot from. And he had struggled in the first round, but this is a guy we know can do a lot of damage. I talk about sometimes going with my gut and evaluating what I see and different things you take into account when you made lineup up, talk to people and I think he's raring to go. And I think he's ready to go.
Q. Joe, Kuroda going in Game 2, how difficult was that decision? How many other things did you think about? In general, how do you feel about this situation you're in where because of the way the schedule went, you probably are going to have two of these type of decisions.
JOE GIRARDI: I am not crazy about it, but there is not really a lot I can do about it, so we have to live with it. The extra wildcard was added, and this is a function of that because the TV schedule was set. We all know the importance of growing our game and the TV schedule. So we've got to deal with it.
As far as Kuroda being our No. 2 starter, we talked about it. We met about 45 minutes after the game because we had put together our roster and do some certain things, and we met again today, but we made the decision last night that he was going to be there. It wasn't too hard.
Q. Knowing he's never pitched on three days' rest in his career, especially considering the fatigue he seemed to be having late in the season, how much did it weigh into the decision?
JOE GIRARDI: It is something we discussed. From what I understand, he has done it in Japan before. And I know that's a while ago. I understand that. But this time of year guys feel a little bit fresher. I mean, that's the bottom line. You get to this time of year, that some life comes back into your body. The cooler weather helps and you just feel fresh. And he's determined to go.
Q. Joe, have you determined who will start Game 3?
JOE GIRARDI: Hughes and CC Game 4.
Q. No matter if it is 2 0, 0 2, 1 1?
JOE GIRARDI: Right.
Q. Joe, what about Hiroki, you're confident that he is up for a challenge like that? The experience, what made you guys
JOE GIRARDI: I think it's all of those things. Sometimes you look into people's eyes and you see, you know, their eyes also tell you a lot about how they are feeling, and if they are ready to go. I love the way he threw the ball the last time. He didn't really have too many taxing innings in that game, so we feel good about him.
Q. Joe, from what you saw in the first round, do you attribute to them pressing?
JOE GIRARDI: I think the postseason at times players will try too hard. I think you see that. What it means to us, you think about you went through 225 days to get to that point and you sacrificed a lot.Physically, mentally, family, there's a lot that you go through to get though that point. And I think players want it so bad, they can try too hard sometimes. The big thing is learning how to relax. I think the other thing that people don't talk a whole lot about is usually the teams that get to the playoffs have the best pitching. So runs are going to be at a premium. It is cooler, the ball is probably not going to travel like it does in the summer, there's a lot of factors that go into, I think, less runs being scored. With days off, bullpens are fresher and you can use your top notch guys a lot more, and you push them more. And I think that's why you see less runs.
Q. Even for those who have watched them all year in Detroit, this has been a difficult team, Joe, to gauge and kind of get a handle on this Tigers team. What do you make of them and the sporadic offense?
JOE GIRARDI: I think they are really good. We have seen them a lot the last couple of years. I believe we played them ten times during the season. We know what they are capable of. We think they are a really good team. And yeah, they went through some struggles, but when it was time to rise up, they rose up. And you think about the battles with the White Sox and had to overcome that. Taking a 2 0 lead in Oakland and going to Oakland, and lose the next two, where if I am not mistaken, Oakland had one of the best records in their home stadium. So they know how to win games, and important games.
Q. Joe, your roster, have you made any changes for this round?
JOE GIRARDI: The only change we made on our roster is we took Eduardo Nuñez off and added Cody Eppley. Knowing that with Kuroda going on short rest and maybe someone going on short rest later if we had to do that, it gives us an extra pitcher. They send their left handers out when you face a right hander, we can mix and match a little more earlier if we have to.
Q. Joe, certain guys you might expect to struggle in the postseason, but Robinson Cano is not one of them?
JOE GIRARDI: Correct.
Q. Only two hits in the ALDS. What do you expect from him? How important is he overall to the lineup?
JOE GIRARDI: He is extremely important to our lineup. So when you are able to keep a guy down for one round, I like my chances the second round. I really do. Just because he's that the good of a hitter. I mean, we have seen him go through some ups and downs this year. And when he comes out of it, he's pretty special.
Q. Joe, you mentioned the gut a lot, you go with your gut. You look at the eyes. What else do you go for? You are making incredible decisions with your gut?
JOE GIRARDI: I mean, there is so much available to us. Any number you ever wanted you can find it. You can find out how a guy hits when you throw over three times in an at bat. Every number that is it out there. I try to look at a lot of things. I try to look at, you know, the type of pitcher they have and the type of hitter you have. Do the numbers make sense, or is it just bad luck? Or was he swinging the bat at the time? Sometimes you look at a guy's eyes. Sometimes you listen to his words.
There are a lot of different things that go into making a decision, but a lot of my decisions are based on what I see from my eyes during the course of a game.
Q. Joe, on Nuñez, I guess you are assuming Derek is 100% and won't have any issues with his foot?
JOE GIRARDI: I don't know that I would assume that he is 100%. But I feel pretty good about him playing short. And it's something we might have to fight through. We'll see.
Q. Joe, I am just wondering if you got to see the drama last night in the other league? And just in general after that what's your take on the tautness of all of these series?
JOE GIRARDI: If you wanted to see one round of great playoff baseball, we got to see it. Four series go five games, teams coming back, dramatic home runs. I had actually fallen asleep when it was 7 5, but I hadn't shut the TV off and my eyes opened up and I saw it was 9 7, so I had to go back. I DVR'ed to see. I said "what happened?" I looked at it, game the was over and I closed my eyes and went back to bed.
Pretty amazing. You think about the games and you are down 6 0 and you're able to come back. And you keep going at it. This first round was probably as good as it gets. Probably as good of baseball as we have seen when you talk about eight teams playing.
Q. How tough is it to not get to CC until Game 4 in the series knowing how important he is for you? Did you think about using him on three days' rest, too?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, well it is tough. You know you'd like to have your ace going the first game, and I am sure that Detroit would say the same thing. They would like to have their ace going. But we believe in our other pitchers. You think about, you know, do you want to bring him on short rest now? Or if you need to do it later, do you want to do it later? He's worked really hard his last two starts, that's the bottom line. We just felt that it's best to have him fresh for Game 4 than risking, you know, him not being fresh Game 3. Because someone is going to have to pitch Game 4 anyway.
Q. Joe, with so much riding on the Game 5 you just finished, is it easier in the case of a Game 1 to press the reset button and have Alex in there and go back to the way life was, or just the decision to go with, you know, your regular guys because it's the start and a fresh start to the series?
JOE GIRARDI: I think in a sense everyone should press the reset button. Forget what happened yesterday. Forget what happened three days ago, forget what happened in the series, we have to start off fresh. In that sense I want all of our players to do that just because the last series it meant something yesterday because we won, but today doesn't really mean much. It is like come to the ballpark when you play every day, yesterday didn't really mean much today. So I am able to do that with all of our players and, you know, in reference to Alex, we need this guy to be Alex. That's the bottom line. If we want to make some noise, we need this guy to be Alex.