Oct. 17 Joe Girardi pregame interview

October 17th, 2017

Q. Yesterday Reggie Jackson felt that Altuve is the best player in the League, and if he was 6 feet tall there would be no debate. Thoughts?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, I think you can argue that. There are some people that might argue with some other people. I really like the year our kid had. And you look at the two of them, they're complete players. You look at , he's a complete player; he's a really good defender, really good baserunner.

Altuve's year was, again, incredible. It will be interesting how the voters look at that. He's one of the top guys, for sure.

Q. Romine behind the plate tonight. What's your thinking on that? And why do you think Gray has pitched so much better with him?

JOE GIRARDI: That's my thinking, because the numbers bear out that he had better starts with Austin.

Sometimes it just happens. Sometimes I can't explain why one catcher mixes with a pitcher a little bit better.

To me, it also gives Sanchez a little break here. Sonny has tended to rough him up a little bit and beat him up physically. And this time of year I don't want our catchers so beat up it affects everything.

So I thought I'd DH Gary and give Austin the start.

Q. On all three of your World Series teams as a player you split the catching duties in the postseason. Do you think there's a benefit to that even moving forward, with Gary --

JOE GIRARDI: You know, I think there can be from a physical and mental grind of the playoffs. The good thing is you never, unless there's a rainout, play more than three days in a row, and guys shouldn't need too many days off.

But I think the physical and mental grind can take its toll during the playoffs.

Q. How much of a harder decision is this if you're getting more steady production out of the production spot? How much harder a decision is it to go with Romine behind the plate?

JOE GIRARDI: I think Chase and Sabathia have been really good in the last two games. And obviously you don't want to take away from that. But I also look at run prevention and the importance of run prevention in the playoffs, and it's why I made the decision.

Chase has got to be ready. He'll be ready at any time. I let him know this is what we're going to do and he'll be ready at any point for me today.

Q. Sonny pitched the sim game, but it's been a while since he's been out there in an actual game. What are some of the potential challenges for that?

JOE GIRARDI: You worry about command. That's what you worry about. The sharpness and if he's able to locate is what you worry about when a guy hasn't been out there for a while. And you worry about the emotions being pumped up today. And maybe overthrowing. So we'll have to watch that, too.

Q. The Astros are known as a team that incorporates analytics in their decision-making process pretty heavily. Your team doesn't seem that way. Should you be?

JOE GIRARDI: Well, then you don't pay attention to our team. Our analytics department is probably bigger than any analytical department in baseball. And we use it a lot. So obviously we take the information they give us and we decipher it. So it's really important to us, too.

Q. Do you have Kahnle available today?

JOE GIRARDI: I'm not sure.

Q. Austin having not played in over two weeks, is there an adjustment for him, as well, just getting into the routine?

JOE GIRARDI: He's used to not playing every day. And he got at-bats in that sim game, too. I was looking toward this day. I knew this day was coming. I think he'll be sharp.

Q. When you put that game together did you know you were going to do this or was it all based on Gary's struggles?

JOE GIRARDI: I had someone tell me earlier they should have picked up on it.

Q. Why didn't you do this in the ALDS?

JOE GIRARDI: You know, Gary had had a couple of good starts with Sonny, but I looked at the game in the ALDS and how beat up Gary got and Sonny struggled a little bit, so I decided to make a change.

Q. If you don't mind a question about Betances from last night. Was there any value in an 8-run game to leaving him and allowing him to work through that? At this point it's a confidence thing it looks like.

JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, there's talk of it, if it's the regular season it's different. I'm looking at whether in the lineup how quickly a game like that can become 8 to 6, 8 to 5, and then you've got to get your closer in. I was hoping to give Chappy a couple of days off. There's a lot of things that go into that. And so I don't think you can really take that chance.

Q. What are your plans for him going forward?

JOE GIRARDI: I'll use him in the opportunities we feel is best. I have to evaluate it every day and see who's available and go from there, really.