Q. Can you talk about what they bring offensively with their lineup and with different guys all the way up-and-down?
JOE GIRARDI: Extremely talented offensively. It's a club that scores a lot of runs but doesn't swing and miss very much. I think when you look at them it's a complete lineup throughout. They're aggressive on the base paths so you have to control that. They're going to hit their home runs, but they're going to do a lot of other things offensively. So you need to make pitches.
Q. What do you think about what Altuve has been able to do and what he can do?
JOE GIRARDI: Oh, he's a great player, and he's been for a number of years here. Obviously he plays the game the right way, he plays extremely hard. And it's a guy that not only gets 200 hits a year but is extremely productive with the home runs, the doubles, and all the things, driving in the runs that he does.
Q. What went into your decision with the first four pitchers of the series?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, we just talked about who is throwing well, how the stuff kind of sets up, and we decided to go that way. Obviously you can look at splits for this club, doesn't really matter, they hit right-handers basically the same as they hit left-handers even though they have a number of right-handed hitters in their lineup. So we decided that we would go this way just on what's been going on the last month and the playoffs so far and go from there.
Q. By the time Gray pitches it will be almost two weeks since he's been on the mound. Any concern with that?
JOE GIRARDI: He's going to throw a simulated game today, so we want to make sure that it's not two weeks, that he faces live hitters today, and he'll probably go about three innings today.
Q. When you look at the regular season numbers for your starters against the Astros it's been pretty bad.
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah.
Q. How important will your bullpen be in a series like this?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think it's really important. But that's kind of been our formula for a good portion of the year anyway. Our bullpen's been extremely important to us. And our starters really have done a lot better than people give them credit, when you look at their numbers and how well they have thrown.
But again, this is a very dangerous lineup and. We didn't have a lot of success against Cleveland during the regular season but we pitched better during the playoffs, and you hope that holds true here.
Q. With Tanaka specifically what's the difference in the last couple of starts when he's been on his A game, When you know early what he's doing well as opposed to maybe later?
JOE GIRARDI: I look at his velocity, the difference between his fastball and his split, and the sharpness of the split and slider. Those are the two things that I look at when he's on his A game.
Q. Would you speak of Judge and is it what they're doing to him or something he's doing to the numbers in the ALDS?
JOE GIRARDI: We just faced a really good team when it comes to their pitching staff, and they're very good. I thought they just made a ton of good pitches on him. I think there were some borderline calls that didn't go his way that could have been walks and maybe it looks a little bit different.
But they made a lot of good pitches, and I think he ended up with one hit in the series but it was a pretty important hit. So at any point his hits can become really important and I don't worry about it. When he struggled early on he remained patient and I thought he was very patient in that series. I didn't think that he was swinging recklessly or chasing a lot of pitches. They just made a lot of good pitches on him.
Q. Matt Holliday didn't get an at-bat in the first round. Do you see a way you can use him in this series?
JOE GIRARDI: Stay tuned.
Q. Obviously the stakes are high but do you have any concerns that that last series could have taken something out of you guys emotionally, it was such a high emotional series for the Yankees?
JOE GIRARDI: No. I think we're on an emotional high. There's some fatigue today, obviously. I mean, I'm sure you're fatigued flying here, and by the time I went to bed it was 5:15. But our guys are rallying, and that kind of stuff we're used to. That's the life of being a baseball player and a New York Yankee and the times that you play.
But, no, I am not concerned. I think they're in a good state mentally.
Q. Brian said last night that it was important to seize this opportunity. Being with the Yankees when you first started with them too, it was all about always making the playoffs and always having a chance at the World Series. But this next generation and with you as manager, it seems to appreciate it more now because it hasn't been happening as frequently. Do you think there is more of an appreciation for it now or more of an urgency that this stuff doesn't happen all the time?
JOE GIRARDI: Oh, I think so. I was telling someone, in 1989 I came up with the Cubs and we made the playoffs, and I thought it was going to happen every year. And I was a rookie and I said, Well, this is going to go on forever. This is great. You realize how difficult the next year when you don't make it, it is to get back to the playoffs.
And we went through some transition here where we have had an older club and we went, we made some trades to improve the club, the talent level in the minor leagues, and these kids have started to come up and make an impact. I do think the guys appreciate it a lot more because, A, there's young guys doing it for the first time; there's a number of guys that came from other clubs that wouldn't have had this opportunity had they not been traded; and the veteran guys hadn't been there much lately. So I think that there is a big appreciation and I think they're enjoying every minute of it.
Q. Probably the pitchers that have been toughest on you guys the last three years or so are Kluber and Dallas Keuchel. Do you think the success you guys had against Kluber gives you guys confidence?
JOE GIRARDI: Gosh, I sure hope so. A lot of these guys, some of the guys in the lineup weren't really around for Keuchel.
But again, I think there's a lot of confidence in that room, I think our guys grind out at-bats. I mean, we saw some unbelievable at-bats last night from our guys. Didi with a number of two-strike hits, Gardy's two at-bats against Miller and the closer and getting us the extra runs. Cody Allen has been great all year for them and a number of years for them. And I mean, I just think that's what this group is. They're going to grind out at-bats. We need to do that against Keuchel.
Q. When Keuchel's been on against you guys.
JOE GIRARDI: He just locates extremely well with leg movement, to both sides of the plate, and you hope that he makes some mistakes and our guys take advantage of it.
Q. Similar to Dave's question, when you were on that '96 team, didn't have a lot of October pressure on it going in as it did in later years. But is that vibe sort of similar right now from what's going on here?
JOE GIRARDI: I think so. I think there were, there was a number of veterans there, but there was and they were there in '95, but there were some young guys that came up that had a huge impact. Derek, Mo, and Andy Pettitte. And it was the first time, they were kind of -- they were there in '95, but they weren't impact players, and I think their excitement kind of got everyone going, we made some trades and acquired some players late and it got everyone going. And I think that's kind of the same feeling here.
Q. Do you foresee your roster changing at all?
JOE GIRARDI: We'll have it out tomorrow but if there are any changes, it will be very little.
Q. With the DH spot do you continue to go by matchup?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, we're going to look at it on a daily basis, what we think is the best thing to do, and you go from there.
Q. Chad Green hasn't pitched in three games. Is he healthy?
JOE GIRARDI: Oh, yeah, I just didn't use him and I think he has a chance to be really important in this series.
Q. Tanaka's home-road splits are pretty significant. Where do you think that comes from? Any trepidation in sending him out tomorrow?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, he's been an interesting case the whole time we have had him. One year it's been he's better on normal rest and then the next year he's better on longer rest and one year he's better at night and one year he's better in the day. It just, the sample size sometimes is just not enough really to have a true feeling of exactly why. You try to put your finger on it.
So his stuff was great the other day, he's had some really big starts, his last two starts have been outstanding. And there's a lot of times that he really gets on a roll and he puts a bunch of them together and we're going to need a good one from him tomorrow.
Q. Brian McCann said he developed relationships with the organization that he'll keep forever. Some thoughts about him when he was with you and now you're going against him.
JOE GIRARDI: Everybody loves Mac. It's a hard guy not to love, and even when he's on the other team. Now, that's not to say I won't get mad at him if he does damage against us.
But he was important in that clubhouse, he came to play every day, he's a fighter, he's very good at what he does, he has an understanding of what he has to do behind the plate to get the most out of his pitchers, he finds ways to get big hits.
But he's got a great personality, fun-loving, great in the clubhouse. So obviously he meant a lot to us, he meant a lot to me and I loved managing him. And I wish him the best of luck, just not this series.
Q. Did you think about having Tanaka have a little bit extra day or have him on the home game or do you have the confidence in him to get a strong start for Game 1?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, I have a ton of confidence in him. When you think about the way he's been pitching lately, you think about him having the possibility of making two starts in a series. So if I wait until Game 3, you don't know if you're going to get there. Then his next start would be game 7. So one way of guaranteeing him one start at home is 1 and 5. So that's why we chose to do it, and we loved what he did his last start and give us whatever you got.
Q. The season that Chapman had wasn't what you were expecting from him or hoping for and the last two times out he seemed very dominant. Is there something tangible that you can point to these last two or did he just --
JOE GIRARDI: I just think the ship got righted. I mean, I really do. We kept looking at everything, we were looking at mechanics, we were looking at different things. And the one thing we kept coming back to was even when he was struggling, the contact rate was not like hard. It wasn't like he was giving up a ton of hard hit balls. I know he gave up a homer here and there, but some of the hits were 12 hoppers through the infield, there was setting up things and there was some stolen bases.
So I just think that things got back to normal for him, and things that usually happened for him happened. His luck changed a little bit. So he's been dominant, we need him to continue to be that way, I've had to use him in some two-inning stints and he's rose to the occasion. I have to see how he is tomorrow, I have to see how Robby is tomorrow, and you go from there.
Q. You said that the first player to speak up in that meeting was Todd Frazier. He wasn't here most of the season. So what about him has allowed him to sort of become that one of the leaders?
JOE GIRARDI: It's just who he is. I love it. He's a kid from New Jersey that's not afraid to speak up and is a high-energy guy and loves being a Yankee. And you think about him coming to our stadium and standing next to Derek Jeter when he was 12 or 13 years old, he loves every minute of it. I think that's -- he's cherishing this time and he wants to get the most out of it.
JOE GIRARDI: Oh, another guy that's meant a ton to us and another, just a real clubhouse leader, someone that everyone has looked up to. I'm not just talking about on the field, I'm talking about off the field. You think about what Carlos does on the field that's special, I think he's a Hall of Famer, but off the field just as important. He gives back so much and has so many worthy causes, him and his wife, and what they do. So Carlos is someone that every player can look up to in different ways.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks very much, Joe. Appreciate it.