10/10/10 2:01 AM ET
Postgame interview with Joe Girardi
By / MLB.com
Q. What were your impressions of your games today? They put up quite a fight. What was the impression of the game overall?
JOE GIRARDI: I thought it was a good game. I think when you look at the score, it was probably closer than what it indicated. They had chances in the fifth, the sixth, the eighth to really get back into that game. It seems like every game we play against the Twins is extremely tough. And they're a very good baseball team. And I look at this year we had tough games with them all year long. We are fortunate to have come out on top.
Q. Hughes pitched so well tonight. Did you get the sense in the first couple of innings he had everything working?
JOE GIRARDI: Yes, I really loved his stuff. My biggest concern was the fifth inning. When he went out in the fifth there was a lightning break. And you always get a little bit concerned how sharp a guy is going to come out after a long break. It was in and they got first and second. He ended up getting a strikeout to get out of the inning, or a pop up. I'm not sure. I was really impressed.
Q. Did he have a little extra life on the fastball? Seemed like when he needed to he could really dial it up?
JOE GIRARDI: He did. He seemed like he had extra. He could get it up to 94. He located well. I thought he changed eye level. I thought he changed speeds. Different sides of the plate. I thought he did a tremendous job. Very good hitting lineup. There's a lot of guys in that lineup that can take you out of the ballpark. He was outstanding.
Q. You appear to be bone dry. I'm just curious when you went back to the clubhouse, how did you celebrate this? Was it a feeling of relief or excitement?
JOE GIRARDI: No, it's a great feeling of excitement because it's a tough series. I look at every game and they all could have went either way. A hit here and there. Talk to the guys briefly, and then obviously I have things that I have to do, and here I am.
Q. In addition to the obvious talent that your team has, is there a level of personality that lifts it above and makes that talent level apparent or decisive?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, there's a lot of experience in that room. And our guys have been through a lot of games like this. You think about as many playoff games as these guys have played in, you know they know how to prepare. You know that they're not going to get too high or too low based on one game, one at bat. And I think that really helps our guys because of the preparation and the experience.
Q. I know you thought it was okay for you guys to celebrate in Toronto when they clinched the playoffs. You felt like we hadn't really done anything. Will you allow them to celebrate and can you give us an idea what you will do?
JOE GIRARDI: The celebration is going on in there.
Q. I'm talking about you.
JOE GIRARDI: Of course I will. I'm not a huge fan of freezing cold champagne over my head, but I will celebrate. Believe me, I will celebrate. This is not easy. And as I said all year long, we are in an extremely tough division. It's not easy to get into the playoffs, to win the first it's hard work and I will celebrate.
Q. You've noted several times that these games against the Twins could have gone either way, but in the end they all went one way. Is that a reflection at the end of the day of your team's strength more than any shortcomings the Twins might have?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it has a lot to do with the strength of our club, the experience of our club, getting big hits in big situations, being able to come back when we got behind. I think about how Liriano was mowing us down and we were able to chip away and take the lead. Then they tied it up, and then we get a big home run by Tex.
I think it says a lot about our club, that our club just keeps putting pressure on the other team.
Q. I wonder projecting forward, if you think you're a tougher team for whoever you are playing because of the length of production you're getting lineup, pitching, that you're not relying on single guy or two to carry you right now?
JOE GIRARDI: I sure hope so. That's kind of how this team has been built the whole year. That we expect everyone to produce. We don't just rely on one or two guys.
And we have a lot of depth on our club. You think about the production we got from our two DH's in this series. Pretty good. And we rely on a circular lineup.
Q. There were some things said towards the end of the year about supposed mixed messages you were sending or ambivalence towards the title and as you sit here after sweeping the first round, what do you think about the whole thing?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think there was a misunderstanding about some of the things that were said, that we weren't going to hurt our guys and play our guys hurt during the course of the last month. Some of our guys couldn't play, and I think people took that as we weren't trying. Believe me, we were trying. We were trying to win our division. I mean, we wanted home field advantage. We love playing here. There's something about playing in this ballpark. And I think people misunderstood that. Swish couldn't play for a week. I asked him every day, Swish can you play today? Swish got tired of me asking. Gardy needed a shot. I think there was a misunderstanding. We handled a guy's innings limit. Andy Pettitte was hurt. There was just things that we had to handle.
And the month of September wasn't necessarily a lot of fun for us. But we persevered. Here we are going to the next round.
Q. Is it fair to say also that you might have preferred, I don't know what you want to say about, one team versus the other. Obviously both excellent teams Texas and Minnesota. But Texas, the perception is with Cliff Lee in a five game series makes them a tougher team. What are your thoughts on that? That's what a lot of people were figuring was part of the at least a little part of the equation.
JOE GIRARDI: People are going to have their own opinions about what we were doing. I live in the clubhouse and I know what we were trying to do. We were trying to get home field advantage and it didn't work out. I see the guys and I get the medical reports. I know the guys that are banged up. Those are the things I have to deal with. We do the best we can.
But in answering that, we had superstars, older superstars that played 13 days in a row down the stretch. And if you didn't think we were trying to win, I think there was a misunderstanding.
Q. Does not knowing who you're going to play next make your preparation more difficult or is it actually easier because you can sit down and watch them both?
JOE GIRARDI: You get to sit down and watch. We know that we'll know. What is today? Saturday? It's Sunday now. We know we'll at least know by Tuesday night. I mean, you definitely know that. And you don't play 'til Friday. We've seen one team a whole lot. And we've seen the other team twice in the last two months.
As far as making our preparation tougher, it won't.
Q. Is A.J. going to be on the roster?
JOE GIRARDI: We'll have a discussion about the roster probably on Wednesday.
Postgame interview with Phil Hughes
Q. Can you talk about what kind of stuff you had tonight? Also just the idea you were touted is the such an a young age as almost like a can't miss guy. Does it seem like a long time to get to this point?
PHIL HUGHES: First question, I felt like from pitch one I knew I had my good stuff. It was a matter of kind of keeping my emotions in check and making sure I threw strikes and was ahead in the count which I was able to do for the most part.
I kind of had my lumps as a young guy coming up in this organization. It certainly wasn't easy in '07 being hurt. '08 was a disaster. Then being injured at the end of that, I felt like last year being in the bullpen really helped me. I got that confidence back. I knew this was something I could do. I really feel like that propelled me into this year.
Q. Can you take me through the fifth when you sort of lost the location of your curveball, how you got through that?
PHIL HUGHES: My curveball wasn't great all night. I was able to throw some decent ones when I had to. But those innings where you have runners on base and you're in those jams, you have to find your way out of it. I couldn't go to my curveball late in counts because it wasn't as sharp as I would have liked. But I fought through it and was able to get out of those innings. I think those innings with guys on base are really sort of the key innings in getting through and having a good outing. Being able to put up zeros, it makes the job on our offense a lot easier.
Q. Veteran pitchers even talk about closeout games and the pressure. Obviously guys don't win tonight, tomorrow it could snowball. How did you stay you looked poised and relaxed. How did you stay relaxed coming into this game?
PHIL HUGHES: I knew what the environment would be like just from pitching in the past out of the bullpen, so that wasn't really a shocker to me. I just tried to, like I say, control my emotion. Once I got through that first hitter, first inning, I was able to just relax and treat it like any other game. I felt like that was a key for me tonight. Like you said, if we lose tonight, anything could happen. We wanted to close it out here in this game, and I'm just happy we were able to do that.
Q. Congratulations. You talk about being relaxed and how after the first pitch you feel comfortable. How much did the offense contribute to that? How much comfort, how much comfort did you get from the offense riding on those runs, how did that help?
PHIL HUGHES: That was huge. If you give up a run or two in the first couple of innings, you're back is against the wall and you're forced to rally. To get a couple of shutout innings early and then the offense doing a great job again, I mean, I think I've gotten the most run support in baseball this year. So that was the case again tonight. I was able to have a few runs to work with. That always makes my job easier when I can go out there and pitch and not worry about if it's tied or we're down one or something like that, when we have a little bit of a cushion.
Q. Is there any carry over effect at all when you see a performance like the one that Andy Pettitte produced the other night, for you?
PHIL HUGHES: Certainly. CC pitched well in the first one. Then Pettitte. People were wondering what kind of outing he would have. Obviously he pitched great. You know you have to go out there and pull your weight. I think a lot of people coming into this series, it was like CC and then who, sort of like attitude. We know what we're capable of doing. We just kind of went out there and did what we did all year, just tried to get outs, get outs early. Especially Andy on the road, that's a tough thing to do. When you're at home you have the home crowd. It makes things easier.
That was sort of it. I did want to sort of feed off those first couple of outings and put up a good one there myself.
Q. From a pitcher's standpoint, how much does it change things when you take Justin Morneau out of the middle of that Twins' lineup?
PHIL HUGHES: It's huge. He's an MVP type guy and another lefty. So it's certainly not the same lineup without him. But that's this game. Injuries are there. We're just glad, or I'm glad I didn't have to deal with him tonight. He usually hits me pretty well.
Q. Did you have a little extra on your fastball than maybe you haven't had on a lot of nights this year? Seemed like you were able to turn it up when you had to.
PHIL HUGHES: Yeah, having the home crowd, the adrenaline that helps that. When I had to dig deep I was able to have a couple more on my fastball, especially in those big spots. Kubel, with the 0-2 count, to be able to get a fastball by him and it's certainly nice when you can go to that and have a put away fastball when you really need it.
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