10/02/11 1:08 AM ET
Postgame interview with Joe Girardi
By / MLB.com
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah. You look at what he's done the last two years for us. He has been big for us. What he did in the playoffs last year. He did a lot of damage. We talked about moving him up and we couldn't seem to get all our guys in the lineup the same day for a while there.
It's a kid that's grown and blossomed into quite a player is what he's done. He gets two big hits. The double to put us ahead 2 1 is a big hit as well. He swung the bat great all night.
Q. Joe, you've had faith in Nova all year. Did you ever expect he was going to come out in his first postseason game and give you that kind of performance?
JOE GIRARDI: I talked about if he was able to control his emotions I thought he could pitch pretty well. This is a good Tiger lineup, too. I just wasn't sure how he was going to control his emotions. I thought he did a very good job today. I didn't think he had his best stuff today. And he still found a way to get outs. But I thought he pitched really well. He pitched to contact.
We gave him a nice relay to keep them from scoring. He almost allowed us not to use our bullpen at all. I loved what he did today.
Q. Joe, back to Cano. You saw him as a rookie, and he was a good hitter.
JOE GIRARDI: Right.
Q. What's he done specifically that's made him a better hitter, even a great hitter?
JOE GIRARDI: I think he's learned how to pull the ball. I think he's learned how to drive the ball more. I think he's learned how to hit in big situations. It's not a guy that when he goes up there and there's a runner on, he's just trying to get a hit; he's trying to do damage. And I think that's the biggest difference.
Q. Joe, you mentioned that this is a pretty good lineup for the Tigers. How impressed were you that Nova was able to hold them? You held them to six hits. What do you keep doing in the series to keep them at that level?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, you have to make pitches. It's the only thing you can do in the series to try to keep them from scoring a lot of runs. As I said, they're a dangerous club and we know that. This is one game. It's always nice to win the first one. Tomorrow becomes an important game. And against this club you're going to have to make pitches. They pitch well, too.
Q. Joe, the ball that Cano landed on top of the wall in left, what does that say about his willingness to use the entire ballpark and not get seduced by the short porch in right, even though you said he's learned how to pull the ball? What did that say about his approach as a hitter in general?
JOE GIRARDI: It just tells me he doesn't change his approach. He's going to take what the pitcher gives him. And he knows how to use the whole field. He knows how to hit the ball out all over the ballpark. And a lot of times the last thing that comes for a young player is learning how to pull the ball and when to pull the ball. I think Robbie has figured that out.
It's one of the things that's made him such a dangerous hitter. It just shows you he's not trying to do too much.
Q. Joe, any similarities that you see between Nova and Cano and how they approach these big games? They seem to be both two young guys who aren't really afraid of the moment.
JOE GIRARDI: Robbie has been through the moment a lot already. Ivan has not. Ivan did a great job tonight. Our prayer is that it continues. Robbie has been through this a lot. Robbie has been in World Series in big games and he knows how to handle it.
Q. It was a tight game at the time. What was your view of the play at the plate, Russell?
JOE GIRARDI: I thought he was out. I didn't see a replay and I didn't look at a replay. It was a great replay. Grandy hits Jeet in the chest, Jeet makes a good throw and I thought he was out.
Q. The throw was high, but it was a perfect throw for the runner.
JOE GIRARDI: You wonder if he slides is he safe. I don't know. I didn't get real caught up in it because he was called out.
Q. Just have you made any definitive decisions on your pitchers?
JOE GIRARDI: Right now we're planning on CC on Monday and probably A.J. on Tuesday. Is that the days? Yes.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
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Postgame interview with Ivan Nova
Q. Ivan, you said yesterday you wouldn't be nervous when you were actually out there, the crowd, noise, everything else. Were you nervous at all?
IVAN NOVA: No. No. The first thing I was so excited, my first postseason start. I could not believe it. I was really excited. After the first inning, I came back normal, I was more confident and I slowed down everything. So it was good.
Q. You said you were excited. The first inning you pitched eight pitches, be able to get through that quick inning, did that help you calm down a little bit?
IVAN NOVA: Yes. Yes. When you throw an inning like that, quick inning in a situation like today, you know, that lets you know that everything is the same. It's the same game. A little bit more the pressure, of course, but it looked the same for me.
Q. Ivan, Joe said he thought you didn't have your best stuff tonight. What did you think you had tonight?
IVAN NOVA: At the beginning, I mean, nothing was like -- only my fastball. I had command at the beginning. After everything went well. I think I got everything today for me. That's the way I feel. I only throw one changeup, but everything for me was working fine.
THE MODERATOR: Umpire Tony Randazzo was taken for X rays as a precautionary measure.
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Postgame interview with Robinson Cano
Q. Robbie, were you surprised that they brought in a righty to face you? And what did you know about Albuquerque when before you faced him?
ROBINSON CANO: Well, I mean, obviously I was surprised. They have lefty righty in the 'pen. But good teams, he bring the righty. So it ended up in our favor. I mean, that's a decision that he made, but I was looking for something that I just can drive. Not looking for the home run. Something I can at least get one RBI, so we can put some more runs in the lead.
Q. Robbie, a couple of years the way Alex carried this team through the postseason with his bat. When you watch that, is that something that you are inspired to do for this team?
ROBINSON CANO: He's the guy that I remember a few years ago when they put him in the fifth spot, he was the one that helped me. Been training, take me to do some exercises. He was the guy I see talking about man in scoring positions, big situations. A guy like him, a lot of seasons with 100 RBIs.
Q. Robbie, the last couple of weeks a lot of teams found a way to pitch around you. Did it feel good to get into a spot where there were guys on base almost every time you came up and they had to pitch to you?
ROBINSON CANO: Yeah, honestly, yeah. You want to be able to do that with men in scoring position. At the same time, they walk you, you go to first and then your teammates behind you do the job, too. It's not about one player. It's about the whole team.
But they put me in the spot that I could that they had to pitch to me. It's good the way that came through tonight.
Q. You've been through a lot of playoff series. How big is Game 1 in a short series? And how impressive were you with Nova?
ROBINSON CANO: The first game is good. When you're behind, you have to get in your mind you have to come back and tie the series the next day. We're not going to take it for granted. We're going to go out there tomorrow and win a game.
Nova was good. He's a guy after he came back from Triple-A, you know how good he's been. He's throwing every pitch for a strike. And he feels confidence. He feels like he belongs here.
Q. Just being the No. 3 hitter for the Yankees entering the postseason obviously carries a certain responsibility with it. What did that responsibility feel like to you tonight?
ROBINSON CANO: Well, I mean, it's big. Big. It's really big. But like I said, that's anything that's one thing I'm gonna change my game. I'm not going to put pressure on myself, well, I'm in the third spot. I'll just go out there and just do what I did in the regular season. Do my job with men in scoring position.
Q. You probably heard the fans chanting "MVP!" for Granderson. Do you think they should be chanting it for you as well?
ROBINSON CANO: That's something not in my mind. We have to give credit to Granderson the way he helped the team the whole year. Right now my focus is in the playoffs. So I'll let you guys decide that. Like I said, my goal is just to win it all.
Q. Robbie, for a long time you were one of the younger guys here. There are always a lot of bigger names here, bigger stars. Are you starting to feel like you're one of the main guys here now?
ROBINSON CANO: Honestly, I mean, I look around me, you got Jeter, Alex, Tex, Posada. So you look around, you have a lot of guys around me. I still look at myself as one of the youngest. The guy that has to improve and keep getting better.
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