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AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: TIGERS v YANKEES

October 16, 2012
Richmond High School



Joe Girardi


DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Game Three

THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  We will get started with Joe Girardi.

Q.  Joe, obviously a lot of changes in the lineup.  How difficult a decision was it to take guys like Nick Swisher andAlex Rodriguez out ??
JOE GIRARDI:  It's always a difficult decision when you have to do that.  And we talked about the dimensions here and we talked about fly ball pitcher today and we had some guys struggling, so we decided to make some changes.
And, you know, it's never easy.  It's not, because these guys have done a lot during the course of the season.  But we did it.

Q.  How did they react to the decision that you made?
JOE GIRARDI:  No one ever wants to sit out.  They want to be there.  But I told them they have to be ready, and they said we will be.

Q.  Joe, regarding Gardy, you repeatedly said he barely played since April.  What prompted this, and not only playing, but to have him lead off?
JOE GIRARDI:  A couple different things.  Probably the most are some guys are struggling, is the first thing, or it probably wouldn't have been a consideration.  You look at also the type of pitcher that we have and the type of outfield it is there.  We have a lot of speed in our outfielder.
And the one thing that we tried to do yesterday was get Gardy some at?bats, too.  We had a little simulated game where we had a couple of different types of pitchers throwing, got him some at?bats.  And Gardy likes to grind out his at?bats, he likes to see a lot of pitches and make a pitcher work.
We are hoping he can do it against Verlander, get on, and cause him to rush little bit.

Q.  That was at Yankee Stadium, the simulated game?
JOE GIRARDI:  Yes.  And that was just as much for some pitchers, because if someone goes down, the pitchers that have not been throwing and there's nothing going on in Tampa, so they threw yesterday.

Q.  In replacing Alex at third with Chavez, what do you think he can bring to the table offensively and defensively specifically?
JOE GIRARDI:  Well, he's had a very good year against right?handers this year.  You look at the numbers that he has put up against right?handers, it has been very good.  He is an outstanding defender as well, and he knows how to read a lot of different types of balls that are hit.  That's why we put him in there.

Q.  Just given that Alex had some success against Verlander, a couple of home runs this year, how tempting was it to keep him in there?
JOE GIRARDI:  We talked about it.  You know, part of it has been his struggles against right?handers in the playoffs.  And you start going around and thinking, okay, can you keep Chavez and Alex and Ibañez all in?  You know, we looked at the outfield and type of outfield and type of pitcher we felt that we had to play all those guys.  So someone was going to be left out.  And Ibañez has probably?? at least you can argue he has been the best hitter in the playoffs and he was going to be in there, and we chose Chavy instead of Al.

Q.  Purely baseball?wise, how would you describe Alex's at?bats this postseason against right?handers?
JOE GIRARDI:  He struggled.  There's been a substantial number of strikeouts.  He did hit a ball hard off Sanchez the other day.  But it has been somewhat of a struggle.

Q.  Joe, there's been a lot of talk about Verlander obviously, but can you just reflect on what your ace did last round and how much you are looking forward to seeing him again tomorrow night?
JOE GIRARDI:  CC, we obviously always look forward to seeing him.  We know the competitor he is and how he will grind out a game.  He's never going to??he's never going to get too caught up with what happened the pitch before or the play before, and he has outstanding stuff and he knows how to win.  We are pretty excited about it.

Q.  Joe, with the talent that you guys have had over the last three years when you were managing, is there a part of you that is a little stunned about having these type of conversations with these types of players?
JOE GIRARDI:  Yes.  You would think that, you know, with the resumes that these guys have and the type of play that they put up during the course of seasons, that you would have a pretty set lineup.  We've had some injuries that we've had to shuffle some players during the course of the year, where some guys got some opportunities to get a lot of at?bats and prove that they could be really effective against a right?hander or a left?hander, and that's probably why we're having this conversation.

Q.  And you talk about track records a lot.  With the names that are coming in and out of this lineup, is this a reflection of just a weird coincidence where a lot of guys are cold at the same time, or is this a new reality that you guys are facing with some of these players going forward?
JOE GIRARDI:  I think it's more of a coincidence.  And the thing about it is, if you have like maybe one or maybe even two guys struggling in the lineup, you are probably still scoring some runs, so it doesn't become as noticeable and you're not talking about it so much and you may not be making some changes, but when have you a lot of guys struggling and you're not scoring runs, it is something we are going to talk about.

Q.  Joe, there was a published report today about Alex allegedly carrying on with a female fan during the late innings of Game 1, exchanging baseballs or whatever.  Can you either confirm or refute this report?  And did you have any discussions with Alex?
JOE GIRARDI:  I am not going to comment on that.  I don't really have a comment.

Q.  Joe, would you characterize this as one of the most difficult lineups you have ever put together?  Or requiring most discussion?  Did you find yourself, you personally, just having a tougher time coming to this conclusion?
JOE GIRARDI:  Well, if you have a set lineup every day, there's really not a lot of discussion.  Or a lot of thought process on it.  You might think about giving, you know, during the course of a season one guy a day off, or if it's a leftie you may pull one guy and put a right?hander in there.  Obviously you might look at a few more things now than you have if your lineup was set.

Q.  Joe, was your decision to bench Alex strictly performance?related, or was there another issue involved?
JOE GIRARDI:  No, there are no other issues.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay, thank you.


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