ALDS Game 5: Joe Girardi pre-game interview

Q. With CC in the bullpen, what do you think it gives you guys in terms of having another left-hander against a team that bats a lot of left-handed hitters? 

JOE GIRARDI: Well, their lefties, a lot of them are platoon guys. They might turn guys around, but CC gives us a little bit more depth in our bullpen, obviously. It’s a situation where you hope you don’t have to use him, and you get to use him in Game 1. That’s the bottom line. But if we need him, I’m going to use him.

Q. The moves that the Tigers made at mid-season, did that represent to you, Joe, a significantly different team you’ve seen in the postseason from what you would have seen early on? 
JOE GIRARDI: Yes, going out and getting Fister and Brennan Boesch went down, they got Delmon Young and they continued to add players as some people got hurt. It’s not completely different, but you add a No. 3 hitter that’s right-handed instead of maybe a left-handed guy, in a sense.
Their team has changed. This has been a talented team all year long. You don’t win this many games as they’ve won just because you make a few moves at the end of the year. This has been a talented group.

Q. A two-parter for you on Jorge: How impressed have you been with his at-bats this series? And how impressed are you in general with the way he’s been able to rebound from what happened earlier in the season? 
JOE GIRARDI: His at-bats have been really good. Not only got base hits, he’s taken his walks. Each at-bat has been a grind for the pitcher when Jorge. I’m not surprised. One of the reasons we’ve used him as our DH is we talked about his experience and what he did off of right-handers this year. His real struggles came off of left-handers. And there were times we were trying to get some people some rest and use them as the DH, but I’m not surprised. Jorge has been here a lot of times.

Q. We saw you get the bullpen going in the first inning two days ago. With Nova on the mound and obviously this being Game 5, what will be your approach tonight and what do you expect from Ivan Nova? 
JOE GIRARDI: I expect him to go out and pitch well. My approach is if I feel we need to make a change, I’ll make a change no matter what time it is. That’s the bottom line. But I expect him to go out and pitch well and do what he’s done all year for us.

Q. When you look at CC, is he a guy who tonight’s a situational guy, only if you go to extra innings or could he be your first guy out of the bullpen if Nova has trouble? 
JOE GIRARDI: I can’t tell you. It’s going to come as a feeling, this is the time to use him when you use him. I don’t have like a seventh, eighth, ninth-inning guy. CC if I feel there’s a situation he can help, I’m going to use him.
In saying that I have to kind of think ahead, because I have to give him time to warm up, because he’s not going to warm up like a reliever. To bring him in the middle of the inning, I might have to get him up early. It’s kind of a gut feeling when to use him.

Q. What have you seen from Gardner in this series? He’s had a lot of hits. 
JOE GIRARDI: Yes. Whether it’s been a double in the gap, a bunt or a single through the middle, I think he swung the bat well. Obviously we know the issues he can create. He can make pitchers hurry when they’re in the stretch.
But he’s played really well. I’m not surprised. This is a good player. He has played well for us all year long.

Q. Freddy Garcia is ready for today? 
JOE GIRARDI: Yes. If I need Freddy, I’ll use him too.

Q. Joe, any concerns about the lack of work that David Robertson and Mariano Rivera have had over the past week? 
JOE GIRARDI: David threw on Tuesday. So it’s not abnormal for a guy to have — he threw on Monday — a couple of days off. That’s not abnormal.
Mo has not thrown in a while. But we had Mo get hot on Tuesday. Instead of bringing him in that game knowing that I might need him for 35 or so pitches today, I chose not to bring him in. But I’m not worried about Mo, because he’s done it so many times and he’s had extra days off.

Q. Joe, would you consider shortening the game to the point where you would use Robertson and Mariano each for two innings? 
JOE GIRARDI: You can draw it up that way. I can’t tell you it’s going to work that way, because I can’t tell you how many pitches they’re going to throw in an inning. Obviously that’s conceivable, yes.

Q. Joe, what are the dangers for someone like Nova facing the same team so close together? 
JOE GIRARDI: The real danger is just trying to do too much, to me. You have your scouting reports. If you execute your scouting reports, you’re probably going to be okay. That’s in any game you go into. If you are missing your location and — if you’re missing by a couple of inches, three inches, four inches, those are the dangerous ones. The ones you miss by 10, 12 inches usually are okay. You may not get a lot of strikes, but you’re okay with those pitches.
If you execute your game plan, there’s a good chance you’re going to keep us in the ballgame.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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