Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Game 55 vs. D'backs, June 3: Joe Torre Pre-Game Talk

  • On a possible case of inclement weather in L.A.: "Knowing that the chances of playing the game are pretty darn good makes the decision-making a lot easier."
  • Has confidence in Chad Billingsley's ability to battle through early-inning struggles.
  • On Orlando Hudson: "He's just beat up, just from playing every day." Doesn't believe Hudson was hurt diving in the stands last night. Today is basically a mandatory day off. Everybody else just moves up in the lineup.
  • Andre Ethier breaking his recent slump reminds him of Jason Giambi. Not that they're similar hitters, but for both an overemphasis on going the other way may have resulted in a loss of bat speed. In New York, Don Mattingly encouraged Giambi to start pulling the ball more. Torre's unsure what Mattingly said to Ethier, but Ethier was making good contact during batting practice before yesterday's game.
  • On Mattingly's work with the players: "What he tries to do is unclutter the thought process." Instead of talking about what a pitcher has, Mattingly simplifies matters by talking about how a pitcher likes to work.
  • Hopes Randy Johnson wins his 300th. "He's certainly a Hall of Famer with or without it." The milestone of 500 home runs has lost a little luster with recent controversies, "but 300 wins is 300 wins. You have to spend a fair amount of time in the middle of this diamond to do that." Would guess Johnson would wear a Diamondbacks hat into the Hall of Fame.
  • On the team's patient approach to hitting: "We have the ability to manufacture, which I'm excited about." A team that uses the whole field offensively is like a "jab more so than knockout punch."
  • Addition of the speed game helps. Torre says he hasn't had this kind of speed potential before, although he's had aggressive runners. "One year I had Knoblauch leading off and I had Jeter hitting second. They both had .400 on-base percentages. That was a lot of fun for the middle of the lineup to hit knowing that somebody was going to be on base all the time."
  • More on plate discipline: "It makes me feel good because now we don't have to convince them. They've pretty much convinced themselves that if they work at it and continue to grind it out—it's a lot of work, takes a lot of patience, but the reward at the end is worthwhile."
  • "In contradiction to what ESPN thinks, there's a way to win games without home runs."
  • "When I was on the other side of it, watching different teams who have had this type of ability, I never liked playing them."