THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ron Gardenhire.
Q. Could you please clarify what exactly did you do to your jersey after Game 1? Did you actually burn it or not?
RON GARDENHIRE: What are you talking about?
Q. There was a report you burned your jersey after Game 1 to change your luck.
RON GARDENHIRE: You believe your sources. You shouldn't believe yourself. You believe in yourself. I wouldn't burn a jersey. I never wear one. I don't even know where my jerseys are.
Q. With everything that your club has done to prove its worth over the years and the six division titles in nine years, does this continuing difficulty with the Yankees just tick you off at some level?
RON GARDENHIRE: That's a good way to put it, continuing difficulty. It's not fun. We know what's out there. You have to understand that it's not the same group of players. It's different players. And we have had a lot of pieces change, but the results have been the same. We're in almost every ballgame. We have had leads in most of them. We haven't been able to finish them off. We have to figure out a way to finish these guys off.
They are a great team. They find out ways to win. We have to figure that out.
Q. What is it about Duensing that just doesn't seem to get overhyped for him? Is it his personality and how much does that personality help you guys going into a game like this?
RON GARDENHIRE: He's one of these guys that will do anything for you, and when we put him in the rotation, he was going along pretty good. Winning a lot of games. At one point when Baker was getting healthy and coming back, Duensing said the same thing he always does say. If you want me to go back to the bullpen, I'll do that too. He's a team guy.
He takes the ball and he'll do whatever you ask. And what we've been giving him the ball now since those injuries. You don't want to take it away from them. He rose with it. He acts like he's really not an emotional guy. He has some giddy up. When he gets out there he's very competitive. He hides it well and handles it well. That's what we like about him. His make up is unbelievable.
Q. In games that have been as even as this, does getting hits in big situations just go in cycles or do you see a couple of keys to it?
RON GARDENHIRE: Well, the first game, we had tons of chances. Yesterday a couple. Pettitte threw pretty good yesterday and shut us down pretty good. We didn't get what did we get, five or six hits the whole ballgame? We didn't have that many opportunities. The first game we had plenty of opportunities. That's what it's all about this time of year. You have to get those hits.
When you get the guys out there, somebody has to step up and bang one in in the gap and open the game up. We haven't been able to do that in this series. And yet, the last couple of years, we need that.
We need the big hit. We make a big pitch, and you have to come back and get the big hit. That's where we're misfiring right now. We have the hitters to do it. We've done it all year. Now we have to do it here in Yankee Stadium. Or we'll be going home.
Q. I'm sure at one time or another over the years the organization has taken serious looks at Phil Hughes, potential trades and such. I'm just wondering what your perception of him is, how you have evaluated him over the years.
RON GARDENHIRE: I think all the trades you are probably talking about with Santana, a lot of names coming flying out there. His name is always out there. Top prospect. A guy that can be one of your top of the rotation guys as projected. You know what, he's got good stuff. He has a great arm and good stuff. Those guys are always valued, pitching in general. Any guy that can go out and compete like he does in this level in this division that he's in says a little bit about him.
He's got great stuff. Sure when there's trades out there, everybody is going to mention names like that. Pitching normally goes along with trades.
Q. When you rebounding from losses, who are the guys in your clubhouse who help turn the page and what types of things do they say and do?
RON GARDENHIRE: We have a bunch of guys out there. Your leaders, Thome is pretty good at it. Thome steps up. I think the one good thing about these guys, they forget pretty good. Last night we got on the airplane, it was a little quiet, but as it went along, guys landed and there was a lot of laughing.They are ready to go. We know what's in front of us. Like I said, Thome is a big one. Michael Cuddyer is always there. Always. A couple of our pitchers. Pavano was irritated last night, which always makes us laugh. Gives us a good chuckle to see him mad.
We've got quite a few guys out there that we rely on. For the motivational part. Like I said, I don't think it's going to be a problem. This time of year if you can't get up for these games and know what's at stake you're probably in another world.
Q. Ron, did you give any thought to giving the guys a day off today?
RON GARDENHIRE: No. We have had a couple once the season ended. Just get them out, get them around. Basically, we have to be here, because of you guys. If I have to come, so do they.
Q. Gardy, have you thought about anything to tweak the lineup? The other day you mentioned maybe moving a left hander behind Mauer.
RON GARDENHIRE: Yeah, we'll talk about that. I'll look at that tomorrow when we get in here. Go about it. I've been running a lot of thoughts through, whether we go with speed. Maybe Alexi Casilla in the lineup against a right hander. Who knows? I'm going to look at it tomorrow, see some numbers and see if we need to move somebody around or not. Absolutely.
Q. This might be a bit of a stretch, but does the fact that you've played in Game 163 a couple of times in a row help at all going into this weekend?
RON GARDENHIRE: Most of our guys are battle tested in that respect. We have had it on the line. And not all of them. Not all of them were here. But there have been a lot of pressure situations. This is no different. We know if we lose we go home. So throw it out there and let it roll as Shane Mack used to say. That's what we have to do. Get after it. Win a ballgame and try to flip the pressure right back on them.
Q. Brian was talking about learning from the experience of pitching in Game 1 last year here. How important was that for him, do you think, in going into tomorrow's game? Are you more confident in him?
RON GARDENHIRE: Yes, I think that was huge being able to step up like he had to last year, and did well. He did fine. He threw the ball good. We're pretty comfortable with him. I don't worry about the kid too much anymore. He's got the pitches. He seems to remain really calm out on the mound no matter what's going on. If you get in a big situation out there and you go out to talk to him, he's under control. He handles it really well. We have a lot of confidence in him. He's done very well for us.
I think last year definitely helped him. He's been there, done it. He's been on the mound here in Yankee Stadium. We'll see what happens.
Q. Ron, a lot of your players describe you as calm. Do you see yourself that way? And where does that come from?
RON GARDENHIRE: I'm calm on the outside, maybe. I'm a little fired up on the inside. I was a little fired up yesterday. I can be emotional at times. But I think I learned this TK taught me a lot about baseball. Your emotions carry over your team. If I'm screaming and ranting and raving about hitting and pitching and everything in the dugout, pretty much puts more pressure on the guys. So I try to remain as calm as I possibly can and not show my emotions, at least in front of them. If I have to go to a back room and kick the toilet, maybe I'll do that.
Try to. Because the emotions of the manager do play out on your team. If you're ranting and raving and screaming all the time, it puts more pressure on them. I try not to do that.
Workout day interview with Brian Duensing
THE MODERATOR: Let's get started. Questions for Brian Duensing.
Q. In the situation for the Twins, how much pressure are you feeling? How much weight do you feel to save the season?
BRIAN DUENSING: I mean, there's pressure. We have to try to get to Sunday. We have to win. Must win situation. But we can't try and do too much. We have to go out there and play well. The Yankees are a good team. Everyone knows that. If we go out there and try to do too much, we're going to put ourselves into a bigger hole than we're already in. We have to find a way to dig ourselves out and play the best we can.
Q. Brian, how much does the experience you had here in the playoffs last year, how much has that helped you going into this game? Or does it?
BRIAN DUENSING: Yes, there's it's going to help. I know what the atmosphere is going to be like. Getting the start last year just it's going to take a little bit of the edge off. There's going to be nerves. I'll be anxious. Playoffs, postseason. That's always going to be there. But knowing what the atmosphere is like is going to take a little of that pressure off.
Q. Brian, a lot of guys in different situations in other sports want to be in that situation. How much do you more or less want the ball tomorrow night?
BRIAN DUENSING: I mean, any time you go out to give your team a chance to win is a good situation. And if you didn't want the ball there's something wrong with you. Especially this time of year. But I want to go out there, I want to throw. I want to win. I feel like we've been playing some pretty good baseball against these guys. We just can't quite get the job done when we need it in the key situation.
It's fun, exciting. I want to go out there and be able to do well and give the team a chance to win.
Q. Brian, you've pitched in some big games in your career; college, World Series, Olympics. Have you ever pitched in an elimination game and what are the emotions that go along with that specifically?
BRIAN DUENSING: I pitched in the elimination game in the College World Series.
But that was that was a start. I started. It's fun. It's exciting. Anytime you can go out when the pressure on the line, it's going to make it more fun. It's going to make it intense. That's what you thrive for. That's why you play the game. This is Major League Baseball. We're here for a reason. The way we've been playing throughout the season is what got us here. So I feel like we played in some big pressure situations already. Chicago in Chicago late in the year. We can get it done to if we play well. It's fun.
Q. You alluded to this and everybody has that you said that you've played really well against the Yankees. They always seem to find a way to come out on top. How do you explain that? And what do you do to address that?
BRIAN DUENSING: I don't know. We just got to I know it's a big cliche, but we have to keep plugging away. That's the only thing we can do. It's not like we're going out there and giving up or laying down. We're playing all nine innings as hard as we can. Sometimes it takes some luck to get some wins and hopefully we can kind of switch that around.
Q. This is a really patient lineup and last couple of starts you were concerned about the number of walks that you were issuing. What have you done to address that or what have you been working on? What did you notice in video?
BRIAN DUENSING: I did look at a lot of video. My mechanics are the same as they've been all year. I don't know, I haven't been very efficient. So the last couple of bullpens we've thrown we've worked on trying to throw in the middle of the plate and let the ball move on its own instead of doing too much. I think I was kind of gripping the ball a little too tight the last couple of outings. We really have been working on loosening the grip a little bit.
Other than that, I didn't want to change much. It's too late to do that now. We have to go out there and try to be aggressive and make pitches.
Q. You talked about last year and the game in the playoffs, the emotions and the environment. Did anything take you by surprise in that game and how you dealt with it or was it more than you thought it would be that maybe you can deal with better this time?
BRIAN DUENSING: You know, to be honest, I was pretty anxious. I didn't feel like I was very nervous. When I went out to warmup in the bullpen, the fans started getting on me pretty good. But at the same time it's the same stuff I heard all year. To be honest, that kind of calmed me down just a little bit knowing that it's the same game. It's the same thing I've been doing all year, just a little bit bigger stage. I think that helped a lot to kind of calm me down and go out there without too much adrenaline.
Q. Brian, curious to know which of your teammates have been the most vocal about keeping spirits up and keeping the club believing they have a shot in this thing?
BRIAN DUENSING: After last night, Joe Mauer was pretty vocal. Kept telling us no time to quit now, we're down two games. But we have to win anyway. Keep our heads up and we'll keep playing hard.
There's not really much that needs to be said. We all know where we're at. We know what needs to be done. We know what we can do. As long as we stick together, good things can happen. We have to try and keep together.
Q. Brian, you had some troubles with the Yankees in recent years. Would you say the team is frustrated or angry or neither?
BRIAN DUENSING: I think we're a little frustrated. We don't like to get beat that often. No one does. No one likes to lose, especially to the same team. Like I said earlier, we've been playing well. We had the lead a couple of times and put pressure on them and they did a good job of not buckling and they made some good plays when they needed to, got some big hits when they needed to. Late in the game we had some times we weren't able to capitalize on. If we start doing that, we're right there with them.
Q. Did you bring your family with you this trip? Is there any way you try to relax this time in New York versus last time?
BRIAN DUENSING: My family is here. I got both parents and my in laws. But they are here to support I told them not to wear any Duensing shirts. I don't want them getting mobbed out there or anything like that.
This is exciting for them just as much as it is for me. You want to go out there and do well. But at the same time they know that I'm not going to just go out there and quit or not give my best. It's standard family talk. They love you either way.
They are always happy for you no matter what, which is nice. When you lose I'm not planning on losing if you lose, they always give you that lovey dovey talk. It's kind of frustrating. They try to give you the moral support.
Q. Brian, when you guys came here last year, I imagine it was kind of a whirlwind having to go to the tie breaker and then come here basically overnight. You have had a lot more time to prepare for this one. Does that make a difference for you? And is there a balance in being able to scout the opponent without over scouting?
BRIAN DUENSING: Definitely, I think it's a little better situation than last year. When I was told I was starting Game 1 if we got there, I didn't realize, that's what they told me. This year knowing what situation we're in, I have had some time to watch the first couple of games. Watch the Yankees' approaches towards both Liriano and Pavano. It helps just because it kind of takes the edge off me personally, kind of knowing how the game has been going. At the same time, it's giving me time to look at the lineups.
I don't like to overdo it. If I overdo it and I try to pitch to their weaknesses instead of my strengths, that can get me in trouble. I've been trying to kind of take it easy with the scouting and just have to go out there and do what I can.
Q. When you said you didn't really understand what they meant last year, can you explain that a little bit?
BRIAN DUENSING: The last home series was against Kansas City. I threw a couple of innings I think one inning in relief. Afterwards, Rick Anderson came to me and said we want to get you some work. Your going to start on Wednesday. I said all right. I didn't think much about it. I told Kevin Slowey what he said in the dugout. He said you're starting Game 1. I was like oh, I guess I am. I didn't know. I wasn't really paying attention or focused enough on it.
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