Transcript of Joe Girardi's postgame meeting with reporters after the Yankees were eliminated in the ALDS by the Tigers Thursday night at the Stadium:
Q. Joe, what happened with Nova, exactly? And how did that affect the way you had to manage the rest of that game?
JOE GIRARDI: After the second inning he was stiff kind of down here. I don't think -- whenever you start pointing to that area, I don't think it's the ligament or that area, it was lower. And we didn't like the way the ball was coming out of his hand. I think it was directly related to that. Some of his fastballs were cutting, and we never saw that.
So I had to make a change. And I had to, you know, try to get our bullpen through it. And they did a tremendous job. One run through seven innings.
Q. Do you suppose his forearm contributed to the pitches early in the first inning?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, he said he didn't feel it in the first. So I don't know. He just left a slider up and he left a curveball up. He had a couple of strikeouts in the first -- he made some good pitches in the first inning. But the ones he left up they hit. And it's kind of the difference in the game.
Q. Joe, with the lineup that you have, is it surprising that the big hits should prove elusive tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: These guys have pitched all year long, Detroit. You look at what they've done. I look at this game and it was one hit, maybe one sac fly. That was the difference. And they made some huge pitches when they had to. Whether it was Fister or any of their guys. They made big pitches when they had to.
Our guys played hard. I can't ask for any more from them during the course of the season. And obviously this is a terrible day for us. But we got beat.
Q. Joe, with the way Alex swung the bat tonight and in the series, do you think it was a matter of the injuries ultimately wearing him down or was it something else?
JOE GIRARDI: No, I mean, it could have been. Players aren't going to make excuses, neither am I. The bottom line is we lost some really close games to them. We lost two one-run games and a two-run game. And as I said, a hit here and a hit there and it's a different series.
Q. Is there an irony that you see in that most of the season there was supposed to be a lack of pitching and then you lose by one or two runs?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah. Our pitchers threw as well as they could this year. I really believe that. Going into Spring Training, all the question marks. They pitched their hearts out. Those guys have nothing to be ashamed of. There's nothing you can really say that's going to make them feel any better. But they played their hearts out all year long.
Q. What happened with Benoit and the band-aid?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, I'm not trying to play a mind game or anything, but it was pretty big band-aid and it was somewhat distracting, I think. It's hard not to look at. And I'm sure he had a legitimate reason, and it's not something I necessarily wanted to do, but to me it would have been a distraction.
Q. Joe, if this were Jorge Posada's final game as a Yankee, what do you think of his Yankee career?
JOE GIRARDI: This guy, when you look at what he did in this series, he was awesome. He's had a tremendous career, and I'm sure he's going to continue to play, and I don't know what's going to happen, but you talk about being proud of players. What he went through this year and what he gave us in the postseason, I don't think there's a prouder moment than I've had of Jorgie. You can go back to when he came up in '96, how proud of him I was when he caught the perfect game and all the championships that he's won. The heart that he showed during this series, that's why Jorgie has been a great player.
Q. Joe, after all that you've accomplished this year, how hard is it to lose in the first round?
JOE GIRARDI: It's terrible. As I said, we only accomplished one goal when the season ended. We had to fight like crazy to get there. It's a really empty feeling. It's an empty feeling for everyone in that room. And it hurts. You just got to remember this feeling and we'll be determined next year.
Q. Joe, off the bat, did you think Jeter's ball had a chance?
JOE GIRARDI: I did. I did. And I think it got to the wall, is my guess. Then I couldn't really see. We had everyone standing up in the dugout. But you talk about a game that a lot of times it's a matter of a foot here or a foot there, and it's the difference of the game. This situation could have been the difference in the series.
Q. People talk about the depth of your lineup quite a bit. How disappointing is it that the middle of your order, very productive hitters, couldn't drive in a big run for you in this series?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, you know, the one thing that I know is I know their heart and their effort. I'm not disappointed in any one of our guys. Not one of them. I'm proud of every one of those guys and what they bring to the table every day. Some days you just get beat.
Q. Is this one of your harder games to manage with losing Nova early in an elimination situation?
JOE GIRARDI: I think because of -- I didn't necessarily think it was a hard game to manage. It's a hard game to swallow.