10/02/08 7:42 PM ET
Joe Maddon postgame interview
Manager proud of how team handled first postseason game
By / MLB.com
JOE MADDON: Honestly, I wasn't surprised. He's always in the moment. He's always got this way about him that you know. He's not going to be overwhelmed by the situation. And that speaks beyond his skill level. Obviously his skills are very good. But I just look and try to evaluate what the guy's like. And he likes these moments, in a noncocky way. He's just very confident.
So with that, I really did expect him to have a very good postseason.
You said this morning driving over that you played the game out in your mind, was that how it worked out?
JOE MADDON: Well, kind of, yeah. The relief pitching I was liking to see Shields get through that inning, I thought he could. Then things stayed right around 100 pitches, the hitting Pierzynski was kind of the moment there. And we had Balfour warming up for Uribe for that particular moment. I liked him on him, and then Orlando.
So that part of it worked out. The way the bullpen came into that game was pretty much like we had talked about and that's a good thing. But then again, you can't get to that point without good starting pitching.
I mean, Shields, you could see a lot of times if you followed us all year long he will occasionally early give up a couple runs like he did today, but then he always settles in. Always. That just speaks to his intestinal fortitude. The fact that he doesn't cave in. He is a tough guy.
So I really felt that after that inning, he would be fine.
Given everything the way Shields grinded and the bullpen and everything else, this was actually a fairly typical win for the way you've been winning all year, wasn't it?
JOE MADDON: I thought the same thing as the game was in progress. We weren't really challenged on defense. We made the plays, though. The good starting pitching, stellar bullpen work. We got timely hits when we needed it. Of course, Evan really came through. I thought Willy Aybar coming off the bench did a wonderful job.
Again, Willy loves to play baseball. Willy comes ready every day regard less of the situation. Willy's always ready. He did a wonderful job also.
Carl, big base hit up the middle, that was a big run at that particular moment. Again, an entire team effort, you're absolutely right. The anonymous group that has ownership.
You've likened Balfour to your mad Hungarian, if an Aussie can be a mad Hungarian. Can you talk about the package that he is and the job that he did today from your perspective what went on with him and Cabrera there?
JOE MADDON: Well, when Hrabosky was pitching for the Cardinals, I was a big Cardinal fan. I know all about Al, and I got to meet him this last year.
We're talking about the intensity with which they pitch. It's authentic. It's authentic. Grant is just that wound up when he pitches. He truly is. He's been like that. I think what I've seen as he's been with us this year he's been able to let go a little bit more.
In other words, he's been even more demonstrative because he's been more comfortable in a sense. And I think it's a good thing because I really encourage our guys to be themselves. And without inflicting any kind of wrong message to the other side -- I don't want that to happen at all -- this is just him. It's how he has to work, it's how he deals with the world when he's pitching.
I don't know what happened when he was growing up as a kid in Australia, but there was some kind of influence that's created this Hrabosky kind of tendencies.
Did Cabrera take offense to something that Grant did?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, and you know what, in my brief investigative work regarding that, actually he thought that Grant had said something that I think Javy had said, so took it the wrong way. Then he kicked the dirt. Grant reacted. I really don't expect anything further to happen with it.
This is the first time for all the guys in this experience. You talked about making sure they soaked it all in. How do you feel they embraced this whole day and handled everything with the pressure?
JOE MADDON: I like the way our guys went about their business a lot. Prior to the game some of the broadcasters came in and gave me a feeling of the pulse of the mood of the group, and we got thumbs on up on that, I liked it.
From my perspective, I was kind of busy all day, so I didn't have a chance to interact that much. But I kept asking Davey how are the boys, good during BP. I asked, Hick, everybody was good. And I kept asking the coaches and they said everything was fine.
That was the sense I got. Walked in the breakfast room, it was the same, food was the same. After the game we celebrated as normal. I liked that. And now we're going to get ready for tomorrow.
How exactly did Peña scratch his eye and can you comment on how Aybar played?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, it happened last night. I'm not exactly sure how it occurred. But coming into today's batting practice I was aware of it, obviously, we were all aware of it. During BP he was kind of okay, but I could tell from his descriptions that he wasn't necessarily positive that he was going to be okay. Then after an inning or two out there he came back and just didn't feel comfortable.
When you're talking about vision, my goodness, whether it's hitting or receiving a throw with all these people in the stands, you can't really see that well. When he presented all of that to me, I chose to just pull him out of the game at that time. I really believe from what I understand he's going to be fine from tomorrow. It's one of these quick healing things. But it can present a problem in the initial phase.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.