10/11/08 7:04 PM ET
Joe Maddon pregame interview
Manager believes team played well in Game 1
By / MLB.com
Simple question: What do you tell your team going into Game 2 tonight?
JOE MADDON: Not a whole lot. We've been here before. I know it's the playoffs so there's a difference in that regard, but we've lost twice to the Red Sox in the first game of a series this past month and came back nicely.
I just want us to go out, and again, I hate to be redundant, but to play our game. It's going to be all about pitching once again. It was a really well-played game last night, a really close game. They got two runs; we did not. I liked over all the way we handled things, so don't change a whole lot, just hope we score more runs.
The Red Sox seemed to challenge Longoria in particular in a number of his at bats last night. From your standpoint, is his wrist healthy? How much is it affecting him, if it is at all?
JOE MADDON: He's fine. He's fine. A couple days ago, he hit two home runs in one game and looked pretty good.
I just think for right now, he just expanded his own strike zone a bit. He's gotten out of his game plan a bit. It happens. It happens to everybody. So I talked to him a little bit today. I'm just trying to get him to go up there and just pretty much just do what he's done all year, and that's use a little bit more selectivity, looking for his pitches, et cetera, et cetera. It happens.
The first game against the White Sox, he hit the two home runs; he looked very good. And I've seen him do this before; whereas he may have had a couple bad games in a row, and all of a sudden, heads up.
So he's got it in him. They got him yesterday. Look forward to him getting them today.
I was wondering if you had any reaction to David Ortiz's comments after the game last night. He talked about seeing different looks on the faces of some players that maybe he didn't see during the regular season. I wonder if you saw those and what you thought about them.
JOE MADDON: I agree, and I did see it. That's why I thought it primarily manifested itself in the pitches that we swung at. However, they had kind of the same look themselves. It was a very close game. It was 2-0. I think both teams played a relatively good game. Neither team played well on offense. That happens sometimes.
Both starting pitchers were fantastic. That was our first foray into that situation yesterday, and I'd like to believe we're going to come out and be more typical today. But I can't disagree with him.
Kind of on what Jack just asked, your guys swung at a couple times, swung 3-0 and 2-0. Is that something you need to do in this series, be aggressive, or just a case of the situation dictated it?
JOE MADDON: It's something we've done all year. 2-0 is a nice pitch to hit normally. 3-0 yesterday with Carlos, I was just taking everything into consideration and felt pretty good about it, just topspin the ball a bit. You look at who's on deck, who's going to pitch.
The fact that Papelbon is there to get four outs and not three, all those things matter. You know Carlos is going to see fastball, and you trust him right there. I trust he's going to put a good swing on a good pitch and if he didn't topspin it, it might have hit the back wall.
Based on the fact it's this time of the year, I want us to continue to play aggressively. That's what's got us here in the first place.
You just spoke earlier how when you played Boston earlier this year, you lost the first games of the series and came back to win ...
JOE MADDON: During the last month.
Did those series have a playoff mentality, or are you looking at this as sort of, hey, it's not the end of the world; we lost one game. How does that translate?
JOE MADDON: Well, those guys are really intense. I don't know if you saw them in person or not, but the games both here and in Boston were really intensely played games. I thought they were fabulous, and they did have a playoff quality to them, but they never are until you actually are in the playoffs.
I just thought overall that we reacted well after we had lost the first games of those series.
The second part of your question again was?
Well, I was just curious as to -- I think you answered it, whether or not those games had a playoff feel or these games have less of a ...
JOE MADDON: I see. Again, you're talking about it was one loss. You've still got to win four games to win this series, and that's the point. I talked about it coming into this. You really have to remain with the one game at a time attitude, right now, one pitch, one inning, et cetera.
We lost yesterday. We've been there before. They still have to win three more games. We've got to win four. Just move it along, go out there and play our game, let it rip and see what happens.
Up until fairly recently, you come into here for Boston, there would be as many Red Sox fans as Rays fans here. That's changed recently. How much does that register with you? How significant is the change in atmosphere, if at all?
JOE MADDON: It's pro Ray. Over the last couple years, you come into this building, we're playing the Sox or the Yankees, or a lot of other teams actually, even the White Sox, you get this big pro contingency from the other side.
When you're in your own ballpark that's a little bit disconcerting and it's kind of disappointing. But all along we've known that it's incumbent upon us to win to create the tipping point within this building, and I think we've done that.
You look at the record this year when it was 30,000 plus people; that was our 33rd loss this year under those circumstances. The fans make a huge difference for us, and we've been appealing to them all season in that regard. Once again, we've got to win first, and we knew that.
So now we're getting to the point now and into next season, it's one of those situations you want to win to build upon, and you have to nurture it and treat it with respect. And I use that phrase a lot, but I believe it. We got them here; now we want to keep them here.
It'll be a little cooler in Boston than it was in Chicago. How do you think your guys will respond to that, or is that the least of your concerns going to Fenway?
JOE MADDON: I'm not really there yet mentally. We'll see how cold. It could be really cold. That's not good. And if it's mildly cold, with all the gear that you are provided for, hopefully we'll be fine.
I haven't even thought about it. I know on the sidelines I get cold easily. I grew up in Pennsylvania. I remember minus 46 with the wind chill, and I freeze now in 40 degree weather.
We'll just play that one moment at a time and see how it all turns out. I think our guys at this time of the year, I'd like to believe they're not going to be impacted so much by that.
How difficult is it to make sure your guys stay kind of loose and not get tight in this situation?
JOE MADDON: How difficult? I mean, I don't know that it's easy or difficult. I just want them to be the same. Sometimes you take for granted that you believe people will be. But we're going through this uncharted territory right now, and I just keep preaching the same thing.
Part of it is, like I said, to not bring it to their attention. I think once you bring it to their attention then you're going to force the thought. For instance, I did talk to Longo today primarily because I want him to organize his strike zone again more than thinking.
But I have those private conversations with different players at different times, as opposed to group settings. So for right now I didn't really want to get the group together and give them the old Knute Rockne thing. I don't think it's necessary.
Like I said, it's a baseball season. The vibe within a baseball clubhouse is totally different than football. I've been in clubhouses through college and I know what that feels like. It's an entirely different feeling. We just want to get ready and go out there and play another good ballgame.
Carlos Peña very graciously credits the speed of the top of the lineup for a lot of what he's done this year. Conversely, what's he done to make that speed work for you guys?
JOE MADDON: When he's up there -- setting the table obviously is really important. I didn't want to mess with the one two aspect of the lineup even though Carl came back because I thought Akinori and B.J., even though B.J.'s batting average wasn't very good, you look at his on base percentage and he's swinging the bat really good, but they feed into three and four.
But furthermore, particularly B.J. because Akinori is not the base stealing threat necessarily that B.J. is, but you have the opposition thing of two things: Do I need to throw a fastball to keep B.J. from running or throw a breaking ball and disregard B.J. running. I think it feeds into both players from that perspective.
As a base runner you have to get a feel for when they're going to throw a breaking ball. There's different things you can look at, trying to peek it, watching the catcher's throws, et cetera, and it's your best guess. I think they feed into one another as to what they can do, whether it's stealing a base or hitting a ball in the gap or over the wall.
With the inconsistency Scott has shown, how patient are you going to be with him tonight, depending on what kind of a start he gets or doesn't get?
JOE MADDON: It's always a feel thing. The other day you saw it. He had a tough first inning, but then he settled in and threw a lot of strikes after that.
My best answer is I just have to see what it looks like and what I'm thinking or feeling at that particular moment, how the game seems to be going.
Again, he's shown that where he's had -- you all know that. It's no big secret; he's had some problems in the first inning. But it seems to be in the first or second inning on the consistent basis, and the other teams wouldn't score a lot of runs.
It's just a feel thing based upon what you're saying, and I do think he's going to settle down or not based on how he's commanding his fastball.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.