10/13/08 9:45 PM ET
Joe Maddon postgame interview
Manager's game plan was for Garza to keep it simple
By / MLB.com
First of all, for continuity's sake, did you listen The Stones this morning, and when you were, did you think you would put up all those runs against Jon Lester?
JOE MADDON: First of all, yes; and second of all, no. I started out with The Stones once again, and like I've been talking about with Lester, one of the better young left handed pitchers in the league.
I just thought we had good at bats tonight, and when he made a couple mistakes, we took advantage of it. He is very good. Don't be deceived. He's very good. We just had a relatively good night. We had some good at bats at crucial moments. Three-run homers are nice to get. We were very fortunate with that. But I have a lot of respect for him, and this is one of the better young left-handers in the American League and all of baseball actually.
Did you have a different approach to Lester by design or how do you explain the fact that you handled him?
JOE MADDON: We've seen him a couple times, but we did go over him thoroughly, like everybody else goes over everybody thoroughly. We had a good idea coming into it.
It's always a matter of execution. Regardless of the best-laid plans, it's always about execution. The pitcher executes a pitch. Contrary to the hitter, he's always going to come out on top, almost always.
Tonight we had a plan, we had a game plan, we stayed with it, and eventually we got pitches that we could handle.
Really, B.J.'s was big. You have second and third, nobody out, you're looking even a ground ball to second base right there, but the way this guy pitches, he did the appropriate thing and just tried to hit right there, and obviously the three run homer is a nice result.
Again, we had a good approach tonight. We were able to execute our side of things. And beyond all that, you talk about all the hitting you want. Garza is the main reason why we won that game. I really believe in that. The starting pitching sets the tone. Him doing what he did tonight permitted us to get into the flow of the game, get some runs and then maintain. He did not permit them to come back.
That to me is the story line for the game always. When you win games like this, it's normally about your starting pitching, and it was tonight.
Why was he so effective tonight?
JOE MADDON: Good command, good command of his fastball. Once again, he threw some pretty good curves and sliders in there intermittently, but primarily, you'll hear me say this a lot, I know I'm redundant with this, but I really believe in it, fastball command of any pitcher really matters. And that pretty much sets up everything else that a pitcher does.
There's the anomaly pitcher once in a while that works off his breaking stuff first and then throws the fastball, but primarily it's the other way around. So he had his fastball command tonight and that set everything else up for him.
Can you talk about Garza battled those first two innings and got out of them without any runs, and what did you tell him when you went out there in the fifth or sixth?
JOE MADDON: I didn't go out to talk to him. That was Hick, wasn't it? One of those out of body experiences. Yeah, Hick went out there.
The thing with Garza sometimes, he's actually a very bright young man, and sometimes he will go overboard sometimes and not just stay with the basic plan. He wants to make it a little bit more complicated, so we just wanted to simplify it for him once again.
The more simple he stays the better off he is, and Hick was just reminding him of some pertinent facts that we have covered over and over again.
He's a beautiful man, Garza. I love him. And just sometimes he tends to complicate things, and we just wanted to keep it simple.
We all know the lessons you tried to impart to B.J. in August. When you're the manager of a talent like that, do you almost feel an extra responsibility to be able to draw whatever you can out of him?
JOE MADDON: You're the steward of all these young men right now. It's no different than being a father. Even though we're all about the same age, basically, you have to do the parental thing on occasion.
And with B.J., again, I've wanted people to understand and not to misconstrue the situation. He's a wonderful young man. He's not just okay. He's very high end in a positive way.
That was just a point that needed to be driven home at that moment for him and for the whole organization.
Again, we talk about this, it's a wonderful moment we're in right now, but this is just the beginning, and you have to -- when you're building it, when you're putting it together, you really have to establish the core principles. And that's one of them.
B.J. understands that. He never made an excuse, never cried about it, more to his credit. Again, he's one of the more gifted young athletes, not just the American League, in baseball right now, and he's a wonderful young man on top of that.
Can you talk about what -- just what it means to be Rocco Baldelli make a contribution like he did tonight?
JOE MADDON: I was very happy for him. Happy for us, but happy for him, too, based on what he's gone through to get to this particular moment, being from this region.
I know there's a certain amount of extra emphasis placed on what he does based on coming from Providence area. I was very happy for him. This young man has really battled to get back to this particular point, along with our trainers and our doctors. Ron Porterfield has spearheaded this entire event He's our head trainer, as well as our doctors, of course. But it always comes down to the athlete to get things done. But to have him do it here in this venue is very special for him and for us.
When David Ortiz came into the series, he was struggling a little bit. It seemed to have continued, specifically on the run production. Did you notice anything coming in? Are you waiting -- not waiting, I don't know if that's the right word, but do you see this guy breaking through?
JOE MADDON: Oh, absolutely. You feel very fortunate when you get through a game and he has not impacted it for the Red Sox. I have the utmost respect for him as a player and as a person. I know what he does in the Dominican. I know what he means to all that and baseball players and the culture itself. It goes beyond baseball. This guy is special, and you have to treat him with respect at all times.
He may look bad one night or not get it done one night, but you cannot take it for granted he's not going to do it the next night. We're very careful with him, now and forever.
Just going into tomorrow's game, believe me, he's going to be ready for that. I know that, we know that. We just have to make good pitches.
With Ortiz not being quite himself and in addition to the Red Sox losing Ramirez, have you approached this team any differently?
JOE MADDON: No. Jim Hickey and our pitching coach, along with all the scouting that we do, we're just breaking it down like we do everybody else. You just have to go with who's on the other team what's presented to you and you just have to attempt to beat that obviously.
I know Hick I does a great job of breaking all this down. Believe me, we've got a lot of stuff going on to get ready. But then again, it's always about execution. So it just provides different, maybe, challenges with having the other people here.
Just getting to know them is uncomfortable. Look what Bay's done in this series and all the postseason because the American League just doesn't know him yet, really. So it's a game by game, team by team situation. We do the same kind of homework regardless of who we're playing, and for now, again, the Red Sox -- we won tonight. I've talked about it a lot. It's one game at a time, one day at a time. We happened to win tonight. We've got to come out and be ready for bear tomorrow.
Considering how young the B.J. and Evan are, why do you feel that they've performed as well as they have in this postseason, considering it's pretty heady stuff for young guys like this?
JOE MADDON: Right. It is very heady stuff. Primarily, first of all, they come equipped with all the bells and whistles. They're very good athletes, and I use this phrase a lot, and I hope again, I know you understand what I'm saying, but wherever you're at, if you feel like you belong there, it matters.
Regardless of your age or level of experience, if you feel like you belong, thus your talents can come out. If you don't, you can be the most talented person in the world and your talents aren't going to show up.
They feel like they belong here, and that's a big reason why they've been able to perform with calm and permit everybody see how good they are. There's some athletes that just don't arrive at that mental point as quick, but they have. It doesn't surprise me. Knowing them on a daily basis, it does not surprise me.
Without trying to get too into it, that's basically the most simple way I can explain it to you. They're excellent athletes, but they know they belong here, and they like it.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.