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10/27/08 12:45 AM ET

A postgame interview with Joe Maddon

Rays manager meets the media after losing Game 4 of the World Series

Seemed to be a rough game in every aspect. Did the ball get rolling there with the bad call against Longoria in the first?

JOE MADDON: That just happened. We did not play very well tonight overall. We did not pitch as well as we could. We're definitely not swinging the bats like we can. We made some mistakes on defense. I just can't point to one umpiring call and blame the entire event on that. We just didn't play well enough tonight. We've got to get better tomorrow fast.

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You've got Longoria and Peña struggling, what has to happen for them to get out of funk? And how much is that hurting you right now?

JOE MADDON: Longo has to keep that ball fair. If he could keep that ball fair, that could get him going in the right direction. He hit that ball to the well, he hit it as well as he could and the wind knocked her down, so that was unfortunate. Same thing with Carlos, just one good at bat, some nice contact that's successful. The same thing happened to Howard within this series, and then he got on the roll also and that really mattered to him, he's looking pretty good right now.

So continue to do our thing, come back out tomorrow, forget about this one. We have to win obviously tomorrow, one game at a time. It's not about winning three, it's about winning tomorrow. That's what I want them to understand. I don't want them to look too far into the future, just win tomorrow.

Have you been pitching around Utley a little bit to get to Howard at all, I know you walked him in a certain situation?

JOE MADDON: No, not at all.

Did you expect this from Howard? Did you expect him to break out eventually?

JOE MADDON: Just like the last series, where everyone was talking about Papi being off of his game. And I kept saying, I don't trust him. I have not been around Ryan as often or as many times, but again you know how good he is. And guys like that, those big power guys, when they hit them, it normally comes in bunches. They get the feel working and all of a sudden every ball looks big, and it's in the right spot.

So I don't take anybody lightly. We don't take anybody lightly. He's very good. And we have not been pitching around anybody to get to him. He did a nice job on the breaking ball. He went to the opposite field with it. And that last at bat against Trever he just crushed that pitch.

So he's good. He's good. And you never take people like that for granted, ever.

You had Miller up in the fourth there, how close were you to going to him to get Howard?

JOE MADDON: He struck out Utley, so at that point I'm just saying let's ride with it a little bit. If Utley had gotten on, Miller would have faced Howard. I didn't really want to do that.

If you guys haven't really seen Sonnie, he's really able to get through some moments. And again he's been pitching very well against a good Boston team. So I wasn't overtly concerned right there, but I was mildly. He made some nice pitches on Utley, so I thought he was okay. And then of course the home run, and I had to stick with him after that. Third hitter up next I think inning, I did not want to bring a relief pitcher in too soon, and have to waste him with a pinch hitter. So it's one of those tough National League moments right there.

Did you notice the smudge mark on Blanton's cap? Did you think there was anything funky there?

JOE MADDON: We did notice. It was rather dark.

Did you talk to the umpires about it?

JOE MADDON: I did bring it to their attention. Quite frankly I did. I asked them to watch it and be vigilant about it and nothing happened, obviously, but I was concerned about that early on.

There's a couple of factors that come up in every World Series for hitters, one is they're facing very good pitchers and they're pitchers that they're probably largely unfamiliar with.


How much do you think those two factors might contribute to what's going on with Longoria and Peña?

JOE MADDON: It has something to do with it. But from my old hitting coach's days I can just see what's happening. I've been trying to relate to both of them exactly what the Phillies are trying to do to them. But you have to go up there in the batter's box yourself. I think it has something to do with it. I just think that both guys are just out of their game a little bit right now, quite frankly, in regards to their strike zone. If I preach anything to them it is to not expand their strike zone, because more often than not the Phillies are making certain pitches, absolutely, and they've done a pretty good job. But if we stick to our game plan we'll be able to counter punch them. We have to get back into it.

We know what's going on, we're just not reacting very well yet, but there is time.

You guys were so tight defensively earlier in the playoffs and you look at the third and fourth innings, they start with errors by Iwamura and you were talking about tightening up your play as early as tomorrow. What's happened with the infield defense and how much will those key errors be to turning this whole ballgame around?

JOE MADDON: They contributed, no question. That's something we don't normally do, if you watched us, again, we don't make that mistake. And Aki's been fabulous all season. He's only made a couple maybe five errors the whole year.


JOE MADDON: Seven, counting those two?


JOE MADDON: He's been fabulous. That's just one of those things. I'm not going to try to make an excuse for him or try to explain it, it's just something he normally does not do. And he did, they were very big for the Phillies in regards to this game and they took advantage, to their credit.

They're good, they're really good. Getting to watch them on a consistent basis, I knew a little about them watching them in Spring Training, they're a very good ballclub and you can't make those kind of mistakes, they're definitely going to feed off of it, especially in this ballpark. That's uncharacteristic for us, and we can't do that the rest of the series.

You talked about just playing tomorrow, but can you take any solace from the fact that you did win three in a row just in the last series?

JOE MADDON: Yeah, I mean, you're right, but I don't even like to talk about three in a row. The mantra has been one at a time. I want to approach it that way. That's how we've approached the whole season. It's about beating the guy tomorrow and getting back home. It's about tomorrow. I don't want us looking any further ahead than that, it's about tomorrow's game. They're pitcher is really good; so is ours. We have to not give them four outs in an inning. We have to have better at bats. We have to see more pitches. Those are the keys to our success that have gotten away from us a bit.

To the Phillies' credit, they've played really well and they are very good, but we have to play our game in order to win tomorrow and the next couple of days after that.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

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