10/03/11 9:50 PM ET
A postgame interview with Joe Maddon
By / MLB.com
THE MODERATOR: Okay, questions for Joe Maddon.
Q. Joe, in the seventh when Kotchman single loads it, are you in kind of a matchup bind there?
JOE MADDON: When Kotchman singled --
Q. When Kotchman single loaded it, you've got Jaso -- either Jaso against a lefty, or if you bring a right hander in --
JOE MADDON: Right. I wanted to send up Rodriguez. If they will bring in Ogando, then Fuld was going to hit against him, which I liked. I wanted to take my chance there with Sean. Sean has been playing a lot, he's been working good at bats against both righties and lefties.
By doing what we did, I knew that Sam would hit there, unless we get into a double play. So that's why I did what I did.
So it's a little bit of a matchup bind, but when it gets to Fuld right there, I kind of liked it.
Q. The top half of that inning when you go to Gomes, seemingly three maybe options in your pen. Why J.P. over the others?
JOE MADDON: Because that's one of the big reasons that J.P. was here, to pitch to that fellow. He had decent success in the past. And just everything we do, all the homework we do, that's our best one on one matchup, we think, out of the bullpen based on the kind of stuff J.P. has and what he's done to left handed hitters this year. He just got the curveball in a bad spot. The first pitch, you saw it, the second pitch is in the wrong spot, that's all.
Q. What was your take on both starting pitchers? Kind of a different game when they were in there.
JOE MADDON: Obviously Colby was a little more dominating, I thought, than David. David was working his way through. Some balls were hit, we made some plays. We were in the right spots. So I think Lewis was more dominating than Price to that point, obviously only gave up one hit, and that was the homer.
David was still doing a nice job of working through the whole event. And then Napoli has just been this is the year of the Napoli, man. He is just hot. And he got a pitch he almost had him. The thing about Nap that is different now is his two strike approach is fantastic. He's really made great strides with that as opposed to what he had been like in Anaheim. That seems to me to be the big difference in his year is what he has done with two strikes.
So he fouled off that pitch to the right side, then he eventually had to make another pitch that ended up being a home run. It is the Bernie Carbo moment. I am always looking for that for ourselves.
Q. Joe, I was going to get to that point about Napoli, but adding him to that lineup, what kind of firepower does that give them and how difficult does it make it?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, there's not a whole lot of positive options on the other side. You know, Moreland hitting eighth.
I always looked at this. I always looked at the quality of the seventh place hitter in the American League lineups. If that guy is good, they're good. That thought came to my mind years ago when we were playing the Indians and David Justice was hitting seventh for the Indians, and I thought, My God, what a great lineup this is.
When you are that thick that late even at the end of the game they could have pinch hit Murphy at any time for Gentry, and then you have Murphy in the 9 hole. They are tough up and down.
So we lose 4 3. And, once again, the young pitchers I thought did a great job to keep them at that moment. We had opportunities to score more runs. We didn't.
How about the game, though? Tremendous game. Absolutely wonderful game of baseball. I am very I say this often, but I am very proud of our boys. Of course you want to come out on top. We have been on top of that game and, believe me, this thing is not over. You have seen what we have done over the last month.
So, again, as you are managing the game, you are very entertained by this whole event. And for me personally, being the manager of this group of people, where we're at right now based on what the opinion was early in the season, I couldn't be more happy or proud of this group.
So we'll take this we'll get back out there tomorrow night. Jeremy's ready to roll and take this game win that game, take it back to Texas. I talked in the beginning of the season of doing this in another way. We're set up for it.
Q. Joe, you referenced it a little bit. You are scoring a lot of runs the last few games via the home run, but you're not really getting that small ball hit that this team is known for. Is that what you're going to look back on this game, maybe not getting that key single when you needed it?
JOE MADDON: We had the chance. Those at bat it was a tough at bat. Feliz comes in to get four outs, and he made some good pitches right there. He still threw 100.
You know, people have to understand when you see the triple digits on the scoreboard, from the hitter's perspective, you have to get ready early, man. It's not easy to catch up to that stuff.
So he was on his game velocity wise. But, nevertheless, we had 25 or 26 pitches, and I kind of like that. That's the thing about a four out save; that in the next inning that if you are able to work through some at bats, you can get the pitch count up there and all of a sudden these closers aren't used to that. You know 25, 30, 30 some pitches. And I thought Shoppach's last at bat was fantastic. Just for a couple inches, hit the third base bag, we would be in good shape.
Again, it was a great baseball game, and they got us.
Q. Somehow we got to this part in the press conference didn't mention Desmond Jennings. He came into the playoffs really struggling but he has really come up.
JOE MADDON: We moved him down a couple of days ago and talked about a couple of things. Took a little pressure off him for one day. The reason I moved him back up is based on what I saw in the one game in, what, the 7 or 8 hole. 7. Might have been 8. 8 hole, I think it was.
Anyway, his takes were better. And, again, you guys may think I'm nuts, but the quality of the take as an old hitting coach really matters to me. I thought he was taking pitches better. When you are taking pitches better, you are seeing the ball, not as jumpy, and then if they throw in the right spot, you can do what he has done.
Two homers, some good at bats. He is not intimidated. I talked about this in the pregame press conference. One eye on the present; one eye on the future. This guy had very limited experience here, and he is already doing those kind of things.
Q. Joe, when Feliz came in the eighth, he threw a lot more sliders than he usually does. How much more difficult does that make him when he is getting that pitch over? You have to at least respect that he will throw it.
JOE MADDON: That's what I am talking about. When you are throwing that hard, hitters have to they call it cheating. You have to cheat to get it there on time. You have no other choice. And if you are able to throw this other pitch well and even they weren't strikes, but it is hard for Zobrist not to swing or to lay off those pitches. It is very difficult. You see the same thing with a Papelbon as an example, too, when he throws the split after the hard fastball.
So that's one of those moments, man. You have to be he has to make a mistake and you have to be ready for it. It's a low percentage play offensively, but I thought Zo did work a good at bat. He fouled off two strike fastballs after seeing a couple of breaking balls, so I thought it was a great at bat by Zo.
Q. Joe, with the Rangers speed in mind, what went into your decision today to start Jaso?
JOE MADDON: It's all based on their pitcher. Their pitcher's really, really good against right handed hitters. The lefty is the side that would get him better, and Jaso has a chance there to do something for us offensively.So that's it. It's not more complicated than that. Of course, our other guys are probably better at controlling the running game. But if you look deeper into it, look at Jaso with David, that combination and how effective it's been this year. David has actually done pretty well with Mikey behind the plate. There are a lot of different things involved.
Q. Joe, I like your "year of the Napoli" line. And it really is. I was looking at OPS numbers. He's ahead of Adrian Gonzalez, ahead of Cano, Granderson, Pujols, by a lot. How is that even possible with a guy like that who couldn't even get regular at bats pretty much anywhere?
JOE MADDON: I think he reinvented himself offensively this year. He always had great power. I have known him since he was in the Minor Leagues with the Angels. I remember working in the back fields, me, him and Ty Van Burkleo down below, just doing some stuff on the lower fields at Diablo Stadium. So I have known him. The difference is he is making adjustments. He is making adjustments into the at bat, the count. He is willing to hit the first hit, that change up base hit up the middle with two strikes against David, as an example. That wasn't part of his abilities, wasn't within his purview in the past. Now all of a sudden he's made the adjustment, and that's the big difference.
Q. Joe, I know that you can't go all hands on deck for Game 4 knowing that you may have to play again on Thursday, but how many hands do you have on deck for a possible elimination?
JOE MADDON: Two times 25 would be 50. Everybody's on deck. We'll see how it plays out. Of course I like Jeremy's ability versus this team right here.
So one moment at a time. We will be ready tomorrow night. Or tomorrow afternoon.
Q. In the eighth inning after Jennings' home run made it 4 3, Upton walked, 1 2 count, he took off. Pitch out, caught stealing. I know it is tough to anticipate a pitch out, but is that the time you maybe will?
JOE MADDON: You can. They will definitely take a chance in that moment, one and two, because, first of all, you have Adams pitching, who has been kind of a lock for them. The 1 2 count you are willing to give up a ball, still 2 2.
But it was a great call on their part. They beat us in that moment. I have to give them a lot of credit for that. I will not denigrate B.J. at all for that moment. If he is safe, everybody loves it.
We are not going to get timid now. We are not a timid team or group or organization. We're not. They got us. Hats off to them. We'll see what happens next time.
Q. With respect to David, you talked previously about fine tuning his approach, against the Rangers specifically. First of all, how did he execute that plan and then, secondly, can you put this outing in kind of the larger context of his lack of run support?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, he pitched really well enough for us to win tonight. Their guy was just I thought very, very good.
Overall I thought David did a nice job utilizing all the elements, all of the different pitches that he is able to throw. He brought the change up in more, which it was good. It was a good pitch for him. I liked it. The cutter he was throwing in better spots also. I thought he pitched well. It comes down to one pitch to Napoli and they get two runs. And then I just didn't like him on Kinsler at that point, right around 100 pitches. And Gomes has been doing great job, so moved it over.
I thought overall David really represented himself well tonight and gave us a solid chance to win that game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Joe.
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