Manuel, Victorino, Myers interview
Team knew it was possible to beat Sabathia
Shane, you're normally an aggressive hitter, very aggressive on at the plate. On the at-bat with the home run, how tough was it for you to remain patient in that situation and wait for the right pitch because you had just walked two hitters, including the guy to your left?
SHANE VICTORINO: To be honest, I stayed aggressive. I took a first pitch. He threw it for a ball. He threw the next pitch for a fastball for strike, and he threw the next pitch fastball, I followed also.
In a way I really stayed aggressive. I told myself take a strike in that situation because he had just walked Jimmy, but I didn't change my approach I tried to stay aggressive. He left me a slider up to hit.
Brett, talk about that at-bat against CC Sabathia, you were down 0-2, just kept battling, battling. Kind of set the tone for that inning.
BRETT MYERS: I know I'm a terrible hitter, but I really can't explain it.It was like one of those freakish things that I was able to lay off some good pitches that he made and able to extend his pitch count. And it's like one of those things where baseball's weird like that to where you can have a guy that pretty much can't hit a lick to go up there and battle a guy that's as good as CC. And it's just part of the game.
Did you sense a bit of frustration in him?
BRETT MYERS: I really didn't sense anything. I was out there trying to keep battling him best I could. And like I said, I'm not a very good hitter, so it was kind of freakish basically.
Question for all three of you guys. When you beat someone like CC -- the Brewers talked about looking forward to this game with him really giving them a lift. When you do that, not only beat them but beat him, can that have a double effect on a team at this stage of the series?
SHANE VICTORINO: I always say to myself there's always one game left. If I'm not mistaken, I heard the manager saying, you know what? They've still got an opportunity to win. And it's definitely true.
And our goal today was to get his pitch count up. And the guy to my left, Myers, battled his pitch count in regards to I think 19 pitches or something like that for the pitcher.
So that was our goal going into the game, get his pitch count up and try to get him off -- get him out there early, and we were able to do it.
Brett, you said you know you're a terrible hitter, but, I mean ...
BRETT MYERS: Did I pitch tonight?
You did. (Laughter) That's okay. That at-bat. We're all going to be writing about it, I think. But how do you approach that on a day-to-day batting practice basis?
BRETT MYERS: I don't. I try to hit home runs.
SHANE VICTORINO: Can you talk about pitching?
BRETT MYERS: I know. I try to hit home runs BP, just go swing. It's nothing -- I don't get paid to hit. But none of this would have been possible. You guys are talking about my hitting, so, well, if it weren't for this guy right here, it's one of those things, we're just kind of happy, glad it happened in our favor.
Last question about your hitting, then we'll let you talk about your pitching. Did the crowd help pump you up or were you zoned in trying to do what you were doing because they got into it pretty good?
BRETT MYERS: Honestly, I didn't really hear them. Pay attention to it, honestly. If I would have, I probably would have swung at some of those pitches.
But I just -- I wasn't trying to be a hero in that situation. I was just trying to work him. I knew if I grounded out, I grounded out. I knew he'd thrown some pitches to me and stuff. Like Shane said, we were trying to get his pitch count up because he has been so dominant over the course of this season with the Brewers that you just try to get him out of there as quick as possible because he is so good.
Charlie, you obviously flip flopped your lineup a bit today, moved Shane up, moved Jayson. What was your thinking in that?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I moved Shane in the two-hole because, first of all, he had good swings on lefties lately and also during the course of the year, especially guys that -- lefties that throw pretty hard and also like to keep the ball low and in on him, I think that he hits them good. And I think Jayson Werth pushed him down in the lineup because I felt he was trying too hard and he was overswinging. And I figured if I could get Shane and Rollins on base up at top we maybe could run on CC.
Brett, pitching question. So the last couple of starts before tonight were kind of rough. Did you do anything specific differently tonight or was it just baseball goes that way and you have some good outings and some bad?
BRETT MYERS: Honestly, I was working on trying to get angle on the ball. And my last two starts the ball was up in the zone. And you're going to get beat when that happens. But tonight I just tried to work down in the zone and go from there.
And I was able to do it in my past bullpens before this outing. I felt pretty confident about going out there and locating fastballs and down in the zone.
Shane, talk about your confidence against hard throwing lefties. Sabathia had a 1.65 ERA against righty hitters here, so it's not really a piece of cake for righties or lefties. Talk about your approach?
SHANE VICTORINO: It didn't change at all. The question keeps getting asked about my approach. I didn't change my approach at all. I know that we faced him last year and I've watched him on video. He stays aggressive with his fastball. But my first at-bat he threw me a lot of changeups and offspeed stuff.
I didn't change my approach. Obviously you could tell by my first at-bat. I did swing at a 1-0 ball, then I probably swung at a 2-1 ball. But I didn't change my approach. I tried to stay aggressive and I was just able to get balls up in the zone, and when he left them up there I was able to put a good swing on it.
Shane, CC talked about how he wasn't able to finish and the key was for you guys that you didn't chase his changeup. Was that kind of talked about part of the game plan going in?
SHANE VICTORINO: To be honest, we didn't really talk about, worrying about his offspeed stuff. I think that you watch video and guys maybe have their own approach going into the game. Like I said, my first at-bat I swung at two changeups that were balls. I tried to be aggressive.
I guess as the game goes on you kind of watch how a pitcher is pitching and you get understanding. But with a guy like him, you can't look at a certain pitch. He's throwing you 97 and then he comes back with 85 mile an hour changeups. You can't really sit on one pitch and say I'm going to look changeup or -- kind of like Cole. You can't sit there on one pitch and say I'm going to look at fastball on this count; he's got his slider and changeup, he throws everything for strikes.
You stay aggressive and just hope that he keeps the ball up. And like today, we were able to do it.
Shane, it seems pretty amazing that a night where Charlie flips the lineup around, Werth does what he does and you do what you do, he said before the game he had a feeling about you against CC. Did you have that feeling and can you kind of step back now and look at a move like that and say it kind of worked out for us?
SHANE VICTORINO: No, no questions asked. I don't ever question what Charlie does. Obviously I don't think anybody should. (Laughter) He's done it all year long.
CHARLIE MANUEL: He knows what to say. (Laughter).
SHANE VICTORINO: I mean, the question has been brought up all year long about me going from going to two to the six. I never question what he does. Obviously it works. He's not our manager for no reason, took us to two pennants for no reason. And, by the way, I'm not just kissing your behind.
Like I said, there's always people that are questioning things. I think Charlie's done a great job and maybe just be a coincidence but it worked out for us tonight.
Shane, what was your feeling, what were you thinking when you were running the bases?
BRETT MYERS: Hoping you didn't step on me because I'm slow.
SHANE VICTORINO: Excitement. I know when I first hit it I said I gotta get going. When I was running I looked at Braun's stop. I said did that really just happen? That's more than anything, it was just the excitement in the air. Knowing that we got a little cushion on a guy like CC to get an early lead.
That was our goal and it was to, one, to get his pitch count up and, two, to get an early lead off of him. It was frustrating when they went out 1-0. Of course I'm sure that built confidence on their side knowing they've got CC on the mound, who's been lights out and rarely gives up runs. It's nice to come back and be able to put some runs up on the board against them.
Shane, Jimmy made a point saying CC is beatable. He's a human being just like everybody else. I was wondering if there's talk amongst the hitters watching film during batting practice that you guys can beat him and score some runs against him, and did you guys see anything in -- you guys were running on CC quite a bit. Did you see something in his delivery, just slow to the plate, that made you feel like ...
SHANE VICTORINO: He was probably a little slow to the plate, but that's something you study and you learn. Other than that, no, I mean, you know what, I think sometimes you guys put pressure on everybody. And I think you guys put a lot of -- I want to say pressure on him but he's been lights out.
Anybody is beatable, I think, in this game, and any given day anybody can win this game. I've always said we're two down, we've still got one big one left. We're going to their home field now. We've got to take it one game at a time.
Charlie, when Brett worked the walk with the nine pitches, did you think at that point that CC might be very vulnerable and it might be time to go get him?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I saw both Brett's at-bats made CC throw, what, anywhere from 17 to 20 pitches, somewhere in there. And I thought that definitely helped run his pitch count up. The only thing I gotta say about CC is he threw more changeups and breaking balls than I expected him to throw. But at the same time that's all I want to say about him because he might pitch against us again. (Laughter).
Charlie, he said that he took this loss and put it squarely on him. And his postseason record doesn't look like his regular season record. Do you have a comment on that? Do you know any reason for that?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think probably postseason I saw him pitch in the playoffs last year. He pitched a big game against the Red Sox, what, when they were up 3-1 in the series when Cleveland was up 3-1 in the series, and he got -- he was a little wild that night with his fastball, and he was aggressive, but he was wild and Boston got to him. They got some big hits on him. I watched that game.
But, like I said, tonight he threw more changeups and more breaking balls than I expected him to throw.
That first inning was a little bit rough for you, were you sweating it at all at any point and also what does it do for your confidence to get out of that and pick up the win?
BRETT MYERS: You know, first thing I had a lot of emotion and everything going through me, the crowd was definitely excitable and I kind of let that get the best of me a little bit with walking, especially after I got Cameron out. It was a little bit louder than I'm used to.
So then the next guy I walked, which you know you can't do that, and I gave them an opportunity in the 1st inning, and I was a little erratic with my pitches because I definitely had a lot of adrenalin going. But when I was able to get out of it, these guys, Shane, including the rest of the guys, came up to me and said there's still a lot of game left, keep us close and we'll get it. Sure enough in the second inning he came in with a big hit for us.
Charlie, first of all, the decision to walk Fielder at that point, you know, it turned out to be kind of the crux of the game for Brett.
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, actually when I was sitting there and I put him on because it also set up a double play situation, force situation at each base and just the way I wanted to go there.
Brett, at the beginning of the game we saw you take a couple of deep breaths. You slammed the ball into the glove. You were pumped up. Can you talk about what you were thinking as you approached the game and a little bit about what was really working for you today, stuff-wise?
BRETT MYERS: I just tried to relax. That's basically I was trying to just relax myself a little bit and go out there and try to make pitches and I was able to on the first hitter. But kind of got out of control there from the second hitter on.
But I just tried to go out there and tried to relax as best I can, and I was able to do it after the first inning, back off and try to make pitches. And the key to every game is first pitch strikes and I wasn't doing that very often in the first inning. So when I started getting ahead of the guys and everything, made it a little bit easier to pitch, especially after we had a 5-1 lead, it was easier to attack the zone.
Charlie, you guys have a 2-0 lead in this series despite the fact Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell are somewhere between like a combined 2-15, 2-16, what does that say about this team and are you concerned about you need to get these guys going in the series as well?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Any time I think -- I want us to hit every night. Like I expect our lineup to hit every night. I expect the middle of our order to hit every night, really. But at the same time, when we can put up a five runs early in the game and we can hang on and we win the game, I think that's good pitching, we played good defense and we played the game.
But also tonight we could have scored a lot more runs. We had chances, especially if we could have got some two out hits we could have blew the game wide open. The game just kind of sat there. I was concerned about it when it sat there and nothing was happening. We're getting guys on and we keeping leaving them on base. If we got some two out hits, we could have really scored a lot of runs. But we didn't. And the game stayed close and they stayed within striking distance.
Charlie, thinking about the last two games that Brett pitched, where were you in your head on how far, if something happens and he got in more trouble, with staying with Brett?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Actually, tonight, when Brett to me started pitching, he started pitching in about I want to say about fourth or fifth inning and he started mixing his pitches. He can probably tell you better than I can he started throwing cutters and changeups and breaking balls, and he kind of -- his fastball got away from his fastball. He started throwing more cutters and actually I kept watching him because especially like two or three times around the lineup, smart hitters sometimes, especially if you start doubling up pitches on them, they'll go to school on you.
What were you thinking in the first inning?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I was thinking in the first inning, like when he got in trouble, definitely he had some leeway. I wasn't planning on jerking him right there. But at the same time, like I wanted him to get out of the inning, like a run or two or whatever. But, yeah, I was concerned.
Brett, you're walking out to the dugout after Shane's home run, Ryan pulls you over. What does he say?
BRETT MYERS: I don't know. I don't remember. I have no idea. I mean, I was caught up in the moment. I was happy to be able to touch home plate without him making me run. But it was -- I don't know what he said. I couldn't tell you. I totally forgot and blocked it out. I'm sure it was meaningful and I just forgot.
Brett, you were almost the forgotten man in this game. Everybody's talking about CC, CC, seemed like they were giving them the game. Last night, going into today, did you kind of say I'm pitching here today too?
BRETT MYERS: No, I like being the underdog. I've always liked being that way. People always will put you down and say what they want to say about you. But I always like trying to fight my way back. That's something kind of how like I felt. I just wanted to go out there and match whatever he did tonight and glad I didn't have to match what he did.
I mean, I actually had some runs to work with and was able to pitch out of some jams in the 1st inning and go from there.
What did Dubee say to you in that first inning?
BRETT MYERS: I don't know. (Laughter) when you get in that situation, your adrenalin's pumping and especially after he hit the home run, Howard said something to me. I remember he said something to me and Dubee said something to me out there. But you don't really pay attention to it. You're just trying to get to work and trying to make your pitches. I honestly couldn't tell you what either one of them said to me, just because you're caught up in the moment and the adrenalin is going and everything like that. So that's what makes it fun.
Brett, the way the rotation is set up you and Cole were both able to get really about six, seven days off before the start. Do you think that helped you at this point of the year to kind of just step back for a minute, recover physically and do a little work on the side to get yourself ready?
BRETT MYERS: Yeah, it definitely helped me because I could feel myself a little bit tired towards the end of the season with throwing 90-plus innings over a 12-start span was definitely caught up to me towards the end of the season with the last two starts and everything. And I can notice that the angle on my fastball wasn't as good as it had been in the previous starts. But it's something I knew I had to work on and I was able to take a couple days off and really focus on that and in my bullpen I was able to rediscover it.
Brett, piggybacking off the question about the talk of Sabathia with good reason, but you've often talked about how you don't really think about -- you're not pitching against the other pitcher, you're pitching against the hitters, did more of that keep coming back, that's who I am I'm pitching against hitters not against Sabathia?
BRETT MYERS: Absolutely. I knew I had to get those guys out the best way I knew how. And I kind of -- it's up to these guys to find out how to figure out their starting pitcher. I knew if I could keep the game close. Definitely after giving up that first inning run I was a little irked at myself, just for not being able to go out there and have a good, clean inning and giving these guys confidence coming in that they were going to go out there and do the job. They never lost any confidence how they were going to approach CC. They did a great job and got us the win, basically.
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