An off-day interview with Charlie Manuel
Manager talks of the Phils' achievements in the first four games
You've been able to take this 3-1 lead without some production from some of your main guys, [Ryan] Howard, [Jimmy] Rollins. Is that kind of a reflection of the depth of your ball club?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yes, it is. Without a doubt that shows that we are a team and that we've got the guys that sit on our bench and we've also got the guys that play regular that don't get a lot of recognition, that also shows that they can play and they can deliver.
But also when we talk about team, that's what makes up our team. And that's why everybody, the 25-man roster, that's why everybody plays a role. It's very important that they do their role. And sometimes when a star player on a field, especially when it comes to offense, if he's not hitting the ball good, well, then, one of those guys pick him up. That's what makes the team go.
Given that you have a 3-1 edge, you have your top guy on the mound tomorrow, is it hard to step back and say, 'Hang on, we haven't won this thing at all?'
CHARLIE MANUEL: Not hard at all. That's exactly how we'll approach it. I've been talking all year long we're a day-to-day team and we come on that day to beat you. And we're going to keep the same routine, the same thought, the same everything.
When we come to the ballpark tomorrow, we come to win that game. And like I said last night, last night's game was the biggest game, and tomorrow's going to be the biggest. And they keep getting bigger until somebody tells you to go home or you win something.
On the issue of Rollins and Howard again, what would it mean for your team for those guys to start contributing in a way that other guys have, that they have so many times in the past couple of years for you?
CHARLIE MANUEL: First, when you think of a contributor or something like that, you look up and you say, well, they're not doing as good as they should or they're not having a great series or nothing.
But Howard got a huge hit last night. We forget that. Off of [Hong-Chih] Kuo he hit a single that set the stage for [Shane] Victorino to hit a two run homer. All of a sudden we're standing there with two outs and [Carlos] Ruiz gets a base hit, gets on base with two outs, and he don't even -- [Matt] Stairs don't even hit it if Ruiz don't get a hit. Those are contributing. Howard contributed. He hit a ball hard up the middle.
Things happen in the game and when you think of Howard you think how come he's not hitting home runs and all that. That's kind of how people foresee him. But to me if you do something in the game, that's the whole thing of being relaxed and playing the game right. You get something.
That's when you get relaxed and you start, you get pitches to hit and you start hitting the ball better and basically that's what gets you going. That's why there's ups and downs during the season.
Matt Stairs has talked about how he'd like to be a manager some day. What qualities do you see in Matt that might translate into being a good manager?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He's been in the game a long time. He's got a lot of experience, he's been a lot of places. And I'm sure he's got a lot of stories to tell. And he's got a baseball eye. If you talk to him, you can tell how much he loves the game. And I think all that, and also he seems like he's a good communicator. He can sit and talk to people and he has a good way about him.
As long as he's been in the game and things he likes to do, I think he's definitely got the qualifications and the resume.
Is the biggest single difference between this year's club and last year's club the bullpen for you?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think basically it is, yeah, definitely our bullpen. And also I think that the second time around definitely has something to do with it. But each year is different, but I would say the big thing is our bullpen.
I thought our starting pitching last year -- but we were so -- we were only in three games and we were out. But at the same time I thought our starting pitching was okay except for the fact that we did give up some runs in the second game over there in Philadelphia, but we just didn't hit in that series. I thought Colorado's pitching definitely stopped our hitters.
Now that you've seen [Brad] Lidge go more than one inning, will you be more apt to do it in the future and, if so, what does he add to your value?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think it's how the game's going, how it's developed and who we've used before we get to Lidge. I think yesterday was a real good, it was kind of the way the game was going, how we had to really work to get back into the game and who we had left. I think that to me dictated Lidge being in the game, if you follow what I mean.
I'm wondering, you talked about the whole team contributing different places and the bullpen. Just wondering if you can talk a bit about how good a job Pat Gillick has done constructing this team and giving you the pieces that you need to compete?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Pat, he's been there three years now. I think the people he's acquired kind of speaks for itself. And his name in baseball and everything. I don't have to hash about Pat Gillick, I think it's who he is and the way people talk about him and how he's foreseen in a game. I think that pretty much speaks for itself. But, yeah, we're a winning team in the last three years he's been there.
If you look and see the things we've done, he was a guy that made a lot of those moves. So that's kind of how I look at it. He's does very good. Fine. He's good.
We've seen a lot of the different things that Victorino can do this series, the throw last night and the catch in Game 2 and the home run. What were some of your first impressions when you saw Victorino a few years ago, and how do all of his skills help this team, not just the hitting?
CHARLIE MANUEL: First time I seen Victorino was when I first got the job as -- no -- yeah, when I first got the job as a manager. We were in Spring Training and we had just picked him up. And when he came to Spring Training and stuff, actually he didn't play real good that spring.
I heard about how good a player he was. And during the course of Spring Training you would see during the game sometime he was definitely trying too hard and he was pressing. He's got a lot of energy.
And on the days he would play, you would see that he could throw. You could see that he could run every now and then. He could show you he could hit. But actually he had a bad spring. And I remember when we sent him out, he did not have to accept assignment to go out. He could have gone somewhere else.
And Ruben Amaro, I remember it just like yesterday, Ruben Amaro was in there talking to him and Ruben Amaro sold him on the fact of how much we did like him, how much we wanted to keep him. And he made a decision -- you'll have to ask him about it. He made a decision that actually he wanted to stay with us. He could have gone somewhere else. He went down to Triple-A baseball and he had a tremendous year.
I remember Gene Lamont would send in reports on him and I would get them on my voice mail, how good he was playing and how good a player he was, how good a center fielder he was, and when he came up that year at the end of the season, I was very -- kind of anxious to put him out there and let him play.
At first he didn't get to play much and he'd pinch hit and he did a good job. And I played him every now and then in the outfield but still, yet, he didn't get to play a whole lot. He did get some big hits. I remember he hit a home run in Atlanta. I want to say it's off [Tim] Hudson. I'm pretty sure it was in the eighth inning or something. That won the game for us.
From there, the next year he came he was getting to play more. And I want to say [Aaron] Rowand got hurt, he played more in center field, and when we made the trade at the half-season part, when we traded Bobby Abreu, Victorino started playing regular for us. And he's been a big asset to us and he's a good player.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.