Cardinals manager Tony La Russa participated in an interview following Sunday's 5-4 win over the Phillies in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
Q. You guys were down 4-0 to one of the best postseason pitchers right now. What does it say about your team, or what was the attitude as you guys were going through that game?
La Russa: Well, I mean, we were not happy because it's -- we know who he is, how he pitches, the team he pitches in front of. But we keep things real simple. We just are going to play nine, come [heck] or high water. The club has been so consistent about that.
I said before, if you watch us play a lot of times, we're not perfect, but we try to be perfect. In baseball, you get a base hit there and put a ball in play, good things happen.
Q. When you saw that Chris was struggling a little bit, were you OK with him starting for the first time on three days' rest in his career, can you evaluate his performance a little bit and whether you thought what he was doing or not doing to be effective?
La Russa: I think it should be obvious. To make a decision like that, Dave [Duncan] and I gave it a lot of thought. We've been around a long time, we know the risks. But you know, you have to prove to your team that you're going to take your best shot. If we would have won Game 1, maybe it would have changed it. But you can't leave here with the caliber of Lee out there and not put Carp out there. We had the perfect chance because of the really good game he pitched. So we were going to watch him, and we always watch him close, and we were not going to let him get to a place where he was real labored. But there was a couple there just missing. They're so explosive, he did a good job with getting out with what he did.
But at one point we just tied, I said, Dave, I feel good, he's not going to be the losing pitcher. We care that much about him.
Q. In the telecast you expressed some frustration about the strike zone. Can you expand on that? How big of an impact was that early in the game?
La Russa: Well, I don't think there's a manager around, coach, that doesn't watch the game and think about how you want it to be. You know, we care. I care, our team cares, and it's not a great comment to make, but I was upset. I've never had a problem with Jerry before, ever. The only thing I had a problem with -- one of the things, you go out there, whatever the strike zone is, it makes no difference to us, we'll adjust to it. That was my only point, he had to figure out what the strike zone was.
Q. You shuffled your bullpen a lot during the course of the season. Tonight every move you made worked. Just comment on the bullpen's effort tonight.
La Russa: You know, I think ... I mean, this is a players' game. The guys are put in tough situations because Carp left early; Salas was the seventh-, eighth-, ninth-inning pitcher, and he pitched early because he was rested and he has the ability to get right and lefts. Any one of those guys does not do the job, you know, we're not going to win the game.
At the end, Motte had to get four outs for a save. So it was just a matter of it's the playoffs, we're off tomorrow, you put the guys out there, and they came through. I mean, what Boggs did on Pence, Arthur striking out, Howard, I mean, they were heros all the way through the bullpen.
Q. Can you just speak to your seven and eight hitters in the lineup tonight really had their fingerprints all over it? Speak to the impact they had.
La Russa: If you watch us play, it happens so often that you expect it. That's one of our assets. I know we had a good year hitting this year as far as runs scored, and the reason is that we tried out eight tough outs. Guys take a lot of pride in competing, and it's a compliment, really, to the gentlemen that started yesterday and the gentlemen that started today. These guys are great competitors.
We know we're going to face Hamels and Oswalt, so we just try to compete as hard as they're going to compete against us. You got eight guys doing it, and we're never surprised when any part of the batting order does it. It happens often.
Q. People said, 'Why Lohse in the first game, why Carp pitching with three days' rest?' And it seems like this is really a pivotal game, now you go home with Garcia coming against this ballclub, am I right?
La Russa: Well, Lohse or him will start. I mean, if we hadn't had to use Carp on Wednesday, he would have pitched Friday I mean, Saturday. But Lohse, he did a good job yesterday. He made two bad pitches and gave up five runs, give credit to the Phillies. But like I said, it's tough.
La Russa: Yeah, we've got Garcia and then probably Edwin pitches Game 4. I said when I came here before the game started, I hope it comes down to Halladay and Carpenter. I mean, that would be an experience of a lifetime for any of us.
But we're making it a series, which is fun, exciting, and Garcia we expect to pitch well. I think Jackson will pitch well. But I know the other two guys are going to pitch well, too. It's fun to play against these guys.
A postgame interview with Jon Jay
Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay participated in an interview following Sunday's 5-4 win over the Phillies in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
Q. Take us through the play at the plate. At that point, is there nothing else you can really do than just try to bowl the catcher over and hope the ball comes out?
Jay: Yeah, I thought that was my only option. Ibañez put the throw on the money, and I knew it was going to be close, so that was my only option I had right there, and I went for it.
Q. Ibañez, what are your scouting reports as far as his arm? You tested his arm twice, he got you guys one time.
Jay: Both those times there's two outs and we've got to do what we've got to do right now. He's an accurate thrower. He put both those balls right there. But at that point in the game and with two outs, you've got to take your chance.
Q. How solidly did you hit Carlos [Ruiz]? And did you think the ball was going to come out?
Jay: You know, I mean, it happened all so quick, I haven't seen a replay or anything like that. I thought I got him all right, and I was hoping that the ball would come out, but it didn't, and it worked out in his favor, and he did a good job of holding onto the ball right there.
Q. Tony seemed to express some frustration about the strike zone and said that you guys had to adjust as the game went on. Did you notice that, too, that you guys had to adjust with the way things were going behind the plate?
Jay: Well, we try not to pay attention to that. We try to go out there and not get distracted by anything. We try to stick with our game plan and try to get some pitches over the middle or over the plate, and we were able to come out on top today.
Q. Down 4-0 with Lee on the mound early in the game, what was the mood like in the dugout?
Jay: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely not somewhere you want to be, but it's the playoffs. We're not going to quit, and that's something the team has done all year. We went out there, we played hard, we fought hard, and we came back and we were able to win tonight.
A postgame interview with Ryan Theriot
Cardinals infielder Ryan Theriot participated in an interview following Sunday's 5-4 win over the Phillies in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
Q. Ibañez had just thrown out a runner a couple innings before, and it just seemed like the throw was a little high. Can you take us through just what respect you have for his arm?
Theriot: Yeah, the one where I scored?
Theriot: Well, I mean, Oquendo was waving me around. I think at that point you're really trying to read his eyes and see where the ball is, look at the guy behind the plate telling you whether to slide and whatnot. But I was kind of undecided on whether I was going to go up until the last few steps and saw him kind of looking up and start to jump so I tried to slide early and get under the jump.
Q. Could you just comment on how it feels to make these contributions tonight and kind of how that ties in with what you did in September? A lot of people credit the moves the team made with you getting here. You lost playing time but then came up with some big hits after that down the stretch, and then again tonight.
Theriot: Right. Yeah, I mean, I know it sounds like a cliché, but it's 25 guys, you're here for the team, you want to do everything you can for the team to win. Also, you want to be playing every day, but you've got to be realistic, and when it makes the team stronger, it helps you get to where we are today, then you do it.
Tonight, to be able to go out there and contribute, like you said, does feel good. So yeah, I mean, it's part of the game. You go out there whenever your name is in the lineup and play as hard as you can.
Q. How about that previous play at the plate, where I guess Jay comes in right behind you and plows into Ruiz? What was your view of that play?
Theriot: I don't understand the question. What do you mean?
Q. Just the collision. Did you think the ball was going to come flying out?
Theriot: I mean, I hoped it would come flying out. You know, yeah, that would have been nice.
Q. What was the mindset like falling behind, 4-0, with a guy like Cliff Lee on the mound?
Theriot: Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, had it been in the seventh or eighth inning I think it would have been a different story. It would have probably been more of a panic-type feeling. But it was early in the game. Our offense has been wonderful all year, and at that point we had a lot of outs to give. I think, what was it, the second inning, third inning, 4-0? Yeah, plenty of time.
Cliff is one of the best out there, and we just tried to throw great at bats at him, and hopefully we can scratch a few runs. Luckily, we were able to tie it and it seemed like we started to get the momentum going, and our bullpen did a phenomenal job. Those guys went out there and really threw the ball well.
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