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Everybody figures it's going to be pretty loud here tonight, and it was loud the other night in Philly. Does it have any effect on the game?
I think it can have. I said something about it either, I think, yesterday. In '95, when we played in Seattle in the Dome, and in '87 I was in Minnesota in the World Series, that's about the two places that I've been it was the loudest.
But actually in '95, whether you believe it or not, I felt like it kind of got our team riled up. I think we kind of feasted off it maybe more than Seattle did. I think our players liked that, really. They kind of got into it. That's when Dennis Martinez was pitching against Randy Johnson. It was a heck of a game. But our guys were -- I mean, they were amped up, man. They were ready to go.
I know you're just focused on tonight, but is it pretty much a given that if you guys did have to play tomorrow, that Joe Blanton would be pitching? And how do you feel about your chances with him if that were the case?
Actually we haven't named our pitcher for tomorrow, but Joe Blanton is our fourth starter. We'll make our decision after the game tonight. Right now we're concentrating on winning this game. I know we're two up, and I know tonight is like -- that could finish it if we win, but we came to the ballpark to win tonight, and that's the way we've been doing it every day.
I might be getting boring, but I want to stick to that way. (Laughter).
I'm just wondering, how much of a role did you play in saying you wanted a guy like Matt Stairs to come to your team? And then can you just talk about the contribution he's made since coming over?
When they told me about Matt Stairs, what I told them was the fact, yeah, this guy can help us. He's got a quick bat, and he's still got some pop in his bat. Well, he's hit three pinch-hit home runs for us, and when he comes off the bench, I feel like he's a threat. Also, definitely, I can play him in the outfield because I've seen him play enough.
So yeah, he fits good on our team. He definitely can play a role for us.
You mentioned the '95 game, you have two veteran pitchers going against each other that had been in domes back when lots of places had domes. Is there, in your opinion, an adjustment, or do pitchers need to get used to pitching in a dome? Is there unfamiliarity that would lead to a better or worse than normal outing?
To me, yes. If I didn't answer the question completely, yes. Yes, because I think if you've never done it, I think the noise is definitely -- it's loud. But the other night in Philly, it don't get much louder than that. If it does, we're in for a good day.
I remember in '87 when I was in Minnesota, it was real loud, and also -- but Seattle was even louder. I felt like in Seattle that it helped our team. I felt like it played a part in how we reacted. It seemed like that really got us going.
But it creates a lot of energy, a lot of noise, and I think if you're a young pitcher, I think it definitely can affect you.
In the past you've elected to keep [Pedro] Feliz on the field when [Jamie] Moyer is pitching, but [Greg] Dobbs has pretty good numbers off [Dave] Bush. Did you go with Dobbs or Feliz? And if so, can you kind of talk about that decision?
Milwaukee has got a lot of right handed hitters. I wanted to keep Feliz on them in the game. I think Dobber, if I'm not mistaken, career-wise, Dobber is like 6-for-11 with two homers, five RBIs; Feliz is 3-for-15 with two homers. But Feliz hasn't played against him. Dobber has played the last two years against Bush.
But today, I felt like with the right-handed hitters, I wanted Feliz in the game. But Dobbs will be available to hit.
You studied Ryan Howard's stroke all through the year, what do you see? Is he a little bit off right now, aside from the fact that he had a tough match up the other day, obviously? What do you expect he needs to do to get himself going?
I think, basically, CC was tough on him the other night, without a doubt. But also the type of left-handers they've got coming in and out of the bullpen, they've got kind of sidearmed left-handers. They can be tough. Basically what Ryan has to do -- if you've noticed lately, Ryan has been hitting real good, he's been picking his front foot up and setting it down, and that's what's kind of been getting him ready to hit. I noticed the other night that his stride got a little bit bigger. But when he's hitting real good, his stride definitely gives more power to his swing.
But I think he needs to stay on the ball and start hitting it more in the middle and left field.
You mentioned that to him?
Yeah, we talk about it about every at bat he has.
Can you talk about the importance of actually closing this out tonight?
You know, like I said, we come to the ballpark today, we know exactly where we're at, and we came to win. And if we win, we close it out. Would it be better for us? Of course, but we came here to win the game, and when we do that, we'll be by the finish line and then we'll look back and be okay. That's kind of how we look at it. To me, that's the best way for us to play. We play as hard as we possibly can, and believe me, we're going to be trying like hell to win this game. We knew how important it is, and also, I know how much we want it. But at the same time, we're going to try to win tonight.
You talk about Ryan's swing and his stride. I think he's only had about nine chances to swing the bat actually in the series. When he's getting pitched the way he is, how difficult is it for him to maintain his swing and his approach when he doesn't get a chance to swing much?
That becomes very important because that goes to show you that they're trying to get him to chase balls out of the zone, and he's got to be very patient, and like I said, he's got to be patient and getting balls to hit and stay in the middle of the field or hit the ball to left field. Then when he does that, that's what brings him right back around.
I don't worry anymore. We talk about Howard, the shift on Howard. If you go back and look, get all the charts out and you look at him, Howard, his success is when he gets the ball in the air. Like when he's hitting the ball hard in the air, like line drives and stuff, he drives the ball through the shift. If they had to move any at all, it's almost like a second baseman on the infield. If a guy hits a ball real hard, it makes him move, then he can drive the ball by him. Howard does that if you study the game. Anymore I don't even talk to him much about the shift. I think he's better off not even thinking about it, because it bothered him there for a while. I think it's not bothering him anymore. I think he realizes like how he hits now.