10/05/08 6:06 PM ET
Charlie Manuel postgame interview
Team got big pitching performances from their starters
By FastScripts by ASAP Sports / Special to MLB.com
CHARLIE MANUEL: No, no, it didn't, no, not at all. When I went over my lineup, I did think about dropping him down to sixth. That did enter my mind. But no, not sitting him.
Do you think you caught the Brewers at the right time pitching wise? [Ben] Sheets was out, their pitching staff was in a little bit of disarray outside of CC [Sabathia]. It was an advantageous time for you to get to them.
CHARLIE MANUEL: I definitely think when Sheets is well that they're a better team, of course, because he's a very good pitcher, and he's very talented. Catching him out, that changes their whole rotation and stuff.
At the same time, I don't want to take nothing away from our club, because I think if you go back and look, the fact at how much we've beat them this year, that kind of speaks for itself.
They've got a good ballclub, and I think actually we might have caught them not hitting as good as they can. I mean, they've got a lot of power through their lineup, and they definitely can score runs, so our pitching was good against them. Actually, that's what really won three games for us I felt like. We got big pitching from [Cole] Hamels and [Brett] Myers and today [Joe] Blanton.
Pat said he thought the intensity yesterday wasn't there. For today, how big was it to Jimmy Rollins to lead this game off with a home run?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think the homer definitely got us going. When you talk about the intensity, I think -- it's hard to explain sometimes. When a game starts, it's not like you're really not ready to play -- you're definitely ready to play, and you're up and everything like that, but how the game goes, sometimes it's just kind of how you're swinging and everything.
The thing people don't understand is, sometimes a guy can go out there and be pitching, and he actually can just be -- he can just be throwing the ball over the plate to a certain degree, and the hitters will be getting their self out. They'll hit balls hard right at people, and then all of sudden, it's kind of like they start trying too hard or they kind of, it breaks their train of thought and they lose focus on what they're trying to do.
There's a lot of things that go into play. But today we come out, and I think Rollins' home run, definitely -- count was 3-2, and he hit the ball out of the yard -- I think that definitely set us off.
How impressed were you with the way Blanton handled the situation and the game he turned in?
CHARLIE MANUEL: That's the best I've seen him pitch. I've seen him pitch two or three good games. Today, he challenged the hitters. He was very aggressive. He definitely wasn't scared of nothing. He went right at them. He went right at [Prince] Fielder. You know, Fielder hit three balls real hard today, but Blanton stayed right on him. He went right at [Ryan] Braun. He went right after their big hitters, he didn't back away, and he did a heck of a job. He is a big reason why we won.
I know we hit some home runs and got the lead and everything, and that definitely helped him. But at the same time, he pitched his game.
I'm just wondering how important it is, Pat Gillick goes out and identifies a need on this team and then gets a guy like Blanton. How much of a role did that play on this team, especially today?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think today, it paid off big. Blanton pitched some big games for us toward the end of the season here, and he took us to a place in the game, he always gave us a chance to win. But today, he was much better.
Jayson Werth said a couple days ago he discovered what was wrong with his swing mechanically. Today, you moved him back into the sixth spot. Do you think he's more comfortable hitting six and with Shane [Victorino] second?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I've always liked Victorino hitting second. I've always wanted him to learn a little bit about moving runners and playing situational baseball because of his speed, switch hitting and things like that. That gives us more balance in our lineup.
But Jayson Werth, he's very talented, and the way he swung the bat today and yesterday just shows what kind of player he is, and he has a chance to be a tremendous talent. Having a guy like Jayson Werth, especially the athlete that he is, definitely that gives us strong six-hole hitter or a two-hole hitter.
Pat has been through a lot of ups and downs in his career with the Phillies. It's really been a roller coaster. For him to be the longest tenured Phillie and then to come through on a day like this speaks to him sticking with it, as well, not just you sticking with him. What kind of a guy have you found him to be?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Pat is a very -- he's a hard worker, and he wants to win. Definitely he likes our team, he likes Philadelphia, and he talks about winning.
Yeah, I've stuck with him, but also, I think Pat and I have -- what do you call it, we communicate real good. We have a good relationship. There's been times when Pat walks right in and asks me, what the hell am I doing to him. I'll sit there and flat tell him. And he's very understanding. I have a lot of respect for him, but at the same time, when we talk about our team a lot, you know, I hear people at times tell me, 'Why don't you change your lineup? Why don't you do this? Why don't you do that?' Well, also, to me, that's a big part of being a leader, showing confidence in a guy, and also with the fact that he can do what he did today. You never know when he's going to help.
Even a couple weeks ago these people were asking me -- believe me, I have people come up and say, 'How can you play him today?' I'll say, 'Yeah, I've played him for four years, I'm playing him today.' I'm a stubborn guy, and I like to be right, and I'll go all the way to prove that I'm right, and I'll definitely stick with my players, the ones that I think can put it on the board. And he has the talent, and you never know when he's going to get a big hit, and he can look bad, and all of a sudden, he'll put a good swing on the ball and put three runs on the boards.
Every year when you talk about his batting when he hits .240 or .250 or .280 or .270, and you look and he's always around 85, 100 RBIs, and the 30 to 35 home run mark. And you look in the National League, and you look at run production and on-base percentage and things like that, and Pat will be right there.
I look at his 100 walks he gets. And I look at the as 100 singles. That's a positive. That's why sometimes I hit him third or sixth, because he does get on base. Although today when he hit the ball down the first base line, I thought, 'Jesus Christ, why can't he get a double?' if you want to know the truth. (Laughter).
Pat obviously just talked about him having the big game, but Chase [Utley] kind of struggled this series. How much do you think his hip is bothering him or his health in terms of his ability to swing the bat like he has in the past?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think when Chase Utley's hip is bothering him enough where he can't play, I think he's going to walk right in there and tell me. As a matter of fact, I know he will. He ain't nowhere near there yet. That's kind of how that goes.
Just quickly, your team vs. the Dodgers, can you talk about that matchup coming up?
CHARLIE MANUEL: The time we've seen the Dodgers this year, we've seen him eight times and we got swept in L.A. Actually, we were leading in three of those games. We lost an early lead in one of them where we scored five or six runs early. But two of them we were leading late in the eighth inning with a three-to-four-run lead, I think, and we lost. We ended up losing the whole series.
And then when they came back to Citizens Bank Park, we swept them in four games. Since then, though, they've had [Rafael] Furcal, they got him back, and he's a pretty good player. He's a leadoff hitter, plays good defense and he helps -- he's kind of like the Jimmy Rollins-type player for them, and he can steal bases. He kind of gives them good balance in their lineup because he's a switch hitter. Of course they've got Manny Ramirez, and they've been on a tear. And I think overall their pitching definitely has improved, and they've got some of their pitchers back.
It's going to be a good series, but also, I think that we can score runs on them. I think if we -- here lately, the way our guys pitch, especially Myers and Hamels, and we've got [Jamie] Moyer, and the way Blanton pitched today, I don't see no reason in the world why we can't stay right with them. It's going to be a good series. I like our chances. I think we outhit them during the course of those eight games.
I mean, yeah, I think we can hold our own with them. Actually, I think we can beat anybody in the National League, really, when you think about it. I liked our chances against the Cubs, the Dodgers and everybody we played.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.