10/18/10 2:58 AM ET
NLCS Game 2 postgame interview: Manuel
By / MLB.com
Q. It was a tight game most of the game. Can you talk about Oswalt's pitching and Polanco's execution at the plate in RBI situations?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I thought Oswalt was very aggressive with his fastball and looked like he was having a little trouble getting a feel for his breaking ball. Threw some changeups, but mostly he had command of his fastball. And Polanco, he did a good job tonight. Of course, he singled in a run and he played a heck of a game. Like, he can handle the bat good for us and that's basically got a sac fly. That's exactly what we needed. Polly is that kind of hitter and tonight he got some situations where he could produce.
Q. What do you think when you see one of your pitchers running through a stop sign and then scoring?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I said, "go for it." (Laughter) after he run the bases, what the hell are we going to do, rope him? I ain't that good I'm not a cowboy. I might look like one, talk like one, but I'm not one.
Q. Is it difficult for you as a manager to have to wait for a guy like Rollins to finally get that big hit, to show the confidence to stick with him? Did you ever consider not
CHARLIE MANUEL: No. I never considered it at all, really. You know what, when you show me you can do something, when I see it and I trust in you this is a game. I mean, and this is a game where you can really go bad. But yet at the same time you've got to grind and get yourself out of it. Like Raul Ibañez told me, I had a lot of serious talks with hitters, but Raul said, "I got myself into it and I need a chance to get myself out of it." And, like, he did. I mean, seriously. When people start hollering to me about doing things, look, when I see you do something and you're like I know how good Jimmy Rollins can be. As a matter of fact, I'm sitting there I'm telling Pete, I hope he keeps the fastball down to him like, like he did on Braxton last year. He's got a good chance to hit him. Go ask him, almost got the same kind of hit. I got a lot of faith in him and I stand there and I pull for him, and I know how good he can hit and also I know how good he wants to be up there or how much he wants to be up there. Stay right with you, son. I'll go down with you. (Laughter).
Q. In that fifth inning after Victorino's double, Utley shows bunt, is that something he did on his own or did you give him the sign?
CHARLIE MANUEL: No, he did it on his own, yeah.
Q. Getting back to Jimmy how much did you think the bases loaded walk helped get him going and set the tone for him?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I thought it was a good at bat for him, but he started seeing the ball better in that at bat and the rest of the night. The hit he got was a big hit, of course, and cleared the bases for us. But he got jammed, the ball that Renteria caught running out to left center, and actually the ball got in on him, but at least, like, he didn't go too fast at it. He stayed on the ball and he was letting it travel a little bit. And that was a good sign to me. It was a good sign he was staying on the ball.
Q. What is it that you like about Rollins batting sixth?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I put him there because he's a switch hitter mostly and he hasn't been playing and he's trying to find his swing. By being a switch hitter, that offsets our lefty/righty situation. I like the two right hand hitters against the lefty, and then Raul sandwiched in between Ruiz. That's why. And I kind of looked to see how much balance I can find in the lineup.
Q. I'm not sure how close you thought this was to a must win game, but is this why you traded for Roy Oswalt?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, it's definitely games like tonight and also like to bolster our pitching roster of course, that's exactly what we got him for.
Q. What was the conversation with Roy when you went out to the mound in the eighth inning? Were you thinking of pulling him at that point?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I went out there to check on him. I was not going to pull him. But, like, I wanted to look him in the eye and see how he felt. He told me he said, "I'm all right, I can get him." Yeah, whatever, like.
Q. Flip flopping Utley and Polanco in the order tonight really seemed to pay off for you. Is that something you'll stick with, you think, in Game 3 on Tuesday?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I liked the way we played. I liked Utley looked good in the two hole tonight. And he did a good job. Stolen bases were big.
Q. What's your level of confidence in Cole Hamels? And you pitched your two aces now, and what's it like just to have that third guy in your pocket to roll out there?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I've got a lot of confidence in Cole Hamels. I think that he's going to pitch a good game for us in San Diego I mean San Francisco. Last time out in Cincinnati, of course, he was real good. I feel like he's actually really he's getting better. He's coming into his own.
The more he pitches right now this year it seems like the better he's getting.
NLCS Game 2 postgame interview: Oswalt, Rollins
Q. Last night you said that you knew what you were doing but you didn't necessarily feel it and whatnot. Did your feeling it today have something to do with being more patient at the plate today and whatnot?
JIMMY ROLLINS: Well, both games I've seen a lot of pitches, which is a good thing. This is a game of adjustments. You look at video and you try to see things and that's step one. And like I said, as you try to make that adjustment by feeling what you're doing incorrectly, sometimes you just put a good swing on a ball, find some gap. And everything looks like it's fantastic, and for that time it is.
Hopefully I can take what I did today and just keep it going.
Q. With the way you started out in these playoffs to come up in that spot and to kind of blow the game open like you did, bases loaded walk is good to get your confidence going but to blow it open later ON with a hit like that like you did, what's the feeling?
JIMMY ROLLINS: Just doing my job, really. It was something that was needed at the time. I was glad I was the person up there at the moment and able to come through. But you don't celebrate until you win four games. And once we get to that point, then you can look back and say that was a big hit, but for now, just gave us a little breathing room, a chance to go in to San Francisco 1 1 and get the win.
Q. Jimmy, you said yesterday your confidence never wavered through this up and down season, was that really the truth? Does today still help that a little bit if it was dipped a little bit?
JIMMY ROLLINS: Well, I've been the same for the last 10 years, and if you cover me every day, you know, you understand where I'm coming from. You figure out things. You solve problems. Sometimes there's going to be confusion. But once you lose the confidence you're not going to have a chance to play at this level.
So that's never going to be there. God gave me this talent, and I'm going to do something with it. That's just the way it is. You lose confidence in that, like I said, you'll be going home and I don't plan on doing that anytime soon.
Q. Jimmy, after that hit, standing on second base, fans chanting "J Roll," did you hear it and what did it feel like?
JIMMY ROLLINS: No, I didn't actually. It reminded me of the last hit in 2007, my MVP year and I hit the triple and the fans stood up and all can you do is smile. We have great fans. They're into the games. We sold out 100, 130 something consecutive games, and it feels good when they lift you back up in a moment like that.
Q. Charlie talked about standing behind guys, whether they're going good or going bad. What does that mean to guys like you who, you had a difficult year and he's always been in your corner?
JIMMY ROLLINS: Like Charlie would say, "It's part of it." (Laughter) That's what a good manager does. It's not that funny, is it? That's what a good manager does. He keeps running his guys up there and wants you to know that he has your back, regardless.
You're the guy that he chose. And until you run yourself into the ground, he's going to keep pushing you out there. As a player you say, you know what, I have a chance today. I didn't do anything, but tomorrow I know I'm going to be out there and I have a chance tomorrow.
If it doesn't happen, you're still going to get run out there. You figure sooner or later it's going to turn the corner.
Q. Jimmy, I don't know if you were in the dugout watching Roy run through his stop sign at third base, what did you think when you saw that? And Roy, what were you thinking?
JIMMY ROLLINS: Actually, I was in the cage, trying to get my swing. And as Roy said, "Speed don't slump." (Laughter) So you have to know yourself, you know. Obviously Roy knew he could make it, so he kept running, or he was just too tired to stop. But either way, it worked out for us. It was a nice slide, too, Roy that was pretty nice. That was something I would do. Actually, I probably wouldn't have needed to slide (laughter).
But nonetheless, it was a good job. He used my bat tonight, and that gave me a lot of confidence tonight actually. He got a hit and I was in the cage. See, the bat still has hits in it. It's just the person using it. So he did what he needed to do and we got the win.
Q. Which one was it, were you too tired?
ROY OSWALT: When Polanco threw the ball the first thing that went through my mind was score. I read it pretty well coming off the bat. I didn't look at the center fielder and see how close he was. But as soon as he hit it, I knew it was over the infield. First thing in my mind score, when I got halfway I saw the stop sign, I said it's too late now, no turning back.
Q. Roy, enough of your hitting and running, what about your pitching tonight. Looked like your fastball was really being spotted very well. Is that what carried you through?
ROY OSWALT: Yeah. I had a real good run on the ball tonight. Seemed like I could throw through the outside part of the plate real well to lefties and keep it away from them and kind of run it across the plate.
I tried to stay mainly fastball most of the game, tried to make some changeups here, and toward the end of the game started to get the curveball back, and threw few of those pretty well in the last part of the game.
Q. What was the conversation on the mound in the eighth inning, just before that final out? Can you kind of take us through that?
ROY OSWALT: Well, I had my back turned. I saw Jimmy walking toward me. I thought Charlie was coming. So I thought he had already motioned for the bullpen, but I didn't know for sure.
Carlos said, "You know, you're going to stay in the game." And didn't really give me a choice. And I thought he had already motioned, I'm like, yeah, if he motioned toward the bullpen I feel like I'd get Aubrey out again. He had been swinging pitches off the plate a little bit away. I knew if I could keep it out there and I'd get him to hit it off the end of the bat.
Q. Was Charlie asking you
ROY OSWALT: He asked me what I felt like. I knew I had a few left. I honestly felt I could get through one more, a good part of the game.
Q. Roy, you also won some huge games in the post season in Houston in 2005 after your team had lost. Can you put into words what games like this mean to you?
ROY OSWALT: I think the biggest thing is it's momentum. You're trying to make momentum come back on your side. In '05, Pujols hit a home run in Game 5 I think at our place, and right then I went straight to the clubhouse after he swung the bat, and knew I needed to set a tone early in the game, and I was able to do it.
I'm hoping a momentum switch and get to San Francisco and take the series there.
Q. Jimmy, you've had some things that have gone your way even before the double this post season, the Jay Bruce misplaying that ball and the walk and the popup today. Did any of that stuff help you confidence wise maybe to know that you were still contributing even if the hits weren't coming, that somehow you were helping?
ROY OSWALT: The walk, yeah. The ball off Jay Bruce definitely put us ahead, I believe, or whatever happened. I don't really remember what the situation was. Hitting the ball off the end of the bat, you get a chance to go joke and talk about the real estate that you found. But getting a big hit or hitting the ball square in the gap, that's what really gets you going. It's like, okay, that swing was there. I can picture that and remember that and take it up to my next at bat. Hopefully, like I said, I remember what I did. I know what I did. Just go out there and get in the situation no matter which side of the plate and just execute.
Q. How much are you looking forward to going home to play?
ROY OSWALT: That's going to be fun. That's going to be fun. I've got quite a ticket list. And I love playing in front of my family, friends that I haven't got to see in a while. And also the fans. They're like on the fence, do they boo me, do they get on me, do they cheer me? So I go over there, have conversations. They crack on me, I crack back. But it was never in a situation like this. So I'll probably get some treatment along the lines that Pat got here, just because I'm from there and everybody knows it.
But it makes the game fun. That's what you live for. If they don't boo you, you're probably not a good player.
Q. Jimmy, are there things about batting sixth that you like or have adapted to and enjoy?
ROY OSWALT: I don't know. I don't know. I mean batting lead off is definitely a lot more fun, there's no doubt about it. Feels like you're in a fire right in the beginning of the game, where batting sixth you might not get up until the second inning, and the game has already happened. But you don't have to worry about making the first out either. So it goes back and forth.
But I've had a chance to hit with runners in scoring position, in both positions, first in lead off, lead off and sixth. Today I was in the right place.
Q. You mentioned your fastball looked like it was running a lot. Is that something that you noticed in the bullpen, is that something you feel right away out there and you go from there?
ROY OSWALT: Actually in the bullpen it was right where I wanted to throw it. In the first inning it was coming out clean, too, and then in the second the ball started running some. So I started trying to keep the ball off the plate and then bring it back to the plate, and then start on the plate and let it go off. And I was able to get guys to chase some balls that started in the strike zone and ends out two, three inches out off the plate.
Q. Roy, I know what you said earlier about you wanted to get the momentum back in the team's favor, but emotionally you always seem like such a stoic guy or placid guy. Did this kind of situation, which you've been in before in your career, did it affect you at all or did it feel like this is another day at the office?
ROY OSWALT: Got a little more adrenaline going when you go out there. But you still have to treat it as a game, and that's what it is. You can't get caught up in the moment of trying to get the momentum back on your side. You have to pitch your game. From the very beginning I told myself, all you can give is 100 percent. If it ain't good enough that night, go try to get it next time.
You hear a lot of stuff about guys that's pitching against you like they're better than you and all kind of stuff. And that kind of added fuel to the fire.
Q. Roy, have you been using Jimmy's bats or is that something
ROY OSWALT: I did. I asked him to go get something during the game. I used it in BP two days ago and I was hitting pretty well with it. First at bat I grounded out with Chase's bat. I just missed that third at bat, I was right on that ball. I was under it a little bit. (Laughter).
Q. Roy, that one at bat where you thought you struck out and started walking back to the dugout and it was called a ball
ROY OSWALT: I was kind of leaning out over. I was going to go out there and get it, and the ball kind of went around the plate a little bit.
Q. You didn't think you struck out?
ROY OSWALT: No, I thought it was away.
Q. Jimmy, it seemed that Chase's base running, his aggressiveness really seemed to get the ball rolling. How big of an impact did that have tonight?
JIMMY ROLLINS: That was a big play, like I said, to get things going, to not leave the offense stagnant. We're going to make things happen. Not going to sit around waiting for big hits, put ourselves in scoring position and possibly a chance at third base, where you don't necessarily need a hit to score a run.
And Chase is very successful when he decides to run. So he takes calculated risks. And that puts the pressure on the other team right away. You have a runner in scoring position. You make a mistake again, you're going to cost yourself a run. And that's exactly what happened.
So I'm glad to see him do that. Something I wish he does more of. But hopefully he just does enough in the post season.
Q. Roy, do you have any tips for Cole about how to keep Cody Ross in the ballpark? And just what do you think about what he's done?
ROY OSWALT: Don't throw it down and in. The last three balls that he hits are in the same exact spot. Just bad pitches.
I mean, throwing it right into his bat, pretty much. If you can make your pitches, you are going to do well. But if you miss down and in, that's pretty much where he's hitting them.
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