October 14, 2003
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Game Five
Q. What are your concerns if any about Nomar's struggles at the plate so far in the series?
GRADY LITTLE: We have concerns for any hitter that's going through a little bit of a struggle. But this guy, more than anyone else, we realize that at any time, he could bust out with four or five hits. It's just a matter of time.
Q. Given the way Todd Walker has been swinging the bat in the post-season, are you going to keep him in the lineup today?
GRADY LITTLE: Yes. Todd Walker will be hitting second for us again today.
Q. Can you just talk about the difference in your bullpen right now, compared to various teams during the year?
GRADY LITTLE: I think the biggest difference in our bullpen right now is each time we go there, ever since the post-season has started that we kind of know what to expect. They come running through that gate. Throughout the season, we had periods of time where we would have them come running through that gate and we didn't really know what to expect. That's the biggest difference right now. They have a high level of confidence down there and it's kind of been contagious amongst the whole group.
Q. Given Wakefield's effectiveness have you given any thought to starting him in Game 7 in place of Pedro?
GRADY LITTLE: No. (Laughter.) You know, I'm sure that Tim Wakefield will be available to pitch in Game 7, but as we sit today, our plans are for Pedro to pitch that game, and if we need Tim Wakefield, I'm sure he'll be available.
Q. It's a situation both teams have to win two games, obviously, but could you talk about the difference of going to New York, having to win just one there, as opposed to having to win two there?
GRADY LITTLE: Do you really want to ask that question? (Laughter.) I tell you, the way I look at it, yesterday when we came to the ballpark and we were down 2-1, we felt like yesterday was the biggest game of the season for us. And after that game was over, we came to the ballpark again today feeling the same way; that this is the biggest game of the season for us. But we feel like we've been playing games like this for two weeks. And so, we'll just continue playing. It's October 14th and the Red Sox are still playing baseball and we've still got a chance. That's the way we look at it. I think if you talk to people in either clubhouse today, neither group of people in neither clubhouse would want to go to New York and have to win two games. So that puts a lot of importance on this game today.
Q. What is the soonest that Wakefield would be available to pitch again?
GRADY LITTLE: That would completely depend on how he feels. This guy wears his spikes out in the dugout every single day and has his glove nearby, so that will just depend on how he feels from day-to-day. But I'm sure he's out of the picture totally today. But tomorrow is another day.
Q. If this gets to Game 7 at Yankee Stadium with Pedro on the mound, do you have any fears for his safety or any fan violence whatsoever?
GRADY LITTLE: No. There won't be that much difference in Game 7 as any other time when these two clubs meet. We have a lot of confidence in the security in both stadiums.
Q. What are some of the more unusual superstitions you've seen players or teammates have?
GRADY LITTLE: I don't know. There's so many we can't get into them right here this morning. There are a lot. I think that each individual has their own superstitions and they probably start much sooner than they come to the ballpark each day.
Q. Not to badger you about Nomar but this is basically a six-week decline. If it were anyone other than a player of this stature, would you have shifted him in the order, given him a day off, whatever the things you would do when a player is having major problems?
GRADY LITTLE: I think when you are looking at a player of this stature of Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramirez, everyone that is around our ballclub or other ballclubs when they have players in the same situation, I think that you know that every time they go to the plate, they can bust out of it. I feel the same way with Nomar, when he goes to the plate right now whether he's been in his struggles or whether he's been in a hot streak, I feel the same about Manny Ramirez, I feel like every time he goes to the plate there's a chance the ball is going to leave the park. I feel like every day I write Nomar's name in the lineup, he's going to get four or five hits that day, and that's not going to change.
Q. Towards the end of the season and throughout the playoffs, Jason sometimes when he takes pitches behind the plate he has been standing up; is there any baseball reason behind that, a little unorthodox, I think?
GRADY LITTLE: I think that he's been watching too many of these old games on the classic channel. (Laughter.) A lot of times the catcher used to do that a lot. There are reasons why Jason Varitek makes moves like that. They have been successful so I don't think they are going to change that. There are reasons.
End of FastScripts...