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September 30, 2003

Grady Little


Q. Is that going to affect how many pitchers you put on the roster?

GRADY LITTLE: Yes, it will.

Q. If Nixon is not 100 percent, would you still play him in the outfield or DL him?

GRADY LITTLE: If he's not 100 percent, we'll utilize him as a pitch hitter possibly just periodically in the outfield. But those all will be things that we consider.

Q. Did you talk to Pedro at all about coming in here today?

GRADY LITTLE: No, we just kind of advised our players to what we think is the best thing to do, and then they make the final decision on what they want to do.

Q. What did you think was the best thing to do?

GRADY LITTLE: My idea would be for him to come in here and talk, like most starting pitchers do. But Pedro is Pedro, and he makes the ultimate decision. He's the one that's got to do the talking.

Q. How do you feel about your bullpen going into the playoffs?

GRADY LITTLE: I feel like we've been talking about our bullpen for the entire season and I think we'll be talking about them some more throughout this postseason play.

Q. Is there home-field advantage in the playoffs?

GRADY LITTLE: That's a tough question, I don't know if anyone can answer it directly. They call it home-field advantage if you start a series somewhere and there is going to be more fans. They're going to be cheering against us, which is kind of abnormal for the Boston Red Sox because normally when we go to play on the road, we generally have as many fans in the stand as the home team does. But that certainly won't be the case here in Oakland, we realize that. But this is a new season and we feel anything can happen. And the home-field advantage, it doesn't mean that much to me, personally.

Q. They say good pitching shuts down good hitting. How do you look at that with the offense you've had this year?

GRADY LITTLE: I think everyone knows what kind of offense we have. That's still the case. A lot of times you'll have a well-pitched game going against the best offense I've ever been around and do a number on them. But it hasn't happened very often this year. We know what our offense is capable of doing, we know what that pitching staff over across the way is capable of doing. It should be a good series.

Q. Are you going to use a three-man rotation?

GRADY LITTLE: That's quite possible, but we're going to cross that bridge when we come to it and we'll see. There are a lot of factors involved in that, a lot of it will be Pedro Martinez himself in the first game, how much intensity he puts out. It's not going back on three days is not something he normally does, but it's something he would certainly welcome this year.

Q. Was the game Hudson pitched in August the best game pitched against you all year, and psychologically would it be an advantage to beat him tomorrow?

GRADY LITTLE: I think that game was by far the best game pitched against our ball club this year. Psychologically, I don't see how it could hurt Tim Hudson, but for our offense, every day is a new day and these guys like to hit and they'll come out swinging.

Q. Is there a different feel or is it just 163 tomorrow?

GRADY LITTLE: No, it's a different feeling. For me it's a different feeling. We're not going to do anything drastically different than we've been doing for 162 days, but it's a little bit different. We left spring training trying to get ourselves in a position where we can play in October. Now we're there. Now we're trying to get ourselves in a position to be playing the last baseball game of the year.

Q. Is there anything to be learned from Hudson's two-hitter?

GRADY LITTLE: The main thing we learned from it is the fact that we hope he peaked right there and there is nowhere to go but down. This guy was outstanding this day, but we're about a month and a half later right now. We learned a lot from it. I'm sure he learned a lot from it, and tomorrow should be exciting.

Q. Do you think about a Game 4 in your rotation if Pedro has a lead going into middle and late innings tomorrow?

GRADY LITTLE: Tomorrow if Pedro is on the mound, we'll think about winning Game 1 and whatever it takes to get that done.

Q. Is Pedro at his peak right now?

GRADY LITTLE: He's the best I've seen him in two years right now. There's no one else we would rather have on the mound.

Q. Do you give up any advantage by not starting low in Game 2?

GRADY LITTLE: That's one of those questions that the whole world is going to have to wait for the results of Game 2 and 3 and then we'll hear about what were the right and wrong things to do. That's human nature. We know we've got to win three games. We pride ourselves in trying to put these guys in a position where they can succeed and by lining up our starting pitchers the way we have, we feel we have done just that the best we can.

Q. What's making Pedro the best you've seen him in two years now?

GRADY LITTLE: Physically he's the best he's been. He gets better and better the way he pitches a ball game. He's better than he was the last time because of his knowledge, his preparation for our particular game is second to none, and right now physically he's as good as I've seen him.

End of FastScripts...

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