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October 1, 2003

Ken Macha


Q. Compare and contrast how Miguel Tejada after he won an MVP last year. Do you feel he is among the great shortstops?

KEN MACHA: Tough question right off the bat. Both of them are tremendous players. I don't know about comparing and contrasting them. I'll get to the second part of your question. Perhaps in the eyes of yourself, he's lost in the shuffle of the other shortstops. MVP, he made a world of difference in our second half this year. Tremendous comeback from having a disappointing April. He is a leader on the bench. He keeps everybody upbeat, tremendous amount of energy displayed with great intensity in the field. I can remember going to Detroit for a series there and he hit a ground ball up the middle, sprinted out of the box, didn't hesitate, straight to second, set the tone for that particular game. He's our leader as far as our position players are concerned and he's been a leader for this team the last two years, and this team has been in the playoffs the last two years. In your eyes he may be lost in the shuffle, but I think there is probably a lot of baseball people who view him as being a leader and one of the top guys. 30 home runs last year, he's got 27 I think this year, which is pretty good. He said he wanted to make sure he got enough at-bats at the end of the year to hit 40. That was just in that three-game series up in Seattle. I told him he better get hot. Hopefully he saved some of them for the series. So as a contrast to the two, Miggy is more of a vocal guy, shows his emotions quite easily, Omar, to me, keeps everything within himself. He's a quiet leader, he leads by the way he plays, they both lead by the way they play. But Omar keeps it inside him. Quiet guy. Both are tough and great leaders. If you had a team full of both those players, you would be in great shape.

Q. Comment on Pedro's dominance in the postseason, what you have to do to combat that?

KEN MACHA: I'm trying to approach this game like it's a game. It's obviously the first game of the playoffs, it's the first game. We faced Pedro before, we have to go out there and have to get at-bats off him. We have to play a good solid game, if we do that, we'll be fine. If you view it as postseason game and you look at his dominance and all these things you focus on what's happened in the past. Your focus should be on things that are going to happen tonight and focus on what your approach is going to be tonight. Perhaps you'll have a little better outcome if you do that. I know he's done well in the postseason, but the season starts tonight.

Q. How would you assess Zito's season?

KEN MACHA: I don't know, two, three weeks ago, I believe he was under 500 coming off of Cy Young year, and I had our stats people bring down his stats, and took a look at the batting average against in every count, 0-0, the 3-1, the 2-0, to whatever, and batting average in every one of those counts with the exception of 2-0, 3-1 was better. He was allowing too many base runners. To me, he was picking a little bit. His walks were up, and he was beating himself as compared to having the other team beat him. The last three or four starts, he's been much more aggressive, he's gotten his walks down and, therefore, he's pitched better. Talking to him, I think he was concerned a little bit with defending the award that he had last year, instead of being aggressive and going out and pitching his game. I think he's turned it around a little bit. I'm looking forward to watching him pitch tomorrow. Here again, I don't think -- you can't focus on the other team. You have to focus on what you need to do. They let us know who's pitching, and we let them know and we go out and play the game.

Q. What was your thought in carrying an 11th pitcher?

KEN MACHA: That was a lot of discussion. We probably spent a lot of time on that than anything else. We're just protecting ourselves on the pitching side. You're either going to protect yourself on the position player side or pitching side. We protected ourselves with the pitching.

Q. Talk about what you meant by saying it was interesting to defend his Cy Young.

KEN MACHA: I think a lot of players, whatever, if you get an award one year, you want to show everybody that next year you deserved that award, every bit of it. Jason Giambi won the MVP, he was here the next year, he wanted to show everybody he was worthy of that particular award. You go out there and I think you try a little too hard.

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