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October 3, 2003

Dusty Baker


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dusty?

Q. Dusty, you have seen a lot of what Mark's been able to do this year. How good was it and how much of a leash did he have in the 9th inning?

DUSTY BAKER: That's about as good as it gets. First playoff game, and his leash was getting shorter as each runner got on base in the 9th inning. He had a lot of pitches but that's one reason why we stretch them out during the season, to determine their maximum limit to determine how far they can go. It's getting shorter and shorter.

Q. Was this like the LA game where he talked you into letting him staying in the game?

DUSTY BAKER: No, he didn't talk me into anything. We knew he was going to stay in the game no matter what. Quite frankly I didn't talk to him in the 9th. He was down at the other end of the dugout. He wanted to catch his breath and think about what he had to do in the next inning.

Q. Can you talk about the effort you got from the Lofton, Ramirez and Simon?

DUSTY BAKER: Other than Mark Prior, those three guys won the game for us offensively. Lofton's been great, getting on base. Simon drove in the first two runs. And we saw what he was like against his old club. Ramirez got that big hit in the 8th.

Q. In order to try to wrap things up at home, is everybody eligible on your pitching staff tomorrow? How will you approach that?

DUSTY BAKER: I'll approach it like it's not the last game. If it was game number 5, it would be different. No, we're going to treat it like a normal game we're trying to win. We're trying to win every day, so Wood is not available, Prior is not available, so -- but everyone in our bullpen is strong. It's well rested. We had two days off with the off day yesterday.

Q. Dusty, can you measure the effect of the crowd?

DUSTY BAKER: It's hard to measure, but the crowd was into it. We gave them something to be into, especially in the first inning. Prior kept them in the game, kept them excited by quality pitching and striking out some good hitters, popping up some other ones. We played good defense, so the crowd stayed in from the very first inning. It didn't look like it was a sellout, but then they came out of somewhere and it was full and they were into it. They were probably keeping warm and getting a little antifreeze across the street or something.

Q. Dusty, last Saturday, Matt Clement pitched a clincher. Can you talk about what you expect out of him tomorrow?

DUSTY BAKER: Matt's ready. He's throwing the ball very well, and I expect him to give us some quality, and we have to score also. It would help us again to score early like we did today, and Matt's I think him clinching it at home in his last start is going to really help him tomorrow to deal with the noise and the pressure of trying to clinch at home.

Q. With both starting pitchers pitching so well, (inaudible), how big was that?

DUSTY BAKER: I knew somebody was going to slip. The field is slick out there. They asked me before the game what kind of game did I expect. He slipped, Jones slipped, Furcal slipped, and slips helped us today and hurt the Braves.

Q. You have been running a little more in the postseason. Are those decisions coming from the dugout or are those guys being opportunistic on the base hits?

DUSTY BAKER: I can't tell you that. Some of I would say both. We're trying to make some things happen. We had confidence tonight, but if you don't try, you won't get confidence.

Q. Did you hear the mock chop, and if so, what did you think about it?

DUSTY BAKER: No, nobody really commented on it. We saw them doing something. I don't know what they was doing exactly. Since you brought it up, I guess that's what it was. And I'm sure anyway the Braves go, if they're behind, they'll hear that. Tomorrow's going to be a very, very tough game because that one more is always tough to get, especially with a quality team. You can expect an outstanding game tomorrow.

End of FastScripts...

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