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October 21, 2002

Dusty Baker


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dusty Baker, please.

Q. You threw power pitchers in the first two games. Now you have Livan and Kirk going in the next two. How much of a factor is that going to be against a line-up as good as Anaheim's?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I really don't know. I do know they can hit the fastball because they got some guys over there that have powered that fastball pretty good. We have two control-type pitchers, possibly I think coming at five o'clock, when we play this game it's going to be a little tough to pick up the ball. So, possibly they'll be very good, especially early hopefully. So we have a well-rounded staff, a couple power guys, Livan is a mixture, Kirk, that's more of a finesse guy, so we'll see how they fare against them.

Q. Will you talk about the National League style play here, and also possibly thinking about playing for one run early because you're in a different style, different ballpark here?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, and because we're home, we do have the last at-bat. So it just depends, depends how tough their pitcher appears, depending if we play small ball, or let our guys loose and let them play our usual long ball. So, it depends. A lot of it depends on how tough they're looking, their pitcher is looking and how good our pitcher's looking. If our pitcher is looking good, we can go for a lower scoring game. If our pitcher is not as sharp, we have to go for a big inning.

Q. How differently do you manage your bullpen now compared to a regular season?

DUSTY BAKER: I manage it about the same basically. I mean, it's a little bit different in American League because you don't have to hit for your guys, so you have to double switch for your guys. American League games are, most of the time, what I've seen on TV, are more higher scoring than our league because of the DH. So, we're going to manage the way we always manage, the same game. Like I said, I use my bullpen about the same.

Q. What's made Livan so successful in the postseason?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he's pitched some big games since he's very young. When you're from Cuba and you have to pitch to survive and feed your family, then you're going to have a tendency to be good in big games. In Cuba where he came from, during Pan Am games, international games, whatever games they play in, it's about survival, basically, in pitching those big games. I think part of it is because he knows how to relax. The guys that know how to relax the best, but still concentrate with that fire inside of them, are usually the guys that do the best.

Q. Reggie Sanders really struggled in the NLCS against the Cardinals. How has he changed his approach so far in his at-bats in the first two games?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't think he's changed that much basically. Reggie's always been kind of a streak hitter. When he gets on a bad streak, he's bad. When he's in a good streak, then he's very good. I think the major factor, I think here, as much as anything, is Reggie is putting balls in play that before, when you're off a little bit, he's fouling them off, putting them in a two-strike situation. Most of the times when guys are going through a strikeout spree, they're fouling off balls that ordinarily they'd put in play, the end of fair territory, it's a popup, line drive, home run or whatever. When you're constantly fouling off balls, putting yourself in a two-strike situation, most of the time, they're gonna get you.

Q. What kind of situation could Shinjo play?

DUSTY BAKER: Shinjo's probably between Goodwin, my fourth or fifth outfield, depending on left, right, he could pinch hit, pinch run, double switch. If I need a spot, he can play all three outfield positions, I probably wouldn't double switch with Barry I don't think. But I could possibly double switch with Kenny Lofton or Reggie Sanders depending on where the line-up falls and how many innings I want out of my pitcher.

Q. What makes David Bell a good number eight hitter in a National League line-up?

DUSTY BAKER: Number one, David knows how to hit down the bottom of the order. He batted ninth in Seattle. Plus the eighth position in the National League is a very, very important position because it gets my pitcher to the plate, especially in a two-out situation where the next inning, I don't have to hit for my pitcher. He's patient, has a good idea what they're trying to do to him. If you can have an RBI man down in that slot, especially a two-out RBI man, then you're going to get some very, very key runs. That eight spot is very important in the National League. Also, he's batted leadoff for us and leadoff before, therefore, when he comes up in a no-out situation, he's no longer an eighth hitter, he knows how to be a leadoff hitter and can get in front of the pitcher so the pitcher can bunt him over. Hopefully, our lineup will turn over and we can get some more offense.

Q. You talk about Livan's ability to pitch well in big games. Why is the regular season sometimes such a struggle for him?

DUSTY BAKER: That, I don't know, maybe it's a matter of concentration maybe. Maybe it's a matter of pacing himself sometimes in a regular season, knowing that he's going to pitch 200-something innings. When you get to the playoffs and postseason, you're not worried about your next start as much as you are your present start. So, plus at the same time, he can up his intensity. He can control his intensity, which is very hard for a young player, especially young pitchers, to do.

Q. Will Lofton definitely play centerfield tomorrow?

DUSTY BAKER: Definitely, yeah.

End of FastScripts�.

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