October 11, 2001
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: Game Two
Q. Would you talk about Sabathia and what you'd like to see from him in Game 3?
CHARLIE MANUEL: So far this year, like C.C. is a rookie, and if he stays focused on what he's doing, and he studies the game, and stays cool on the mound, I look for him to just pitch his game. Basically he's got a good fastball. And when he's on, like his best pitches, heck, he'll throw inside, and he's got -- he pitches off the fastball. He's a power pitcher, but he's got a change-up, and his breaking ball has improved since the season started. Seems like he's getting better every game with the breaking ball.
Q. Do you know what you're going to get ever from a rookie in the postseason?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I look at C.C., like I think -- I think the only thing that would -- the only thing possibly that would hurt C.C. is for him to be too fired up when a game starts. But I think once the game starts and things, and he settles in, I think the first inning might be big for him, but after that I think he'll pitch his regular game.
Q. Charlie, are you enjoying this experience, and what about the post-season makes it so great?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I love it. I loved the game the other day, it was a great game. But I love baseball every day. So I look at post-season as extra, don't get me wrong. There's no glitter to it. But I love baseball even if it's rookie ball. I've always said that. But like the post-season is special, and the farther you go it gets more special. That's baseball, and that's what makes it real interesting, that's what you play for. That's basically what we played 162 games for was to get in the post-season. That was a third of where we wanted to go. I look at it as like a three-piece pie, and we've got one piece of the pie, and now we're trying to get the second one.
Q. When was the last time you were in the World Series?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I was the hitting coach in '97. I was the hitting coach here from '94 through 2000.
Q. Charlie, what will tell you early on that Finley is on his game?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Command of his fastball, and at times if he's going to throw his split, first or second pitch, and that means he's trying to throw it for a strike. He's got a tremendous split, and actually it's kind of a chase pitch. But if he's throwing for strikes, like when he has to, like on the first pitch, that tells me -- command of his pitch is what tells me. But his fastball, heck -- that's a good indication.
Q. Charlie, when Chuck has struggled and has had difficulty, he's blown up real quick. How concerned and how worried are you about that, and would you be more eager to pull him out, if it happens?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think sometimes he gives up big innings, like first or second innings, and those are the things you look for. But at the same time I also see him as a veteran pitcher, and I've also seen him settle in after giving up two or three runs. And basically my decision probably will be when we get in the spot of how many runs I will let him give up before I go get him. We're in a post-season game, and I look at these as a must win every day or I want to win every day, whatever.
Q. Charlie, with Moyer is it just a matter of being patient, more patient at the plate?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think with Moyer, I think we've got to really not only be patient at the plate, but we've got to really wait and get the ball up through the middle, like we did with Freddy Garcia. That's kind of how we've got to hit Moyer. This year he's been real successful against us, and at the same time we can't be trying to swing hard and jerk him and hit him out of the yard. Our approach has got to be good, and also we've got to stick with our game plan how we're going to approach him.
Q. With your having played in Japan successfully, what do you see and what did you expect from Ichiro? You knew some of the background.
CHARLIE MANUEL: You know, when I played in Japan, actually I seen some pretty good players. And last year when I heard that Ichiro was coming here, matter of fact, I already heard some people talking about him. But then when I started talking to some people I know and some of the Japanese people I know, like my interpreter over there before, and also some guys I played with who still go over there, they told me about how good Ichiro was. And they told me about his arm and about how he could hit. But I didn't realize -- he was not the kind of player that I kind of envisioned of seeing, until I saw him play this year. And he's a tremendous player. I look at him -- he's a big part of Seattle's team. He's probably the best lead off hitter in our League.
Q. Was he like Rod Carew, is that the closest similarity you can draw?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think his hitting style is different, because Carew kind of inside out everything, every now and then he would look for something mediocre or soft to pull, just to keep the defense honest. But Rod kind of hit the ball more inside out. Ichiro is more of a slash hitter. To me like he pulls more balls than Rod did. Although Carew hit balls all over the field, Rod bunted more than Ichiro. I played with Rod for a long time. I think one year he got 44 hits bunting. But at the same time they are different type hitters.
Q. Talk about facing Sele. Is his curveball the thing you fear the most?
CHARLIE MANUEL: His curveball is a big pitch for him. But at the same time, Sele is good when he's moving the ball around. If he's hitting -- if he's going in and out, and he's hitting both sides of the plate, I think that's what makes his curveball even better. His curveball is a big pitch for him. But his command and control is what really makes him good. I think you've got -- I think you've got to be real patient against him, make sure you get a good ball to hit.
Q. Were you the best player of all time in Japan?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think up until, after I left, I think I was probably the best American player that played there. Or I got probably built up as being the best American player. Because I hit for a high average and I hit home runs, too, and also my team won. And I think those are the reasons why that I probably got built up that way.
Q. Was that a big piece of your professional career?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Well, I was more like a pinch-hitter here in the States. And I sat on the bench for like six years. And finally I went to Japan, I got -- there was a place for me to go play regularly. And it was almost like a second career. And in the six years I was there I really enjoyed it. I was a baseball player. And if you want to play baseball 24 hours a day, you go to Japan. And actually I like everything about it. Practice was hard at first, but once I got used to it I liked that too. And once I quit playing, I didn't realize it, what I missed, I missed the practices.
Q. Can I ask you about your health, how you're feeling and all the pressure of the playoffs?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I feel good. Matter of fact, I feel better than I did before I ever went in the hospital. The first time I went in the hospital this year and I came out I felt like -- by the time I got out of the hospital and I went back to work, I felt like that's when I got an infection and I got sick, that's when I felt I really got sick. But at the same time right now I feel great. As far as the pressure, to me pressure is what you put on yourself. Baseball is a fun game. I look at it that way. And I think I know something about it. And I sit there and I love my team, I like to watch them play and actually I like to watch both teams play. But at the same time, believe me a hundred percent, I want us to win the game.
Q. Do you think this is a must win game for Seattle?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think as long as you're playing, you've got a chance. And Seattle, I think this year if you look back, they've run off 3 and 4 wins quite a bit of the times. And it's been hard for teams to beat them in a series. We've won one game. This game today, I think this is a big game for us, too. If we go up 2-0 on them, that means they've got to beat us three straight. And I think at the same time if you're going to sit down and talk baseball, you could say the Indians would be looking good, they're in the best position. But that doesn't necessarily mean we're going to win. We still have to win three games. And they've got a great season, 116 wins, don't take them lightly.
Q. A couple of your players in the past few days have expressed concerns for your health from time to time. Have you had to reassure them a couple of times to bring that up as a topic?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Not really. I think they see me -- they don't see me like I used to. I would hit on them, wrestle them, I'd pick on them, kid them joke around with them. I think they see me now as somebody that's been sick, and I'm getting well and things like that, and I think they're waiting for the time when I can get back to where they can start playing with me. (Laughter.)
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