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October 10, 1998

Bruce Bochy

Steve Finley

SAN DIEGO: Game Three

Q. How does this feel at this point?

BRUCE BOCHY: It's great to get a win. It's great to have three right now. I don't think you could ask for a better situation, but we still know it's the best out of seven. But to be in this situation, it's a good feeling. But there's still baseball left, and we have to be level-headed about this. And guys played well out there.

Q. You would have been fortunate to get out of Atlanta splitting those games, and now you're up 3 games to none. Can you comment on that?

BRUCE BOCHY: I was just saying it was great to be in this situation. You couldn't ask for anything more, but we have to remember it's best out of seven. And for us to be 3-0, it's a good feeling, but we have to go out there and get No. 4. We know that. But you've got to get 3 first. And it's something we've got to keep telling ourselves, hey, it's the best out of seven.

Q. What do you tell the players to make sure they don't get complacent at all, or is that going to be a problem?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, I don't think that's going to be a problem. These guys have been around, they know how good Atlanta is. And we have a lot of good veterans on this ball club, and they've been around the game. And you can't get too high or too low in this game. You have to stay level-headed. They played well out there. But the thing you have to keep saying is it's the best out of seven.

Q. Did you start Vander Wal for his defense?

BRUCE BOCHY: I tell you, he came through with a big throw. Actually, that put him on the spot, because he hasn't been out in left field much. He's had a little success against Maddux at bat. He's played a lot of outfield, though, but he came up on the ball and threw. It looked like he had been out there all year.

Q. When you get a throw like that, does it send some kind of message to your own team, maybe to the other team, too, when you're getting something you're not supposed to get?

BRUCE BOCHY: I don't know. With Vander Wal, I think because he's known as a pinch hitter. Sometimes you forget that he can play outfield. And our reports are that he's a pretty good outfielder. And I talked to some of the coaches on the Rockies staff, and they said he does a good job out there. When he got a chance to play in the outfield, he did a nice job, and they said he made some nice plays. So I think you get labeled as a pinch hitter, and you're strictly an offensive player. I think he could be an everyday player, because he's not a liability.

Q. Can you comment on your bullpen, and the work they did?

BRUCE BOCHY: Tremendous job by the bullpen. Donne Wall, he got in a jam there, made pitches when he had to. Myers came in in a jam. He did a nice job with one out there. And Hoffman, he was himself. And it takes that, because we were on the ropes a few times there; we know it. And our pitchers, they did a great job, there, when the game was on the line.

Q. Coach, the pitching overall, you guys gave up eight runs against the Astros, now three runs in three games here for the Braves. Is this just a matter of what Brown did, elevating the entire pitching staff to follow along?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, all year, really, we've relied on our pitching and defense. Offensively, we haven't had the kind of year that we had the last couple of years. Last year we set an all-time Padre record with runs scored; we came in last. But this year offensively we haven't been the same club; so it shows you how important the pitch has been to us. And Kevin Brown has played a big part. I said I knew he'd make a difference, but not this big a difference. But I think other pitchers feed off of him. Hitchcock, he's had to go out against Randy Johnson and now Greg Maddux, and he gave us a great effort today.

Q. Can you talk about Hitchcock?

BRUCE BOCHY: Hitch threw very well. For a couple of innings, he started getting the ball up. In the 5th, he had a very good inning; that's why I left him hit there. I was thinking about hitting for him. To be honest, I didn't know he'd get a base hit. It looked like he got locked in again, and that's why he went back in the 6th. He's pitched very well for us. All year he's done a good job, and he's pitched very well in the postseason.

Q. Being around in '84, do you feel any emotion about what your team is about to do?

BRUCE BOCHY: Again, we've won three games, and that doesn't mean anything. It's great to be here in the playoffs. This is what the game is about. And to see the way the fans have come out and supported us and see how enthusiastic they are. It's a great feeling. So '84 is a long time ago. Those are good memories, but it was a long time ago, and we've just got to stay focused on what we're trying to get done, here.

Q. In the 6th inning the Braves seemed to use a lot of their pinch hitters. Did that have anything to do with knowing who was left in your bullpen or did it have anything to do with the shadows coming in?

BRUCE BOCHY: I don't know. In games like the ones we're playing, you have to make a lot of moves. You've got to do what it takes to either get back in the ballgame or get the lead. And both of us have made a lot of moves. And sometimes they're necessary, and I don't know if the shadows had something to do with it. I don't think they do.

Q. Is there anything in advance scouting that helps you approach them differently than you have in the past?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, there's no secret. You have to pitch well. Our advance scouts have done a great job, but you still have to execute and make pitches. That's the bottom line. And you can get all the scouting reports you want. And our guys have done a good job. I'm very thankful. But you have to go out there and make pitches, because that's a good line-up over there, and our guys have been doing it.

Q. It seems like some of your moves turn out to be better in a lot of ways. Can you talk about some of your moves and what to chalk that up to?

BRUCE BOCHY: Sometimes luck can play a part, too. But again, Vander Wal, the fact that he was out there, I wouldn't put him out there if I thought he was going to be a liability. He's played outfield before, and a big game like this, I had all the confidence in the world he'd do a great job. And he made a nice play by the wall. And it's like I said before, just because he's known as a pinch-hitter, some people might be surprised. He does a good job. He plays it right. He plays it hard.

Q. Were you surprised Lopez didn't bat earlier, and was Hoffman coming in then if he did?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, I wasn't surprised. I did have Hoffman ready, and he probably would have come in, if he would have batted earlier, but, again, you don't know what they're going to do on the other side, and you just have to be ready for anything.

Q. Bruce, obviously you've said a couple of times you're happy to be up 3-0, and you haven't clinched anything yet. Does it surprise you at all that it's by outpitching the Atlanta Braves' pitching staff?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, again, we feel like we have a very good pitching staff, here, starters and bullpen. And these games, to be honest, could have gone either way, a bad hop or we lost a ball in the sun there, that's how tight they've been. But we're here in this situation because of our pitching staff. And sure, Atlanta, they set the standard as far as pitching. But our guys have done a great job, and we knew we had to pitch well to compete with them.

Q. Can you talk about the hit Carlos got?

BRUCE BOCHY: Oh, huge hit. I think anytime you're up a run going into the 9th, if you can get an insurance run, it sure makes life a little easier. When you're winning the game, you have all the confidence in the world with what he's going to do behind the plate, but he's swinging the bat well. But I thought that was a big run for us, because it makes it a little easier in the 9th inning.

Q. Steve, Maddux, how is he pitching, and what kind of pitch did you hit off him, and what was the situation?

STEVE FINLEY: Well, he was really -- he does what he does best, he was moving the ball in and out, changing speeds. Usually at bat you might get a pitch to hit from him, and I was trying to bat the -- back the ball up, because he's been tough on me in the past. Especially with the change-up, it's hard to pick up. I just tried to see the ball, back it up, and I did, and put a swing in it and it got in the gap, thank goodness.

Q. Steve, what are the chances of a team loading the bases three times in five innings and not scoring?

STEVE FINLEY: You know, it's a testament to our pitching staff. They've been clutch for us all year. They've been clutch in the postseason. They made the pitches when they had to, especially when the shadows came in late, it's tough to see. So they made the pitches when they had to and got us out of jams.

Q. Steve, Bruce was the Chevy Truck Player of the Game. What's your feeling about that?

STEVE FINLEY: He's been doing it all year. He's a great manager for the players, and the moves he makes -- he manages with his instincts. And it's been working for him when I started in '95. He doesn't change drastically. He makes the moves he feels like he's got to make to help us win the ballgame. And he's done a good job for us.

Q. Can you comment on the team being up 3-0?

STEVE FINLEY: Better than being 2-1, or down 3-0. We have to keep our focus. That's a great team over there in the Atlanta Braves. They didn't win 107 or 108 games, or whatever, for rolling over. We came out today and stayed focused and we're going to come out tomorrow and do the same thing.

Q. What's your thoughts about facing Denny Neagle tomorrow, and does he pose any problems for you?

STEVE FINLEY: He's right in with the Atlanta Braves pitching staff. They've got four No. 1 pitchers over there. He moves the balls in and out; has a great change-up. We just have to stay focused tomorrow, and try ask get good pitches. I know the starting time is 4:30 or something tomorrow, so we're going to have to be dealing with shadows early in the game. We have to come out, and stay focused and battle.

Q. Steve, Tony has talked about this a lot over the last week. You have a situation where this club is focused and doing what it's doing, and you have the specter of all the free agents hanging over and the stadium hanging over, and really the team could split up. How do you react from that and how do you fit in; what do you want to do?

STEVE FINLEY: I don't think anybody is really worrying about status after the season. We're staying focused on what we have to do right now in these playoffs, and that's win one more game in this series. And the other issues, you know, I don't think it's fair anymore to really tie those issues to our success. We've had a good season so far. It's far from over, I hope. But as far as a ballpark goes, it's something that's good for San Diego, it's not just good for the baseball team. It's something good for San Diego, and I think those are the issues people should look at, not because we're winning. We should get a new ballpark.

Q. Your personal situation: You're a free agent at the end of the year. Would you prefer to sign and stay here?

STEVE FINLEY: Like I said, that's so far in the back of my mind, my situation. All I'm concentrating on is helping this club win, doing whatever I can do. Those things will take care of themselves after the World Series.

Q. It seemed incredibly loud out there, how much does that help you?

STEVE FINLEY: They've been the 10th man all year. And in these playoffs, they've been absolutely unbelievable. My voice is horse by trying to get my outfielders' attention when we're moving around out there. They've been getting into the games. When they get into the games, it's so loud you can't hear yourself think. It really gives yourself goose bumps. If you can't get up for that, something is wrong.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STEVE FINLEY: This team has played with a lot of heart all year. We're a very close-knit team. When you spend as much time as we do, all the chemistry came together this whole season, and we play with a lot of emotion. And we're not afraid to let it out. And it's been kind of our trademark all year. We play with a lot of heart and a lot of emotion, and there's no need to hold it out. You have to let it out and play hard.

Q. How does the crowd noise compare between San Diego and Atlanta?

STEVE FINLEY: Well, with the way our pitchers pitch there, the crowd, they kind of kept the crowd out of the game, until the 9th inning of the first game, and the calm kind of silenced them again with his home run in the 10th. We really kept their crowd out of it. They had the potential to get loud, I'm sure, but with the way our pitchers pitched, it really kept their crowd out of the game.

Q. Are you at all surprised to be up 3-0 against the Braves at this point?

STEVE FINLEY: Well, we've taken it one game at a time this whole series. And we're not looking any farther than where we are right now. We're looking to Game 4, and that's it. Our pitchers have pitched great, and that's where we're at. We're not surprised. We know we have good pitchers, they've carried us all year. To be up 3-0, is a testament to what they've done for us.

Q. When the Braves scored their run, did you think he was going to try to score on that play?

STEVE FINLEY: I'm glad you asked that question. I take full responsibility for that play, that was very dumb on my part, my reaction. I felt like I really gave them a run right there, because I didn't come up and throw the ball the way I should. I was kicking myself in the rear end for that. I was glad to be able to make amends to make the tie run.

Q. Is that because you didn't think he was going to try?

STEVE FINLEY: Yeah, that's the problem in baseball: You can't think, you have to just play.

Q. Could you talk about about what Trevor has meant to the team this year and what he's meant to the Padres overall?

STEVE FINLEY: He's blown only two save chances all year in 50-something tries. You know when he comes in the game the game is over. It's a great feeling when he comes out, especially at home when they're playing hell's bells, the crowd is on their feet and you get goose bumps. You can't say enough about what Javy has done. I don't know how many one-run games he's saved this year. The pressure is on him to get the job done. He's done it for us all year, and he's been fantastic.

End of FastScripts….

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