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October 3, 2006

Ken Macha


Q. Ken, a game like this is probably the reason Barry Zito didn't leave Oakland this summer, I would guess, huh?
KEN MACHA: Well, there was rumors circulating even in winter, and Barry has pitched a lot of good games for us and there was some discussion who was going to pitch the first game.
He has pitched -- he earned the right to pitch the first game. He has been a big pitcher for us this year, the first game in Oakland against Anaheim, he came out and pitched a great game for us, and we won that game, and that helped us clinch this thing, so Barry has been a part of a lot of big games and he definitely came out and earned the right.

Q. Ken, are you at all surprised at the production Frank Thomas has given you, not only today, but in the regular season as well, after many had written him off?
KEN MACHA: Well, I have said, when they come out for this battle for comeback player of the year, really, all 30 teams could have had him. We signed him to a minimal contract, and it's because probably people were scared of his physical condition.
So Frank, we knew he hit 12 homeruns last year, a little over 100 bats, and he can still hit with power, but he has done a tremendous job of rehabbing his foot. I saw him flying down the baseline today on the base hit to right. He got a standing ovation in Oakland with a double down the line, but he put a lot of work into getting ready to play and being able to run, and his bat has been just immense for us.
If you are going to win something, you better have an impact bat in the lineup, and that guy has definitely provided it for us.

Q. Ken, what happened to Swisher there, was it the 9th or 8th? Did he get hurt pulling into second?
KEN MACHA: Yesterday he caught a ball off his foot, had to be taken out of the game, when he slid into second and he landed right on the spot where he found the ball yesterday.

Q. Ken, what's the mind-set of the players. What do you tell them when you are facing a guy like Santana, how to attack a guy like that?
KEN MACHA: You know what, my coaches did a good job of preparing these guys, Gerald had a meeting with all the hitters, go over what all the pitchers were going to do but really, our guys coming into this series, they felt good, but what they are going to do, they should, because we won the division. We played well all year.
We are just as hot as any other team in the league since the All-Star break. So I heard it mentioned here before, one mistake could cost you the game. Looking back at it, it probably did, you know, with the homeruns Frank hit.
But the guys feel good about themselves, and going up against Santana, we had Barry, and we knew he was going to give us a good effort, so it was going to be a tight game, and that's exactly what we wound up with.

Q. In a close game like this, it's the smaller things that make the difference. Do you want to comment on how Kotsay took up 13 pitches in the first two innings against Santana?
KEN MACHA: Well, I tell you what, I got a list of whole bunch of those things, not just that particular situation. They had a lead-off double in the eighth inning, didn't get him over, you have to give Barry credit for that. He ended up stranding the runner, Kotsay running the ball down with Morneau leading off the one inning there. I thought the biggest play of the game really was in the first inning.
They had their lead-off hitter on, Barry is a little erratic with his pitches at that particular time, and Kendall comes up and throws Castillo out at second, and then he gets through that inning.
Once Barry got through that inning and we scored some runs, he settled into his pitching routine and pitched very well.
So there was a bunch of little plays that helped us out. A tremendous baseball game. Had the bases loaded, one out, and Scutaro lined the ball to center, and Torii comes in and makes a great play on that, and holds it up, holds the runner at third.
Just a whole bunch of things in that game. You sat on the edge of your seat the whole night because of those plays, but I probably did miss a few, too, but when you played as many one-run games as we did this year, that's Game Number 55 for us as far as one-run games, so you get used to watching all those big plays.

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