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October 6, 2006

Willie Randolph


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Willie.

Q. You were coaching the Yankees in 2001 when they were down 0-2 and came back and beat Oakland and of course in 2004 with the Red Sox. So you have an immediate frame of reference of a team having a lead and not keeping it. Is that something that is going to help you in expounding a message to your team or is that even needed right now?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, just play. Win a ballgame and get on back home. Keep it simple. Nothing more than going out and just doing what we have been doing.

Q. Any concerns about Steve pitching after such a long layoff and some of the personal matters that he was dealing with that took him away from the club?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Nope, not at all. In playoff baseball you know what's at stake, you know what you have to do and it's one game. Go out and gather yourself and prepare yourself and he's ready to go.
Looking forward to him going out there and pitching a gem for us. There's been times this year where he's pitched on long rest and times when he's gone on short rest. So no concerns at all on that.

Q. Obviously they always say the clincher is the toughest one to get. How dangerous is a team that's down 0-2 to the team that has a 2-0 lead?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, we respect the Dodgers. They're always going to be dangerous. They're at home, obviously. I'm sure they will be looking forward to getting back out there so they can get this thing turned around.
But I've always tried to keep it real basic and real simple. We never talk about the opposition in our clubhouse. We don't concern ourselves with that. We have been a good club all year, we have been a team that's taken on all our challenges, so for us it's very simple, one game, go out and win the ballgame, execute, get good pitching, play defense, all the things that are conducive to winning one game and moving on. So when we talk as a team we talk about what we need to do, our approach, our attitude, doing what we need to do to be successful. We can't control what the Dodgers are all about. We know that they're going to -- they play well here. They're a team that likes to feel the energy of their club at their ballpark, just like we do. The fans are here, I'm sure, they have been great, so we'll just take care of our own business. That's what we have done all year. Don't deviate, don't change, no reason to do that.

Q. Talking with Tom Glavine, talking about how Greg Maddux always makes everybody work for everything they get. Obviously that is something you have done all season, been able to go with a lot of power, going with scratching, clawing, manufacturing runs. How important was that to display that last night in the postseason because sometimes things get a little more tight, showing that you've been able to do what you've done all season that game?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: We talked about what we have to do going into the series. Obviously the big home run, the long ball, it's not something that plays real well in a short series. It can, but for us, we talked about making sure that we made the pitchers work. We put the ball in play. The walks have been huge for us. One of the biggest plays of the game for me yesterday was when Valentin got a walk, Jose eked out a walk too, so we do have an approach and a plan going into each series and first couple games we have done a good job of executing that. Sometimes you take what you get or take what they give you in a short series like this. Sometimes you get a pitcher that you can't do certain things against, so you try to improvise a little bit. But guys are always going to take their hacks and every once in a while you'll hit a mistake and get the big three-run home run, which is nice.
But I try to emphasize to this team, before we got here, leading into the last few weeks of the season that we got to approach the game a different way. We have been focusing on these guys doing the little things and that's how we got to try to do it. So we're not going to change from that.

Q. You've got a number of former Dodgers on this team, do you get any sense that coming back here with a chance to clinch against a team that either traded them or let some of them go means something more to guys like Lo Duca, Green, Valentin?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, I haven't talked to them about that and I don't really think -- I think obviously that's a personal thing and I'm sure they want to do well coming back here. Greeny is from this area. So I'm sure there's going to be a little bit more energy from him, as far as excitement in terms of being in front of his family and friends. But, no, we haven't talked about it. But that's something that players deal with individually but I'm sure that it will be a little sweeter, but we still got to play the game.

Q. A guy like Greg Maddux, how much, in your eye, how much do you think he's fallen off from his prime and --
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I think he's still as tough as he's been, man. Geez, I mean he knows how to pitch, obviously. He's a master at pitching, actually. Being able to sink the ball the way he does and mixes his pitches, in and out, up and down. You look at his stuff, there's nothing overpowering, obviously, but he's like Tom Glavine, those guys have a knack for pitching, it's the art of pitching. If you look in the dictionary, that's what you'll see, those kind of guys. He's still tough to me. We will have to make him get the ball up in the zone, obviously, be patient with him, and just hope you get a ball that's not sinking out of the zone. Because he will make you bite and he will feed off your energy.
So we have a nice approach going in on him. We faced him before, we swung the bats pretty well against him last time out so we're not going to change much from that either. But when you look at him, and I faced him when I played, so he might have had a little more velocity back then but not much. His signature obviously is the movement on his sinker. And he's going to always go to his strength and do that to us, so we'll be ready for him.

Q. Is he that old or are you that young?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: It was towards the end of my career. We're both a little long in the tooth but he he's still playing and I'm not, so he probably stays in better shape, of course.

Q. Will the lineup look like Game One?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, I haven't decided yet. It's going to look very similar. But I'll tell the guys before I tell you guys about what I'm going to do. I haven't talked to the players about who I'm going to put out there, so I'll wait.

End of FastScripts...

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