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October 12, 2006

Willie Randolph


Q. It seemed like all year we asked you how gratifying it is to see Carlos, but how happy are you with him today?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Carlos? Well, he's a big-game guy. He's shown what he can do throughout the season. We're not looking for him to duplicate that, but he seems to have a flare for coming through in a big spot. Huge home run for us. Everyone is getting out a little bit sluggish and you make a mistake to him, you're going to pay for it. Outstanding job to get us on the board.

Q. With all of the injury problems in your pitching staff, what does Glavine's performance mean to you and his last few performances?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, we can talk about Tommy's performance. It's not a thing of where Tommy picked us up. He's done that for us all year. Our pitching staff has been great.
Tommy was superb tonight. He has a lot of experience in the post-season and he's a guy that wants the ball in a big spot. He got us started on the right foot tonight. He's a superb pitcher, we all know that, but you always feel real confident when you give him the ball, because he's a horse prepared and ready to go.

Q. What's your sense of Cliff at this point?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, we'll see how he feels tomorrow. He must have tweaked it a little bit. We'll get him iced up tonight and see how he feels tomorrow when he comes in.

Q. On the heals of that, talk about how Chávez picked up the slack.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Chávez has been picking us up all year, whether it's right field, left field, centerfield, he's one of the best defensive outfielders in the game. Made a great catch tonight, went back on that one ball, regrouped real well, made a great recovery and made a great catch for us.
He's been one of the MVP's, one of the unsung heroes on our club and when you put him out there, you know he's going to give you that solid effort and he was huge again tonight.

Q. Mo instead of Heilman tonight was that a hunch?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, just trying to win the ballgame. He was warm, ready to go. I trust him. When you get into the playoffs, you're not thinking about situations, you're trying to win the ballgame. He was loose and he did the job.

Q. When you saw the way Glavine handled Pujols in the first inning, did that give you a pretty good sense of where this night was headed?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, not necessarily. It's just we dodged a bullet maybe but we had a plan going in against him, and for the most part, we executed it. He's a very dangerous hitter obviously, we all know that. We were going to try to go after him. But as the game went on, we just take every situation as it comes. We don't feel like because we got by the first time that anything changes. Hopefully get into a position where he can't hurt us. We talked about that before the game.

Q. Jose Reyes, just curious, if his performance at the plate is a concern or if you're seeing anything from him?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: He'll be in tomorrow. We win the game and that's what's important to us. He made that great defensive play there at the end so he's not just sitting there to hit for us. He plays solid leadership and he'll be there tomorrow.

Q. Any aspect of the rainout affecting the series?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: We have to go five days in a row. So what; everyone's rested. They might change their pitching around. Not sure what they are going to do yet. We'll adjust, the rain is part of it and we can't do anything about that. We'll be ready to play tomorrow.

Q. Can you just talk for a second about the defense tonight, how much that mattered tonight?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, that's -- you know, everyone talks about our defense obviously and pitching is the name of the game but you have to catch the ball, any short series, any playoff situation, you have to make the plays at the right time. We pride ourselves on playing good defense. That's why when you put it out to Chávez in the game, he doesn't miss a beat obviously, he's one of the best. Again, Jose made a nice backhand play at the end of the game that was important.
And we had, what, two big double plays today. Those double plays are huge for us. And with a team like the Cardinals that can be very explosive at any time, get you out of those big innings; Tommy was key tonight. He pitched an outstanding ballgame for us. He, again, was using all his pitches and curveballs and kept them off balance. He was the key tonight.
I can't say enough about Tommy. He's quiet, goes about his business and is one of the leaders on our staff. We talk about other players that toe the rubber for us, but Tommy is as solid as anybody.

Q. Do you remember Carlos's home run barrage that he had a couple years ago; do you remember that distinctly?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yes, sir, I do, yes. He was just in one of those zones and every time you made a mistake to him, he hit the crap out of it. He has a beautiful swing. When you make a mistake with someone like him, he hits the ball real well and the ball jumps off his bat. He's a very special individual and you don't see the ball jump off the bat with most hitters but Carlos has a beautiful swing and gets great extension.

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