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October 13, 2006

Willie Randolph


Q. You went out to the mound to talk to Mota, wondering if you could talk about what you told him, what you told him there. And also, I believe you had Heilman warming up, can you discuss your decision.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Aaron wasn't quite ready to come in. I told him, I try to encourage my guys and get them going and challenge them to make a pitch and get an out. That's what I told them basically.
I wasn't contemplating whether to bring Aaron in at the time, if that's what you mean.

Q. Can you just talk about, it seemed like every time you get the lead, and then the Cardinals seemed to come back every time. Talk about Wagner in the ninth.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I think the Cardinals, they battled back and they got some tough 0-2 hits and must have fouled off 60, 70 pitches and tried to put the ball back in the game and that's how you get back, scratching and clawing. I think we had a few 0-2 hits, things that basically had to do with missing location. We had some decent pitches at times but I give them a lot of credit for battling back. Any time you fight balls off like that and get two-out hits, you know, you kind of tip your hat.
We just have to get that back tomorrow. We kind of let that one slip away, but we have to come back tomorrow.

Q. Can you talk about Wagner.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Obviously he had to challenge Taguchi at that point in time, you could see where the location was, he jumped on a fastball and knocked it out.

Q. A couple of questions: No. 1, Delgado and how he came through today.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, he's been huge all year for us. I mean, he's in a nice groove right now. When he's hitting the ball solid the other way like that and through the middle, he's just an unbelievable hitter. He takes this opportunity, the first post-season, to show everyone what a great player, great hitter he is, and you've got to start it. We couldn't hold on to it, but he kept us going through some big home runs.

Q. And your decision to stay with Maine as he struggled through the second and third inning.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, he was struggling. I mean, his pitch count was up and he had like five walks and even though his hit total was only a couple hits, I thought he was struggling all night and I wanted to, you know, give us a chance to stay in the game.
I like the matchup with Bradford with the right-hander, so we had Bradford going and he did a nice job for us.

Q. Did you think about pulling him a little earlier?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Not necessarily. Again, only had given up two hits and kind of he escaped a couple of innings there where he got out of some tough jams. You don't want to go to your bullpen too early in a situation like that, so pulled him when I did.

Q. Have you used the bullpen a little more in the first two games than you may have liked to, either in terms of innings or pitch count, and how does it stand going forward with three games the next three days?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, you do what you do at the time, make a decision. Our bullpen is resilient and strong. Most pitchers have gone that many innings many times. This time of year, everyone is ready to go. Everybody's ready to take the ball and my guys love to pitch, so do what you've got to do.

Q. I think the number they gave was 46 or 47 straight games with a lead in the sixth that you guys have not given up, now you have. This is perhaps the biggest challenge or maybe gut check that this team has faced all year after kind of cruising. Do you know how they will react?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, we've had bigger challenges than this. I mean, you know, we're even right now. We'll get back at it tomorrow and pick up a W. But we've had much bigger challenges than this and we always respond. We've responded all year. I don't think we're going to change now.

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