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October 26, 2006

Jim Leyland


Q. How disappointing is this loss here tonight?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, obviously they're all disappointing, but it's just baseball. We've done a few things during the series to either maybe give them a run or give them some extra chances, and they're obviously a good enough team to take advantage of those. Basically right now they've played good enough to be 3-1 and we've played good enough to be 1-3.

Q. What's your feeling in the dugout when Rodney throws the ball away? Obviously far too many errors in the series, is it helpless, is it angry, what are you going through?
JIM LEYLAND: Pardon me?

Q. When that happens, what's going through your mind in the dugout?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, obviously it was a little bit of a freak inning. We thought we had a fly ball, one out, and it was a freak situation, and we just talked about making sure we get one out on the next play. And you could kind of see that the ball is a little wet and Fernando was a little tentative, and that's usually -- when you don't throw it, that's usually when it can slip away from you. It's not the best situation in the world, but that's baseball.

Q. Can you remember a time where you had a team where pitchers made an error four games in a row like that and in each case a fairly important error?
JIM LEYLAND: No, I really can't. We just talked about that inside the clubhouse, kind of a freak thing. But that's baseball. You live with the consequences and like I say, it's a combination of we made a couple of mistakes, we had an unfortunate break in the outfield, and I don't think Craig could get a really good jump on Eckstein's ball, and Preston Wilson slipped a little bit on the ball, and Granderson just went down. So that's all part of it.

Q. In 1968, we in St. Louis remember Curt Flood when Gibson pitched to Gordon, and one of the greatest center fielders in St. Louis slipped, were you thinking of that because everybody in St. Louis remembers that?
JIM LEYLAND: I knew that question would be asked tonight. I talked about it afterwards. I said I know one of the first questions I get when I go down to the press conference is if I remember Curt Flood slipping, and I do.
But right now I'm not real interested in Curt Flood.

Q. Coming into the series here, a lot of people said that your starting pitching would be a lot stronger than the Cardinals. And now through four games, either the Cardinals have matched your starters or performed better. Do you see how much of a difference that has been in the series for you?
JIM LEYLAND: I think our starters have done a good job. I thought Bonderman did a good job. I thought Rogers did a good job, and probably the only start that wasn't quite up to par was Verlander. So I think our starting pitching has done very well.
On the other side of that coin, it doesn't surprise me that the Cardinals starters are pitching well. Suppan, Carpenter is a Cy Young winner. Weaver got over with Dave Duncan, and he's been throwing well. They had the injury to Mulder and had to make adjustments. It's not a surprise at all. And the other start, Reyes was a guy we didn't know, he pitched a good game.
So I think our starting pitching has done a very good job, and so has the Cardinals' starting pitching.

Q. What do you have to do after taking a collective deep breath to start getting back into the series?
JIM LEYLAND: We've got to win three in a row. And that pretty much puts it pretty simple. Are we capable of doing that? Absolutely. Are we in a good position? Absolutely not. So I think you just go out and remind the team all the time that if you win the next game in the postseason you keep playing. And obviously that's the case tomorrow. We win, we keep playing. If we don't, we don't.

Q. Just following that, what actually, physically, has to change in your mind for that to happen?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I really don't know the answer to that. I thought that our bats woke up a little bit tonight. Pudge came out with three hits, Polanco hit a couple balls good, Casey had three hits tonight. We perked up offensively tonight. We just didn't do quite enough. We had the misfortune of the play in center field, and of course the bunt play, we didn't execute. So this is the type of team that if you give them a little crack they take advantage of it. They're very good. They're a very versatile team. I think Tony's probably the best I've ever seen at making out a lineup with the players that he has. He knows where to hit a guy that he spots in the lineup, where he might pinch-hit. Basically he let's the big guys whack at it and when he uses those other guys, like Miles and Taguchi and people like that, he's very aggressive about doing things, hitting and running and bunting and doing different things.
He's probably the best I've ever seen at knowing how to make out the lineup with the complement of players. I mean, obviously not the Pujols and the Rolens and the Edmonds. He does a nice job of putting them in the lineup and trying some things.

Q. You can come with Kenny Rogers on full rest if you wanted to. Is there any consideration for that tomorrow?
JIM LEYLAND: Absolutely none. I'm not going to pitch him in this atmosphere. We have to win three ballgames. So I think that pretty much sums it up. If we had to win one game, if it was the seventh game, I'd pitch him. We have to win three games.

Q. Any concern the young players get the mindset, the negative mindset, seeing all the things that have happened to you guys?
JIM LEYLAND: I think the mindset is pretty obvious. Our clubhouse isn't particularly down right now. That's one of the cultures that we changed around here, because I think had I gone in my clubhouse tonight and seen everybody with their head down, to me that's a sign of a losing team. And the sign of a winning team is in there and goes about their business like they normally do.
Is there a little more at stake here? Obviously there is. A couple of times during the course of the year I walked into a real quiet clubhouse after we lost a game, and I said I must be in the wrong place, because winning teams don't do that. That's the sign of a losing team to me. I told them tonight, go about your business, turn the music on, get your food, talk to each other, and go home with your families, come back tomorrow. But I don't want to see anybody sitting around with their head down. To me that's the sign of a losing team, and we're not a losing team.

End of FastScripts...

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