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October 3, 2007

Bob Melvin


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Bob.

Q. Obviously just talk about Brandon. He got base runners on in each of the first innings but made pitches when he had to to get out of trouble.
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, he did. He's always one pitch away. Not only does he know it, a lot of times the other team knows it. He had good secondary stuff, saw the strikeouts, especially the guys in the middle.
Lost his command there for a couple of hitters there it seemed like but then ended up recovering. Bryan went out there and made a mound visit and ended up recovering, and he pitched in the fashion that we're used to see him pitch tonight in a big game when we needed him.

Q. Were you taking him out no matter what the in the bottom of the 7th?
BOB MELVIN: Not necessarily. We've got a man on first, two out, I probably don't. But we get in a situation where we have drive in another run, then it was an easy decision.

Q. Does it change anything about this series going forward that you guys kind of expose that Marmol is at least human. You got a couple off him; is that a big deal?
BOB MELVIN: It's always nice to be able to get a couple off a guy that's been, for the most part, especially for quite a while, unhittable. His numbers are video game numbers with the strikeouts and so forth. We do have a couple guys, Conor was 4 for 6 off him. He does have a little success off him. I think Snyde's had a homer off him, too.
When it's at that position in the game, with Howry and similar to us with Pena they feel pretty good about it, and looking at the numbers rightly so. So it's nice to be able to get to somebody that they expect to go out and put up zeros, and Zambrano the same way.
Those were two of their better pitchers there. Our guys kept it close. We nicked them up for a couple and it ended up being enough.

Q. With Brandon was it the off speed stuff that continues to get him out of those jams?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, more back and forth. I mean, they're always aware of the sinker, and he seems like he has pretty good timing along with Snydes in recognizing when he needs to use the off speed stuff. A lot of times for a punch out or in a situation where he doesn't need a ground ball.
But you could see from the first pitch of the game, the sinker he threw Soriano, he had the good sinker, he had the good secondary stuff, and then he lost his command for a couple hitters and then Theriot hits the ground ball that goes over to Mark (Reynolds).
But other than that, you know, didn't hit too many balls hard off him.

Q. Do you feel with Webb's effort tonight it kind of eases the pressure on Livan and Doug, who have kind of struggled a little bit in September. These aren't necessarily must-win games for you guys.
BOB MELVIN: You know, it's always nice to win the first one. You have your ace on the mound. You always expect to win that game, especially being here at home. It's a game that was probably a little more pressure on us to win than them, so I don't know that it takes pressure off anybody.
I think the first time in postseason when you go out there, regardless of what happened, you're going to feel a little bit of nerves, even Brandon tonight probably. But winning the first game obviously feels like when you go out there tomorrow, whether it's Doug or whoever, that it's not a must, must win, and to that extent maybe it does take a little pressure off.

Q. Your two young guys, Stephen and Mark came through again. Just talk about them delivering.
BOB MELVIN: You know, off a guy like Zambrano you know it's going to be difficult to string a bunch of hits together, and we do have some guys that hit some homeruns. It's good to see Stephen (Drew) get a big hit right there, put us on the board right away, Mark puts us ahead.
We've relied on younger guys all year, and they've come through for us. You know, it kind of seemed like if you were going to score some runs it was going to take a big bolt. It was going to be very difficult, less walking a couple guys and then getting a hit off either one of those guys tonight it was going to be difficult to score and put multiple hits together.

Q. When you say there was more pressure on you than on them, why?
BOB MELVIN: Well, we're at home. It's our first game. We have Webby on the mound. It can be a little deflating if your ace goes out there and loses the first one at home, and then you've got to go to their place for two. Not much pressure, but any time Brandon takes the mound for us we feel like we have a good chance to win.
If we don't, then it kind of deflates you a little bit. It doesn't mean you don't come in there the next day expecting a win, but it was a nice game to win for us.

Q. Could you talk about Reynolds' at-bat, a couple tough sliders from Marmol and couple at-bats before he didn't look too great but just ended up persevering.
BOB MELVIN: That's Mark. Mark will punch out a couple times, and then you make one mistake and it ends up in the seats. We've seen that all year. It was nice to see him recover from throwing a ball away. He's played basically flawless defensively the rest of the year.
I know it bothered him a little bit to go up there and get a big hit, a homerun especially, that puts us ahead. I know it kind of eases that grinding on potentially at the time what could have been a bigger roar.

Q. Was does it say about a guy like him, go from AA to game winning homerun in the playoffs?
BOB MELVIN: We've seen enough of Mark to know that he's going to go out there and play his game. He's going to be aggressive defensively, aggressive offensively, and I think the biggest point of the season for him was when he was able to get through a tough stretch offensively after a great start, and I think since then he's been more consistent.

Q. You talked a lot about the young guys yesterday. Everybody was asking about the experience, the lack of experience. Does one game ease the nerves? Is one game enough to take the edge off of a team that doesn't have maybe as much experience as the other guys?
BOB MELVIN: I think a win definitely eases it some. You know, I really didn't sense a whole lot of timidness or in awe of the situation or whatever really from the first inning on today. I think our guys played pretty crisply the whole game, and it looked like everybody was aware of the situation, where they needed to play all the time, what they scenario was at the plate, what they needed to accomplish.
It was nice to see a group that is so young go out there and be pretty level headed the better part of the game.

Q. A lot of talk about the Cub fans supposedly showing up here. Looked like a lot of red, and also about Jerry throwing out the first pitch to Randy.
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, absolutely. That's a class act to bring Jerry in here. Randy, the minute I asked him about it, he was all for it. The guys have been around here in the past, know how important Jerry Colangelo is to this organization and this city, and I think it was a good way to start it.

Q. Talk about more red than blue.
BOB MELVIN: A lot more red than blue. That was nice to see.

Q. Can you talk about the sequence with Soriano with Valverde. He comes in 96 and then he gets him to foul back in 97. Then it looked like you took a lot off that last pitch to get him to ground out?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, he wasn't going to back down. He was going after him, his best stuff against a notorious and as good a fastball hitter no matter what the velocity was in the game, and he wasn't going to back down.
He went out there, went right after him mano e mano, and it looked like he had a little extra on his fastball tonight than we've seen maybe here a little bit of as of late.
Just enough splits to get you off it, and it was a good sequence to get him out because that's a tough guy. You don't want to see him coming up.

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