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October 4, 2007

Bob Melvin


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Bob.

Q. If you could, just talk about the outing of Doug tonight. He kind of had the four runs, two of them tacked on there at the end, but certainly the outing better than the numbers would indicate for him?
BOB MELVIN: You know, gutsy for him. You know, obviously he got himself out of some jams. He didn't have his best command at times; other times he did have good command. So it's one of those deals where we feel good about him.
We want to try to get deeper in the game with him, and until he goes up a couple more, it's his ballgame.

Q. Could you talk about answering back in the bottom of the second after they scored the two, and then you've talked about being patient at the plate against the Cubs. You had four batters who walked and ended up scoring in this game today.
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, that inning is huge. You know, they take the lead and a homerun, and now it's time for us to answer back. And to throw up a four-spot in the fashion we did, obviously the momentum that was in their dugout for that half inning goes into our dugout, and we seemed to feed off that a little bit.
But through the course of this game, that's the key inning.

Q. Your club has already exceeded the expectations of a lot of people. Does any of this surprise even you?
BOB MELVIN: You know, we look at it day-to-day. I know I keep saying that and it's probably frustrating, but it was rewarding to get here. Now that we're here and now that we've got a couple under our belt, our expectations keep raising, and that's the way it's been for us all year.
We were kind of an unknown early on. The more momentum we gained, especially after the second half, we went through that 25 and 4 run, the better we were. So therefore we got to this point in the season, we won our division, expectations were raised in the clubhouse, and they continued to.

Q. You accomplished what you wanted to winning the two games here, but would you talk about winning and holding serve at home and then one more there in Chicago?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, being able to take two here is huge for us. With Webby the first game and then getting behind early and coming back and being able to get both of them at home, obviously we know at the very least it's coming back here, so that's a good feeling.

Q. You've really held their big hitters in check, the top four in their order. What do you think is leading to that, and how important is that?
BOB MELVIN: Well, we're executing pitches against those guys. Guys are bearing down against them. Every one of those guys are dangerous, starting with Soriano. Each team, to an effect with all the scouting and so forth that's done leading into the postseason, knows the strengths and weaknesses. Now it's about executing pitches.
You know, Doug did execute pitches when he needed to at times. He can be effectively wild or he'll paint on one pitch and then throw one two feet out of the zone, and to an extent sometimes the hitters aren't really sure where it's going.
We've executed a lot of pitches, especially in big situations, especially against the meat of that order.

Q. To a certain degree the Cubs are a power hitting station-to-station kind of team. You got the big homer, but can you talk a little bit about Ojeda's bunt and the squeeze play and using all the weapons at your disposal?
BOB MELVIN: Well, Augie has come up big for us. He's really rising to the occasion. When you lose Orlando Hudson who's arguably one of our better players -- not arguably, he is one of our better players and our offensive All-Star -- somebody is going to have to pick up the slack, and Augie definitely has.
Understands how to hit in the eight hole, is getting big hits for us, is making plays defensively for us. When you lose a like guy that somebody has to step up, as a group you have to step up even more, and that's happened, and a lot of it has to do with Augie.

Q. Three really good at-bats, the walks and then the hit.
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, you could see the last couple days batting practice has been very good. You could tell in his breaks in the outfield today that his confidence is back. He had two really good breaks that we were seeing earlier in the season on balls one over to his left and in and then one to right his right and back.
His at-bats were very good, but the wooded bat is blowing 97 and ends up hitting a slider for a hit, has a couple big walks for us in the midst of it. So it's nice to see his confidence coming back in what can be a difficult time to get your confidence back.

Q. What kind of similarities do you see in CY and Soriano?
BOB MELVIN: A lot. Both guys have speed, both guys have power. You don't see that dynamic too often in the one spot, especially in the same series. So it's two guys that right away you've got to make your pitches or you find it in the seats.

Q. What do you think of Stephen Drew's play so far in the series, both at bat and in the field?
BOB MELVIN: Been pretty good. The lead off play he makes over in the hole right there is enormous. Defensively he's done it for us all year. Offensively he's probably been the one guy that's hit into a lot of tough luck, and just things haven't gone his way.
But he's ground right through it, and here in the postseason he's come up huge for us. He's going to be a star. I believe that.

Q. If you don't mind a couple unrelated things, one, could you talk about the thought process on the squeeze there and what goes into that? And second, although it's a four-run lead, is that a tougher assignment for José than maybe a four-run lead in the 9th?
BOB MELVIN: You know, José's first -- no such thing as a save really in a postseason game. We went through our six, seven, eight guys, and he's got to follow it up. For him to be able to respond to the little miscue at second base, keep his head up and keep pitching, that's something in the postseason that's kind of wiped out.
You see a lot of closers during the season that they're not the same guy with a four-run lead, but you have to in the postseason. You know, with the squeeze right there, I want to keep Doug in the game. It's a little bit more of a safety than an actual -- we want Upton to get down the line and read it.
Doug made a good bunt and Justin followed it in there, so it ended up being a big play. Enabled us to keep Doug in the game and get an RBI.

Q. I want to go back to the patience you've shown against the Cubs. Six walks, four of those guys ended up scoring. Talk about that.
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, that's the type of team we need to be. At times this year we haven't been very patient, other times we've been very patient. As a group a lot of guys will get better and better about drawing their walks and being that much more patient, and to see a 19, just turned 20-year old kid have the patience he did and lay off some of the pitches he did today shows a little bit about his composure and his make up.
You know, that's what we need to do. We need to be able to grind guys that are a little bit -- at times can have problems with command and recognize when they're trying to pound the strike zone and be more aggressive, and I think we're getting better as the season goes along with that.

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