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October 6, 2007

Lou Piniella


THE MODERATOR: Take questions for Lou Piniella.

Q. Lou, can you gauge the mood of your team this morning and how they've been?
LOU PINIELLA: I think everything is fine. Everybody knows what we need to do. Everybody is relaxed. They need to go out and play a good game, that's all.

Q. Lou, could you talk about your decision to use Kendall tonight?
LOU PINIELLA: Well, we got a young pitcher so we're using our experienced catcher. Actually Soto does a nice job behind home plate.

Q. Being either a win-and-go-home game, do you approach it any differently with your pitchers at the end of the game? How do you play a game like that?
LOU PINIELLA: We've got a rested bullpen, so we won't hesitate to do whatever we need to do to win a baseball game: Pinch-hitting early, use whatever we have to. So hopefully Hill goes out there and pitches a good ball game for us and let's us use the short people a little late.

Q. Given that Hill wouldn't pitch again for a while assuming the series continues, could you go longer with him?
LOU PINIELLA: We can go as long as he's pitching well. He's well-rested. Hill's pitched much better with rest this year. We've given him the sixth day as many times as we could. He's got seven days this time.
The last time he pitched in Cincinnati, although we already had clinched, he pitched really, really well with seven days. So he goes out there relaxed and throws the ball the way he's capable of, we'll let him go as long as he wants.

Q. Lou, all four series are 2-0 now, which I don't think anybody predicted. If you're down 2-0 in a seven-game series it's not death, but if it's a five games do you think that shows they should have a seven-game opening series?
LOU PINIELLA: Well, if we were up 2-0 I'd say no. The season is long and this postseason is long. I don't really have the right answer for you. There are a lot of people in Major League Baseball that are a lot smarter than I, so let them make those decisions.
But what's a little amazing, though, is the fact that you look at this postseason schedule and you see it all spread out for the first series and a little spread out for the second, and then the World Series is congested into almost one week.
But, again, I don't really have -- I don't really have the right answer for you.

Q. Lou, last time Trachsel pitched with extra rest he said he was over throwing early, Lilly kind of said the same thing the other day. I know you're not the pitching coach, but is that something Larry will address with Rich, to be careful of that?
LOU PINIELLA: Well, there's nothing you can do about it. We finished our season on Sunday and we started the playoffs on Wednesday. What can you do? It's the same for both teams. We pitched our people basically to put them in line to be able to pitch on schedule as much as possible, but there's not much you can do.
This is what I was saying, that that first round is so spread out. But, look, we don't have any excuses. It's the same for both teams. It's not like Arizona played on Monday and Tuesday and we didn't. They played the same time that we did.
But you're right, we are going to talk to Rich about that, not to try to over throw. With Lilly the other day he basically he was revved up. He was revved up and couldn't slow himself down.

Q. Lou, will you have any aversion to using some of your younger players off the bench, like Fontenot or Soto or some of your bullpen guys during the high pressure nature of the situation?
LOU PINIELLA: We've used some of our young players throughout this playoff. We'll use whoever we have to. I have confidence in our pitchers and confidence in our entire roster. We'll use whoever we have to whether they're young or more experienced, whoever we feel that can get the job done at that time.

Q. Lou, I know you're not big on meetings, but did you talk to your team, or do you plan to talk to your team, before the game today?
LOU PINIELLA: No, there's no need to. Everybody knows the situation. Look, we need to put together a three-game winning streak. We've done that many times this year. I will talk to the players individually about that, but that's what we really need to do.
It starts today with one win, tomorrow with another, and going back to Arizona putting together -- stringing together three good games. We're very capable of it. We'll see if we can do it.

Q. With the approach of Hernandez, he's obviously a guy that doesn't throw a strike unless he has to. Is this part of the game plan, or is that just another stupid question?
LOU PINIELLA: None of these questions are stupid, the thing is basically we've played a particular way basically all summer. And you're not going to be able to change what you've done all year in a short period of time.
We have been an aggressive swinging team. We've been a team that really, really hit the ball well at times and really pitched well. We've been a team that has had trouble scoring runs at times.
So the last time we were home we swung the bats as well as we have been -- we have all year. Hopefully there's a carryover for us here, because we're certainly very capable of putting together a nice string of games and putting runs on the board. That's what we're looking for here starting today.
The home crowd is going to help. Getting caught on the road like we did at the end of the season probably wasn't beneficial, but again, give Arizona credit. They played very well against us and they've pitched very well against us and they've got some key hits.
Look, we've got no excuses about anything, but hopefully we'll swing the bats the way we did when Pittsburgh was in town last time and when Cincinnati was in town last time.
If we can do that we're going to be fine, because I think Hill will go out and pitch a good game for us. If not, we'll get him out early and we've got a rested bullpen. I think Rich will throw well.

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