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October 6, 2007

Bob Melvin


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Bob Melvin.

Q. Bob, could you just talk off the top about Livan's performance?
BOB MELVIN: Well, you know, he's a guy that you got to have some patience with because he will have some runners on base and he will find ways to pitch himself out of it. This time of the season it can be a little bit more difficult to be patient at times, but, you know, up until a certain point in the game, unless we really look like his stuff just isn't there, we don't have better. He's done it so many times. He's been in this type of situation before and had an outstanding effort.

Q. Is the key here your pitchers' ability to shut down the hitters?
BOB MELVIN: Has something to do with it. I mean, starting at one all the way through the middle of the order, that's a difficult group, especially with Jacques Jones hitting all the way down. There's really no breathing room.
You got to execute your pitches, just like any team does. After a while the scouting reports are all there, it's just a matter of executing them.
Livo does at opportune times, and we feel great when our seven, eight nine guys are in there. So that's basically what it came down to. It wasn't an overly offensive deal except for one game that we had eight or whatever.
So it was about pitching and defense. Stephen Drew was pretty good, too.

Q. Speaking of Stephen Drew, with his performance why do you think he played as well as he did in this series?
BOB MELVIN: That's just the type of player he is. He's been through a frustrating season. We've always been supportive, and every time he takes the field we think good things are going to happen.
On the back side of this, he's going to be better for going through a season like this, tougher, more resilient. What you saw here in this series is the type of player Stephen Drew is, whether it's offensively, defensively, running the bases.
This guy can do it all, and it showed up at the right time for you.

Q. Can you talk about the team's confidence, how it's improved through the regular season, and even more so now with the three games here. What's the team state right now?
BOB MELVIN: It's obviously Chris Young leading the game off with a home run in the first pitch was a huge momentum swing for us. But our confidence since the second half, since we went 21 and 5 and had those walk-offs at home, I think each series our confidence escalated. I think the deeper we got into the season the better feeling we had about ourselves as a group.
Once we got into August and September we really thought we had a chance. We wanted to focus obviously on the series and the game, but I think each and every time we end up playing a team like this and getting deeper into the season our confidence grew and grew.
And to be able to put it away in Colorado and then come in here and do what we did here against this team obviously is very fulfilling.

Q. With players, especially the younger players, what did you tell them coming in about the crowd at Wrigley, particularly how quickly it can turn on its own team. Did you tell them that that's something that can happen?
BOB MELVIN: We've been here, most of our guys have been here. I think even J. Upton was here, so we knew what this place had to offer. We didn't know what was going to be the reaction and so forth in postseason, but, you know, we knew that it was going to be crowded here during the regular season.
Fans are as passionate here as they are anywhere in baseball. We knew that we had to take them out of it, and Chris Young's home run in the first inning went a long way with that. Just a great place to play baseball.

Q. So many things said about the youth of your club. Wasn't this a mature performance?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, by a lot of young players. We have our veteran influence, but our young guys are taking us where we've gotten. We don't do it without a concerted effort from everybody on our team. We can't rely on three or four guys to shoulder the load. We have to get it from multiple guys every day, and our younger guys showed up big.
To watch Chris Young's 0-2 walk, slider, slider, slider that he'd been struggling with, that was a pretty courageous at-bat right there. You can see it's almost day to day you can see some of these guys get experience and grow and mature as players in a short period of time.

Q. In the last few nights on WGN radio here in Chicago Ron Santo has been complaining that Jose Valverde is a big hot dog. Is that just something that people say when a guy really shuts you down?
BOB MELVIN: He's emotional. You see that out of a lot of closers. That's probably the most emotional spot. You come in in the 9th inning, your team's been ahead, whether it's dominated a game throughout, whatever, that can be the most difficult place to be when you blow a save, and it's the most fulfilling place to be when you earn a save.
So he's emotional. He's not trying to show anybody up. He's just an emotional guy. Best I can do.

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