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October 13, 2007

Bob Melvin



Q. You talked a little earlier how Willy Taveras had a chance to have an impact on this team. After two games what do you think of him now and has his presence changed the series?
BOB MELVIN: I don't know if it changed the series. It's the guy that is their lead-off guy. So if you came in in the middle of the series you'd say how has the series changed. He's their lead-off guy. He's done a great job for them all year. So they added a player, obviously, that was going to give them a little extra in one of their starters.
So that's more of a question if he comes in the middle of the series if he changes it. I didn't see his series before but he definitely has had an effect so far in the first couple of games.

Q. Stolen bases, catches?
BOB MELVIN: No doubt. To this point he's had a great series.

Q. Your club all year has been inconsistent with runners in scoring position, last in the League in the regular season. A, is that reflective just of the youth in your lineup knowing how to approach those situations and, B, how have you been able to win despite those occasional failings?
BOB MELVIN: You know, it's probably against the grain as far as the numbers go. We've got obviously enough hits in big situations to win 90 games over the season.
You know how it all stacks out and how we get past the numbers, whether it's the run differential or the last in the League in average on-base percentage and all those things, I can't really explain that.
The only thing I can explain is we take it day-to-day and 90 times out of 162 we were timely enough. I really don't know how to answer the question that would support those numbers.

Q. Is the average reflective of the youth in the lineup?
BOB MELVIN: The average is reflective of the average overall group of guys. We think they're all going to get better. I think Stephen Drew is not going to get 235 or whatever it was. We think Chris Young has the potential to hit much, much higher than that. So our group has the potential to hit higher, yet they've all showed up just enough in certain games this year, whether it's two in one game or a couple other guys in another game and contributions across the board that's given us enough to win 90 games.

Q. I think the other day you said when you sign up with Livan, you know what you're going to get. Can you elaborate on that? What do you mean by that?
BOB MELVIN: What I mean is there's going to be some base runners out there. He's been a Houdini-type pitcher for the better part of the last four, five seasons. I've seen it from the other side when he was in San Francisco. There are some base runners out there when he pitches.
But he steps up when he needs to and makes a big pitch. So look at it from afar at times when you have runners on base every inning, you look at the Chicago game in particular, to an extent in the playoffs, you gotta go get 'em, you gotta go get him. But this guy's earned this, he pitches his way out of jams and he's done that his whole career. That's basically what I meant by that.
But the confidence this team has in him, the track record in the post-season, his track record as a big-game pitcher would suggest he's going to get some leeway with runners on base out there on the mound.

Q. From your viewpoint, how much has the game changed here since they started storing the balls in the humidor? Is it more of a normal game than it used to be here?
BOB MELVIN: I don't know what exactly the timing is, but it seemed like last year the game started to change a little bit here, where some of the 13, 12 games and it didn't appear that that was the way they were going last year. We played I think an 18-inning game here that was a very low-scoring game.
So we saw the change last year. Like I said, I don't know exactly when the timing of it was, but it would seem like last year was the start of it, because the games have been a lot conducive to some of the other ballparks in the League that aren't Philadelphia and some of the higher-scoring parks.

Q. Do you consider a change from --
BOB MELVIN: I like it. I like the way the park -- the park is big. It's just always played small because of the altitude and so forth.

Q. How are these experiences good and bad for your younger players in the post-season going to help them in the future?
BOB MELVIN: Well, I think similar to this season. We've been through a lot of ups and downs in the season. First half, probably a little bit more as far as the swings go, losing streak, winning streaks, I think we got more consistent in the second half.
But, you know, all this stuff, post-season games, big at-bats, all that, you categorize under experience. And you're going to get better because of it. And the next time around you've been through it, so forth, so on.
So I think the Chicago series was very good for us. We had some great at-bats. Our situation at-bats, at-bats with runners in scoring position in the first two games haven't been great but those are two games and we expect it to pick up.

Q. Can you share with us your lineup for tomorrow?
BOB MELVIN: Not 100 percent certain yet. Tony will be at first. And everything else will be pretty much the same. We'll see where we go in right field. Not sure yet.

Q. On Livan and a big game like this, how much does that help the team just to know they got a guy out there who has been there before and has a reputation?
BOB MELVIN: Especially in the post-season, yet every time he takes the mound we feel good when Livan Hernandez takes the mound. I think even more so, the one guy that we have that really does have a track record in the post-season, a very good track record in the post-season. The way he pitched in Chicago, albeit with base runners out there, he made pitches when he had to. He was the guy we wanted to pitch first game on the road last series, and I think it works well that he's pitching the first game on the road here, especially after losing a couple of games.

Q. The rough spots that you did have during this season, can you draw from any of that now, or is it really just a different animal when you get to the post-season?
BOB MELVIN: No, I think you can. Especially for a younger group. It's one thing if you have a veteran group. But for a younger group, I think each and every bat you have in monumental situations, whether it's close games, leading up to the post-season, whether it's in the post-season, just gives you more experience and confidence that you've been there and in those situations before.

Q. Do you ever worry when a kid like Mark Reynolds has a game like he did yesterday or do you think his success in the season helps him forget one bad game, big stage?
BOB MELVIN: I think the first thing was the first adjustment he made when everything came everything was coming pretty easy to him and then he went through a pretty significant down time and he came through it.
So I think in his mind he can make the adjustments. He knows he can play here. He's been through the bad times. He's been through the good times. So I think in his mind that's just a game that wasn't his best game the other day.
I think because of the fact he's come out of the backside of this thing one time already in the season, that he has the confidence that he can come back and have a good game come tomorrow.

Q. Clearly this team has proven its resiliency, but simply put, how daunting a task are you facing being down 0-2 three games on the road?
BOB MELVIN: The overall spectrum of it looks daunting, but I think we've been pretty good about going game to game. That's how we'll continue to do it. We lost two at home. We didn't want to do it. We didn't want to come in here down 2-0. But all we're focused on is tomorrow's game. If we win tomorrow's game there's another game the next day.
And that's just basically the way we have to look at it and the way we've looked at it all year.

Q. Are you disappointed or surprised or how do you feel about some of the fundamental mistakes that your younger players have made?
BOB MELVIN: You know, we've gone back and forth with that this year. With younger guys, it will happen. The last two games because of the spotlight and so forth, haven't been our best. But we've had games like that this year. We've responded.
And we address them and we get better. But with younger guys, you're going to see that from time to time. Obviously it stands out a little bit more so obviously in the post-season.
But it's not something we can dwell on. We just try to address it and get better the next day.

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