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October 14, 2007

Bob Melvin



Q. What kind of challenges does weather like this pose, especially coming from the heat where you were in Arizona?
BOB MELVIN: Well, obviously it's a little different for us. But as long as both teams are playing under the same conditions, both have to deal with it.
We played some games earlier this year in DC, in particular, real cold. We ended up playing real well there.
I think in this type of forum with adrenalin going, playoff atmosphere, once you get out there, start playing, really no effect, because both teams have to play under the same conditions.

Q. Eric Byrnes said that essentially the Rockies haven't outplayed you guys, you've outplayed them. Two parts. One, do you agree with that? And secondly, do you like your leader trying to fire up his troops or would you rather him not say anything knowing that that quote's going to filter into the Rockies clubhouse?
BOB MELVIN: Neither here nor there. Eric's a good quote, no doubt about it (Laughter). On our team, by far he's the best quote. Hudson a good second. I try not to pay too much attention to all that. He's going to say what he's going to have to say and we'll leave it at that.
There have been pretty close games to an extent. Both teams have not swung the bat particularly well, especially with runners in scoring position they've got a few more hits than we have. That's basically been the difference. But as far as Eric goes he's a good quote. I'll leave it to that.

Q. Can you go back to Micah's last start in Pittsburgh when you approached him about subbing for Webb? How did you approach him for that and what was his reaction and what did his performance tell you about Micah?
BOB MELVIN: We always knew he's a very tough kid. You look at his record throughout his career, whether it's in pro ball, whether it's in college, he's a baseball player. And a winner and his record's indicative of that. When we approached him that morning, you could see him process it for a minute. But he was all about -- I mean, he was all for it. He wanted the ball. It had been a while for him.
It's the second time that he's had a little bit of a lay off and responded and pitched well. As far as guys on our team with layoffs, we feel like with what he does in between, he threw a game in instruction League the other day, so when you look at the days off I don't think it really factors into the extent of where he did just pitch.
But he just wants the ball whenever he can. Whether it's in relief, I think he could care less, spot start like that and a situation where he could pick his team up, which he did that day. Not only on the defensive end he went four for four with some RBIs that day. He's all about helping his team. That's basically his mind-set.

Q. Upton did play against some righties after he got called up. Why Salazar today over Upton?
BOB MELVIN: All our guys, whether it's Jackson, Clark at first, whether it's Salazar and Upton in the outfield, all these guys have been productive. All of them have gotten their times. Justin's played against right-handers, he's played against left-handers. I just think with some lefties coming up, Salazar may be a little better mix today. Defensively a little more comfortable in right field, with Livan sometimes the ball is in the air to an extent. It could go either way. Just get Salazar involved. Justin will be back in there tomorrow.

Q. Do you use Montero to give Livan a -- is there a comfort factor there, those two working together?
BOB MELVIN: For a number of reasons. Miguel knows that's going to be the day he plays. He has played more earlier in the season, not as much as of late in the second half. Two, it's a veteran guy on the mound, knows what he wants to do. It's good for Miguel's development. And, three, the comfortability of getting that same guy every time, knowing where he wants you to set up, how he's going to pitch, what adjustments he needs to make. I think not only is it comfortable for Livan, but it's also good for the development of Miguel Montero.

Q. Was the language something to do with it, too, those two guys together?
BOB MELVIN: No, Livan has been around long enough. I don't think it's a problem. I doesn't hurt that they speak native tongue together. But both of them speak English well enough, not really a factor.

Q. Was it a plan back in spring that it might work out that way? When did it come to where you went with them every time?
BOB MELVIN: I think it's been for the better part of a season. I also understand the effect of that. I was a younger catcher and got to catch guys like Dave Dravecky and Rick Russell where they knew their game plan and I could learn from them. I think I did learn from them. So as far as experience goes, I think it's good for him as well. It kind of speeds up the learning curve. Know how a veteran pitcher wants to attack, so to speak. And catching him every time like that, once he starts to make adjustments and so forth, it's a little easier for Miguel to do that on the fly with him.

Q. You haven't started many runners in this series. You've got a catcher back there who's thrown out 17 percent of his would-be base stealers this year. Given the low-scoring nature of the series, might you look to get more aggressive --
BOB MELVIN: We've got to get some guys on. It's nice to get guys on and the guys that can run too. If we give them the opportunity to run, we'll try to run. We just haven't had too many guys on there in too many situations where we can so far in the series.

Q. Is there a possible situation where you would come back with Webb at all in Game 4?
BOB MELVIN: You mean based on a rain-out or you mean if we play tonight?

Q. Rainout or --
BOB MELVIN: He won't pitch on short rest.

Q. Is it a slam dunk he would pitch if you were rained out in Game 4?
BOB MELVIN: We'll see where we go from here. But I think everything suggests that we play tonight. And if we're posed that problem where we're rained out or depending on how our bullpen is taxed tonight, we may look at it differently. But right now we'll stay the way we have it.

Q. I know you've been guarding against the bunt with Taveras throughout this series, but with these conditions expected to be damp and wet, how much is that to his advantage with the ball being much slower coming off his bat?
BOB MELVIN: Not only that, with the ball on the grass it can be wet. So with him, you're always playing it. Even with two strikes. He's bunted with two strikes before. Sometimes he gets around some balls and hits some swinging bunts down there.
So that obviously is played into his hand some. We have to be guarded about it. It's one of the reasons that his average is where it is. He can lay the bunt down. He's got the third baseman in. He can pull it in the hole over there with them in. It plays to his advantage and we have to guard for it. I think every team the way they go about defensing him is similar to what we do.

Q. Can you talk about what you might expect from Franklin Morales? I know he's coming up from AA, handful of starts, what do you expect from him?
BOB MELVIN: He's one guy we haven't seen. Two teams that are very familiar with each other. We haven't seen him other than video. But we want to try to get through today's game and focus on today's game and then deal with him when we have to.
But obviously another very good young, power pitcher in their organization that's paid big dividends for them over the course of this season. And we'll deal with them when he comes up.

Q. Could you talk about how enjoyable it is this season to watch Micah take some fantastic at-bats and would you ever consider hitting him anywhere but 9th?
BOB MELVIN: Maybe not this year. Down the road. He is. He's an offensive player. Very rarely do you see guys Ankiel (Rick), something like that. He's a true -- we're in a DH situation, American League situation when he's in the game.
I think because of the fact he's pitching, he's starting the game, I don't want him to have to worry about getting to the dugout quicker, whether we're hitting fifth, sixth, seventh, something like that. So he does bring -- definitely brings a different dynamic to the game. He's a guy that the other team -- you can see right away. I mean, his numbers aren't just because they're going to lay it in there for a pitcher. They throw him breaking balls right away. They pitch to him right like a hitter right away. And he responds. He gives us an added dynamic when he's in the lineup to having nine hitters in the lineup. And maybe next spring we'll look at potentially hitting him somewhere in the lineup, somewhere different.

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