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October 15, 2007

Bob Melvin



Q. You've been adamant all along about not pitching Brandon on three days' rest. Is that more because of the innings he's pitched or the history of guys going with three days' rest in the post-season? What are the factors that led you into that?
BOB MELVIN: Both. And to an extent he's never done it before. The history of it, the volume of work, all those things. It just -- we didn't feel like it was the right thing to do. I didn't want to do that to him for all those reasons.

Q. You've been able to go to Tony Pena a lot in the post-season, he's pitched well. What are your thoughts about how he's pitched for you and obviously your ability to keep going back to a guy over and over and over again and still get good innings?
BOB MELVIN: He led our team in appearances that he lined right there. Neither were in the top 10, yet in the post-season you have the off days to deal with. It hasn't been that difficult a decision. Yesterday I wanted to limit obviously to the third that he came in. But with the off days everybody's fairly rested. We were able to rest our guys a little bit down the stretch some.
So it's still all hands on deck. Yet, when you're going back to back days, with an off day mixed in there, it's the one plus or two innings that you get a little more concerned about.
So he'll be available today as well. He's pitched very well for us.

Q. Apologize for this question in advance, I know you're focused at the game at hand. Can you talk about the future of the organization with all the young guys, position players you have and what it means the next three, four, five years?
BOB MELVIN: We'll have time to reflect on this. We're still in the heat of the battle and so forth in what we're doing right here. But to the extent does anybody at the beginning of the season expect us to be here, probably not.
The expectations raises a group, the more success you have over the course of the season. It certainly has with us. So we'll take a look at that afterward. But it's got the potential to be a very, very nice run. And we've got a lot of younger players that not only have more upside I think as far as numbers go, but with the experience they've accumulated this year, whether it's big games down the stretch, post-season, whatever, I think they're going to be better because of it.
Talented guys that have the ability to get better and with the experience that they're getting here, I think it's the start of something very big for us and we're excited about the future of the Diamondbacks.

Q. You recognize that Colorado was playing well down the stretch. Because of that, did you give any consideration to try and knock them out the last two games versus giving your guys the rest before you went into the playoffs?
BOB MELVIN: There's never a game that you go out there and don't try to prepare and expect to win. And that was certainly the case here. Based on the volume of work, some of my relievers, based on a couple of guys who needed days off, they got those last couple of games we got some days off.
But the focus is on your team. The proper rest that guys needed and the next series. And we had to be ready for the next series, which was the Cubs.
The series after that, you know, we'll play when we get there. And the next series was not the Rockies. But based on both those things, one, there were a couple guys that needed some rest. Two, we needed to be ready for the next series, which we played very well in and won three games. Our focus can't be two series ahead on the Rockies. We knew they were playing well. We knew this team, that there was going to be a great chance they were going to be there at some point in time. But you can't focus a series ahead. Our focus were on those games at the time, with the focus on the next series.

Q. Just reflect all the years you have managed what it's been like to be around this group in terms of your enjoyment and just the fulfillment of it all?
BOB MELVIN: This has been as fulfilling a year as you could ever expect. Even more so now that we've gotten along, how the group's gotten together, the chemistry that's involved, how we've come together as a group, the influence we've had as a staff. My staff's been unbelievable this year in preparing our players to play every day.
So it's been a very fulfilling year for us. Still not over. We still have some games yet to be played and we're excited about being in the post-season and what still lies ahead.
So as far as the five seasons that I've managed, this one's been by far my favorite.

Q. As we watch your offense struggle in this series, I was just wondering does this show what a fine line your team walked all year offensively? Statistically you didn't rank high, but you obviously won 90 games and were a very successful team. But did you walk a fine line offensively all year?
BOB MELVIN: Absolutely. There were times where it looked like we were teetering and on our way out of it. Particularly leading into the end of the first half. And then there were many series over the course of the second half where we'd lose a couple games, three games or whatever, and it was always brought up here are the Diamondbacks on their way down again.
So our offensive numbers as a whole haven't been great, but whenever we've really needed to respond and win a game we've been able to do it. So we're still here right now. We're not in the greatest position as far as games go. But our focus is on one game and that's all we're trying to do is win a game here tonight and then take it from there afterwards.
So to an extent I'd agree with you. We've kind of walked that fine line and edge, yet we're still here.

Q. Yesterday you mentioned that Morales, you guys have never faced him, you'll have to watch video and stuff like that. Do you feel your players are any more comfortable today as they head into tonight's game against Morales?
BOB MELVIN: Well, I mean, as comfortable as you can be without seeing anybody. They haven't seen Owings. I think they saw him in spring training a little bit. It's the same on both sides. You watch a lot of video, look for tendencies and counts and so forth and so on. Until you get into the batter's box and see how his pitches play, whether the ball gets on you a little quicker and the velocity, whether the breaks are a little more so, I think the pitcher probably has the advantage early on. But after that first at-bat, like I said, then you settle in a little bit more so and both teams are in the same boat.

Q. Would Webb be available for an inning if the situation dictated it?
BOB MELVIN: Tonight? No. We have him scheduled to start the next game.

Q. We all know that sometimes managers make the safe decision because they don't want to be second-guessed especially all winter. I think some of the other managers who are already out this post-season are going to be second-guessed in their home cities all winter. You obviously don't care. Can you talk about the thought process about that?
BOB MELVIN: The farther along you go, the fewer teams that are left at the finish line, the more scrutiny there is on every decision. It's just something that's just part of it. The flip side is we're not here in the post-season, and these decisions aren't scrutinized. So I'd rather be in this position any day of the week. It's something that really wasn't a difficult decision for me leading in with Brandon. I just was uncomfortable doing it and I've been pretty consistent with that.

Q. Dustin Nippert pitched the ball pretty well for you this series. He's been a starter in the past in the Minor Leagues, can you talk about his development as a relief pitcher in this season and what you've seen of him for this series?
BOB MELVIN: He's been great for us. Whether or not this is his niche, looks like he's done very well in this type of role. To kind of be pushed and moved along within the bullpen, pitching in games like he did last night, it's kind of a testament to not only his stuff but his preparation, his desire to go out there and pitch in games that really, really mean something.
So I think there still is probably some debate within the organization whether or not he's going to be a starter or a reliever but he's given himself some options and his preparation and how he's gone about his business has enabled himself to be at the Big League level in a different type of role than if he just was hell bent on staying as a starter. He's in this form right now because he's able to make some adjustments and do some different roles.

Q. You've obviously had some frustrating at-bats this series, line drive that Taveras caught in Game 2 and Byrnes' shot and yesterday. How important will it be for the team's mood if you guys get up a couple of runs and how much do you think that might loosen them up offensively?
BOB MELVIN: It would help, obviously. We felt like the first couple innings we had some pretty good swings, we just didn't get anything to show for it. You don't want to fall back on excuses. It's the way baseball is. You go through periods where you don't get much luck. You go through periods where everything falls your way. I think we had some luck and balls fall our way in the Chicago series. We haven't so far this series.
You just keep grind and going after it as hard as you can and hopefully something gives, and that one big hit kind of lets the air out of a balloon, so to speak, or punctures the force field they've got over there right now.
So it's something that we're obviously looking forward to is getting a few big hits, getting a lead and obviously getting a win under our belt.

Q. I've been to a lot of clubhouses that were down 3-0. You could see teams wilt. I don't get that sense in your clubhouse. I was in there last night. And could you give me your feeling -- just a feel of what it is like being down 3-0, and just a sense of when you walk away from those kids in that clubhouse?
BOB MELVIN: I think we've played down a couple of games better part of the whole season it felt like. I think the only thing that's probably against the grain is that we beat the Cubs three games in a row. It seems like down the stretch, wherever the series was, three-game lead, all of a sudden we had a one-game deficit that we were always playing very important games with our backs to the wall.
So that hasn't changed. And I think all the things that we've gone through this season will enable us to go out there and just play our game tonight.
You can't win four in one night. So we just have to find a way to win that first one and try to chip away and peck away at the three-game lead that they have right now.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Bob.

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