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October 15, 2007

Eric Wedge


Q. Two-part question: Talk about Westbrook, 15 of his 20 outs ground balls, double plays, and then your bullpen seven up, seven down. You and Carl couldn't have scripted it any better really.
ERIC WEDGE: You always know you've got a good chance to have a good day with Jake putting the ball on the ground the way he was. I felt like he was aggressive. He worked ahead. He was consistent within his delivery. He slowed himself down when he needed to slow himself down, good rhythm and tempo when that time was appropriate. Obviously they've got an outstanding lineup over there, but Jake did a good job controlling the ballgame. He made some fantastic defensive plays, some big double plays.
Whenever you have the ability to get two outs with one pitch, it goes a long way for you.

Q. Specifically on the double play in the first inning, how good was the play that Cabrera made to start that double play?
ERIC WEDGE: Yeah, Cabrera was great with his hand (laughing), and then we've got Casey Blake coming across the bag, too. So he hasn't done a whole lot of that in his career. He did a good job of hanging in there, and Garko was fantastic with his pick and staying on the bag. That's about as good a double play as you're going to see with three players being pretty good with what they're trying to do there and having to be pretty quick about it.

Q. Can you talk about Kenny's postseason so far. He had the big hit tonight and how he's been performing.
ERIC WEDGE: He's a big-game player. He likes the stage. It's important for people to understand just what it takes to be a big game player and to see it right in front of him. This is a guy that had a lot of experience in the postseason. He understands how to slow himself down. He understands just what it takes to have the right heartbeat. And with all the experience he's had and the great teams he's been on.
For him to go out there and get us going like that, our first game here at home in this series, that really got us kick started.

Q. Speaking of kick started, what did a good strong performance out of the starter do for the rest of your pitching staff?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, we needed it. We needed it. Our bullpen has been working hard. That was a close game throughout. It was a good baseball game. It was close. You needed to make pitches, you needed to make plays, you needed to get two-out hits. We've got Hafner hustling down the line to get us another run there. Asdrubal with his knock and another tough at-bat. That's the kind of ballgame it was and that's what you would expect.
But for Jake to get us that deep in the ballgame and control the ballgame the way he did, right along with his defense, that was something we needed.

Q. Talk about Lewis a little bit and how is he coming along for you guys?
ERIC WEDGE: He's been a great addition to our bullpen. He's been here now for a couple of months, if not longer. He's worked his way back in the bullpen to be an important part of it. I think tonight with a perfect example of it. I really didn't want to use Betancourt for more than an inning. I know that he would have been more than willing to, but more times than not I'd probably bring him in and finish off that seventh inning and let him run through the eighth.
But with the way Lewis has been throwing the ball and the way he's been competing, we were able to go to him right there and had Perez ready if needed and we were able to keep Betancourt to one inning.
He's a confident young man that really plays the game with a great deal of respect and understanding in regard to what his role is and what he's expected to do for us.

Q. Red Sox hitters were so patient with your first two starters, particularly with Carmona. It seems to me they were of course very patient again tonight, but all it did was get them into 0-1 holes all night. Were you attentive to the fact that they've been taking first pitches for the whole series?
ERIC WEDGE: I talked about it before. Those first two games we got away from what we needed to do to be successful. If you're talking about C.C. and Fausto, you talk about their aggressiveness and the way they compete and the way they take it to the opposition. Try to be a little bit too fine, and if you do that against these guys, they're really going to take advantage of it.
I thought Jake did a great job today with working ahead and working to put the ball on the ground and staying ahead in the count. It's always a back-and-forth game, but Jake did a great job for us today.

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