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October 16, 2007

Eric Wedge


Q. From the middle of Game 2 on everybody you've given the ball to has basically come through for you. This is the kind of thing that classically wins in the postseason.
ERIC WEDGE: Well, I feel like we've been doing a better job just controlling the baseball game in regard to our pitching. I think that it starts right there. It always has and it always will, in regard to working ahead, making pitches when you have to, getting big outs, finishing hitters off, finishing innings off. Paul Byrd gave us another great effort tonight. You saw Jensen Lewis come in, as well as Rafael Betancourt and work the way they needed to work, as well.
We had the big inning, Byrdie gave us a chance to win the ballgame, and the bullpen was able to finish it off.

Q. You guys were struggling a bit against Wakefield, and then in that fifth inning you exploded. Did you sense anything that inning? Can you talk about Blake's home run, too.
ERIC WEDGE: Well, we did not sense anything outside of the fact that he was throwing the ball good. You could see that early on. He was dropping that thing in there and mixing an occasional fastball, looked like he was mixing an occasional breaking ball, and he had the knuckleball going up and down, he had it going side to side from time to time. I mean, we were having a lot of difficulty.
Casey Blake, that was big for us. To get on the board and to break through, because we weren't stringing anything together. And then it just kind of went on from there. And the guys did a good job of moving it along down the line and working hard to get to the next guy and pushing the inning forward. So obviously there was a number of people that really contributed to that inning, the big home run there by Peralta. He can go that way, but then he's done it a lot for us this year.

Q. After the Game 1 loss, did you guys reevaluate or change philosophy pitching-wise as well as hitting, or has it stayed the same, it's just that maybe they were relaxing more?
ERIC WEDGE: No, it's stayed the same. I mean, I think that we've just done a better job on the mound of being a little bit more aggressive. Again, getting back to our strengths, that's the way we have to play. That's the way we have to get it done is to focus on what we need to do individually, what we need to do with different areas of our ballclub, and obviously what we need to do collectively as a ballclub to win. That's the way we have to do it.
If we get a little bit in between or we try to work away from that or we try to be too fine, then we're getting away from what we need to do to be successful. When I say "we," I'm talking about everybody individually or different areas of our clubs.

Q. Can you talk about your club's evolution defensively? There's been a lot of talk about pitching in this series, but how many double plays you've turned, a lot, in this series, and then the play that Cabrera made tonight was a good play. Talk about the defensive evolution of this team.
ERIC WEDGE: Well, I felt like we've been a better defensive club this year. But last year I didn't feel like we were as bad defensively as maybe the numbers would show. I just felt like our timing was really bad (laughing). We broke down defensively at key moments.
This year we've stepped up defensively in key moments. Those numbers you see on paper don't mean anything. It's about the timing of the ballgame, it's about making plays when you need to, putting the ball on the ground and turning a double play when you need to. We talked about it earlier, making pitches, stepping up with two-out knocks. That's what it's all about. With our pitching as our defense and we've been more consistent this year.

Q. What about what Cabrera has given you?
ERIC WEDGE: He's been a big boost for us. He along with a lot of other people. This team has really evolved. That's been a consistent mindset this year, and the faces and names have changed from time to time, but I'm obviously proud of all of them.

Q. Two seven-run innings in this series have really broke it open in a way for you. Did you see any similarity in those innings? And how does that speak to the explosive power of this team?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, you do see the similarities just in regard to grinding out at-bats and really working hard to not get ahead of yourself. And at times things can speed up and you try to do too much too quickly; when somebody gets on and you're the next hitter, somebody hits a home run and you're the next hitter, somebody hits a double and you're the next hitter. Instead of grinding out the at-bat, don't focus on results, just focus on having a good approach, a good at-bat and let the rest take care of itself, and I think we've done a pretty good job of that as of late.

Q. Getting back to Blake again, he's had some really important home runs for you in the last month. Has he done anything differently that you can attribute that to?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, he likes being up there. He's had some really late home runs in ballgames for us, and tonight to get us kick started as a ballclub.

Q. The way your team has played the last three games, would you rather just play tomorrow instead of having the off-day?
ERIC WEDGE: You know, the off-day you know is coming before the series starts. You plan as such, and it's okay for our guys. It doesn't phase us. We're still going to work out, have a quick, light workout the same time as we normally stretch and take BP, and guys will have a chance to relax.

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