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October 25, 2007

Clint Hurdle


Q. Players always talk about having short memories. How much is that the same for managers?
CLINT HURDLE: Short-term memory is very, very important in this game. One of the strengths of our ballclub as I mentioned last night is the ability to honestly self-evaluate and move on. We didn't do that many things well last night. You're on a big stage, you don't do things well, you lose a ballgame. We want to move forward. We've done things well for a period of time prior to that, and we need to find a way to get back in sync off the mound. We saw some of that from our last three pitchers and offensively I saw some bigger and better things as the game went on. We'll keep our focus and look forward to playing the ballgame tonight.

Q. How do you attack a lineup where it seems top to bottom they have patience but they have aggressiveness when they need it, too?
CLINT HURDLE: They do. They have one of the most formidable lineups in baseball, nice combination of right- and left-handed, they have got some speed. Discipline is a very, very strong theme throughout their lineup. That being said, you know, we've faced them three games in June and we pitched very efficiently. We need to throw strike one. We need to work both sides of the plate. We need to get in better pitching counts, and then when we're in those good pitching counts we need to get people out with two strikes, and with two outs we need to put away innings. A lot of the runs last night with two outs, that has not been a theme that we've had a lot of during the season or we wouldn't be here. So that being said, Ubaldo is our man tonight. He watched plenty of tape, and now he needs to just go out and pitch his game.

Q. You said you saw some better at-bats last night. Can you talk about how you think you have struggled over the past couple weeks much more than you did during the season?
CLINT HURDLE: First and foremost is the pitching we're facing at this time of year. The teams that play late because they have better pitching staffs and pitching. That goes into postseason play. You look at the names of the pitchers we've been facing, some guys out of the bullpen. It's always a game that runs in cycles. We were very efficient with our at-bats and our hits throughout our streak as far as, you know, we didn't always throw out ten-run games when guys were in scoring position. We would situationally score people or get some big hits, people off the bench performed. This would be a good time for us to rekindle our offense and see the things we saw throughout the season.

Q. Last round midway through the series I guess LaTroy Hawkins wrote on the board "not done" I guess to serve as a message about how you guys should be playing. Is there anything after a loss like tonight that you preach, a message that you preach or a saying or something to try to get these guys to not just get by after a loss but a loss like you had last night?
CLINT HURDLE: Well, first of all, LaTroy Hawkins wrote "not done" after the tie-breaker game. So that's been in the clubhouse, a little sketch board for a while wherever we've gone.
Secondly, I think consistency in everything you do as a ballclub, and our ballclub has great awareness. Our ballclub has great focus. So after you had a game like last night, I think the last thing you need to do is get your boys together and explain what went wrong. I think that's the last thing you need to do.
But there seems to be some people outside of our clubhouse that think that's going to add value to what we do, and I think it's more for their comfort zone than our comfort zone, and what we need to stay in touch with is our comfort zone. We know exactly where we are, we know exactly what happened last night, we lived it, we wore it, and we've showered it off. We're going to get ready for Game 2 and get out there and try and even this thing up and get home.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about a couple of folks in the Red Sox dugouts, you know, just maybe where did you first meet Terry Francona, and you were briefly teammates with Magadan. Can you talk a little bit about that and where you two have gone?
CLINT HURDLE: Actually Terry Francona and I met in winter ball. He was playing for Zulia in Venezuela, and I was playing for team La Guaira. It's amazing how you meet guys in this game. And then we had a lot of contact against one another in the American League. Brad Mills has really given me more information on Terry Francona than I could have got anywhere else. They've got a lot of history and Brad was a coach in our organization for a long period of time, so I have a lot of respect for Terry and the experience I've had with him, but probably more so in the glowing terms in which Brad has spoken of him as a leader, as a manager, as a friend, as a teammate.
Dave Magadan and I have history with the Mets organization. He became a hitting coach, he was out in our division with the Padres and we've had running commentary and conversation for a number of years now. I enjoy his company, and one of the things we used to share as hitting coaches, we would kid each other, whoever was hot at the time, I would say so and so is listening to you now, huh? So I said to him yesterday behind the cage, you've got the whole team listening to you now; how did that happen?

Q. Because of the stage, because of the score, maybe people -- it seems so much is being made of this one loss, but you guys all season have really -- it seems like when you've lost, this team has even been better, been able to bounce back. Does that go to the character of the team, because it's happened before? It seems like people outside are making much more of this than the people inside the clubhouse?
CLINT HURDLE: I think that goes back to what I spoke to earlier. We're not concerned with public opinion outside the clubhouse, and that doesn't mean we don't respect it, but we don't give it any power, we don't give it any energy. We know what we believe in, we know what we need to do to win ballgames. I've talked about it before the Series. We need to execute. We didn't execute last night. That's where we've left it. We didn't do enough things last night well to win a ballgame. Case closed. Move on, get ready for tonight.
Our guys are confident. We need to go out and play a game tonight, that's what we need to do, and we need to execute. Again, it's just the opportunity to play. That's what we've held near and dear to our hearts all season long is going out there, saying "play ball" and getting after it and seeing where it takes us.

Q. Do you think any of your guys looked a little wide-eyed last night, particularly the young relievers, and do you think that's going to be a factor the rest of the series?
CLINT HURDLE: Well, I think you always look for reasons why people don't do well, and you know what we kind of focus on is we try and take -- was there emotional adrenaline overflow or something like that? All I know is mechanically neither one of the first two pitchers were really in sync, and I'm not a psych major.
We talked about mechanics, about slowing things down, making pitches one pitch at a time with everybody, but I mean, I'd kind of be suspect if -- there's a lot of first-time things going on for this ballclub, and that's how you build an organization's value and how you build tradition and you build all those things that they had going on in Boston. They had a first time. We've got some guys that are experiencing some things for the first time, some of them better than others so far, Game 1. But we've got more games in front of us. So the thing we've been very, very good at in our clubhouse is guys picking up one another after performances that didn't go well, and just complimenting one another and pushing things forward.

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