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October 1, 2008

Cole Hamels

Charlie Manuel


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Charlie or Cole.

Q. Charlie, are you kind of surprised that we're in a hitter's ballpark in a pitching dual and defense broke out?
CHARLIE MANUEL: No, because a lot of times in post-season it's a lot about pitching. The pitchers, they're really bearing down and they're focused and they're concentrating on what they want to do. That's what happens sometimes. Hitters, they might be a little tight and anxious. And they don't put the runs across the board they usually can do at times.

Q. Cole, given the stakes, was that the best pitching performance of your young career?
COLE HAMELS: Yes and no. Just where we were I knew the importance of the game, and it's something where because of last year, I learned what it really takes in trying to be -- kind of mellow out, not have that sort of excitement where you can't really control everything. And that was something where just going out there and relaxing and just being able to pitch and throw strikes.
I think with the type of team that Milwaukee brings, they're very aggressive but also very good. And so I just had to really establish the first pitch strike just so I can get ahead of them and slow them down. And that's what I was able to do and have success at it.

Q. You obviously are a fine pitcher, pitched a great game. You might have already answered my question, but because it was the playoffs and because of what happened last year, you had some kind of an adrenalin rush that was kicking in at that point?
COLE HAMELS: No, I'm still waiting for that adrenalin rush. (Laughter) no. Sorry. Maybe it's kicking in right now. (Laughter) no, it's just being able to, I guess, relax. I think that's something where a lot of guys, the hitters have it too. It's the excitement rush and the adrenalin goes. You have to calm it down and try to take a step backwards. And I think that's what I was able to do and just take advantage of the excitement and the aggressiveness that the other team had.

Q. Charlie, can you talk about Brad Lidge, and can you also take us through the decision to pitch to Prince Fielder?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically, Brad, what happened, he got ahead of Durham, and then felt like he tried to sneak a fastball by him. Durham got a hit. And after that he threw some pitches and got ahead of the other hitters but seemed like he walked right back into an even count or he got behind. And he got in a position where he was half, he had to throw the ball over the plate.
And what happened on Fielder was, the reason we decided to pitch to him, he can tie the game up. He's not the winning run. And any time that you go and put the winning run on base in our ballpark here, especially with their lineup, like they're fifth and sixth hole hitters can hit the ball out of too. He can tie it up, but he can't win it for them there.
And I also liked one of the big things about Lidge, I say it all the time, his talent prevails at times. And it has most of the year. And when he -- he can strike people out. That's one of his big pluses. That's what a big closer is good at. He can get in jams but at the same time he can wiggle out because he can strike people out.

Q. Charlie, any thought with as well as Cole is pitching and the rhythm he was in to just let him finish up the game?
CHARLIE MANUEL: It crossed my mind, and I looked at it, what did he have 101, -2 pitches. He pitched a lot this year. We've got that guy down there. That's why he's standing down there for. That's his job, too. And he's been perfect. I mean, but also another thing, too, is the top of their order is all right-handed, and Lidge is -- what he gets is right-handers out at about 170 clip. So he kind of had the inning, like when it started. Of course they pinch hit Durham, but at the same time the inning was pretty much set up for him.

Q. So Cole wasn't tired or anything, could have gone out and pitched if you needed him?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Dubee was the one that talked to Cole. At the same time, like I said, I felt like that's what Lidge is doing down there. Like we definitely want to use Cole again and everything.

Q. Cole, to follow up on that, did you want to pitch the 9th inning?
COLE HAMELS: No, the last time I did that I gave up a two-run home run to Fielder. (Laughter). No, I have all the confidence in the world in Lidge. I knew it was something where I knew if I could get through the 8th, I knew Lidge could seal the deal. That's something where I wanted to get him a save and I know he wanted to get me a win, and we were able to do that.
CHARLIE MANUEL: Also Howard, when we were standing there, Dubee and I were talking and he made a statement to me, he says, if somebody gets on, are you going to get him? And I go, more than likely yeah. And then I thought, well, then why not let Lidge start the inning if I was going to do that. So that's kind of what happened.

Q. Charlie, are you concerned about Brad Lidge in the sense that last Saturday's game he had kind of an adventurous inning in the Nationals and tonight he had a 35-pitch outing? Are you concerned about his endurance at this point?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I get concerned but at the same time so far this year a lot of times when he'll have one of those outings, or two of them, and he's gotten through and all of a sudden like his next couple will be really good. So like it's kind of -- but I said his talent prevails. He's a strikeout pitcher, and he stays there and gets it done.
One of these days, yeah, he'll lose a game, probably. But at the same time he might go a long time before he does. Just a matter of we'll see.

Q. Cole, going back to you how you approached the game. Looked like you had a good changeup. Can you talk a little bit about that and what it feels like? When did it kick in that you knew you had the stuff and what's your frame of thought as you're in that kind of a groove?
COLE HAMELS: You know, obviously my bullpen didn't show anything. Sometimes I do have rough bullpens before games. It makes you focus a little bit more. I didn't have the best bullpen before the game. But that's where I really had to bear down. And I think to really establish or know that I have a good changeup is when the hitters take swings at it. I was a little bit aggressive in the beginning but yet they were still missing it.
That was something where I guess it was good in my case because some guys, normally when you're throwing on a more firm changeup, guys would be blooping hits here and there off me.
So I was still able to get guys to swing and miss. I know as the game went on, as the more tired I got my changeup just gets better. That's something where I've learned that from Jamie (Moyer). But I've also learned it from experiencing it myself. That's just something where it's nice to, I guess, have.
And with the swings that they were taking on it, I knew it wasn't going to, I guess, change anything.

Q. Charlie or Cole, last year you guys didn't even lead for many innings at all in the playoffs. Can you talk about how big it is to get a lead early and come away with a win in this first game?
CHARLIE MANUEL: It was big for us to like score the three runs and get out on top. And with the way Cole was pitching, he definitely did a heck of a job holding them. And he didn't give up nothing.
But I think that he was a big reason that we won the game today. Like I know we had to score to win, but when the game started -- I made a statement to somebody before the game started, I said, if Cole is throwing, the game starts and he's throwing strikes low with his fastball and his changeup and his breaking ball, he'll pitch good.
And he only hit one stretch today where -- I'm trying to think of the inning where he walked a guy. He got up with his fastball. Then he got right back in his rhythm and he started getting the ball back down, his changeup and his fastball.
And he did a heck of a job. And I'll tell you something, it's definitely one of his better outings. And he was tremendous.

Q. Cole, follow-up to that question. After what happened last year, did you think psychologically about how important it was to win this first game?
COLE HAMELS: You know, I had the understanding of what it is when you do win the first game, the momentum that it, I guess, causes and especially at home. It's just the excitement level and just the feeling that you can get.
And so going into today, I tried to be as relaxed as I possibly could. Yet, I still wanted to go out there and win just because I knew what it would do for our team. And I think that's something where, from the very first pitch in the 1st inning, I gave that confidence in our players.
When we scored those runs, I think they did have the confidence I wasn't going to allow any more runs. That's something where it's good to have that and the team is still able to battle through. But I think tonight definitely I think we'll think about it a little more because even though we won the first one we still have to go out there and win the next couple.
Hopefully you ride out, I guess, the emotions and everything that we have especially still being at home.

Q. Cole, the weather changed drastically there in the second inning. How did you -- obviously didn't cause you any problems, but how did you deal with that?
COLE HAMELS: I tried to get out as fast as I could. I'm not really used to dealing with rain, pitching-wise. But I've seen it enough. And I understand that you really have to still throw low in the zone, because when the guys put the balls in play, that's when mistakes can happen, just from having it slip and it taking a bad bounce.
I knew if I still kept it down in the zone either it would be a grounder or I was still able to keep the hitters off balance where I could still strike them out. I think I was still successful in doing that.

Q. Charlie, can you talk about the offense today? Because you went quite a few innings without so much as a hit.
CHARLIE MANUEL: Early for two innings we hit about three or four balls hard right at people. Utley's hit, of course, was big. And the fact that we took advantage of a break when Cole bunted to Braun and we got a break when they didn't execute. And, like you said, we didn't really what we call hit the ball.
I give credit to their pitchers. Plus, like we might have been trying a little bit too hard but at the same time their pitchers did a good job, and I look at it this way: Like we hit just good enough to win the game. So tomorrow we might get after big C.C. (Laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations.

End of FastScripts

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