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October 1, 2008

Joe Torre


Q. Regarding Loney, there was an at-bat here in this ballpark in May that I think you had referred to a few times about his approach, that he hit one out of the park but foul, and then struck out on the next pitch, which he shouldn't have struck out. What happened tonight, is there sort of an indication of progress and the way that he's approaching at-bats now?
JOE TORRE: Well, again, in that particular game, he came up to pinch-hit, so that's something that's really not common for him to do. But I certainly remember that at-bat. The pitcher went away from him, and he was fooled.
Today, you know, he had two what looked like very feeble swings the first two pitches, and then he managed to foul tip a ball. But the thing he did do a little bit differently was the fact that he stayed in the middle of the field, and I think that was huge that he was able to do that at that particular time. Because the game doesn't slow down for you, especially when you have the bases loaded and there are two out and you have two strikes on you.
But he's so unpredictable. We've seen that time and time again this year. This is only my first year with him, but I've seen him have at-bats like that before where he just seems to be overmatched at times, but yet come up with a base hit. But this obviously was huge for us.

Q. Were you guys making a particular effort to be patient with Dempster, or was he missing by so much it was impossible not no?
JOE TORRE: I don't think he was missing by a lot. The one thing we knew was that -- our game is to make the pitcher work and be patient. Be patient. You know, we haven't been that way early -- we weren't that way early in the year, and at times we strayed. But tonight I thought, considering it was the first game of the Division Series, I thought we showed a great deal of patience. Even though we were losing 2-0, I was very satisfied with the way we were going about it.
But yeah, that's basically what we do, and it wasn't particularly against Dempster, it was just -- well, we need to make the pitcher work and show our patience, because I think a lot of times teams took advantage of our overaggressiveness early on in the season.

Q. A lot has been made of the addition of Blake, the addition of Ramirez, but to what extent does this lineup take on a different look when you've got Furcal at the top of it?
JOE TORRE: Well, again, Rafi certainly makes us like we're whole. I'm much more comfortable with him at the top of the batting order. And he felt good. I checked with him after the nine innings, which is the first time he's done that since April, and he felt good. Yeah, he really makes a huge difference at the top of the batting order.
But it started with Blake, before Fookie (Furcal) came back and Casey Blake came on board. Just the way he played the game, he didn't necessarily say anything, but just the way he played the game, seeing him start to get this club to understand a little bit more about the playing of the game.

Q. How would you evaluate Derek tonight?
JOE TORRE: Derek was great. I mean, again, he's got that preparation look in his eye, very focused early on. I mean, he gave up a home run to DeRosa. DeRosa has had a hell of a year because he uses the whole field, also.
The big thing about it, he settled right down and really did a great job for us. He just battles you. I watched it for a number of years when he was with the Red Sox. But tonight was huge. When you have a young club and you come into a foreign ballpark, just to get off to a start like this and give us an opportunity to win, just keeping the score 2-0 is as important a start as he's had for us.

Q. Given the conditions, that's a remarkable display of power, isn't it?
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, the wind was funny. The wind was blowing across. I think it was keeping the balls down the left field line fair, but there were certain gaps there. I thought Jim Edmonds' ball was out of the ballpark when he hit it. But you weren't going to keep this guy's (Manny Ramirez) ball in the park. I know that.
James, I knew he hit it good, but I wasn't sure. And then the first ball that Russell hit that Sori caught at the wall, I thought he hit it better than that.
It's a little crazy. When that flag is blowing across left to right, you're not really sure. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts.

Q. I think it's the first time since Gibson's homer about 20 years you guys took Game 1 of the series. How big is that to carry over to Game 2?
JOE TORRE: Well, it's important, based on the fact that it does a lot for our confidence. You know, we know how good Chicago is, we know how consistent they've been all year, and to have them get a lead and for us to just maintain our patience, it's important.
Again, it's all going to depend on the next day's pitcher, and we hope Bill has as much success as Lowe did tonight. But it was big for us to win this game.

End of FastScripts

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