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October 4, 2008

Joe Torre


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe.

Q. Obviously you're a long way from through, but to this point how satisfying has the development of this club been to you?
JOE TORRE: We've been a real good club. They were wire to wire all year. I thought, as I mentioned I guess yesterday and today, you know, starting in Chicago may have been a benefit for us. Because I just thought that with everything going on with them having the record they've had -- I've experienced it before. It's a lot of pressure when you're playing at home. I may be off base, but that's just my feeling. The fact that we played them tough all seven games we played, even though we lost five of the seven.

Q. I know this is only the first step of one, but how big is this series victory considering it's the Dodgers first in a post-season since 1988?
JOE TORRE: Well, I wasn't part of that history either. But it's very satisfying. Very satisfying. We had a lot of people doubting us all year. And we didn't have -- we weren't resentful about it. It was just the fact we haven't really played well enough to get anybody's attention.
And I think once Ned started doing some retooling here, and Casey Blake I thought was a great start for us as far as starting to glue together. And of course Manny and Maddux, even though Maddux was here for a short period of time, I think his influence and his calmness really helped these young players.
But they started having fun. I can't thank the veterans on this club for stepping aside. Jeff and Nomar and Juan, I mean, they made my life a lot easier to write a lineup without their names in it.

Q. Can you comment on the job that your starting pitchers did for you in this series? They were lights out.
JOE TORRE: From start to finish my starters have been terrific all year. There were times we've got to figure out the bullpen and when we lost Saito it wasn't easy.
But our starters all year long have been the consistent part of our game. But to come into a series like this and have Derek Lowe show the way, and Billingsley who was about as calm as I've seen him in that second game in Chicago and then Kuroda. What an adjustment he's made and to go out there and dominate like he did tonight.
But, again, our guys come out of the bullpen. Cory Wade did a great job and Broxton was phenomenal tonight. He came in there and just completely shut them down.

Q. Can you talk about James Loney's series and then also the 1st inning, if Russell Martin is not safe at third base, him not coming up to bat?
JOE TORRE: That's right, Russell made a mistake by turning around when he thought the ball was going to be -- the shortstop was going to get to it sort of just backing up and never taking his eye off of it but fortunately we got the call. I didn't see a replay but I'm just glad he was safe obviously.

Q. Can you talk about James Loney's series, another huge hit for you?
JOE TORRE: We scratched the surface on how good this kid is going to be. He goes up there and he's got -- I've said it all year long, he reminds me a lot of Bernie Williams just for his personality and sometimes he makes you scratch your head and other times you want to hug him. And again, he kept us calm through this series and certainly we were the beneficiaries for it.
He's a special player. Special player.

Q. You said before the pitching has been a consistent strength for you. It obviously has. With that kind of strength and that's what wins this time of year, maybe you should have been the underdogs in this series?
JOE TORRE: Well, they had pretty good pitching, too. Are you kidding? Those guys -- Dempster with the number of games he won this year, and Zambrano. And I thought Harden pitched well tonight. I thought he threw the ball good.
But, again, we struggled to find out who we were for a long period of time. But the one thing that kept us -- we had that one game where we beat Anaheim out here we didn't get any hits. If it wasn't for pitching it would be tough to keep guys' interest, trust me, because we weren't putting many numbers up.

Q. Could you walk us through the decision-making with the relievers, how what went into that and also kind of where you stand with those guys going forward specifically in the 9th?
JOE TORRE: Tonight when I brought in -- first of all, I was really struggling with letting Hiro hit with a man at third base in that one but I felt the way he looked the inning before that any outs I could get out of him I wanted to. I would have hit for him if it was less than two out. And then Cory Wade came in and got his man.
And we decided to send him out, because, again, Saito the other day when he came in, just looked like he was feeling for it. And I was trying to keep as many people late as I could. I was hoping that Cory could get us through the 8th that way I'd have both those guys for the 9th inning, when I had to bring Broxton in in the 8th and just watch him throw strikes.
Because he had trouble in Chicago there that last game and a lot of it was based on the fact that he was getting behind the hitters. When he started throwing strikes, I looked up that one time, he had 12 out of 13 strikes and that's one of the reasons I sent him back out in the 9th.

Q. You're playing so good right now, you're going to have a few days off, does this come at a good time or would you rather get back out there and play again?
JOE TORRE: I don't want to do anything tomorrow. (Smiling) it's a good time. I mean, any time you can win and my feelings about a short series is you never want to lose that edge you have. And to win this game, a close game, was huge. We were spoiled the last couple of games, we won by seven, won by five. But tonight was a game that I think maybe we learned a little bit more about ourselves. But I'm glad we have a few days off.
Right now Philly has a 2-1 lead. We have no idea where we're going because tomorrow's a huge game for them with the fact that I guess Sabathia will be lurking on Game 5. So there's no easy way out of this thing. But we're just happy we have a chance to sit back a little bit.

End of FastScripts

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