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October 23, 2008

Charlie Manuel


Q. Two-parter, please: How concerned are you about your team's hitting at this point? And I know you don't make excuses, but what effect do you think the layoff might be having?
CHARLIE MANUEL: First of all, of course we could not drive our runs in tonight. If we executed, we were going to score three runs, for sure. I felt like Shields struck out three guys there, and all three of them, with a guy on third with less than two outs, and he kind of hurt us. At the same time we didn't play good. Actually that might be one of our sloppiest games all year. But at the same time we stayed in rhythm and we struck back at them in the end.
I'm concerned about us hitting with guys on base, because it looks like at times we might be trying a little too hard. But we can fix that. Like I said, we got behind early, like Myers walked the first guy, and they got a hit. And Jayson booted one in right field, and put runners in scoring position. We got behind and we had a time catching up. Then we didn't execute.

Q. Two things that are sort of related: One, were you close at all to maybe pinch-hitting for Feliz against Wheeler there? Going forward do you look at shaking the lineup at all?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I didn't really think about pinch-hitting for Feliz. But if Feliz would have got on, I would have put in Stairs for Ruiz. But, no, Feliz has gotten some real big hits for us. I thought he'd been swinging okay.
And will I shake the lineup up? Basically we got kind of like two lineups. Every now and then I'll move Victorino to the two hole and drop Werth down to the sixth hole. Basically we kept those same lineups all year long.

Q. Do you hope getting home, getting back on your home turf that will help you?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, I'm sure if we get back home that will help us. I don't think the layoff had too much to do with it. We had more guys on base than they had. We've had more chances to score than they had, like we just didn't execute and score the runs. We've been getting hits and we've been putting guys on base. We just didn't execute. We've had periods like that during the season, we've had the same thing.

Q. Did you get an explanation from the umpire on his hand signal on the Baldelli walk, what that was?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I thought he called the guy out. I thought he called the guy out. But he said he was pointing like that, he pointed to go to first base. But to me he -- when he brought his hand up, I thought he called the guy out. And when I went out there he said he was pointing for the guy to go to first base.
I also thought the ball hit Rollins, too, but I didn't see it until after the game was over, in the ninth inning.

Q. Have you seen anything with the Rays for the first two games, that maybe the scouting reports had indicated? Did you learn something different about them than you thought you knew?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically I think our scouting reports have been pretty close right on, as far as their pitchers, what they throw. And really I mean I think it's been pretty close. I think they've got very good athletes. They've got a good team. And they can -- the balls they hit on the ground, and they're hard to double up. And they can cover the outfield, the guy in center field looks like he can really cover some ground. They're athletes and they can play. Yeah, I mean they've got a good club.

Q. The DH issue seems to come up in the World Series. You've been on both sides. Your DH has left men on the base in the first two innings. Are National League teams at a disadvantage, having to use the DH?
CHARLIE MANUEL: No, I think Coste and Dobber, have been our DH the last two nights. If you go back and look, they've played quite a bit this year. It's not like they haven't played. Coste has got quite a few at-bats. So does Dobbs. Dobbs is a .300 hitter, like with, I don't know, 250, 300 at-bats or something. Coste, he's a .300 hitter against left-handers. We just haven't been able to knock the runs in.

Q. I know you said that if Feliz got on base you would pinch-hit for Ruiz. Because there were two outs, did that make you pause at all?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yes, it did.

Q. They couldn't have put in a lefty, would it have been a real shock to you?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Two outs is definitely one reason why I didn't do it. But at the same time, like we still had some game left, and we wanted to get back around there, too.

Q. What was your impression of Shields?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I thought he made good pitches when he had to. And like I said, he had three strikeouts and they were big strikeouts during the first part of the game. I thought he battled. I thought he did a good job. He changed speeds good. He was everything they said he was going to be.

Q. You've mentioned that your team has gone into these kind of offensive slumps before during the season. Is there anything at this point that you can do to get them snapped out of it or is it something that has to work its way out?
CHARLIE MANUEL: It has to work itself out. We can talk about it. We can go out and take extra hitting. You can practice, but, yeah, but at the same time it kind of works its way out.

Q. Have you seen any improvement at all in Jimmy's approach to the plate? Have you seen any signs of life? Any signs of improvement?
CHARLIE MANUEL: The only thing I've seen the last couple of days, Jimmy is swinging hard. He's swinging hard. And that comes from trying too hard.
But, no, there again, like he's capable of coming out and hitting the ball hard four times the next time he plays. That's kind of the way the game goes at times.

End of FastScripts

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