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October 7, 2009

Joe Torre


Dodgers – 5
Cardinals - 3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe.

Q. Joe, it seemed like especially early in the game you guys were looking to swing early in counts. Was that a conscious decision to get out and be aggressive with Carpenter?
JOE TORRE: We were or weren't?

Q. Were.
JOE TORRE: The thing is, even though you try to be patient, when he throws a strike you certainly don't -- you don't want to just get behind in the count. So I thought our guys did a great job.
And having a plan up there and not necessarily making Carp work, but staying with what we need to do against any pitcher, really, make him throw the ball over the plate.

Q. Joe, in the 4th inning of a regular season game when you're ahead 3-2 do you make that same move?
JOE TORRE: No. No. I usually you know have the starter decide his own fate, but Don Zimmer taught me that this post-season stuff is all about not being patient and doing what you feel you need to do at the time you need to do it.

Q. Could you just talk about some of the things the Dodgers did tonight to give them the victory, what are some of the key variables that you saw out there that helped them win?
JOE TORRE: I thought the huge thing was our lead-off hitter, Rafael Furcal. They score a run the 1st inning we were lucky to escape with just one run. And then Matt Kemp gets the 2-run home run, boom, and all of a sudden you answer.
But we had good at-bats, and Russell, getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded certainly was big for us. We had a couple of guys that put us in the soup a little bit and I think we played heads-up and played well.
We played well defensively. Casey Blake made some plays, the play Belliard made in the inning to start the play. Our guys came out of the bullpen. There probably wasn't a bigger out to get than Weaver's when he got Ludwick, and then Belisario comes in there and gets through the sixth inning and Kuo got two quick outs.
To me it was the bullpen. It was just the way we came out of the bullpen. That's our strength. We get to the seventh inning we feel pretty good about who we have coming in.

Q. You left the bases loaded three times and left 16 runners on base, is that concerning for future games?
JOE TORRE: No, not this time of year. To me I felt we applied a lot of pressure, but when you have the best teams in baseball out there, their pitchers know how to get out of jams and I'm happy to say that ours did, too.
So that really doesn't concern me. All it tells me is we're getting opportunities. And you certainly want to cash in on more, but you have to understand who you're playing, too.

Q. The second time you walked Pujols intentionally, is that unusual for you to walk the lead run on base in the fourth inning?
JOE TORRE: Not him. I mean, that really hasn't bothered me walking the go-ahead run. I've done that a number of times, even in post-season. Albert is very special. I mean, you see him every single day. He just scares the hell out of me. I give you an example in the eighth inning I bring Broxton even though he wasn't the tying run, I just felt at that point that's who I wanted to pitch to him. He's lethal and he's so calm about it, too. That's what irritates the opposition.

Q. There's obviously a short turnaround from tonight's game to one tomorrow afternoon. Can that be a positive for you guys considering the momentum from tonight and not having the time to have to wait and maybe for it to wear off?
JOE TORRE: Just from my past experience, when you win a game you're not near as tired. But, again, this time of year, tired doesn't enter into the equation for either club. The Cardinal club is a very good club. We've played them seven times this year. They just don't stop coming at you, right to the end. They got the tying run at the plate and Broxton made a pitch.
But the turnaround is what you have to sort of be ready for, especially with the number of teams that are in now, because day-to-day it's going to change.

Q. Hong-Chih Kuo has been pitched for 25, 26 pitches already, so we're just wondering will he be available for tomorrow's game?
JOE TORRE: Well, he'll come in. My guess is he'll have his hand raised and say he's ready. We repeated him a number of times this year, not a lot. Right now I'm not sure if I'm going to. But, again, that remains to be seen. But we've certainly tried to stay away two days in a row, even though we didn't exclusively do that.

Q. Joe, I know you have a great pitcher going tomorrow, but given the success that Carpenter's had against you, don't you feel you've survived their best punch?
JOE TORRE: Well, this guy coming at us tomorrow, you know, Wainwright, I don't want to say he's a carbon copy of Carp. I think he's a carbon copy in the way he competes and the numbers that both of them have put up this year. That's their strength.
Aside from the middle of their lineup, but the way they pitch it's a day's work to work at 'em. But we beat a very good pitcher, there's no question about it. The fact that come back a couple of times, injury-wise, and to still go out there and throw the ball 93, 94 and just stay on the corners all the time, we certainly beat a great pitcher, not a good pitcher, a great pitcher tonight and we know we have a lot of work to do tomorrow against Wainwright.

Q. Speaking of pitchers can you assess how Wolf did? Was he a little too excited, a little overanxious?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, he may have been. This time of year, this happens. He's pitching at home and I thought he settled in after the first two innings and I was just a little uncomfortable in that fourth inning, especially when he hit Holliday. But my intention was to -- because his pitch count, I know it said 80 or 81, but we walked a couple of guys intentionally.
So we don't really count those against him. So we felt he was going to get through five. But when it got to that point I just decided to take him out. I don't know about jumpy. I think he got through that in the first couple of innings. I didn't think his command was as good as we have seen it. Plus left-handers had good luck with him today, and he's been nails against left-handers this year.

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