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October 8, 2009

Charlie Manuel


Q. The numbers you guys have put up against Cook historically are pretty phenomenal as a group. Are you guys doing something, you're picking something up, or are you adjusting to his sinker by doing certain things in the box? How is that working?
CHARLIE MANUEL: We're not picking nothing up. If we did, I wouldn't tell you anyway.
Basically Cook has pitched some good games against us since I've been here, and he's got a tremendous sinker and he'll keep you off balance with his secondary stuff, and he knows what he's doing, and he's got a lot of heart. He's aggressive. He knows how to pitch, and we've got to make him bring the ball up, and we're going to take what he gives us.
If our left-hand hitters start trying to pull the sinker away, then we're going to get in trouble. But if we stay on him and take what he gives us, then we have a chance to score runs on him.
But believe me, this guy, he knows exactly how to pitch.

Q. When you say get the ball up, saying that you want him to do that and having him do that are kind of different things. Do you help him do that?
CHARLIE MANUEL: By being patient and everything. There's things that we can do, like sinker ball pitches. A lot of times you can move around in the box some, but then the biggest thing is when you say bring the ball up, make sure that you don't chase balls down out of the strike zone. Make him bring the ball up in the strike zone.

Q. I'm just wondering who's available out of the pen today with Happ and Blanton and Pedro, all three or two of the three?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Probably everybody is available. We've got -- our bullpen is ready. We'll see. Hopefully we don't have to use it. But no, they're all there. Some of them -- right now I don't think more likely Pedro probably wouldn't pitch today in the bullpen, out of the bullpen. But the other two guys could.

Q. When is the last time Pedro threw off the mound, and what's he doing to stay sharp during this time period?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He does his side work, and he throws in the bullpen. He's ready. He knows what he's doing.

Q. You're talking about who's in the bullpen and who's not. Now that you've slept on it, any new word on who might start Game 3?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Probably we'll know tomorrow after practice or something probably. But no, I haven't talked to Dubee about it. We haven't gotten together on it yet. A day at a time. That's how we've been playing for the last three or four years.

Q. Do you imagine it will be Happ --
CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't imagine nothing. (Laughter.) Seriously.

Q. Pedro hasn't thrown a ton of pitches since the middle of September. Would he be able to just go out there in a playoff game and throw pitches?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think Pedro has thrown enough where he's capable of going out there -- I'd say he's capable of going out there and throwing definitely 90 to 100 pitches.

Q. Do you anticipate him definitely getting in a game at some point in the series?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I can see Pedro getting in a game.

Q. You said you're taking it day by day. But in terms of the starters and their preparation, you don't think they'd be affected --
CHARLIE MANUEL: They're going to be ready. They'll know. They'll be ready.

Q. It's expected to be very cold in Denver this weekend. Will that affect your decision as to who starts, and can Pedro start on a very cold night?
CHARLIE MANUEL: You know, all that will be discussed. That could have something to do with it. I mean, it depends on how cold it's going to be and everything. But we haven't really decided that yet, but we will.

Q. We always discuss Utley when he's hitting well and when he's not hitting well. How does he look to you right now?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He looks good. Actually I went and watched him take BP, and I think the rest that he got the last three or four days I think definitely helped him.
I think yesterday I liked the way he looked at the plate. I felt like the guy threw him a couple good breaking balls, especially on a 3-2 hook, but he looks good.

Q. When Utley gets worn down or appears to be worn down in September, do you think it's more mental or physical for him?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think a lot of it is mental. It's the 162-game schedule, the grind that you have. I think players get physically and mentally wore down. I think mental is definitely -- plays a big part, especially like when you prepare and you put forth everything you've got into it like Utley does. I think it's kind of common, too.

Q. Following that up, given that that's been most of his Septembers as a pro, would you suggest anything different going into spring next year with him to try to get that flipped around?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Probably when I think about it, I would like to have somebody who can -- somebody that can give Jimmy Rollins and Utley a spell, and it would probably be real hard to find, because I expect him to be close to -- we don't want to lose nothing by playing a guy, if that makes sense. I want something similar to who they are and someone that can probably contribute something similar to that. That would be hard to find, because that's a tough job.
But at the same time, I've always said that I'd like to rest him anywhere from 10, 15 days a year or something like that or a season, and that way we might be able to rest him 20 or 30 because of the off-days on Monday, if you can gave him a break on Sunday. Jimmy Rollins, same thing. But that's something we discuss and we talk about.
But every day I find in the major leagues, and they tell you everything about it is we've got to win today, we've got to win, we've got to win, we've got to win, so therefore, I try to put the best team possible on the field to win, and sometimes you look up and the guy is playing but at the same time he has to play if we're going to win.

Q. Ibanez had a good day yesterday, couple of hits, couple of RBIs. Where do you think he is health-wise after a long season?
And two, what dimension does he bring to your lineup when he's playing like he did yesterday versus when he's kind of struggling?
CHARLIE MANUEL: When you see Raul like he was the first part of the year before he had his injury and you see him yesterday when he -- definitely he's starting to swing the bat better. What Raul brings to our team is he brings what I call -- him and Utley both, two professional hitters who hit the ball over the field and make good, constant contact. I think that's what they bring to the table. I think he plays a big part in our offense, and I think he got a big hit for us yesterday, and I think that's what he does. He's been a tremendous player for us, and I definitely think his injury has hurt him, set him back quite a bit, because he was on course to just have a tremendous big year. This guy was hitting balls -- his power surprised me.
I used to see him play in the American League and I knew he was a good hitter. I didn't know he had that kind of power, especially in the middle of the field. He really helps us when he's swinging the bat good, of course.

Q. Physically do you think he's okay now?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Physically when I talk to him, he tells me that he's fine, he feels great. He says that he's -- he tells me he's 100 percent, and I go by what he tells me.

Q. Kind of along those lines, why do you think guys like Raul and Cliff Lee have been so successful coming over from the American League to the National League?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think when Cliff Lee pitches like he did yesterday when he's very dominant on both sides of the plate and his fastball and slider and uses his change-up, he probably threw 12 or 15 change-ups yesterday. He didn't throw as many curves, but his cutter and fastball were so dominant, and I think where he was putting the ball, it doesn't matter where he pitches really, because he's making good pitches and good pitching stops hitting.
Raul, I think the type of hitter that he is, Raul -- I don't think if you ask him, he'll tell you, he doesn't try to hit home runs. He tries to hit a high average, and he consistently wants to hit the ball hard. I think the type of hitter that he is plays more into it than anything.
Of course I don't think some of the pitchers in this league don't know him, but there again, he doesn't know the pitchers. Basically I credit it to the type of hitter that he is.

Q. Regardless of Ibanez' health, for someone who's watched him all year long, it really seems like he's not running as well now as he did earlier in the season. Whatever reason, that's regardless.
Going into Colorado with that big outfield, do you anticipate needing to find a guy who might be able to step in later in the game to play defense for him, or have you not even thought along those lines?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Depends on what the situation in the game and where we're at. Believe me, that's why I've got coaches like Davey Lopes. If we feel that way or something like that, he'll come by and remind me, just make sure that it's on my mind or I know about it or something like that. We can adjust.
But at the same time Raul has been playing pretty good in the outfield all year long. He's played -- his defense has been pretty good, I mean, very good. I haven't been taking him out if you noticed hardly ever. But that doesn't mean that we won't if we feel like the situation -- if he's having problems running.
I do think that he was running a little bit better at the start of the season. But you know, I think that he's been playing very good in the outfield.

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