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October 10, 2009

J.A. Happ

Charlie Manuel


THE MODERATOR: Hello everybody, good afternoon. Thank you very much for joining us today. With us on the line we have the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, Mr. Charlie Manuel, and we have his Game 3 starting pitcher, J.A. Happ, who will be starting in place of Pedro Martinez tomorrow night in cold and snowy Denver.
We want to thank J.A. and Charlie for being on the line with us. We really appreciate it.
And we're ready to take some questions for Charlie and J.A.

Q. Charlie, if you could, could you just I guess go into what went into your decision here to go with J.A. in Game 3?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Well, basically, I told J.A. yesterday that he was going to pitch Sunday, and when the game got called today, I think, if I'm not mistaken, it's been about 10 or 11 days since Pedro Martinez pitched in a game.
And also the weather had something to do with it. And another thing that comes into play is the fact that Cliff Lee is on his regular rest. And we like left-hand pitchers against Colorado. And I think that gives us the strongest way to go about it.
And also from here on out, the next couple of days Pedro will work out of the bullpen.

Q. J.A., could you kind of talk about the opportunity to pitch Game 3? I know you obviously had wanted to start and there was a lot of speculation that you might spend most of the playoffs in the bullpen, so just to get this opportunity to kind of prove yourself?
J.A. HAPP: I think I've had a lot of anticipation kind of throughout the year hoping that we'd be in this position and hoping that I could help us in any way possible.
And obviously getting a start, I think, is going to be a great opportunity. And I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Q. And obviously I guess your leg is fine?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, the leg is a nonissue.

Q. Charlie, would J.A. have been your Game 3 starter for today had he not been hit by the line drive? Would you have named him over Pedro to begin with? Was the line drive the difference that set him back a day?
CHARLIE MANUEL: We were actually -- I was thinking, if you want to know the truth, I was thinking about J.A. pitching the fourth game. I didn't know how our bullpen was going to set up like at that time when we started this round. I like J.A. down in our pen for a couple of games.
And I kind of had him -- in my mind he was going to throw the fourth game of the series.

Q. Charlie, so what does this do to your thinking for the Game 4 starter at this point?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Game 4 starter is going to be Cliff Lee. He'll be coming back on his regular turn.

Q. Charlie, we had a chance to talk to Pedro earlier today and he said the decision made perfect sense to him. But mainly because he said he hadn't pitched in 10 days. He said he would like to be able to get into some opportunities before he possibly makes a start in the post-season. Do you see him getting a chance to pitch out of the bullpen? Or I know you mentioned you said he could, but how capable could he be coming out of the bullpen and being effective right out of the gate?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think he's very capable. I think he can do it. I've seen him do it before. I think he can definitely go a couple innings. I think that we'd use him -- definitely we wouldn't be afraid to use him or wouldn't even bat an eye about using him like with the -- match him up with the lineup. I think definitely that could happen. Hopefully it doesn't, but it could. J.A. throw a shutout tomorrow, it won't happen.

Q. And, J.A., you have in fact thrown a shutout against these guys this season. Is that an advantage or give them an advantage the second time around, do you think, against you?
J.A. HAPP: I don't know. I don't really read too much into that. I had success the last time I threw against them. But tomorrow's a new day, and that was a while back.
But I'm definitely going to try to take the same aggressiveness that I had that game that I threw and try to pitch the same way and stay within myself. And hopefully I'll have success that way.

Q. Charlie, I was wondering what you thought of the decision to postpone.
CHARLIE MANUEL: What's that?

Q. To postpone the game, obviously less than ideal conditions today.
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think when I got up this morning kind of early I walked downstairs and I walked outside, it was pretty cold. It was snowing. And somebody told me it was 17 degrees. And I thought to myself, well, how much can it warm up today? And the smart guy that I am, I said, well, is probably going to get to 20. So I figured it might be a little bit too cold to play baseball.
So I think they made the right decision.

Q. Charlie, if there needs to be a Game 5, have you thought at all about if you would go to Hamels in that situation? Or, if not, who do you think you would go to?
CHARLIE MANUEL: That's on Hamels' regular day, and also it depends on how much Blanton would get in the game and also Pedro. But I like left-hand pitchers against this team. And I think that we definitely match up good that way.

Q. Charlie, when you were told that there was a postponement, did you tell yourself this is a break for my team because what it allowed you to do with your pitching?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I've been saying all along I like the fact of putting lefties on this team and also I like the fact that J.A. and Lee pitch good in a series against Colorado at home, and, like he said, I think we line up better that way. Like I think that we can put some of our best pitching on these guys.

Q. If I could expound on that a little bit. It seems like there's always some kind of weather issue in the post-season. You guys experienced that in the World Series last year. Is there any possible solution to this? Are you just going to have to deal with what's given to you?
CHARLIE MANUEL: You know what, I think ever since I can remember baseball is played this way and if you happen to be in a city where you can have this kind of weather, or the kind of weather we had in Philadelphia last year, really, I've heard people say they should move it to a place where it's warm and sunny and everything like that.
I disagree with that, because I think when fans come to see their team play all year long, 162 games, 81 at their hometown, I think they deserve a right to see their team during the playoff and World Series. And I think that's what baseball is all about.
I think it's something that you've just got to live with.

Q. Charlie, what do you remember about that World Series game with Cleveland? That might have been I think the coldest post-season game for a hitting coach. Did that come across your mind today when you saw the cold temperatures, thinking about that game?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, like I've seen it work both ways. I've seen pitchers totally be dominant in cold weather, and then in the World Series, some of those playoff game series I was in I saw a lot of hitting against what we thought was very good pitching for us.
And so it can go either way. But when the game starts, I think the ball is in the pitcher's hands. I think he controls the game and I think good pitching beats good hitting.

Q. With the extra day, how beneficial will that be for you in terms of the leg healing better and whatnot?
J.A. HAPP: You know, today was already a lot better than yesterday as far as how the leg responded right away, even getting out of bed. So tomorrow I expect to be even better.
But, like I said, I don't think it would be an issue either way.

Q. J.A., did you throw today? I want to know how much pitches did you throw? Was it just to test the leg, I guess?
J.A. HAPP: Yeah, I didn't throw off the mound. I just went over there to get some work in and then to just play some catch a little bit, just kind of trying to stay on the normal routine I would a day before I start.

Q. J.A., do you feel like the opportunity to do this just feels like a long time coming for you after everything you've already been through this season?
J.A. HAPP: I don't know really how to answer that question. I think I'm not going to say I feel like I deserve anything. I'm just grateful to have the opportunity and I'm going to go out there and try to perform tomorrow. But it's definitely going to be special.

Q. J.A., you made that relief appearance in the post-season last year in Los Angeles. I know a lot of things have happened since then for you, but I was just wondering how much that appearance helped prepare you for what you might face in terms of, you know, post-season atmosphere when you go out there to start tomorrow.
J.A. HAPP: I think, fortunately enough, I've been put in some situations this year as well and been able to pitch in some situations where, you know, it felt like the atmosphere is going to be pretty similar to tomorrow.
I know their fans are intense and the weather's going to be a little bit different, but I think throughout the experience I've had this year and obviously last year in the post-season, that can only help.

Q. Charlie, I'm sorry I missed the first 10, 15 minutes. Do you then -- Game 4 goes to Lee, then? And how did Pedro take today's news?
CHARLIE MANUEL: When I talked to Pedro, he totally understood. He was very professional about it. Of course he wants to pitch. He's just like everybody else. He came here to pitch and he did a good job for us.
But at the same time he was very understanding and, like I said, for the next couple of days he will be down in the bullpen and we will not hesitate using him especially if the right situation comes up. And he was very receptive to it, and he showed good professionalism, I thought.

Q. I was curious, what did you guys do today in terms of workouts indoors today? Stay on schedule or anything?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Actually, we had some guys that on their own they could go over to the ballpark, they could do some work and it was not a demanding practice. Our formal practice, but at the same time I don't think a whole lot of people were aware of it. Most of them had the day off.

Q. I know you said you pretty much agree with the decision today. I'm curious, most postponements are due to weather in terms of precipitation. Is it valid to cancel a game or postpone a game just because of a temperature?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't know. You have to -- you have to ask somebody that knows more about that than myself. I know early the conditions were very bad.

Q. Do you feel like it changes too much of the game if the temperatures are too low?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think there comes a time when I think the magnitude of the game and what it means and what it's all about, that temperatures can hit a low, like where you don't play. I think it gets very uncomfortable not only for both sides, for the team and the fans, of course.
Like when you have to play, you have to play, and I think most of the players agree to that. And I think they understand, and I think both of our teams understands that.

Q. Charlie, I was wondering, Cole Hamels is now set up for Game 5. Are you comfortable with what you can get from him in a big-time situation like that coming off of last year or does his performance the other day make you wonder if he's all the way back yet?
CHARLIE MANUEL: First of all, his performance the other day was not -- it wasn't what you call a bad performance. He gave up a run in the first inning like he kind of was -- was kind of like a freaky way of scoring, but at the same time Torrealba hit a two-run homer on a high breaking ball it looked like that was a mistake.
We were behind 4-0 when he left the game. I thought his stuff was pretty good, and actually I liked how he threw, but his game the other day, probably when I get down to a decision, it doesn't wager a whole lot, no.

Q. Charlie, one thing that almost gets swept under the rug here is that J.A.'s a rookie, starting a very, very big game for you guys. Because of the success he's had and the poise he's shown, is it almost something that you can forget from time to time, and this is a guy in his first full season in the Major Leagues?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think about the last -- I know this year, I would say it started last year when he got called up. Probably, what, when did you get called up, August last time, the first of September, something?
J.A. HAPP: For the last time it was September.
CHARLIE MANUEL: Like when he got on a September call-up when he's pitched since then and the fact he did get some experience last year and everything he did this year, he went to spring training, pitched out of the bullpen, the way he was -- like the way he worked himself into being one of our starters and where he's been and what he's been through, I think he's ready to pitch.
He's got tremendous poise. He gets the ball and throws it. He has nothing to worry about. Just go out and pitch the way he can, that's all.

Q. Charlie, if this question was asked, I apologize. I too was on hold. In the decision with J.A., with Mr. Happ pitching tomorrow, what did you need to see before you made the decision? Did you need to see him throw yesterday or today? Did you need to see him run? Did you just need a verbal from him? What all did you need to see before you went with this decision?
CHARLIE MANUEL: First of all, yesterday when I went to the ballpark I looked at his leg. He was standing by his locker and I walked over and looked at his leg. I saw some swelling on the side a little bit, but it wasn't like his leg was actually -- it was in good shape, it was healed and everything. But our trainer said he was fine and also the way he moves around he was fine.
Like I said before, the way we had our pitching set up, I always thought that J.A. was going to start one of these games in this playoff system. Basically I had him sit down for the fourth game, but at the same time what happened with the weather today everything and the game getting postponed, I thought it was a tremendous way of putting all of our left-hand pitchers on them.
Like he was definitely ready to go tomorrow.

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