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October 11, 2009

Charlie Manuel


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Charlie Manuel.

Q. Do you know exactly what Hamels is doing, like as far as where he's throwing and what he's throwing to prepare for a possible start Tuesday?
CHARLIE MANUEL: We have a guy that's supposed to be catching him some. He's going to throw long toss, probably throw a little bit. He's been working out. And there was no sense him coming out here, because any way you look at it, he's going to have to fly around, even if someone's going to pitch. Like we would have sent him back a day early to Philly.
He'll be ready to pitch. So that's no problem.

Q. You came here, you have to win a game here in Colorado, yet your team played very well on the road this year. What was your secret to your road success? Is it in any way linked to the success you had in the playoffs last year?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think the success we had on the road was contributed to the fact for some reason like this year it seemed to me like our team, you know, like they got to the ballpark early on the road and they were just always ready to play and were kind of -- kind of freed them up, kind of especially at the start of the season. When we had trouble at home, there were things going on because we won last year and they had a lot of things on their mind.
I think if they could clear their mind and everything if they got to the ballpark early, I think that's one reason why we got off to a good start on the road. I think we are a good road team. I think we like to play on the road.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the difference between this year and last year in terms of the bullpen you're dealing with in the playoffs and also how having both Blanton and Pedro available in the rest of the series helps you guys?
CHARLIE MANUEL: When we started in last year, actually down about sometime like even probably before the middle of September, seemed like our bullpen really came into its own as far as like really being -- doing their job. Everybody down there seemed like they got sharp at the right time.
And we had our bullpen set up. Everybody stayed mostly in their role, and we can definitely we can match up with J.C. Romero and Madson anywhere from the seventh or eighth inning and we could get through two innings that way and we can get right into Lidge. And of course also last year Lidge was having a tremendous year and he was perfect all the way through.
Our bullpen was definitely on -- what I would say was on a real good roll, and that's probably the best that they've pitched since I've been here. They were very good.

Q. How about this year, a difference, having both Blanton and Pedro would that help?
CHARLIE MANUEL: This year, I think we could have been more, if we would have had the success that we had going like into the back end of the season, it would have been easier to set it up.
But we had bullpen problems from the first day on, like the first of the season on. And we had guys pitching actually out of order from what we thought their jobs were going to be when it started.
So they did a good job for us really and we've gotten through and right here and now I've got a lot of faith in our bullpen because our guys do have talent.
You can say anything you want to about the back end of our bullpen, and Brad's been having -- he's had what I call an off year. You can say he had a bad year, whatever. Talent is still there. Madson's got a lot of talent and we're capable of getting people out.
And also I think one of the reasons I look at Joe Blanton, I look at Joe Blanton, I call him a muscle guy. And I can put him up in front of Madson and Lidge or I can have -- if a game goes right, then I can have him as insurance in the back. I think he's definitely capable of coming in and pitching good.

Q. At times this year actually for a long while when Ibanez was playing well, you weren't afraid to stack those lefties against right-handed pitching. I haven't seen your lineup today. Ibanez has hit pretty well this series. Have you given any thought to move him back up to fifth with the lefties they have?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Today he's hitting sixth. I like the fact Morales -- any way you want to cut it, Morales is a hard thrower, and when he comes in to pitch and you've got three left-hand hitters standing there and he throws in the upper 90s, and he can be pretty good, and that gives him -- he's got three left-hand hitters, if he's in a groove, I like to offset those with at least one right-hand hitter, and that's Werth.
And that's kind of how I look at it, how I've looked at it all year long. But Ibanez hit fifth for us quite a bit for us, especially the first of the year. And still I like to put Jayson Werth in between them.

Q. What are you hearing about how Chan Ho Park is doing and if there were to be another round, would you expect him to be available?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He would have a chance. I hear that he's doing pretty good, that he's coming along real good. It's what our trainers tell me. And he's in Florida. And we will definitely -- he's working out and everything.
And that could be a possibility.

Q. It's colder tonight than they thought it would be. I heard the Rockies' dugout is heated. I'm not sure if the visitor's one is. Do you know if it is? And in a practical sense for a manager, what do you tell your team about hand warmers, about trying to stay warm between innings, going back to the clubhouse, whatever it might be?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think most of the players -- I'll answer the last part first. Most of the players nowadays they know how to play in cold weather. It does get cold in Philly early in the year.
We also do play in places in spring of the year where it's cold. And they have hand warmers and they have all kind of underclothes, and they use baby oil. They use different kind of salves and stuff like that put on their body to keep them warm.
When a game starts up, they used to tell me all the time that staying warm was not the problem. Every now and then their hands or something. Pitchers' hands might be cold. A player might say something about his ears being cold. But most of the time they'll stay pretty warm once they get into it.
And there again I've seen -- like I told you before, I've seen it when you think it favors a pitcher, but in that playoff game -- like we got beat that year by Florida and it was a big-scoring game, and it was supposed to be the coldest one, somebody said that was the coldest one so far and tonight might top it. That's how I look at it.
Also, as far as the warmers in the dugout, Rockies got 'em, we better have 'em (Laughter).

Q. Looking past today, does Lee give you kind of a stopper tomorrow? Are you confident with him?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, I'm very confident with Cliff. I think basically all along I've liked putting left-handers on the Rockies, because not only -- they're 26-26 off of lefties, but at the same time I think we've got three of the top left-hand pitchers in the National League, really.
I think they're that good. And I think that's one of the strengths of our club, and I think it matches up pretty good for us. And I'm sure that yesterday's day off, that's going to help Tracy line his pitchers right up where he wants it, too. So it should make for a heck of a series. It's the best two out of three now.

Q. Both starters are facing the same team for the second time. Does that help hitters to see a pitcher twice in a short span or have no effect at all?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Sometimes you'd say like if one of them goes out there and throws a good game you say yes. If he gets hit the guy pitched a real good game before, if he gets hit you probably say the hitters went to school on them or they learned something from him, I guess. I guess that's kind of how it goes.
But you know what, the Rockies have a good team, we have a good team. We're very capable of scoring runs, so are they. It's like whoever is going to pitch good. We'll find out tonight.

Q. Question about a couple of guys in your bullpen, sort of have undefined roles at this point in time. First Pedro, how long do you think it will take him to warm up? Could you see him just facing a couple of batters or would you like to start him in a clean inning? And Brad Lidge, would you put him out there in the seventh or eighth inning? How would you see using him?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Pedro Martinez, I put Pedro Martinez in to face a couple of hitters, but at the same time I also look at him as a guy that can go one or two innings, if we needed some length.
And as far as Brad Lidge, I don't foresee putting Brad Lidge in early. I do foresee putting him in late. And at the same time it's kind of how I look at it. And that's one of the reasons why we got Blanton down there, too. We want somebody when we get to the seventh inning, like we want to be able to go through the seventh, eighth, ninth inning with Blanton, Madson and Lidge. Might not be in that order, but you won't see him in the seventh.

Q. Do you feel like Blanton has been one of your more underrated pitchers this year?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Without a doubt. I look at him. I know how much he wants to pitch in one of these games and start them. He started all year long, but at the same time I also think the type of pitcher he is and who he is and his command and everything, and his aggressiveness and I feel like that he can do what we want in this role. I think that this is just as big a role as being a starter for us.
He's been very good for us.

Q. He certainly hasn't pitched like a rookie, but technically he's a rookie. How confident are you in sending a rookie out there tonight?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I'm very confident. This guy showed me -- he started showing me at the end of last year and he came right through spring training this past spring, and we put him in the bullpen. He reacted very good to that. And once we put him out to start he's been absolutely tremendous.
This guy's capable of going nine innings, capable of pitching a shutout, capable of throwing a hell of a game. He keeps his composure. Secondary stuff has gotten better. And his command is better. He's a bulldog. This guy, I like him.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Charlie.

End of FastScripts

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