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October 15, 2009

Charlie Manuel


Q. With Myers, was it just what you saw in Game 2 when he came in briefly that told you that he just wasn't himself?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, I look at Brett, and it's almost like spring training for him. He had a very serious injury, came back, and maybe it was too early, I don't know. But then he hurt his shoulder, and his shoulder was like a second-degree injury. And then I've noticed him, and the fact that he's not sharp, but also what we kind of -- the things that we wanted to do, it's another way of him going down in the bullpen and working and everything and doing some -- working on his pitching and throwing and stuff and see where he's at.

Q. In the Postseason the last couple years, you guys have been able to jump one series early, get a lead, get some momentum going. How important is that do you think for this team, because it seems to play on a lot of emotion, a lot of momentum, so how much importance do you put on these first couple games here?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think if you noticed the way we played here this year, and also two years ago, they beat us four straight here during the regular season. And every one of those games we jumped out and scored runs early if you go look. Even if a game was close, we were always leading. They usually came back in the later part of the ballgame and beat us. It's important for us to go out and get the lead. I think definitely helps our starters, and with the three relievers they've got in the bullpen and the lefties, with Boston, they've got a very good bullpen. Basically it's going to come down to us hitting those guys from the middle of the game on, too.

Q. How much of a disadvantage is it not having a home-field advantage in these series?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think whenever we play in Citizens Bank Park, I think we love to play there and I think that's an advantage for us, and I think same here for the Dodgers. I think in some ways it is, but at the same time I think it depends on the starting pitching and also what Bob was saying about we need to score some runs early.
I think if we do both of those things that's how you quiet the crowd. There are ways to keep the crowd -- take the crowd out of it or keep them calm or whatever, and I think good pitching will stop that, just like it will stop good hitting.

Q. For those of us who didn't get it, your starting rotation as far as you know it and your thinking that went into it?
CHARLIE MANUEL: My starting rotation tomorrow is Pedro Martinez and the third, Sunday, will be Lee. The reason we haven't gotten any farther than that is because we don't know how we're going to use Blanton or Happ yet like as far as the situations come up in the game, how we're going to use them.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your thinking in going with Pedro?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Pedro, we feel like the other day when we was watching him in a simulated game, he was throwing the ball very good. As a matter of fact he was throwing pretty hard, and his command was good, and he's had enough rest and his experience and everything. I think the biggest part about his pitching will be his command. I feel like he's always pretty sharp with his command and control. I feel like this is a good -- this is where he started, this is a good ballpark for him. He likes a moment, and actually I liked him in this game better than I did in the fourth -- third or fourth game.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about why you went with brunt let going with 11 pitchers, I guess, rather than 12?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically we're going to have like three off-days, and I felt like also once it happened, Blanton would go down to the bullpen, we'd got Chan Ho Park back, feel like we've got the game pretty much covered as far as distance.
I felt like we could go with 11 pitchers because we definitely need another position player. I felt like the other day in Colorado when I put Francisco in left field and all of a sudden we lost the lead and we were behind 4 to 2 in the ninth inning, and they had Street on the mound and Francisco hadn't hit against him and Dobbs is 2 for 3 and Stairs was like 4 for 7 or something. And we needed somebody to get on a base to I sent Dobbs up to hit and Dobbs, his leg is still bothering him to a certain degree or he hadn't played in the outfield, and I didn't want to put him in the outfield, and I chose Cairo over him.
Cairo has only played a small amount out there, but he takes fly balls and he can run good. I figured if we needed a guy he can run the bases he can play situational baseball as far as bunting and handle the bat and stuff, and I felt like that's the way we wanted to go.

Q. How do you think Myers took the news?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think being took it -- he just kind of looked at me, went like that (shrugging shoulders), and got up and left.

Q. Quick follow-up on what you just said on Dobbs, I know you've always been less comfortable playing him in the outfield than the infield. How comfortable are you if you needed him to play defensively in the infield?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I play him quite a bit at third base at times. This year Pedro has had a tremendous year, but Dobbs is -- most of the time, his injury and everything, kind of took him out of the lineup at times. But I'm not afraid to put Dobbs at third base as far as starting a game or something.

Q. But health-wise right now, are you okay with --
CHARLIE MANUEL: Health-wise playing third base, I might stick him down there, yes.

Q. Given that command is such a big part of Pedro's game now, how concerned are you about the fact that the layoff may have on him?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think he's been throwing in the bullpen, I think he knows how to pitch. I think that he's definitely -- you're asking -- what we're asking him to do is we're asking him to give us anywhere from 75 to 95 pitches. I think he can do that, and I think that gets us -- could, depends on how good he is, could get us into the sixth, seventh inning.

Q. How much did that 130-pitch outing take out of Pedro when he had that?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think that was kind of a backlash on that, but how much, I don't think it was that big -- I don't think it was that great. I think when he swung the bat down in Atlanta, the game he was starting, the last time he was starting a game, I think that he pulled something in his neck, in his shoulder. And I think that's what set him back.
I think that he knows how to pitch, and I think the night that he threw the 130 pitches, if you go back and look, he was probably throwing just as hard at the 130-pitch mark as he was when he started the game. I think that he definitely would have -- I think we could have gave him time to definitely rebound from that.

Q. This is a question about Lidge. Can you go back to Game 3 in Colorado for a second, Helton was coming up and you went out there, what message did you want to get to Lidge and why did you want to deliver it yourself?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically when I walked out there, I wanted to talk about how we were going to pitch him and the circumstances, like what we were going to do with him. Basically what we said, we said we was going to trio owe if you remember, Madson struck him out on a high fastball, like we wanted to go up out of the strike zone and try to get him to Chase, get ahead of him, and then we was going to try to bury a breaking ball, slider in on his hands, kind of up in on his hands.
We definitely didn't want to get it down, and at the same time, I said in the worst scenario, the worst thing that can happen is we walk him. But that wasn't the purpose. We were still trying to get him to chase something out of the strike zone, which he will do. But I liked him on -- what's his name, the shortstop (Tulowitzki)? I liked him better on him that on Helton if you want to know the truth, but Helton, that was like putting the winning run on first.

Q. Why did you want to go out there instead of --
CHARLIE MANUEL: I wanted to go out there and look at him, see him, talk to him, look him in the eye and see what he'd give me. He was kind of relaxed. He was wanting him, and everything -- you could tell he was calm.

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