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October 17, 2009

Charlie Manuel


Q. Do you have your Game 4 starter yet?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yes, I do. Sure do. Joe Blanton.

Q. The way Game 2 ended, how important now is tomorrow's contest for you guys to get back, especially the first game back at home?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Important? The same way we always play. We got beat, we come back, we play tomorrow to win the game, the same thing we've been doing for about three years. I talk about it every day same way. We don't look back. That's gone, nothing we can do about that. We're going to play tomorrow when we get here. And also we're not looking forward to Monday. We're looking at tomorrow. Tomorrow is when we play and that's what we're going to key on winning. That's basically what we've always done. To me that's good philosophy and something that our team has always bought into.

Q. Talk a little bit about your bullpen. Is there anyone who's not going to be available for Game 3?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I'd say everybody is going to be pretty much available.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Joe getting the start in Game 4. It seemed like in the NLDS you wanted to go with Happ because of the left-handed match-up. What did you like about Blanton for Game 4?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I still liked the fact we could keep J.A. in the bullpen, too, especially on some left-handed hitters, but at the same time Joe has pitched pretty good against the Dodgers, and also yesterday I think Pedro Martinez showed if you can change speeds and things like that and mix in your fastball and locate good, that you can have success against them. And I think Blanton, not only is he a very aggressive pitcher, but he's that type of pitcher.
He's got basically four pitches, and he throws a fastball, curveball, slider, change-up, and his fastball sinks when he gets it down. And I think that he's a good fit. He'll be coming off, of course, behind Lee.

Q. You seem to have a lot of versatility there with five starters. You've been mixing and matching with your starters. Can you talk about, you can throw Happ in there in the first series, you can throw Blanton in there in the second series, both guys can pitch in bullpen, and kind of how that helps you out?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, I look at all five of our starters -- I said before after the All-Star break there for a while, I felt like that's the best starting pitching that we've had since I've been here. I've liked our starting pitching, especially the second half of the season. And there are some things that we can do, because of the short series and everything, the five-game series and also a seven-game series there's things we can do. We've got three off-days in this series, and there's things that we can do to move our rotation around and also use some of our starters in the bullpen.

Q. So much has been made of your bullpen situation this year. Less talked about is the situation with your bench and how it just hasn't been as productive as it certainly was last year. To what extent has the lack of productivity from the bench made your job a little bit more challenging?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Sometimes when you look at our bench, I don't know -- I look at stats almost every day. I haven't looked at them today, though. If you go back and look at our stats as far as production off our bench and you see how many runs we've knocked in and things like that per at-bat, things like that, it's about on course. Batting average and on-base percentage might not be quite as high, but at the same time production would be pretty close, I think. It's been a while since I really looked at that, but I want to say we've been productive off the bench. As long as Stairs is sitting there, we've got some pop. And Dobbs, he's been a productive pinch-hitter. Although this year I want to say he's back about 60 at-bats or something. He hasn't been productive as he was last year, but at the same time, our bench, that's the type of bench we've got. We have a utility player in Bruntlett, and then we have a catcher, a back-up catcher. Our bench hasn't been a big problem for us.

Q. Getting back to Chase from yesterday and everything, what do you see right now as his problems with his throwing mechanics? Do you think it's purely mechanical? Is it somewhat mental? What do you think is the cause of what's going on with him right now?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think the fact that when you say what's going on, he made two errors in two days in two different games, and I think it's just a matter of that he made two bad throws. One of the throws looked like he had trouble gripping the ball, really taking it out of his glove, looked like he kind of had trouble gripping and getting a hold of it. And then yesterday it looked like the way he got turned, he threw the ball in a direction and he wasn't lined up straight toward the first baseman. It looked like he came across it and wanted to get rid of it and he was lined up the wrong way. That's what I saw. I could be wrong, but that's basically exactly what I saw. He basically just made a couple errors. That's going to happen, and when you hustle and play in a game, that's all part of the game.
I mean, I'm sure nobody in Philadelphia hates that more than Chase, but at the same time, he's also, like I said yesterday, believe me, he'll correct it. And I have all the faith in the world in him as far as that goes. But that's going to happen. That's going to happen to anybody. That can happen to anybody that plays the game. That's part of it.
You can say, well, that was a bad time to make an error or something like that. Usually errors are always bad. Part of the game.

Q. It looked like you were saving Brad Lidge yesterday for the ninth inning yesterday if you guys still had the led. Is that where you kind of see him falling in line the rest of this series the way he's been pitching? And if he is or if he's not, how much stronger does it make the rest of the bullpen to have him there and push everybody back?
CHARLIE MANUEL: You know, for some reason you guys always want me to commit (laughter). I committed a long time ago to Brad Lidge if you stop and think about it. He's our closer. I've been committed to him ever since we signed him. And believe me, at the same time, how we use him might dictate who they've got hitting and stuff. But at the same time when we get really back in the back of the bullpen to close the game, he's always somewhere in our minds, and we're going to use always him in some capacity.
Now, I'll always communicate with Rich Dubee and stuff like that, and we've tried to line up what's best for us, and that's kind of how we do it. I think he understands and he knows.

End of FastScripts

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