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October 28, 2009

Charlie Manuel


Philadelphia Phillies 6
New York Yankees 1

Q. I know everybody is going to want to ask about Cliff Lee, but I want to ask about Chase Utley, hit .211 in the National League Championship Series yet set the post-season record for getting on base. What does that say about him as a hitter?
CHARLIE MANUEL: It says that he works the count and he's patient at the plate, and he finds ways to get on base. He's always had a good on-base percentage. He had a good night tonight.

Q. Does his swing, as short as it is, as quick as it is, how much better of a two-strike hitter does that make him? Can he be more aggressive than the average hitter because of just the kind of physics of his swing?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He takes a lot of pitches, but his swing, he has tremendous balance and rhythm, and his swing produces a lot of bat speed, too. His weight shift definitely produces a lot of bat speed, and he's got real quick hands to the ball. But he gets that from the fact of his balance and his rhythm, his push off his back side.
He's very simple. He's got a very simple load, just got his bat in a nice, easy comfortable position, just pushes it straight back and loads a little bit. Got a good cut. Very good to coach.

Q. Do you know at this point, are you coming back with Lee in Game 4? Do you want to set that up for the rest of the series?
CHARLIE MANUEL: We'll see how it goes. I mean, we'll just see where we're at. We've got time.

Q. What about now being in the driver's seat going into Game 2?
CHARLIE MANUEL: We won tonight. I mean, we'll celebrate and then once we get back to the hotel or whatever, once we get on the bus, we'll start thinking about tomorrow. We won a game tonight. We got one win. Tomorrow we'll come to the ballpark, we're going to come to win.

Q. On the day that you guys acquired Lee, you obviously knew you were getting somebody who was a very good pitcher. Could you really envision a guy having a post-season like this on that day?
CHARLIE MANUEL: You know, when we got him, I knew he was good. I had seen him before. But if you want to know the truth, I didn't know that he was as good as he's been. When you see him pitch tonight, he had all of his pitches going. He had a fastball, cutter, curveball, change-up, and he used every one of them and he had them all going, and he struck out ten, didn't walk anybody and threw a good game. Went through a good lineup, tremendous lineup.

Q. Before the last game against the Dodgers, I think you used a phrase similar to about Utley, "he's struggling right now." He got a seven-day rest, he comes out like gangbusters. Last year he got a long rest, hit the two-run homer against Tampa. His Game 1s in the post-season the last two years have been ridiculously uneven. Is that because he's resting injuries that he won't tell us about?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think when you're a player like Utley, I think -- first of all, when he hits .282, if you want to know the truth, I think that's low for him. I think he's a .300 hitter. I think he knows he's a .300 hitter. I think it's just a matter of time until he hits. I think I said it today or yesterday, but he's probably going to have a good series. I mean, he works hard, he's consistent. He's the most prepared player I've ever been around, and nothing -- when he hits good, yeah, I'm expecting him to hit good. I expect him to hit good all the time because he is consistent.

Q. Could you just explain, were you happy the way the umpires handled the trap play or whatever you want to call it?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah. They handled it right. I think what happened was I think Rollins put a deke on Matsui is what it looked like. But Rollins caught the ball. And the umpire at second base called it a catch.

Q. Yankees have been such a good comeback team all year. You showed tonight not only good pitching but tack-on runs. Could you talk about your team grinding out some of those innings to put the game away?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Those runs that we got late definitely played a huge role in the game. IbaƱez's ground ball single, we got two runs, Victorino hit the hole over there, we got another one. Those are big runs. That's what it takes. You're right, when you've got a small lead, 1-0, 2-0, especially when they've got a lineup like they've got, especially when they've scored all those runs from the seventh inning on this year, that's how good teams play, they'll tack on enough runs to hold the lead. That's how you play the game.

Q. Cliff talked about having an even keel. He made some of those plays, too, where it almost looked like kind of circus plays, behind his back and tapping Posada on the behind. Does that show what kind of cool customer he is when he's out there?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I liked the one behind his back. Pop-up, he was trying to pull a Willie Mays on us or something. But outside of that, he was very good.
The one behind his back, that was pretty good.

Q. Did you ever consider taking Lee out in the ninth? And what would have needed to happen for you to do that?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I was sitting there, he was absolutely still good. But at the same time there would have been a time when he would have got up into a pitch count where I would have had to take him. But at the same time that didn't happen.

Q. At what point do you realize that Lee is going to have a night like the kind he had?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Most of the time when he starts a game and he's in control of the game and everything around it he's controlling, he's throwing strikes and he's getting the ball -- what I call he handles the flow of the game, if you know what I mean, everything about it, the flow the game, the way the game goes. Not only does he have command of the game but he has the flow of the game. To me he sets the tone by his rhythm, getting the ball back, and he knows what he's going to do and he knows what he's going to throw. I like the way he pitches. I like everything about how he goes about it. But that's part of his success, too, is the fact that how he handles the game.

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