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MLB WORLD SERIES: PHILLIES v YANKEES


October 29, 2009


Charlie Manuel


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Game Two

Q. What factors played into your decision to DH Stairs tonight and also bat him where you chose to bat him?
CHARLIE MANUEL: What factors, well, first of all, it wasn't that hard. I think Dobbs got the flu, so he's pretty sick. So that was between him and Stairs who was going to hit. That's why I chose Stairs, and I got him hitting behind IbaƱez because I wanted to put our left-handers -- as many left-handers in there as I could on him. That's why I chose Stairs. He's got a couple of home runs off him in 11 at-bats.

Q. Among your regulars, IbaƱez is the big new addition to this year's team. Can you describe the ways that you think that he's shaped this club?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think everyone knows the start he got off to, and at the start of the year he was definitely one of the guys that I felt like played a big part in the games that we were winning and our success, and he had an injury, and once he came back, actually he's had a hard time really finding his swing as far as being consistent. But he's been -- what can I say about him? He's hit 30-some home runs, he's knocked in over 90 runs, and he's just had a tremendous year for us. He's played good outfield for us and he's a good base runner. He plays the game. He's a good ballplayer. But not only that, he loves to play. He fit right in with our club. He's a big part of our team.

Q. What's the key to playing well in the first game after time off, in this World Series and then last year? What do you do to keep fresh?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically we practice and we play some simulated games. We took live hitting, where the hitter stood in there and followed a lot of pitches, like breaking balls, change-ups, fastballs, things like that, and we practiced a lot and took a lot of ground balls and throws and things like that, and tried to keep up with all parts of the game. That's basically what we did.

Q. Was it a big concern?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't know if it is a concern. I mean, what can you do about it? We try to do as much about it as we possibly could. I mean, it is what it is. If you've got six days off or seven days off, you've got to practice. You can't play unless you go somewhere and play college teams or something and not tell nobody, or high school teams or something (laughter). I don't know what else you can do.

Q. All championship teams have to play really well on the road. You guys played exceedingly well on the road. Most wins on the road in the regular season and continued in the post-season. What do you attribute that to because it is tough playing in enemy territory?
CHARLIE MANUEL: First of all, I think that we like to play baseball, just like I say all the time, and when we come to the ballpark, we come to play on that day. That's just like if you've got that kind of philosophy and that's who you are, then road and home doesn't make a whole lot of difference to you.
Although we did get off to a slow start at home this past year, and I think that was from the fact that we won the World Series, and winning the World Series is huge and kind of follows over into the start of the next season. And I think that definitely might have had something to do with our record early. But at the same time, I think once we got really focused on that, I think we kind of took care of that.
But the road, we just played good, and we just like to play baseball, and I think that's why we play good.

Q. What's the difference in your mind between Cole of last post-season and Cole of this post-season? And is there anything physically wrong with him?
CHARLIE MANUEL: No, physically, I don't think so. I think what's wrong with him is I think -- first of all, I think that teams know him much better, and I think when he went to Spring Training -- he had a short winter, and actually he had kind of a short spring because he got a sore elbow about the last two weeks of Spring Training, he had a sore elbow, and that kind of set him back. And then when the season started he had all these different things happening to him, like we put him out to pitch and he turned his ankle, and then one time he was pitching and he got hit on his left arm. It seemed like he always had something funny happen to him during the games that he was pitching.
It's been kind of a year like he can go three or four innings and he can really be throwing good, all of a sudden he has two outs. He's got a short pitching count, and all of a sudden the pitcher gets a broken bat hit or somebody boots a ball or he walked somebody or something, and all of a sudden he can't get out of the inning, and he ends up giving up three or four or five runs, and that's kind of the way his season has gone. I attribute all that to baseball.
Cole Hamels his pitched some good games this year, and when he's on -- the biggest part I would say is the consistency. When he's on, he's very capable of beating anybody. I'm hoping when he pitches that he's on.

Q. Over the last four or five years the times of the games in the post-season got longer and longer. You've played in a whole bunch of them. Have you noticed that? Or even if not, do you think there's a reason for it?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, I think the length of it, of course, has to do with the time we take between innings. That definitely has something to do with it. But also I think at times the game kind of slows down as far as the way they go -- just the way you go about business, like hitters getting in batter's boxes, pitchers throwing the ball, things like that. I don't know exactly how long, but that's the biggest thing to me.
You know what, when I'm down in the dugout sometimes and the game starts, sometimes I think that the game went long, and that wasn't the case at all. Sometimes I think it's short, and it went long. Really, if I go check the time or something -- really, I get that way. I don't really notice that a whole lot.

Q. Yesterday there was a real long seventh inning stretch. Were you concerned at all for Cliff?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, but there again, when you have the songs and just the things, the procedures and the things that you do during the game and everything, that also is all time-consuming.

Q. You're a long-time student of hitting. Could you talk a little bit about the styles of A-Rod and how it compares with Howard? Do you see any similarities in their approaches besides the fact they're both really good?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think both -- you've got it, they're both really good. Howard is left-handed and A-Rod is right-handed. A-Rod is strong as heck. He's in real good shape, and he's a tremendous hitter. A-Rod, there's a lot of arguments about baseball and who's the best hitter and everything. A-Rod definitely, he stands there somewhere in the top three or something. If he's not the best, he's very close. I mean, I look at him as that good. I've always thought he was a great hitter.
Howard, I look at him sometimes, and I think he's much better than people really realize, because he's strong and things happen, and he has a way of finding RBIs from the seventh inning on, and that makes him kind of a special player if you look at his numbers. I look at his numbers sometimes from the seventh inning on or the back end of the game and the hits that he gets, and definitely he hunts RBIs.

Q. Jimmy Rollins says he doesn't always like doing all the press stuff but obviously he's pretty good at it. What makes him a good spokesman for this team?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think who he is. I think his character, and actually he likes the mic. He likes to talk, he likes to -- that's kind of what he likes to do. He likes the attention, and he likes everything about that. And he's vocal, so, therefore, in our locker room and things like that, and the way he plays the game, when he's really on top of his game, he definitely becomes a very good leader.

Q. What were your first conversations with Pedro when he showed up in July? Anything specific you told him about what you wanted him to do or how he would fit in?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I just told him about our team and what kind of team he was coming to and how we played and what we kind of expected. From that point on, I let Rich Dubee handle his pitching as far as the side work and things like that. That's about all. I filled him in on our team and the type of team we had and how we played and what we expected.

Q. You didn't have Cliff or Pedro when the summer began, and now here they are starting the first two games of the World Series for you. When you were evaluating your team at the end of June, beginning of July, did you feel like something was missing in your rotation when you had your conversations with the front office?
CHARLIE MANUEL: We were having problems with our rotation from the start, from the start of the season on. We at one time, of course moved Chan Ho Park out and moved Happ in, and Happ did a tremendous job for us. He's been outstanding. Of course we had Blanton and of course Myers got hurt, and I think once Myers got hurt, then we -- the inconsistency of our starting pitching at that time, that was why we definitely felt like we could use one starter, maybe two.

Q. You talked about Chase's swing yesterday, and it is a little bit unorthodox. Is it the kind of swing maybe you wouldn't want little league coaches teaching their kids or that wouldn't work for everybody?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Chase Utley has got what I call -- he's got what I call a low-maintenance swing. Actually he's got an ideal swing. He holds his bat right here at shoulder level, right off his shoulders, and kind of takes it back, that's his load, that's his trigger, that's his setup, and he's very balanced at the plate and he swings down through the ball. He looks to catch the ball out front. When he pulls the ball like the home runs he hit last night, he caught the ball out front. He did not stay inside the ball. He hit the whole ball and went through it. And he's got a very good weight shift and he stays strong on his back side and hits against his front side and extends his arms. He's a balanced rhythm hitter, and that's where his power comes from. He's like a Billy Williams or Ernie Banks, wiry guy, Frank Robinson. He's like those kind of guys.

Q. You've said quite a bit that Pedro is the kind of guy that likes performing on the biggest stage. Do you notice obviously that there are a bunch of other guys on your team like that? And why do you think that might be?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, there's quite a few guys like that. If you look at it, just because you're quiet and you don't say a whole lot, that doesn't mean that you don't like playing in a big moment. I think we've got a whole lot of those guys. I think a lot of our guys do. I think Howard does, I think Utley does, I think Victorino does. I think Hamels likes to pitch, I think Pedro. Really I can keep going, but I think a whole lot of them do, and I think that's what makes up our club.
Bottom line is, guys, I want to tell you something, we just like to play baseball. That's what we like to do, and we like to play good. That's the whole enjoyment out of my part, and that's the part I enjoy managing. You know what, I'm very fortunate to have guys that are like that.

Q. One guy who doesn't fit the quiet guy mold is your shortstop. You're caught constantly by the cameras chatting with him. Who seeks who out in those conversations more often than not? And my second question is, when he pops off, particularly about New York, do you think that is his way of generating something for himself?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think you hit it right on the nose; I think generating something for himself. I think that he likes it. I think he likes it if things are not going the way he wants it to or he's kind of getting bored or whatever, like, he wants to find some way to get his motor running. He wants to find some way to pump himself up or get something going. I think it's very good.
As far as someone -- he seeks me out, but I love to talk to him, because I'll tell you something, we have some really -- I wouldn't call them real smart conversations, but we have some good conversations. (Laughter).

Q. Have you given any more consideration to starting Cliff in Game 4?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I want to tell you something, we haven't talked about that, but we will. I mean, we've got time, and it's something that we'll talk about it. I don't know exactly where we're at and what's going to happen yet.

End of FastScripts




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