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October 31, 2009

Charlie Manuel


Q. Is there an update on Dobbs?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Dobbs is ready to go. He's feeling much better, and he's ready to go tonight. If we could use him, he'll be available.

Q. Blanton had a great World Series game last year, so no doubt that went into your decision to pick him to pitch tomorrow. Would you talk about that and talk about what he brings to the table for you.
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, not only did he pitch a good game in the World Series, he had a good post-season for us. Blanton has been -- he's definitely been one of our consistent pitchers this year. He's a guy that when he goes out there, he has to have command of his pitches, and he'll use all of his pitches, and he can make adjustments. On nights that he doesn't have his good fastball, he can make adjustments and throw his slider, change-up, curveball.
But the big thing about him, too, is getting back to his command, his control and his command. That's what's going to determine -- he'll mix his pitches good, and he's got a tremendous feel for pitching, and he's very gutty. He's a competitor, and he can make adjustments in the game, too, with his pitches. That's what makes him good.

Q. Could you please talk a little bit about Feliz's difficulties at the plate during the post-season.
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, like, Pedro hasn't hit good in the post-season, but at the same time, he's very capable of hitting good. It's just a matter of time. Pedro is a good player, plays a great defense, and where he hits in our lineup, he helps balance our lineup off, and he gets big hits for you. He's very capable of getting big hits that helps you win the game.
It's just a matter of time until he gets a good ball to hit and he puts a bat on a ball. He's very capable of helping our team offensively, and just because he's not getting two and three and four hits a night, that doesn't mean that he's not a good hitter, because he is.

Q. A lot of guys in your bullpen have not thrown in two weeks, and a couple other guys only threw one time in two weeks. Are you concerned about that? They're used to working every day. And have you done something to try to keep them occupied down here?
CHARLIE MANUEL: A lot of our bullpen threw in the simulated games that we had. They've been doing their side work. They've kept in shape as much as possible, and they're ready to go.

Q. Are you surprised at how good the starting pitching has been so far for both teams in the series?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I thought if you would have asked me before the series, I thought there was going to be some -- this was going to be a series where one of either two teams hit. I felt like whoever won the series, like if the Yankees win or the Phillies win, I felt that the team was going to kind of hit a lot and score a lot of runs. So far on both teams, it's been -- the pitching has been very good. It's been outstanding. And when I say that, the pitching has been what you call World Series or playoff pitching, because they get ahead of the hitters and they put the ball exactly where they've been wanting it, and they make the first-pitch strikes and they've been very quality and consistent, and that's what takes away from the hitting part of the game. And that's why you see good hitters making outs is because if they get ahead of the hitters, and they try to make the hitter hit what they want him to hit. That's the whole object of pitching.

Q. Two years in a row now you guys have gone deep into the post-season. Are there too many off-days in the post-season? You've had some pretty good experience the last two years. You're used to playing every day. I understand what TV means to the game, but would you like to see things tightened up a little bit?
CHARLIE MANUEL: You know, if we win, I'll say it's just right, and if we lose, I'll say there's too many off-days.
No, actually I think if you look, at times when you're traveling to the west coast or something, I think that our travel days here are different, and I think the time -- the series, because we go to New York and it's a short distance, I think that time-wise you might be able to definitely eliminate one or two of those off-days, if that makes sense.
Now, I think if you're travelling a lot to the west coast and things, it's a little bit different, so that might take you a day longer or two. But at the same time, I think it's a little long. I think it gets long. Probably I'm just like everybody else. I'm happy as hell to be here, and we're playing for something that we started out wanting to do in Spring Training. So whatever it takes, we're there to do it. I made the statement last year after the World Series was over that I felt like we still had something left, and I feel like if they've got off-days, then we have off-days. If we have to play, we have to play. I want us to stay focused and concentrate on winning.
But the off-days sometimes, the travel part of it here close, I think that you could definitely eliminate some of that. But I don't make the rules. I don't set the days. I'll let them do that.

Q. I was wondering if you're expecting the Yankees to come back with Sabathia on short rest in the next game? And also, when he did that with Milwaukee last year, you guys had success against him in the playoffs, and if that has any bearing on it from your side.
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think that's probably -- yeah, I heard that, and I heard them talk about it, that they were going to bring him back on three days where he could start three games in the series. That's what I heard. But what you hear sometimes doesn't mean that's what they're going to do.
It could be tonight's game might have something to do with it, I don't know. But if he does, we've got to play him. We've got to play him and we've got to win. I mean, that's the bottom line. We've got to handle it the best way we can, and that's go out there and play.

Q. Given the length of the post-season, what is the overall shape of your pitching staff as far as just being fatigued and tired, adding an extra month last year and now this? Is there anything you can do throughout the season to make adjustments in that?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think right now with the time we've had off, our pitching is well. Our pitching is healthy, and our pitching is strong. Now the only question would be, you might question how sharp it is, but so far with what kind of World Series that we've had, we've had two games where both teams have gotten good pitching. So far it hasn't been a problem.
But also, you know what, that's part of it. In the regular season you've got to play 162 games, and the things you have to do, like you have the off-days and you've got to make adjustments during the World Series, and if we've got downtime or something you've got to deal with it. I look at it, I definitely don't want to have no excuses and things like that, and we've got to go out there and play. In order for us to win, the Yankees got a great team, and we've got a great team. So I want to see who's the best team, and I'm hoping it's going to be the Phillies. That's why I'm pushing for the Phillies.

Q. I mean, given the length of the season, you didn't train or adjust or do anything with your pitchers to keep them strong this year?
CHARLIE MANUEL: No, they did the same work. They threw on the side, plus we did some simulated games. That's about all you can do. They work out -- they have regular routines every day. They run and they work out. They're in very good shape. Yeah, we definitely try to keep them in a routine and keep them in shape and get them as much work as possible. That's about all you can do. I don't know if you can do anything else.
I said the other day that if we could hide and cheat or something, we'd go over and play a high school game or college or something, but I don't think that would work because somebody would find out about it. That's about all I can come up with.

Q. I think what he's getting at is the compilation effect of all the innings on pitchers having played an extra month --
CHARLIE MANUEL: I understand what he was saying. He's saying in the 162 grind, our starters are on a five-day rotation, and our bullpen, most of the time our bullpen, if you're a closer or something, we use our closer to throw not more than four days in a row, mostly three, sometimes four in a row, things like that, and like you have your role and you're put in your role, and we keep you in that role on a day-to-day basis. I understand what he's saying about the downtime and everything. But we practice and we let our hitters -- we play simulated games, let them throw pitches and things like that, and they do the work on the side. That's all they understand.

Q. I don't think it's the downtime as much as like if you look at Maddux and Glavine as an example, all the years they pitched an extra month of the season, all the extra innings, it has an effect on the course of a pitcher's career.
CHARLIE MANUEL: You're talking about his career? Then I would say yeah, I agree with that. I misunderstood what you were trying to get at, because yeah, I would say all that definitely flows back into -- if you look at somebody like Lee, for instance. Lee two years ago he was hurt, and he ended up in Triple-A baseball rehabbing. And then he came back last year and he won a Cy Young and pitched a lot of innings. At the same time they didn't get in the playoffs, so he had to have the extra month.
This year he comes back, he's got 265 innings. He's gone through Spring Training, he's got 265 innings and that's a heavy workload already. In Hamels' case last year, that's the most he ever pitched. He did not miss any time last year. It's the first time in his career that he hasn't had downtime.
And as far as if you do that on a regular basis for a number of years, if you pitch -- if you're going to throw 230 to 260 or 270 to 280 innings, nowadays, I'd say that would take its toll on your career sooner or later. People defy that, like the guy pitching tonight - Pettitte he kind of defies that because he's pitched a long time, and guys like Clemens and those guys, Maddux, they've pitched a long time, so how it affects them, I don't know.
Like I said, it depends on the guy and how he takes care of himself and what's inside of his heart and everything, his determination and his will and everything like that. I think it's the individual, too.

End of FastScripts

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