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November 3, 2009

Charlie Manuel


Q. Can you update the status of Shane Victorino? We heard he was seen by doctors again this morning back in Philadelphia.
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, they checked him out. He's day-to-day. He'll probably get in the ballpark early tomorrow, and when he first comes in, I'll go talk to him and I'll go talk to our trainer when our trainer comes in. I'll be there when they get there. They just said he's day-to-day, and they said he's going to have some soreness in his finger. We'll see.

Q. Do you have a contingency plan, something you think you would do in the event that Shane would not be available?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, I'd probably play Francisco in center field. We'll go from there.

Q. Assuming you have all your personnel that you usually have, Utley, Howard and IbaƱez all struggled against Pettitte. You've used the same lineup throughout the post-season run. Would you give any thought to sliding Werth up or moving Victorino down or splitting up the lefties somehow to take better advantage of what he presents?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Probably in the past I've -- I could slide -- where Werth is at, I don't know if I could slide him around, but I don't want to take Howard out of the four hole. He's been hitting there ever since he's been in the Big Leagues. All of a sudden we get in the World Series, I put him in the four hole? I'm not going to do that. Utley hit in the two hole. But Utley is hitting lefties right now. I kind of look at our lineup if you stop and think about what it is. I've messed with it before, Utley has hit second and I put Victorino down sixth and Jayson Werth up in the three hole before, but I don't want to do that.
I think especially if we're going to play IbaƱez, I like Werth standing in between Howard and IbaƱez.

Q. You said earlier in the series that going in you expected it to be a big offensive series. Do you feel as if with what you've seen the last couple days that that's really about to happen?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think it's kind of working that way. I think that we're starting to score more runs. I think offense is starting to pick up actually on both teams the way we've been starting to hit the ball. I think these next two games could really get interesting.

Q. Two questions, Charlie: One, you didn't use Lidge last night. How do you expect to use him in Games 6 and 7, and when will you decide?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't want to sound like smart or nothing, probably going to use him the way I want to, when we get there and how I feel. I'll do a lot of talking in the dugout to Dubee, with Dubee, and we'll decide on which one we want to put out there.

Q. Do you still have confidence in Lidge?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I sure do. I think the only thing I'm trying to do with Brad Lidge is get him right. You know what, I'll always have confidence in him. He's got a lot of talent, and he proved that last year when he goes 48 and 48 in save situations. I've seen him work out of some tough jams. I've seen him go bases loaded, nobody out and get right out of it. Get a couple of strikeouts, pop a guy up or whatever or get a strike out and hit into a double play and the game is over. I've seen him.
But most of all I like his talent. I love his breaking ball and his slider, and when he's really good he can change speeds off his slider. He's got an out pitch, his fastball and slider, two out pitches.
I said last night, he is our closer, and basically what we're trying to do, we get him where he can be good -- as good as he was or somewhere in there. I think he had an extraordinary year last year, but at the same time, I think you're looking at one of the guys that can be -- that he has the talent to be one of the top closers in the game. And the kind of seasons he's had before, it kind of comes and goes, and the only thing it is, is getting back to being consistent.

Q. Last year we kind of went through this in the early rounds with Howard and everybody kept asking about what was wrong with him, and then he had a great World Series. Now it's kind of been the other way around. Is it what the Yankees are doing to get him out or is Ryan getting himself out? What's your analysis of it?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think it's a little bit of both, and I think mostly it's kind of the way that a lot of times big hitters go. Ryan Howard is more than just a power hitter. When he's really good, he's a very good polished looking hitter. But at the same time, when he's struggling, I think it's a little bit of both. It's the pitcher and the fact that he's not following the ball.
I can sit here and tell you exactly what gets Ryan in trouble. It's kind of up to him. The pitcher doesn't have nothing to do with it. Basically he's just completely following the ball. He's staying on the ball, following the ball, and when he does that, usually things come around for him.

Q. Can you win the series without him breaking out in the next two days?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah. Yes, we can. We can win it easier if he hits. (Laughter).

Q. Yesterday Cole Hamels tried to sort of explain where he is, state of mind. Have you talked to him, and do you feel comfortable in where he is? And what's your understanding of what happened between him and Brett Myers yesterday?
CHARLIE MANUEL: What happened between him and Brett Myers, first of all, they're friends, and that was more Brett being -- when you say "Manny being Manny" or something like that, well, Brett was being Brett. Brett likes to throw that jab at you, and sometimes it doesn't matter who's around, and I think people when they hear that sometimes, they don't know how to take it. So they take it -- kind of put it where they want it to be or take it as they're looking to take it. And I think that's what happened. I think that was just actually Brett playing around, messing with him.
And the first part of your question, he came in and talked to me last night, and we sat there probably 10, 15 minutes and we talked about some of the things that were said, and I felt very good about it, really. I know Hamels. I've been a Hamels guy ever since I seen him pitch in Lakewood and when I first came to work here, I never, ever -- I want you to listen to this, I never, ever questioned his mental toughness because he's just as tough as anybody on our team. And I mean that. That part I've never, ever doubted.
There's definitely no quit in him, and I know he shows emotions at times, and he's had like a freakish year and he's going through a bad time, but at the same time he'll get through it, and he'll be the pitcher that you saw last year. That pitcher that you've been seeing for the last couple years, that's who Hamels is. He is a gamer and he's a fighter. I can't say enough about him, really. That's kind of how I see him.
And when I talk to him I can tell everything about him, that he definitely wants to win and he wants us to win the World Series, and he definitely wants to play a big part in it. As a matter of fact, he might be wanting to play too big a part in it. But that's kind of how I see it.

Q. Back when Pedro first started pitching for you guys, he started there in Chicago. First couple starts looked like it took him a while to get going, he obviously wasn't in a routine yet, in a groove, and then at the end of the season he has that other long layoff between the start of the playoffs. Do you think these two starts, do you think we might see kind of the real identity of him this weekend? Do you think he's in a spot where he can find his groove and go out there with no limitations or rust, or do you think that's expecting too much?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think what you're going to see is something close to what you saw the last time out, because the last couple times he's pitched he's been very consistent. He's had tremendous command. Pedro, first of all, he's got a tremendous feel to pitch. He knows how to pitch. He knows more about hitters than probably people give him credit for because he'll sit there and study the game and he'll study the hitters and he'll sit there and talk to you sometimes.
That's one thing I like about Pedro, he'll come over and talk to you and he don't listen when you tell him how to pitch somebody, he'll tell you how he's going to pitch somebody. If you sit there and listen, he's not being smart about it, he's very confident, and he'll start telling you, look at that, Charlie, or something like that, I'm going to do this, that and stuff like that. I like that. And he's got an idea on everybody that walks up there.
But also, he's got a tremendous feel for the game, and he's still got talent when he executes his pitches, as a pitcher should, he's definitely capable of throwing a very good ballgame, a real good ballgame. I'd look for him to definitely put us in a place where we can win the game.
How far he can go, I think back there in the summer when he threw against the Mets that night, I think that kind of tells you that he's definitely capable of finishing a ballgame, really.
So he could be -- I look for him to throw a good game.

Q. You think he's where he's at going into this game?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think he's ready. I think he's kind of peaking at the right time. He didn't have any Spring Training, went a half a year, didn't pitch, and he had to work himself up. And then all of a sudden in Atlanta when he hurt his neck and when he had some trouble with his side, that kind of set him back. But right now, he's starting to get stretched out. The more he throws, the better he's getting. Yeah, he's capable of throwing a real good game.

Q. Obviously what you said about Cole, you said you have a lot of confidence in him. Would it be fair to say that you wouldn't be hesitant at all to pitch him in a Game 7?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I'm not hesitant to pitch him no time, but we've got tomorrow to play. I'm not going to say who's going to pitch. Cole Hamels can pitch for me any time. We're just not ready to say -- we've got to play tomorrow. We've got to win tomorrow's game, and that's kind of how we do it, and that's kind of how it's going to stay.

Q. What has Ryan Madson done this year? How has he progressed to give you the confidence that he's a reliable insurance policy in that closer's role?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think Madson is very talented, and when I look at him, especially since last year, along the second half of the season, the end of the season is when his fastball really got better, because some of the work -- his routine, he changed some of the work that he does, and I think it definitely has helped him get more on his fastball. When his fastball became anywhere from like 94, 96, 97, somewhere in there, and the speed of his change-up was a big differential in his pitch and he's added a cutter. He still needs to get a little bit better with it, but he's got a lot of talent, and that's basically what he pitches off of. He's something similar to Lidge when it comes to talent. Lidge actually has a better breaking ball, but Madson stuff-wise is big. His fastball and change-ups are two out pitches for him. That's what I like about him.
He could be more consistent as far as, like, in his role, but he's got stuff that would be very good.

Q. Even if Brett was joking around with his comments, does it concern you that what Cole said has changed the perception about him in the clubhouse? And would that at all affect your willingness to go with him going forward in such an integral time?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think what he said -- first of all, when I talked to him and when I heard it, too, like I said, it kind of was surprising to me. And then the more I thought about it and how much I know him, it kind of took me even more by surprise. But when I sat down and I talked to him, I felt like -- I think I know him, and you know what, also I think his teammates know him, too. And I think that means just as much as what I'm telling you. When you say his teammates, how they feel about him, you ought to bring them in here and they can stand up and they can say how they feel about him. I'm a wide-open guy. That's kind of how I feel about it. I think Hamels can pitch. And like I said, he's going to be a good pitcher for a long time.

Q. If you get to Game 7, I know you don't want to look ahead, if you get there, given his talent, given Hamels' talent, what you know about him when he's on full rest, would you say he's the best equipped guy to send to the mound that night if you get there?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think when we sit down and measure out everything and we talk it over and what we come up with is more than likely -- might be exactly what we're going to do. But at the same time, like I told Hamels last night, it's not my -- I'm going to think about everything. We'll sit down and I'll come up with who's going to pitch. But right now, we're going to play tomorrow's game. We don't look back and we don't look ahead.

Q. Is Blanton available to pitch tomorrow night if need be?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Tomorrow night? Yeah, probably, maybe. Yeah, more than likely he could be for a short period of time probably. We're looking at maybe -- length-wise maybe two, three innings. Depends on how many pitches he throws the first couple innings.

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