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October 7, 2010

Charlie Manuel


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Charlie Manuel.

Q. How's Polly feeling, and do you expect him to be in your lineup tomorrow night?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I just walked by him in the cage, asked him how he felt, he said he felt a lot better. He's doing good. Hopefully, we'll have him in the game tomorrow.

Q. Sort of lost in the shuffle of Halladay last night, you guys only came out of that game with five hits. You're obviously going to need to get it going a little more. Any concern or did you think that was just sort of the nature of that game that everybody was watching Roy Halladay?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think that's kind of how the game went. But, we wanted to score some runs. We scored four runs early. In that type of game that was real good. I felt like getting in the lead definitely helped him some.
But at the same time, going forward, and like tomorrow's game, it would be nice if we start hitting the ball more consistent. Putting up more runs on the board, of course.
We've got the talent to be an offensive team, which we've been for the last four or five years. And this has been -- this definitely has been a down year, the numbers kind of speak for it. But at the same time, we're very capable in games of busting games open and putting up more offense. Yeah, I expect us to score more runs.

Q. When Roy Halladay showed up today, did you get any sense or was there any sense of he did something special last night? Or did he walk in here like he gave up two or three runs last night and just back to business? What was his mindset coming in today and how was he in the clubhouse?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Same old Roy. I said, Hello, Roy. He said, Hello, Charlie, and grinned and went on about his business (smiling). By the grin he showed me that he's happy. That's what I saw.

Q. After last night's game, Cabrera made some comments along the lines of Roy was getting a liberal strike zone from Hirschbeck. What was your assessment of the way the game was called last night?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Like when you're up hitting and everything, you have your own opinion. Like when I stop and think about the game that Roy pitched, like I said in here, his command was so good. The big thing about it is he didn't get balls in the middle of the plate. And like when Roy gives up a lot of his, it's not like he's wild, if he is. It's because he's throwing balls good. He's throwing in a good part of the plate and guys are getting good swings out of him because he is aggressive.
He likes to get ahead. Last night he was getting ahead, but he was getting ahead with outstanding quality pitches. He pitched a tremendous game.
Also, like I made the statement in here, when he got a hit as a hitter, it's just like the Atlanta Braves, how they taught their four starters and big starters to pitch, they widen the plate. Like as a hitter, when you let them or when a pitcher does that to you, what you're doing is you're getting anxious and you want to hit too much, instead of being patient and making the ball be a good pitch to hit. You kind of start -- the pitcher expands the plate and you start swinging at them, and that's what I saw happen with Cincinnati too.
He pitched just like he wanted to, and they went right along with his plan. Good example -- I'll give you another good example. Glavine beat us in the last game of the World Series in '95, did the same thing. Our hitters started out in that series and they hit a couple balls hard early. Hit some balls hard and they caught them. All of a sudden, by the fourth or fifth inning, we got very anxious and started chasing balls out of the strike zone.
He was smart. And he pitched right off of that. That's what I saw Roy do last night too.

Q. Last night you got a no-hitter. Tomorrow night you send the guy who has probably been your hottest pitcher down the stretch to the mound. What does that do for your personal confidence and the way this series stands? Do you feel good going into Game 2?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, I feel good about it. But you know what the big thing about that is, that game's gone. Last night's gone. That performance will always linger maybe in your mind and everything like that, but that's one game. We've got two more games to win to actually to win the series. But we're going tomorrow's next.
That gives us great confidence. We're up 1-0. And, you know, like that's kind of how I want Roy Oswalt to feel. I just want him to do the same thing that Roy Halladay did. Just go out there and be comfortable, get a comfortable atmosphere and pitch to his ability and his knowledge on how to pitch. Just be himself.
We're concentrating on winning the game tomorrow. But the game that he had last night is absolutely fantastic. People are going to be talking about it for a long time. But that's one game. That was a great individual performance, and the team won that game.
At the same time, we've got two more games to win in the series, and we're going to start trying to win the second one tomorrow night.

Q. You talked a little bit yesterday about Ruiz and his defense, the way he works with the pitchers. But what about him from an offensive standpoint? How has he evolved as a hitter and come into his own over the last couple years?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He's hit in the minor leagues. Like I think the last year he was in the minor leagues he hit .300 and hit about 20 homers. You know, he was a pretty good hitter in the minor leagues. Took him a while to really get used to it.
But I think that's what happened to his hitting. And the biggest improvement was the fact that he's very comfortable now, and he has a lot of self confidence and he's earned that. He feels that way because of how he's learned to catch and how he's learned to call the game and everything that goes into the whole part of his playing the game.
I think he's more relaxed now. He works the count better. He got hurt there when he got hit in the head with the bat, and I think that rest might have helped him a little bit. Because when he came back it seemed like his stroke was short and quicker. He started hitting the hard throwers better. And he's done a tremendous job. His hitting has definitely improved a lot.

Q. Sometimes after a game like that, the opposing team can be kind of demoralized the next day or incredibly motivated. I think it's been 30 innings since the Reds have scored here. Are you just preparing yourself for them to come out and want to be on fire tomorrow?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think baseball's a day-to-day thing. It's hard to explain. Evidently that is what makes the beauty of the game. Everybody voices their opinion, everybody sits around and think all these things that can happen. A lot of times people ask me about the game, and actually I say, It's baseball. And people say how can you sit there and watch this and watch that?
I know when I sit there, I look at it and try to say from a positive standpoint -- I look at it, I think of almost everything that can happen in the game and how to lose and from the negative part of it. And from the positive side of it I think of all the good things that can happen and hoping for the good things. You stay positive.
Baseball's that kind of game. It's a feel. It's a human nature game. Like I tell Bob all the time, this is a funny game. You don't take nothing for granted in this game. And I hear people talk: Why don't he save this guy, why did he do this, why did he do that? You play to win that game. That game on that day is the most important thing.
And to me that's a great way to play, and that's my philosophy. And that's how we're going to play tomorrow, and I'll continue like that as long as I die, or I mean until I die. And probably when I go to heaven or wherever I'm going (smiling), I hope somebody comes by and gives me a job, and see if I can mess that one up (laughing).

Q. Let me ask you about your hitting for a minute. Your thoughts about what your book might be on Arroyo, or how you'd like to see him approached from your standpoint?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Got to make him throw strikes. We've got to make him throw strikes. We actually got to kind of take what he gives us. We don't get caught up in trying to pull him or jerk him or things like that. You know, just work him and think we'll be okay.
I've seen him real good and I've seen him sometimes where we can get to him and hit him pretty good. But I'm going to tell you something, we've got to make him throw strikes. We've got to be very patient.
I thought the key to last night's game, getting back to that, was Volquez. If you remember in here, I said it would be nice if we could make him throw some pitches early. And that is kind of exactly -- his command wasn't good enough and he was a little wild, and we got his pitch count up in the first two innings of the game.
We've got to make Arroyo throw some pitches and see if that will work for us that way.

Q. You talked a lot about the mindset. Having been around the guys after the game last night and today a little bit, do you get the sense that they are focused towards tomorrow's game and there won't be a hangover effect?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think we definitely are focused on tomorrow's game and like what we have to do. I think our team, we've got enough core players, and we've got enough experience and everything that they've been there, the fact that they've been there and how they played speaks in their mind. Those are the things that we remind them of all the time. I think they know exactly what we have to do.

Q. Because of the nature of the way you won last night, do you like having this day off, in a sense, to be able to kind of let it all digest and enjoy it? Or do you kind of wish that you could go back out there and have the other Roy pitch today and play today?
CHARLIE MANUEL: In some ways like when we're playing good, I like for us to continue on playing. I don't particularly like off days. If you're not playing good and things are not going good for you and you feel like you definitely need some rest or something, then the off days are great. But for me, I'd just like to continue right on playing. Because in the month of September we've been playing pretty good, and things have been going our way and we've kind of got it going, and I want to keep it that way.
This is a momentum game, the sport and the game, things change. Changes sometimes right in an inning or a pitch or in the middle of a game or one game or a day-to-day. Definitely it's a momentum sport. When you're playing good, you like to be on the field playing.

Q. Roy's hit kind of got lost in his pitching performance last night. How big was that hit and how much did you see him work and improve on hitting over the course of the year?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think his hitting -- first of all, his hitting has improved quite a bit. How big was that hit? That was a big hit. It was just as big as any of the other hits that we've got. Knocked in a big run and set up some more.
Roy's hitting, he's getting better. He's getting better at being able to -- I think his timing, you've got to remember, he hasn't been used to swinging at 97, 95, 96 mile-an-hour fastballs. He's definitely improved.
He still needs a little work on his bunting, but I guess the old saying is if you can hit, you might not have to bunt a lot. Like he still could use some work on his bunting. But his hitting, and the hit he got last night was big, and he's been getting big hits for himself.

Q. How much have you seen him work on it?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He works on his hitting almost every day. If you're out there, usually before I come down and talk to you guys, our pitchers are hitting. Yeah, they work on it every day that we're home.

Q. Over the years, whether it was when Pedro was here or now with Valdez and Chooch and some of those guys, how important have those six, seven, eight guys been not only in terms of working pitchers or getting pitch counts up, but flipping the line over and being productive at the bottom of the lineup?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think whenever you talk about our offense, sometimes that gets overlooked because you talk about usually top of our order all the way down to the fourth or fifth hitter. And if you look at what happens, you look there and see Jimmy Rollins, if he has a complete season, and you see 90, 95, 96, 97 RBIs and things like that, you're seeing those RBIs because the bottom of our lineup is definitely producing and they're in scoring position.
We're getting on base, and that says a whole lot. That's a huge part of your offense. I think sometimes that definitely goes unnoticed and people don't talk about it. At times I find myself not saying too much about it. But that is very, very important, and that sets up the fact. Plus if you go back and look and see teams and their leadoff hitter usually will knock around anywhere from 45 to 60 runs, something like that. The reason he has big production is because that goes back to the bottom of the order, especially in the National League because you get the pitcher down there hitting ninth.

End of FastScripts

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