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October 8, 2010

Ron Washington


THE MODERATOR: We're going to get started in the interview room today with Ron Washington.

Q. You have such a young team, guys in a lot of ways haven't been here before. How do you convince them to just take it the way you have done it all year, one game at a time and not to put all of their hopes and dreams into what's already happened the first two games?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, I think what -- I don't have a secret to that. But, you know, I think we experienced what it's like to be in a playoff atmosphere just trying to win the West. We experienced so many highs and lows just trying to win the West, that once we got that done, we recognized then that if we just continue to go out and do what we've done all year, just play the play the game the way it is presented each day it is playing, it makes it easier to react, which is what the game is all about. That's what we have done.
I think our veteran guys in the very first game took the pressure off of us by coming through. And yesterday we had three other different guys come through. So now everyone is getting their feet wet and we realize that it's just a baseball game.

Q. Wash, Colby hasn't faced them, they haven't faced him. Does it favor anybody, the dynamic of how that plays out in the playoff situation? And also Colby's demeanor in this kind of environment?
RON WASHINGTON: I don't know if it favors anyone. The Rays are definitely an opponent that scares you. And each day you go play the game of baseball it presents different circumstances. But I do feel that if Colby has his game, I'll take him tomorrow for sure. So it's just a matter of Colby executing his pitches and usually when a pitcher can execute and do the things that he wants to do, you find out that hitting is not that easy. So it all depends on his execution of our game plan and his pitches.

Q. What are you most proud of with your team so far being up 2-0?
RON WASHINGTON: I am most proud of their resiliency. I am most proud of the way they stick together. I am most proud of the fact that they don't care who gets the accolades. They are a group of guys that believe in team first, and to this point I think they are also a group of guys that's willing to go out there and just try to execute the game according to the way it's presented. And that's the one thing I keep pounding home, let's just play baseball according to the way it's presented to us, because every phase of the game that you might have to be a part of, we've executed at some point during the year. So we do have the ability to play, whichever way we have to play.

Q. It's not easy to do though, is it, Wash? And that's not easy to do, is it? You guys are this close to all this historical stuff for the fans and everybody else. How difficult is it for your guys not to let minds wander about what you are about to do or possibly about to do?
RON WASHINGTON: The only thing you can control is what you have to do in the moment. And the only time those type of thought processes are put out there is when those questions are asked.

Q. It seems like no matter what the sport is, that last win to close out a series is one of the most difficult to get. Do you think that's true? And what makes it so difficult?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, sometimes it's where the mind comes in and it should be mind over matter at that point. It is the toughest thing to do, close out. But you have to once again stay in the moment. You have to try to execute whatever is asked of you to execute. You can't think about, I have to get one game. The only game that really matters is the game you're playing. And if you're thinking about, all I have to do is get one game, then you have missed something through the course of the competition that you are already in. And it's difficult. But it gets down to the point where it's mind over matter, and it's total execution, especially at this point. If the game says you have to move a runner, you have to move a runner. If the game says you bunt, you bunt. If the game says all you need is a single, you get the single. And that way you stay in the moment, you don't look at the big picture, the focus stays small and things usually happen.
Now, that may sound easy and it's not, but we are professionals and we have been doing it 162 games. And right now you can't do anything else but be in that situation, where the focus is tight. And I really believe my guys' focus is tight.
I don't know what's going to happen in the next couple of days here, but do I know one thing, we'll be ready to play.

Q. Ron, your outfield seems to be playing just perfectly, who do you credit that to? Gary Pettis and the scouting reports?
RON WASHINGTON: You know, once again because we are in the playoffs, things are being magnified. But Gary Pettis and Dave Anderson do a great job of putting our guys in position. In the past two games our pitchers have executed. When you execute, that's what you get. A pitch is supposed to be inside, you put it inside. They hit it, the defense is right there for it. Sometimes you want to pitch inside and it doesn't go inside, the pitch goes away from you and they beat you on the defensive end of it. We have very fortunate that C.J. and Cliff Lee were able to execute and our defense was in the right spot.

Q. Coach, can you talk about specifically Matt Garza and what you see from him specifically.
RON WASHINGTON: You know, he's a tough competitor. He is a guy that will go out there and will do everything he can to get outs; he usually does. It's going to be very tough tomorrow with him. But we have to maintain our composure and what we have to do, more than anything else, is take advantage of an opportunity if the door opens up. That's all you can do. If he's on his game and Colby is on his game, I think it's going to come down to who takes advantage of the opportunity. So it should be a real good ballgame.

Q. Can you talk about the phenomenal pitching so far with the American and National Leagues, the playoffs right now?
RON WASHINGTON: I think if you look back at the season, pitching has been dominant throughout the whole year. Usually when you get to this point in the season, it is all about pitching. It's what gets you here. And it's about defense. It's what gets you here. There are a few teams that may make it into the playoffs that can pound the baseball, but for the most part it is pitching. And pitching and defense and base-running and execution are the things of the game of baseball that come into play in the playoffs, and that's why you see what you see. And the dominant fact that the pitching is doing what it's doing.

Q. Just quick injury information: How is Josh Hamilton doing? Will we see David Murphy this weekend?
RON WASHINGTON: Josh is doing well. With each day that comes and goes and he gets a chance to play, he gets better. And he will continue to get better.
Murphy, we're going to put him through some strenuous work today and we will get together with the medical staff. We'll get together with Gary Pettis and we'll determine if Murphy can start it and finish it. I want to get him in there. If for any reason he can't start and finish, we'll give him another day.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, thank you very much.

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