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October 9, 2010

Joe Maddon


THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Joe. First question for Joe.

Q. Tell us about your lineup today facing Colby Lewis.
JOE MADDON: It's not been posted yet, I guess. Jaso, Zobrist, Crawford, Longo, Joyce, Johnson, Peña, Upton, Bartlett. It's a typical lineup that we use versus a right-hand pitchers pretty much. I just kind of move Joyce, Johnson and Peña around based on the starting pitcher.

Q. Joe, do you plan a pregame speech? I know you said you want to stand out of their way, let them be their selves. Any words of wisdom today?
JOE MADDON: I have no words of wisdom. I rarely have words of wisdom. I believe this time of year under these circumstances what they need to feel is support more than anything. Yesterday during batting practice they did a lap around the field and I talked to all of them, and I will do it again today at different intervals. But there's nothing substantial you can take that's going to make a huge difference right now after this many games. They just need to feel the support that you have as a manager and a coaching staff. They need to know how much you care about them. And that's what we're trying to exhibit with them right now.
The guys are great. The workout was good yesterday, they came in very nicely today. And believe me, man, we've been in situation likes this before. Not necessarily in the playoffs, but playing in the East in September, kind of hardens you for these kind of moments. We had that series in New York recently, looked bad after the first two games. Came back and won the next two. And even more recently in Kansas City we went through the same experience.
So for me, I really, I really believe rhetoric at this time is, does not do a whole lot of good. I was telling our writers earlier that I've sat in on meetings with managers making these huge pleas at these particular moments and quite frankly, I don't think they have any impact at all. I think by the time you go out on the field all that stuff has worn off. I think it's more important to go put your arm around them at some point individually and let them know how much you think about them. So that's the tactic I prefer.

Q. Joe, as manager, do you feel not just this series, but all the series have shown there's a need for more use of replay in baseball?
JOE MADDON: Well, I mean it's kind of piling up right now. I know we've had our moments here within our group. And at different times during the season, different items have occurred and I've spoken about that, too. What I believe is this -- what I believe is this: Really what's been going on cries for more meetings, more review in the off season to try to come up with a system that is amenable to both sides. You know, historically, I was thinking of this the other day, there was a time I used a computer in the 1990s and people looked at me as if I had two heads for using a computer at this time. And you look at the information going on, all the data prior to each game, each series it is incredible. And hardliners, old-school guys that frowned upon that stuff in the early 90s are using it quite frequently and to their advantage. So my belief is and a lot of times in our game we move at a glacier pace normally, and that's just the way that baseball is.
I think eventually you're going to see some kind of a round table get together and come to a conclusion that the way -- just the way the world works, man. Things are invented, there is new technology that can help this process and also be expeditious in regards to the way it's utilized. So I believe as we move down the road, we have a lot of smart people involved here, that all of this technology is going to be utilized in the proper way. I think it's going to be done slowly, which I think is the right way to do it. I don't think you should jump in both feet and go crazy about it, but I believe you should research properly. All of the potentialities out there right now that do exist. That can avoid some of the discussions we've had with umpires in the recent past.

Q. Garza pitched pretty well the last couple of starts of the year. What things you are looking for him at the beginning stage of the game to see if he is right?
JOE MADDON: I want to see him in his delivery. When he comes out of his delivery, he gets primal and I don't like that he starts falling off too much. And the fastball, the velocity is going to be there but the location is not. The thing about Matt that people I don't think appreciate enough is how good a command he has got. This guy really commands his fastball well and throws it where he wants to. But when he is not so good that's not what's going on. So I would like for him to stay in his delivery primary and his ability to throw the off-speed pitches for strikes when he's in a fastball count are really big for him.
So if you see those things going on today, he will be there in the sixth or seventh inning this afternoon. If not we may have to turn it over earlier. But that's Matt. Matt, one thing he is not afraid. He's definitely psyched up about this particular moment. So I know that about Matthew, he's going to be fine. It is a matter of staying in his delivery and making pitches.

Q. Joe, your old buddy Mike Scioscia is an advocate of the slightly shorter regular season, perhaps in part to accommodate a seven-game Division Series. Is that something that appeals to you right about now?
JOE MADDON: Right now it sounds really good (Laughter). You know, just talking to our guys about that, also. You know, the talking about the shorter season, I'm sure there are creative ways to get that done, also. And then again you know at this time of the year, weather does become a factor. We were involved in that a couple of years ago. I understand the present circumstances the way it exists, I think the system as it exists is a good one. I would prefer a seven-game series, not just because we're down right now, but to do it, I would not want to extend this any further into the wintertime or the fall because that series we had in Philadelphia a couple of years ago was pretty nasty.
We were just talking about the potential maybe to do double-headers during the course of the season and you possibly would know well in advance when a double-header would be. And possibly expand the roster for that particular day, and that's one of the thoughts I had personally. Just because you are going to put a heavy strain on maybe a pitching staff in the middle of July as an example, which could negatively impact you for the week or two weeks after that, if you don't have that extra guy or two to suck up an extra inning.
Again, I am open to all of these things. There is a real old-school component of me, but there is also what I described earlier regarding what's going on now, take advantage and utilize and understand what's happening today and make adjustments. There is no reason why we can't make adjustments. I think the fans would appreciate and respond in a favorable way.

Q. Joe, yesterday players talked at length about how loose they were on the trip here and how much fun they are having. Today is there more of a sense of urgency?
JOE MADDON: Everybody knows what's going on obviously, but I really want to avoid any kind of a playing harder or trying harder or we must do this. The one thing I preach even from early on in Spring Training, and you're here year-round so you hear me say it, I want to us play the game, today is October 9th, the same game March 9th, April 9th, June 9th, I want to us play the same game. The constantly referencing more effort, I am really not into that. I just want to us go out and play. We haven't played our game yet in these first two, so I would much prefer the Rays go out there today and we play our game and have us show up. If we do that, I'll take what happens after that. But really all the other rhetoric stuff like I mentioned before, and all of this added effort or added intensity, no, just play our game. And I want Garza to pitch his game and stay in the delivery, etc., work good at-bats. If we do that, we have a good chance to come out on top.

Q. Joe, if you guys can force a Game 4 tomorrow, how confident are you that Wade Davis is the type of guy that can thrive in this type of atmosphere?
JOE MADDON: I am really confident. If you have been watching us towards the end of the season, Wade has been throwing the ball extremely well. He's kind of cold-blooded. He shot a bear recently in Toronto and came out with a bear with a bow and arrow and put it down, so I really thought he has taken off since that occurred. An off-day in Toronto and the boys went bear hunting. That's a nice day off right there, and Wade was the only one that came back with the 300-plus pound black bear. If he can stay eye-to-eye with a black bear, I think tomorrow is not that big of a deal.
And I really believe watching him more recently, you know, it reminds me of Lackey a little bit. When I joined with Johnny back in the day with the Angels and Downy had a good 2002 playoff run, and I see a little bit of that with Wade. I know one thing, he's going to show up tomorrow and he's going to be himself, and he's going to go out there he's throwing the ball harder. His velocity has been up since he came off the shoulder issue and the curveball is really good, too. I have a lot of trust in Wade tomorrow.

Q. Joe, Longoria said a couple of occasions about in the course of the series putting pressure on himself because other teams are struggling or the role he has on the team. Do you feel part of that was going on with him right now or maybe because he had the at-bats in the last half of the games?
JOE MADDON: I think guys like Evan and David for example, and there are guys on other teams that are similar to that, they're always going to want to carry the load, carry the weight, which is always wonderful. But at the end of the day we all have to play. We've all got to manage, all have to coach, all have to play, and I appreciate the thought. And I know how Evan is and David is, and you could talk about other guys, Carl and Carlos, etc., we have a bunch of those guys. At the end of the day I want him to go out and play their game. And again, he contributes on defense a very good defender. It is not always about getting a hit either. It is one of the things I always wanted our guys to consider is gone out and do something to help us win today. It may not be a hit, it may be a good play, it may be picking up somebody on the bench, it might be a good base-running play but do something to help us win today and it doesn't always have to be a hit all the time. That's just who Evan is. Evan throws himself to higher standards. He really does and is a wonderful young man. And I can hear him saying that, but I prefer he goes out and play the game as he normally does and I will take what happens.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Joe.

End of FastScripts

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