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October 9, 2010

Joe Maddon


Tampa Bay Rays 6
Texas Rangers 3

Q. Joe, you played better defense, you walked, you got timely hits. Did that look a little more like the Rays to you?
JOE MADDON: You mean, when I was screaming in the dugout about the seventh inning? Yeah. And it all set up by Matt Garza. Pitching the way he it permitted that to happen. Without Garza pitching the way he did, it doesn't happen. That's the way we have been all year, very good starting pitching. Defense and the timely hits shows up. It finally did show up tonight. I am really proud of the way our guys didn't really cave in. A lot of stuff, hit a couple of balls well at 'em. The "at 'em" ball is part of our offense, hopefully it will change from now on. More than anything to be in that kind of game down like we were and to come back against that bullpen like we did is pretty good stuff.
So I am very proud of our guys, I really am.

Q. To follow that up, tell me about the seventh inning in the dugout.
JOE MADDON: Just yelling. I mean, that looks more like us. When we start making plays and better at-bats it looks more like us. We haven't been playing our game, and I have told you guys that. The first two games back at the Trop we did not play as well as we can. And then today, I am not saying we didn't play well in the first part, but we could not get on top. It is like a wrestling match, you have to get on top. Eventually we were able to do that and then hold on with our very good bullpen.
So everybody really picked up. The whole attitude within the dugout, the spirit, everything just came to life. And then again, the one concept we always talk about are the add-on runs. We call them jug runs. To get the three in the ninth inning also to really ease the pressure a bit on Rafael because they had a pretty meaty part of the batting order coming up at that part of the juncture. So a really good team win. More like us.

Q. Joe, he struggled in September, you even sat him for a couple of days. Carlos up tonight, for all we know it could have been his last at-bat as a Ray. Two hits in two innings. Talk about it.
JOE MADDON: He's been working very hard to get it right. He has been out there doing a lot of extra work. He has been grinding all year. And a guy like him, he's the kind of guy that all of a sudden can do those kind of things. I mean, a lot of times you get power hitters that tend to be streaky with their power. And with him you're going to get some strikeouts, some walks and fun results at certain moments, which we did tonight.
So with Carlos I have a lot of faith in him, always have. Here is a guy that truly cares. He definitely is a team player. And beyond his offense it is really difficult when we do take him out of there defensively; we miss him every time. But Carlos has a lot of perseverance in him and it showed up tonight.

Q. Joe, your goal is to win one game, you are hoping to turn around the series. Is there a significance in how did you it tonight against their closer and bullpen?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, you have got a noon game tomorrow and then what we did tonight late against a really good bullpen. I mean, these guys are firm. They match up lefties and righties. They have all kinds of stuff. They have under armors, 97 miles an hour, they have got crafty left-handed veterans, all kind of goodies out there. So when you are able to come back and beat them late, it does something for you.
Again, I would prefer not having to do that again. In other words, get a lead a little bit and hold on to a lead early on and avoid that component of their team. But we have done that a lot this year. If you look at what we have done, we have been a really good late-inning team. That's one of our concepts to play well late in the game in the 7th, 8th, 9th. Anything we normally do a better job and I would like to us do better.

Q. Can you highlight the defensive play, especially Carl Crawford dives and the play Bartlett made at shortstop.
JOE MADDON: Started with Zobrist the bullet that Vladdy hit up the middle, he back-handed, and obviously a huge play when Bart was able to snare the line drive. And everything starts working in your favor and all of a sudden Carl makes the great playing going down left field. It is a contagious thing. It is very contagious where you are missing balls by inches and now all of a sudden you are catching them. The balls that you are hitting are being caught and then all of a sudden they are falling. It's just a crazy game. The momentum game that eventually ended up in our dugout tonight. We need to get mo back in the dugout.

Q. I know you've loved Mikey all year, the way he competed. A couple of up at-bats and a passed ball, talk about his at-bats and how he used that?
JOE MADDON: I've talked about him a lot. And the thing about Mikey is that he always has good at-bats. I mean, I have a hard time recalling his last bad at-bat. He always works a good at-bat. He's never flustered or frustrated by an umpire, he is able to move on to the next pitch. He is able to shut down his swing borderline pitches that are balls. And I was really honestly, we were just chatting in the dugout, wanting to get him up in that moment right there, knowing that he would work a good at-bat. And J.B. drawing a walk, big-time right there. J.B. drawing the walk, that's part of who we are, also. To not make an out right there is huge by J.B., and gets Mikey up there and he gets the knock.
The thing about Jaso, how many balls did he block well? He blocked a lot of balls. You talk about maybe a passed ball but he blocked a lot of pitches well. The nice throw on the steal and the debatable call at second base. And again, how many times do you see a guy that young, that inexperienced demonstrate that kind of calm in those kind of moments? That's what a really -- that is my take away from him. How he's able to maintain his calm demeanor with such a lack of experience.

Q. Joe, were you ever worried at some point that the offense may not come over 2 1/2 games? Is that why you decided to shake things up in the seventh?
JOE MADDON: Of course. We do that, we disappeared in the past a little bit, but then all of a sudden we do what we did tonight, we'll come back. There were different things that needed to be done right there. You know with Matt -- which shake-up are you particularly talking about, pitch-hitting for Joyce?

Q. No, your demeanor --
JOE MADDON: The dugout. You know.

Q. Was it desperate I guess?
JOE MADDON: I'm not really the desperate type. I really want us to understand the moment and just stay involved. Stay involved, stay in the moment. Fight. Let's fight. If anything, if we just fight I'm happy. If you don't win that game you and fight and you lose that game, I'm very happy. So I just want us to fight, that's all. We have that in us. We've been kind of dormant a little bit for the last couple of days. Tonight the fight showed up again and that's a good sign.

Q. Along the lines of the fight that you asked for, are you ever just not amazed? Is it an ordinary day when you see the resilience in your club persevering the way it did today?
JOE MADDON: That's who we are, what is it, 96 wins this year? 96 wins just don't happen. 96 wins in our division in this league. That speaks a lot to the group. It's about the group and how they go about their day. And when things do go badly, they don't cave in, they don't give up and that's the part about our group that I really love.
So again, it did not surprise me that we were able to do that tonight in spite of the adversity that was obvious. Our guys are like that.

Q. Joe, it certainly sounds like you feel that the team that you expected to see finally is here. Is there a reason that it came with only a handful of outs left? Can you point to something that may have finally kicked it out?
JOE MADDON: You know, a lot of it had to do with Cliff Lee, a lot of it had to do with a C.J. Wilson. When you really face difficult pitching like that they can make you look bad. And when you don't hit, the malaise that takes over your team, it happens to every team, and we just weren't hitting. So all of a sudden maybe you're not as sharp on defense even though we normally are. And knowing that this is the playoffs and we want to advance to the next round. So you have got all of these weird thoughts going on in your head. Because we were facing very good pitching and they executed well against us. Finally we were able to push that rock in the other direction tonight. And I'd like to believe we're going to come out with that same kind of offensive attitude tomorrow.
But again, what happened in the first two games had a lot to do with the Texas Rangers and how well they played.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Joe.

End of FastScripts

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