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October 15, 2010

Ron Washington


Q. Still no wins at home; you'll need a couple of those if you want to advance.
RON WASHINGTON: Well, we'll take care of that tonight. We're ready to go. We're going to go out there and get prepared and then at 7:00 it starts. At some point, we'll finally get a win.

Q. Were guys nervous at all do you think in the first two games?
RON WASHINGTON: No. I just think Tampa beat us. I certainly don't remember us throwing balls around or booting balls or giving them opportunities. They made their opportunities, and when it was there, they took advantage of it. We just got beat.

Q. What does Colby have to do differently for Game 2 tomorrow than he did during the playoffs in the division series?
RON WASHINGTON: Stay out there about seven innings. You know what I mean. The first three innings, you know, he was sharp. He was hitting his spots. And then, you know, I think what hurt him more than anything, he started walking guys. You know, something that he really doesn't do. And it's just a matter of him maintaining his pitches where he want to put them, because he has swing and miss stuff, and I think what got him in trouble the first time is he just lost his command. He maintains his command. I'm certainly going to love where he can take us in the game tomorrow.

Q. How much did wanting to turn the Yankee switch hitters around in Yankee Stadium factor into your decision to keep four lefties in the bullpen?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, there's a big part of it. But also, you know, the lefties we put on our roster are quality lefties. And it's nice that they are all in the bullpen, too. So it plays a big part in it, no doubt about it.

Q. You mentioned yesterday you were not sure who you were going to start at first base, can you just take us into the decision to go with Cantu over Moreland tonight?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, I had an opportunity to get Cantu in the game, and Sabathia is a power pitcher, but he's also a pitcher that does a lot of mixing. I just wanted to get Cantu's feet wet because at some point we are going to need him. He had not played in a while. He's been working hard and hopefully he can come through for us tonight.

Q. Regarding the bullpen choices, wondering how much you enjoy that part of managing, the chess match in the late innings of games, and when you make those moves, how much do you rely on statistics and personal feel?
RON WASHINGTON: What I really love is for starters to take me for nine innings, and I won't have to do much. But more than anything else, I love when our starters can get us through seven. Because once we get to the eighth and ninth inning, I think I have the matchups, no matter what they are, to get it to relief at the end. The problem comes in when your starter may have to leave the game in the fifth or the sixth, because then you have to rely on long guys, middle guys, because you don't want to use your big pieces too early.
You know, sometimes I just go with my gut. There's times when my pitching coach is telling me, I think we need to do this. But my gut is telling me that I believe this guy can get it done. And a lot of times, you know, we are in the book looking at statistics and sometimes we do that.
But a lot of it, for me, is the flow of the ballgame. I follow the flow of the ballgame, and when I feel like it's coming from my gut, I go with it.

Q. I was wondering if you can put in perspective where you were career-wise a year ago or last summer or whatever, as opposed to now, guiding this team to their first time in the ALCS?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, you understand how important certain things are that you may have taken for granted. You know, I'm praying more. I'm certainly going to church more. I feel blessed. But you know, where we are right now, is a combination of a whole organization coming together and believing and making everyone else that's involved believe.
It's a combination of the players going out there and doing what they do for a living, playing baseball, making whatever adjustments they have to make, trusting one another. It's another combination of the coaching staff keeping those guys prepared, and you know, the development system that we have here in Texas of supplying us with the players; the scouters going out there and doing what they have to do.
So when y'all look at it, all of those people are the support system that you need to make you feel wanted, and the Texas Rangers certainly made me feel wanted, because they very easily could have turned their back on me. But they are such a class act, they didn't do that, and I'm so appreciative of it.
And I'm loving life right now, and you know, you learn from failures, and I've certainly learned.

Q. Speaking to a number of your players yesterday, whenever we asked them, you know, what turned this team around, what brought them so close together and unified, a lot of them talked about that meeting that you had with them at Spring Training when you told them what had happened with you, and they said it brought them so close together. How vital was that for not only you personally but for this whole team?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, it was real vital, because we had a cause. And my players appreciate it, because their cause was to protect their skipper.
You know, I've been in the game a long time, and there's a lot of baseball players that don't like their skipper. But they respect me. They know I'm honest. They know I have a huge heart. They know all I've ever wanted to do was the best for them. And it meant a lot to me, personally, when they rallied and decided to support me. I never had any doubt they would, but it's just a class act of guys up in there. And all they want to do is go out and play basketball and try to have fun, enjoy, for doing the right things between the lines can bring, and I'm very fortunate that we were able to have that type of group.
I'm just very fortunate to be the manager of the Texas Rangers. I can never thank the organization for the opportunity, and I can never thank the organization for standing behind me, and the players, and the coaches, and the Minor Leagues, from top to bottom.
So, you know, as I told them, I didn't want their sympathy. I just want their heart, and they gave me their heart because they know they had mine.

Q. Feliz was not his usual dominant self in the Division Series, any concern about him going into this series?
RON WASHINGTON: No. It was his first time going out there and being on a big stage like that. I can tell you he wasn't afraid; he was just having problems trying to control his adrenaline.
After being out there twice, I think he has a handle on his adrenaline now, and I won't hesitate to give him the opportunity if the ball is there and I would not have hesitated after that if the opportunity was there.
You have to experience things. You can't teach it. You've got to go through it. And we have a team of guys that's never been through it. But being through the first round, we feel pretty good about the second round. We feel like we have been through it now. All we have to do is go out there now and just play our game. Take advantage of opportunity that's been given, give out the least amount of opportunities, as we possibly can, and if that's the case, he'll be fine.

Q. Your club seems to be remarkably tension-free, and I wondered if that approach, upbeat, positive, loose, compensated for a lack of post-season experience?
RON WASHINGTON: You know, during the season, we played a lot of tough ballgames. And I think those tough ballgames that we played got us ready for it.
Early on, you know, before we clinched the division, I think there was some tension there, because we were so close and we just couldn't get it done. But once we got it done, after that, they just relaxed. They believe they can play baseball. And from that point, all we do is come to the ballpark, prepare and go play baseball.
I love that. Just going to play baseball. And that's what they do. And they don't think about anything else. They just want to go out there and be the best that they can be for each other, and then the chips fall where they fall.

Q. I apologize if you did already discuss this, but what went behind the decision to add the two lefties to the bullpen?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, you know, that Yankee lineup is pretty tough. They have got quite a few switch hitters in there. You know, you go back to the numbers. The numbers say that the left-handers are pretty good against them and we have got some pretty good left-handers.
We just want to give ourselves as much of an opportunity as we can to minimize the damage that they are capable of doing. And we don't know if it's going to work. But we set ourselves up to have a good chance for it to work.

Q. Do you like the quick turnaround, going from the ALDS to ALCS? Is it helpful to not have days in between?
RON WASHINGTON: Yes, it is. You know, you have to find things to do if it's too many days in between. You know, we have got enough time down. We have got a pretty good workout yesterday, and we are going to get another workout today, and then play tonight. So time-wise, we couldn't ask for better time. You certainly don't want to be sitting around for four or five days not playing games.
We had three days away, and now we are ready to play.

End of FastScripts

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