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October 18, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: Workout Day
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Charlie Manuel.
Q. When you come into a series tied at 1 like this, can you just talk about the potential for Game 3 to be such a swing game, an important game for momentum?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think when we go 1 and 1 right now and you're sitting there and you've got Cain and Hamels going tomorrow, I think in the swing game, I think you won't see that three days in a row, six pitchers that start the game that good.
I think that's rare. And I think it's going to be a heck of a game. I think the Giants are here because they're pitching, and I think we're here basically because of our pitching, because our offense kind of sputtered this year but at the same time we're still capable of scoring a lot of runs.
But it's going to be -- so far it's been two great games. It's going to be a heck of a series.
Q. Going from Citizens Bank Park to this park, what challenges does that present? Seems like two different ballparks. You've struggled here at times. What are the biggest differences between play here and play there?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think this ballpark's bigger, and it's got -- the way it's made, it's a little bit different from Citizens Bank Park, of course, the way it's cut.
And at the same time I think that they're more used to this yard than -- of course, we were used to Citizens Bank Park, but they're more used to this park than we were, of course, because this is their home park.
But I think it gets down to the fact that you definitely can't make mistakes in the outfield. I think if you do, you're going to be in trouble.
Q. Any chance you stick with Utley in the 2 and Polanco in the 3?
CHARLIE MANUEL: That might be a chance.
Q. Will you?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't know. I'll think about it tonight. Got a little time. No sense getting in a hurry.
Q. Did you think that enhanced your lineup?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think last night that it worked out pretty good.
Q. What's been the biggest change you've seen between the Cole Hamels of last year and the Cole Hamels of this year?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Like from last year -- he's bigger, he's stronger. He's added a cutter. His fastball, his velocity is up from last year. Basically he sits there -- right now I'd say he sits there like 92, 94, 95 consistently, and whereas before he was like 88, 92.
And I think the cutter's helped him. But I think he's grown up a lot from just the part of the experience of going through a tough year. And I think the fact that you put him on the team -- we added Roy Halladay and I think he's got a better work routine, learned a lot from Roy. And Hamels has always been a mentally tough guy. He's always loved to pitch.
And I think last year he put -- he definitely put a lot of expectation on himself. And also it was kind of a different year for him. Came to Spring Training on a short winter had a sore elbow coming out of Spring Training.
People talk about his conditioning, but at the same time he had a sore elbow coming out of Spring Training, and he seemed like things really had a bad year. He had a hard-luck year. He would get hit on the shoulder with a line drive, turn his ankle. Just seemed like everything bad happened to him. Then he would get in innings that he couldn't get out of.
He got into an inning here where he had -- I think through four innings I think he had one hit or something like that, all of a sudden he's got two outs and nobody on and a pitcher ends up getting a hit on him and he ran up a lot of pitches and he got knocked out of the game, too.
That was kind of how his season went. And he's gotten over all that.
Q. Charlie, Polanco had two big RBIs last night when the game was really close. Could you talk about what he's meant for you guys since you got him this year?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Polanco's hitting hasn't surprised me at all. Playing defense has been the surprise. I mean, we lost a guy in Feliz who was a pretty good defensive player, and this guy, he went right to third base, and you know what, I don't think we lost a step.
Like we haven't lost anything. I mean, I think Feliz had a stronger throwing arm. Outside of that, both of them have been real good. And I think that's where Polanco's really excelled. I knew he could hit when we brought him back. And also he can handle the bat and he can do some things for you.
Q. In managing postseason games, what have you learned about making lineup changes? In terms of whether being too soon or waiting too long, since it's only best of 7 or best of 5, what's your philosophy about that?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I look at the pitcher like in the bullpen and who you've got and who I think is available in the bullpen. And also like a tight pitcher and the matchup sheets. And mostly I kind of -- I'll study like who I like -- like who I think might be good against a guy and who the pitcher might have success on.
And I look at all those things, and I kind of wager it and I try to look for balance in your lineup on that day.
Now, one of the things I do look for is like if you've got a lot of left-hand pitchers in your bullpen, I think I gotta be careful in a way -- or I try to put the strongest lineup, I should say, and try to balance our lineup. That's kind of what I did last night.
But, there again, when you've got a lot of left-hand relievers in the bullpen, it makes it tough for me. But that's what I do.
I also try, once you -- I like for people to beat people out or play ahead of guys. And you become that guy because like if you can -- like that's when people holler about me -- talk to me about when Jimmy -- if Jimmy is going bad or something, why do I stick with him. Because I'm supposed to stick with him, because that's the game. Really. That's the game.
Like that's how you play the game. That's who helped get us there. I mean, if you stop and think about those things, why should you go away from like somebody that like helped you get to a point.
Now, if it's a -- like a one-day situation, then we're talking -- if you're in between what you call a good, regular player, then just the average regular players, then you're talking maybe a different feel.
But at the same time, I don't run for Ryan Howard, I don't pinch-hit for Ryan Howard. Jimmy Rollins or somebody like that or Victorino, those guys, they've kind of earned the same respect in some ways.
I look at those guys they can hit anybody that throws a baseball.
Q. If memory serves me correct, Raul hit a ball pretty hard last night, a line drive, but still he hasn't had a hit since that second game against Cincinnati. Are you seeing similar things in the first half, or is this just like a three-day funk?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I look at baseball and, to me, like postseason definitely brings out -- like it's an out situation. We talk about winning every day.
But you've got to win. You've got to win 4 out of 7. And you look at it, the guy don't have any hits, or something like that, and somebody says aren't you concerned about this guy?
There again, like I know he can hit. And Raul got off to a slow start this year. And he became -- he got hot and not only that but he got consistent, and he stayed consistent the second half of the season for sure.
And he ended up with pretty good RBI numbers and things like that. It's a part of playing every day. You don't go changing your lineup that worked for you all year and get into the postseason and start messing with your lineup.
Attitude and chemistry is definitely what counts. But if I'm a player and I've played every day and I've had a real good year and my manager set me on the bench, I'd be madder than hell. Really. I mean, I'll tell you.
And actually I'd go up and tell him. That's kind of how I look at it. I've earned the right. That's the reason that we -- in postseason, because those guys that play regular every day -- everyday player in baseball, I don't know if you've heard me say it or not, is very special to play every day. And you say what is a regular player? And you look, there's a lot of guys who plays every day sometime are not necessarily regular players, but that is a special player.
That is a very, very special big league player to play every day.
Q. Did you see Raul's swing and everything looked fine?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Hit a line drive last night to third base. Outside that, give a pitcher some credit too. He throws the good breaking ball in the right situation or a fastball inside or something. Really.
Q. Going back to the switch last night with Polanco and Utley in the lineup, obviously worked out well because those two guys seemed to be in the middle of everything offensively. Can you talk about how you came to that decision? Did you know immediately after Game 1 you were going to flip those two? Did you talk to Pete about lineup changes? How do you go over it and decide that, all right, this is the lineup I want?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I've had that lineup, I don't know -- I think somebody told me I had that same lineup ten times. One of you guys. But I came to the conclusion, when I'm sitting there yesterday, I got to the ballpark yesterday 10:00. I was the only guy there. I went into my office and sat down, got all my information. I'm looking through it.
I already knew it anyway (laughter) and I'm writing things down and things like that. And I looked over there and I was thinking about what this guy can do and what that guy can do. And I wanted definitely to separate Utley and Howard.
So I put Polanco there in the 3-hole before. And the more I thought about it, actually Polanco and Utley, they hit about the same as far as average go off left-hand pitchers, but at the same time I wanted to stick the righty -- I wanted Utley in the second hole. I like Utley in the second hole anyway.
But when he's hit on our team, he fits real well in the third hole for me. But if you put him on an All-Star team or something, I would like him hitting second. Really, because I think he can pull the ball. I think he can move the runners over and I think he's a good base runner. He's just a real good, solid runner. Good situation baseball player. Last night when he stole second base that definitely gave us a big lift. He got on. He hadn't been running.
And he stole second. And that definitely pumped some energy on us. And you could tell in our dugout. And, yeah, last night it worked good.
Q. Cody Ross, even going back to his days with the Marlins, had success against you guys, you guys have had success against some bigger-name guys in the past. What is it about him that specifically -- why does he match up well against you or why does he seem to have such success against you?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Cody is about like, if you look at -- Cody is about like anybody else. They walk in our ballpark and he wants to come up and talk to me or talk to the guys around the cage because actually he's looking at the fences and how far -- how close they look (laughter) and he's thinking -- he's thinking to himself, "Man I hope I'm in the lineup today." And as soon as the bench coach puts the lineup up, I guarantee you he runs over there to see if he's in there. When he played for Florida, that's how I used to look at him. And he likes to play against us.
And he enjoys to play against us. And that helps him to relax, and he gets up for us. But not only that, he's a good player. And he definitely can hurt you. And he's strong for a little guy, and he will surprise you. And actually he's a better player than you really -- sometime if you see him when he's not playing so good you won't realize how good he really is.
He's a pretty solid player.
Q. You and Dubee have been together for a while here, seem to have a very comfortable relationship. But it's still unclear to me, how does it work during the game? Do you guys talk a lot and do you tell him to go talk to the pitcher? How does that all go?
CHARLIE MANUEL: A lot of times he'll go jump in there before I tell him anything. I do trust Rich a lot. And I've always -- even like when I first got this job, the pitching coach I had before was Dick Pole in Cleveland. And I used to think that Dick Pole was he was definitely a guy I leaned on a lot.
Actually, I talked to him a lot about the situations in the game that didn't necessarily mean -- have pitching involved and stuff. But when I feel like just like any of my coaches, I feel like you've got to turn the area over and let them work in it. And over the course of the years, at first like it was different with Rich.
But over the course of seems like every year like he definitely -- he's earned my trust 100 percent. And he communicates real well with the pitchers. I leave that alone. I like to let him work with our pitchers. I don't go down to the bullpen like a lot of managers. The reason I don't do that, because when I was in Cleveland I'd always go down to the bullpen, stand there with the pitching coach and watch the guy pitch and all of a sudden there's pitchers coming over and asking me questions. Like I'm not going to be around them very much.
And I find it very important to let that -- like the pitching coach handle the pitching, get involved. So he's going to answer all the questions about mechanics and things and pitches and how to pitch people and just the general information and everything about it.
Because I was a hitting coach before and no one got in my area. And I would fight you if you think you're going to come in, somebody says in something in my area because I'm working with these players and I'm getting to the ballpark early and I'm throwing BP.
I'm not boasting and bragging about it, but I will tell you this: I threw more than ten minutes a day. I used to throw batting practice anywhere from one hour to four hours. And when I managed in the Minor Leagues, I'm sitting here talking to you today because we used to hit -- when we'd go on the road my teams used to hit all the time. We'd get to the ballpark like 10:00 in the morning, if we could get to the field or to the cage.
My pitching coach and I would go either in the cage out on the field and throw regular to our hitters and we would practice all the time. And in hitting, that was my area.
If I'm going to get fired, if somebody don't do the job, then I'll take the blame for it. But at the same time, don't ever come over in my area. Let me fire myself (laughter). I've always looked at it that way. And I look at our coaches that way, and I try to let -- leave them alone, let them do their job.
But rich Dubee, he's carried that -- his dedication, the things that he does for us, he organizes -- he's a tremendous organizer. And not only that, he's a great communicator with our pitchers. Does a tremendous job. Couldn't have a better pitching coach.
Q. Does tomorrow's result impact at all Game 4, or is that definitely Blanton's game?
CHARLIE MANUEL: We'll play the game tomorrow. Does it impact it? I don't know exactly. We'll just wait and see what happens.
Q. Jimmy Rollins is a long-time veteran but he's from this area. How special do you think it is for him to be playing against the Giants in his hometown area?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I hope it's real special for him. But he likes to play anyway. He's going to enjoy it. And like hopefully Jimmy's stroke is getting better.
And he can play like he can, because when he plays and he gets going, he's a very consistent player. And he can carry it for quite a while. And he's a special player. And we need for him to play good. I'm sure he's going to be wanting to play good.
Q. We know you like home runs, love home runs, but Polanco doesn't hit a lot of home runs. But you've kind of said he does a lot of the little things right. Was that just something you knew you needed in your lineup this year and can you talk about all the little things that he does do offensively, moving runners over and stuff?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, when we brought him over, definitely when we got him back we looked at him as an offensive player. And the reason we did, because we wanted an action player in our lineup. That was Polanco, guy that could hit behind the runners and could consistently make good contact. Puts the fat part on the ball. And he doesn't strike out much.
And so we pick up that kind of player, cuts some strikeouts down in our lineup, but it's also his consistency every day playing, putting the ball into play and hitting it hard. Played a big part in it. And how he plays the game.
He's just a good, solid player. And that's what he got. He got something -- his hits total was down this year. Usually he gets 200. He got, what, almost 600 hits. Or 600 in three years. And that kind of speaks for itself.
I mean, he puts a guy in your lineup that's definitely going to make contact every day.
Q. What have you come to expect from Matt Cain in the history facing him and what are some of the keys whenever he's on the mound?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Repeat that, please.
Q. Matt Cain, what have you come to expect from him when he's pitched against you and what are some of the keys going against him?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He's tremendous. There again, I would say Matt Cain's command, I noticed that the last few times he's been out, or the second half of the season, he's really had good command of his change-up. He has good stuff. He grades out real high across the board. And he's a front-line pitcher, as everyone knows.
But at the same time we've got to make him throw strikes and better his command on both sides of the plate. That's what's going to dictate how he does.
Q. You talked about how Hamels has benefited from Halladay. Is there a benefit also in sort of the contrast in the Giants have seen two righties now given obviously a lefty has little different pitches how that might help you?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think so. Ideally, when you think back about different looks, I think of the ideal different look would be something like Baltimore used to have when they had their four 20-game winners. They had two righties and two lefties, and all four of the pitchers were different type pitchers.
If I'm not mistaken, it was McNally, Palmer, Cuellar and Dobbs. That's how they lined up and they lined up that way for about four, five, six years, whatever. And they would come at you with different looks. I'm not sure, but I think maybe Bochy had that in mind when he put Sanchez in the second hole. And I think almost every manager would basically agree with that. Different type pitchers or style, like definitely given a different look is -- to me makes a difference.
Q. Is that the case with Hamels?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think at the end there, at the end of the season, what we got into, I think in our rotation ours kind of happened to be that way. That's what we kind of settled on.
Q. Is Hamels as dominant today as he was in '08 in the World Series? And is he a different pitcher today than he was when we saw him in '08?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think he's stronger. And I think he has more arsenal, more equipment, whatever you want to call it, more pitches. But I think at the same time, when he's on -- I never got on this guy about his breaking ball. I used to always want him to throw more against left-hand pitchers, and I've talked and told him before -- I used to tell him after a game to throw more breaking balls but I never -- I wasn't very strong about it, about insisting it and things like that because he was good with his fastball and change-up.
Here's a guy getting by and pitching lights out with two pitches. And I looked at it in some ways and say why would I want to go over there and mess with him and change him. But somewhere along the line it got out of whack and everybody started figuring out what was wrong with him.
Actually when I look at him sometimes, he'll go -- when he's really good, he's good the same way he was before. Just basically it would be fastball and change-up, where he's putting the ball.
The other night, if you go back and look, the last out he got on Scott Rolen, you can't pitch a hitter no better than that. The way he set him up, the way he went in and out, what he threw him, up and down.
Finally, if you're sitting there, I'm sitting in the dugout watching him and I'm thinking and all of a sudden when he throws him a high fastball and throws the ball right by him, I guarantee if he would relate to it, he knew he had an idea and he was very confident that he was going to throw a fastball by him, up. And I guarantee you he could tell, he knew that he -- he says to himself, I guarantee you, he says, "I know I can throw the ball by this guy right now, up."
When he's on and he's that good, he's very good.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Charlie.
End of FastScripts