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October 21, 2010

Charlie Manuel


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Charlie Manuel.

Q. Romero hasn't pitched a ton and he had that little incident in Atlanta with his back. Is he healthy?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He's healthy. He's all right.

Q. If Roy hadn't volunteered last night, did you have any -- what would you have done if he wasn't out there? Would Lidge have gone the ninth?
CHARLIE MANUEL: No, probably not. Unless we just absolutely made our mind up right there. We had Romero and we had Kendrick. And like we might try to do something with those guys.
I mean, on the road we've had Lidge. He's been our closer. Like we've held him to one inning most all year, I think, pretty much.
I'm trying to think if we used him for four outs anytime. I don't think we have. But at the same time that's how we look at him and he's our closer.

Q. Back to Game 2. Sanchez had a lot of success against you guys earlier in the year. What did you do differently with him to get to him this time around?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think basically like from what I saw, the success we had on him, was we tried to make him bring the ball up, especially like when he got ahead of us in the count and his slider, he's got good command of his stuff and he threw a good slider and usually to right-handed hitters down toward the back knee. He keeps the ball down good. And I think we were a little bit more patient and we got some better pitches to hit than we usually do.
But he pitched good. I felt like he pitched a pretty good, strong game against us.

Q. Did you learn anything last year from being in the situation against the Yankees on how to handle it, on what to say to guys, anything in particular leading up to the game?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think we've been down quite a bit since I've been in Philly, and I've seen us in tough times. It's something that we rise to the occasion. And this is a test right here. This is a good test.
And our guys -- and I'll walk around today and I'll talk to every one of them, probably, and make eye-to-eye contact with them. I don't know if it will be about baseball or not. It will be the fact we know what we've got to do.
We know when the season started we had one thing in mind, and that was our goal was -- our ultimate goal was to get to the World Series and win. And we know that's what we're playing for. But now we can't afford to lose tonight, of course. We know that. We know exactly where we're at. We've got to keep going. We came to the ballpark today determined we were going to win.

Q. Game 3 you had Utley, kept Utley in the second spot, kept Polanco in the third spot with a righty. Why did you like to go back today to have Utley go three and Howard four?
CHARLIE MANUEL: That's been my lineup most of the year, except for Jimmy at times -- earlier in the season that was basically kind of the lineup I had on Victorino, when Jimmy was healthy, but we didn't have it very long.
But I like -- I wanted to put as many left-hand hitters as possible kind of join them, because I figure like we've got to score runs on Lincecum. And we'll have a lefty situation if it arises, and hopefully it will come up. We've got to score runs to get to it.
But at the same time, too, I also think that, I said before, Utley's average against left-hand pitchers a little bit higher than Polanco's. Like I went back to what's been the best for us against right hand pitchers.

Q. You said the ultimate goal was to get back to the World Series and to win the World Series. So if that doesn't happen, if you don't get back there, do you look at it as underachieving or do you not put yourself in that place yet?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think we've had a tremendous season if you count the regular season. That's one of the first pieces. It's like a pie. It's like four pieces and we've got two of the pieces and we still are working on a third one.
And I think your goal is that if you don't reach a goal I'm sure there's going to be disappointment. But at the same time like I don't think that you could ever -- you'd be taking away something from the players to like -- not to notice exactly like the impact of our season. We lead Major League Baseball in wins. That's the first time in Philly history. That's got to say something. You just don't cast those kind of seasons away.
We definitely have done something good this season, and I feel like, but at the same time, if you go ask our players if something like that happens, I'm sure they're going to be disappointed.

Q. Chase obviously came back from that thumb injury. He struggled here lately. A lot of people's reaction: Is he hurt? What are you seeing out of him? And, one, is he healthy; two, what do you see him out of him at the plate the way he's been swinging the bat?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He said he's not hurt but he's had a hard time finding the swing, consistently.
We've had -- like Ryan Howard has been the same way, so has Jimmy. We had those guys out for quite a while and they're having -- their production -- and also their swings, when you look at how they perform in the past and just their swing and the balance and rhythm and quickness in their swings and things like that, or timing, like they were having a hard time really -- Chase, he's had a hard time being consistent in that. But he says that he's healthy. And I believe him.
I think it's the fact that it's a mental aspect for Chase as far as he mentally really gets into the game, his focus is so hard sometimes, that like you're seeing I think he tries too hard at times.

Q. Some people might say your team is struggling offensively. How much credit would you give to the Giants' pitching and how they've done against your ballclub?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think anytime -- if you've watched the series, their pitching has been absolutely tremendous. I mean, we knew coming in that they got good pitching. They have a good bullpen. The middle guys in the bullpen have stepped up. There's not a lot of talk about them. They make good pitches and they have good command and they use their stuff good.
But also like, you know what, they played very good against us. They've got breaks and things like that, but it's all part of the game and they really take -- they really take advantage of how we play. That's kind of what we did to Cincinnati.
They've got a lot of life going. And they've got -- and it seems like every time that we do something that they counter it or anytime we make a mistake they definitely are there to take advantage of it.

Q. I know you guys had some bigger-name players in '08, but the way the Giants are going about winning a lot of these games, do they remind you at all of the way you won games in the postseason two years ago?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think -- I look over and I know Burrell and I know Rowand and I look at Sandoval and I look around and you say like Sandoval is a very popular player. He's a bubbly kind of guy. He carries a lot of energy.
When I look at him, in the fact like he was a regular player and everything and started taking him in and out of the lineup, and I know Rowand -- and I know Pat Burrell and Rowand, I know how hard he likes to play and stuff.
He's always been a team player. It just goes to show you what kind of team player he really is, because if I walked out there today, when I walk out there he'll say something to me, I'll guarantee you he'll say something about winning the game tonight.
And I mean they have that determination. I see all that. And they kind of -- they've got an edge going with them, they've got some stuff going for them. They've got a lot of life and they've always liked to play us. And they're playing good right now. And we'll see what happens.
We've got a good pitcher going tonight, of course. They have, too. So this should be a real good game.

Q. I'm sure in your mind you want Roy to go ahead and pitch a complete game and you won't have to worry about anything else. But in this kind of situation, is it all hands on deck? And I don't know if today's Cole's bullpen day, but would he be available kind of in the same way Oswalt was?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I'm not going to rule nothing out. But at the same time it would be tough for -- I think for us to put Cole in a game except you never know until you get in the situation you might get into.
But like we're going to do everything we can to win the game tonight. I don't think there's no tomorrow for us.

Q. In '96 the Braves were down 3-1. First inning in one game they run five runs. In the first inning of another game they scored six runs. You guys have a really good track record runs scoring first. In a game like this it would seem like the pressure of elimination would mount with each set of outs that you have less. Is it important to get off to a good start? Is it important to come out of the gates roaring?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think it's important for us to score, but also like I think it's important for us to hold the Giants, because I think we do have the kind of team, the longer the game goes, eventually we're going to put some runs on the board.
I think it's hard -- I know we've been shut out quite a bit this year more than usual, but at the same time seems like to me if we get Roy some room early, I think that he definitely can be much better. But at the same time if he's pitching good and he's holding them, I feel like somewhere along the line we're going to score some runs.
I think we've got guys in our lineup who are very dangerous. And I think somebody's going to -- we're going to put together some hits somewhere along the line.
And I think that's kind of a history that we've had this year. I've talked about our offense, how it's been down. But at the same time I've also noticed a lot of games that we win, you can get us down, and we've been down behind five and six runs before like late, and we can come and get you. And that's the kind of attitude we've got.
And I think those are the things we talk about always keeping. I think we're never out of it until we're going to play 27 outs. But I think if we scored before them, it would be better. Because I think that would give him some room to work and everything.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Charlie.

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