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October 1, 2011

Charlie Manuel


Q. Can you talk just a little bit about the way this series lineup? I know you've talked about your pitching all season long, but just when you look at it now, the match-ups and everything, how good does it make you feel to know you've got the four guys you've got going?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think any time that you look at our starting pitching, and we can put that kind of rotation on the field, I think it gives us a lot of confidence. Usually if they just pitch their ordinary game like they pitch in their regular turns during the season, we've got a good chance of being in the game, we've got a good chance of winning the game and they usually hold off the opposition to a place where it gives us those chances if we're having trouble scoring. And I think our pitching, if it just stays the same, if it just pitches up to what he's done this season, I think we should be fine, especially if we can put together some runs.

Q. Can you talk about the decision put Blanton on the roster over Herndon?
CHARLIE MANUEL: David Herndon pitched -- he pitched good at times for us this year. Actually he did a good job. It was a hard decision. We liked the way that Blanton has bounced back and also we liked stuff as far as pitches that he has. His fastball, change-up, cutter, slider and curveball, and he's got a lot of experience, and actually we're liking the way that he has performed. It was a tough decision, so with the first round we left David off. I'm sure that that was tough for David, but at the same time we feel that Blanton can help us.

Q. Do you see him as kind of a one-inning guy, multiple inning guy?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I see him probably at least like a two-inning guy, maybe a three, depends on the situation that we get into. But he also has the experience to get a one hitter out, too.

Q. What does it do for the middle of the Cardinals' lineup that they don't have Matt Holliday like tonight?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Matt Holliday is one of the top hitters in the National League. I think any time he's not in the lineup, they might be losing a little offense, but at the same time when I look down at their lineup and you look at almost every guy in their order is hitting from .280 to .300 and they've got a tremendous offense, and we're going to have to pitch good against them and it has a chance to be a real big series.

Q. A lot of times the players talk about trying to keep things as normal as possible during the playoffs. Does anything change for you, the way you manage, how quick you'll pull someone or let them go or how you talk to the players more or less or anything different for you as a manager?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I'm excited about the game today. I think any time you get into the playoffs, I think this is the second piece of the pie. It's a four-piece pie. One of the big hurdles we've already got, but now this starts a new ballgame today, three out of five. Three out of five might be the toughest -- the first round might be the toughest round in the playoffs.
This is a huge series. The game got bigger today. Today's game is the biggest one we've played so far. That's kind of how I look at it. But at the same time, we've earned the right to have fun and enjoy the game, but we want to go out there and play our best baseball and play hard and have some fun and let it all hang out, see what we can do, and I think that we are -- I don't think, I know we're ready, and I'm looking forward to it. So are the players.

Q. Where do you think Bastardo is right now? I know he had a pretty good inning in Atlanta the another night, but he has struggled since September.
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think the other night how he pitched speaks for itself. I think that he had real good fastball the other night and his breaking ball was good. He threw strikes, he got a hit, he was aggressive. He used his fastball to get ahead and he mixed his pitches well. I feel like that he's ready to go. I feel like he's earned the right for us to put him in situations that we think he can excel in.

Q. Your lineup is basically how it's looked the last couple days of the regular season. How long did you contemplate the decision to move Utley to the 2 hole, and tell us about why you made that move.
CHARLIE MANUEL: I did that before in the past if you've noticed. I did that before like when we used to have -- at one time or another we had Chase (Utley) and Ryan (Howard) and IbaƱez hitting all in a row. This year for some reason, I don't know if you look, they've kind of had an off year hitting against lefties, all three guys have, as far as their batting average, on-base percentage and things like that. I've been thinking about splitting them up for quite a while.
And when I moved Hunter (Pence) kind of in the third spot when Ut got hurt and we started -- he started swinging pretty good out of there, I felt like -- and Victorino had hit good early in the season in the 5 hole, I felt it that might be our best lineup.

Q. When you look at the pitchers, the type of pitchers that you have, those top of the rotation guys, what factors would you consider before starting them on short rest, and what are the risks of going to a guy who has 200 plus innings in a short rest situation?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think a pitcher has -- he'll tell you most of the time how he feels and where he's at by how he's pitching. If you see somebody go out there and they pitch a real good game and they have their pitch count down and things like that, he's got exceptional stuff, that kind of tells you how strong he is. And I think that Rich (Dubee) and I definitely talk about all those things and we'll see where we go from there. I think we do have some guys that can pitch on short rest.

Q. Do you have any weather updates? And if there's anything threatening, will they hold things up at all?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't know. I was watching last night's game. I definitely don't want us to have a game like the Yankees had last night. I want good weather. I want us to be able to play nine innings or play until we win if you want to know the truth. I don't want no weather to be a problem.

Q. If it does look like there could be weather coming, you have three guys in the bullpen who are still pretty stretched out. Would it be something you would ever consider if the weather looked bad, ever putting one of those guys out there and burning him, and if there was a delay then coming back with Doc?
CHARLIE MANUEL: We're going to win the series, and how are we going to do it? Let's have our best pitchers out there on the mound. That's our starting staff. And the weather is not going to be a problem. That's how I look at it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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