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October 3, 2011

Ron Roenicke


Q. Just talk, you sort of talked last night about being up 2-0 and the advantage of that but then also now switching venues, and how it probably gets more difficult.
RON ROENICKE: I think it gets a lot more difficult. They've played well here. They know that they've got to really get after us. We know what's on the line, too. We'll come out certainly playing hard and doing whatever we can.
But they're a scrappy team, like we feel we are when we've got to win a game, we feel like we can scrap and we can win a game. And I think they feel the same way.

Q. We've asked you this for the last couple of weeks, last couple of months, Shaun Marcum and his struggles at home versus the road. Can you put any kind of finger on why the splits are so dramatic with him?
RON ROENICKE: No, I can't. Shaun, he's a command pitcher. And I don't know why your command would be different at one park versus another. When he's down in the zone, when he's hitting the corners like he usually does, we talked about it the beginning of the season where he was good both places.
So I don't know lately, he's still pitching well for me. But he's just not as locked in as he was earlier in the season.

Q. As good as Ryan Braun was over the course of the regular season, is it possible he's taking it up a notch into the postseason?
RON ROENICKE: Well, we've seen these stretches from him where you couldn't get any better. First month of the season, incredible. Hitting 380 and ten homers, I don't know how about RBIs, but stealing bases, making great plays on defense.
I've seen him like this, not just then, but a couple of other times during the season. When he's healthy, when he's feeling strong it's pretty hard to stop him.

Q. You remember the reception Prince got here when you came in July. How do you think those type of atmospheres affect him?
RON ROENICKE: I don't know, he stays pretty focused on what he needs to do. He knows when to relax and have fun and he knows when he needs to get serious and get something done.
He's always been able to switch that back and forth very well. I imagine he's going to get the same reception here again. They don't forget so easily. So we'll see what happens.
But he's feeling good. He's feeling good about his game. He's feeling good about the team. And we need his leadership and we need what he does on the field.

Q. How do you think your team is playing? It's hot out here, but they seem pretty hot right now?
RON ROENICKE: How we're playing, you said?

Q. Yeah.
RON ROENICKE: Yeah, we're playing real well.
I thought the last week, week and a half of the season I thought we played really well. I thought we picked up our game great on the road trip, we went to Cincinnati, where we had to win. Played not so well going from there to Chicago. And then coming home played really well at home. The last six games there I thought it was a great way to go into the playoffs.
You guys talked about whether it was good to be pushed there at the end. And I think it was good to be pushed. Not necessarily, I mentioned on the pitching staff end, but for the regs I think it was good to play it out to the last game. We didn't have a chance to relax. All we knew is every game was important. And we won that last game and we picked it up right in the playoffs. And I think we played the same way.

Q. You said Marcum isn't pitching as well as he was for you earlier in the season. Does that concern you at all?
RON ROENICKE: No, I think at the beginning of the season he was lights out. He was our best pitcher for whatever that period was. I still think he's pitching well. When Shaun goes out there, I'm not concerned about him. Every time we put him out there I think he's going to pitch a good game and I expect him to.
But he's not lights out maybe like he was earlier. He has those stretches where he is. But it wouldn't surprise me at all if he came out and did the same thing he did early in the season and he's done occasionally during the season. So this is still a great starter, great competitor. When he's good, he needs to have that command on. And hopefully tomorrow he'll have that command.

Q. Collmenter has kind of had your guys number this year on his starts. Can you put a finger on what he does, what's giving you trouble with him?
RON ROENICKE: He's got a lot of deception, his delivery. We're not the only team that has trouble with him. He's done well. His first year up in the big leagues, extremely well. Great change-up, good location on the fastball. He mixes in the curveball enough to where you have to think about it. And like I said, he's got a lot of deception in his delivery.

Q. After the way Hairston played the first two games, is he just the third baseman now, going forward?
RON ROENICKE: Well, I think tomorrow he'll be back in there again. And we'll see how game to game goes. I like having Casey on the bench. It's not necessarily good for Casey, because I'm sure he'd like to be starting, but I feel real comfortable with him on the bench. He's a guy that I think is going to put the ball in play and I think he knows what happens in different situations that he's up there, especially with people in scoring position. I think he knows what he needs to do.

Q. How valuable is it having Counsell around, who's had experience with the Marlins, and the World Series here, as well?
RON ROENICKE: Anytime you have experience on your team it helps, especially if those guys that are experienced are quality guys, are gamers. And we've got two of them. We've got Kotsay, also.
I think between Kotsay and Counsell, with the experience they have, the baseball savvy that they have, the relationship that they have with the players on the team, that they look up to them, these guys are like having extra coaches. They're very valuable as players still.
But I know that they'll take care of things that sometimes you don't want coaches or a manager to take care of with your team.
Counsell has been in that position quite a while. He knows these guys really well. And Kotsay has come over for a first-year guy and really contributed in that area, also.

Q. I know the team goals are more important than individual goals, but Saito got his first season win. Coming over from Japan and not knowing how much longer he'll be able to go, he seemed really touched that that happened for him. Could you just talk about what he's meant for the team and that he was able to have that kind of moment?
RON ROENICKE: Yeah, I think, you know, Sammy's whole season started off really tough. In Spring Training with the earthquake and with the destruction in his -- really, his hometown in Japan, what he had to go through with trying to find out if everybody was okay, you know, with the nuclear plant thing that was kind of ongoing even after he found out his family were fine.
So he went through that, then he gets hurt. He comes back, he has one rehab start. He gets hurt again. Really tough start for him. Halfway through the season, really.
Once he came back with us he stayed healthy. He's pitched really well for us. And at the beginning we thought he was going to be our 8th inning guy or 7th inning guy, but then when we got Francisco, it allowed he and Hawkins to do 6 and 7 and mix in with Loe there. He's a guy that I feel comfortable every time we put him out there.
Yesterday's game I thought was very important, that inning after they came back and tied it off of Zack. So they go 4-4 and we went into the 6th inning, I felt really good with Sammy coming into the game and putting up a zero like he's been doing most of his outings, and to hold them there. Because once they start getting that momentum, it's really important to have somebody come in there and put up a zero.
So he comes up. He comes in there and does his thing, gives us that zero and gives our offense a chance to bust out, which we really did that inning.

Q. This is Saito's greatest magic act, bases loaded, no outs for Sammy. He had a five-man infield and they didn't score? I'll check that out.
RON ROENICKE: Yeah, I can't remember, not sure.

Q. You mentioned Collmenter's deception, is there anything that a player can do to prepare for that, anything different than you would in a normal, more conventional --
RON ROENICKE: No, there's nothing you can do rather than really concentrate on that middle of the plate, where you're trying to hit mistakes, instead of trying to hit it on the corner. You see different pitchers over the years that have deception. Jered Weaver is one of them. I don't care what you do to prepare for it. He's 6-7, he steps a foot and a half closed and it's just a weird angle the ball is coming from. Plus he's got good stuff.
You would think, okay, people are going to get used to these guys the longer they pitch. Weaver keeps getting better and better.
So I don't think -- the deception part, it's always there. You think of different relievers coming in and they're throwing the 92 and throwing it by everybody. Why do they do that when other guys are throwing 96, 97 and they can't throw by people. When you have deception, it's going to always be there.

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