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October 6, 2011

Charlie Manuel


Q. Since Game 1, they seemed to have done a pretty good job of neutralizing your middle of the order hitters. Are you noticing anything different? What have you seen from your end?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically what I've seen is they definitely pitched to us, and they work on us. They try to throw -- get ahead in the count. They definitely work on throwing strike one if you look at it, and they kind of -- from there, then they try to stretch the strike zone on us, and I think at times, especially I'd say last night, once we got behind, we got a little anxious, and that's kind of natural. And we started chasing some balls, started chasing balls out of the strike zone.

Q. G.G. and Ryan both kind of alluded that maybe his approach at the plate has kind of gotten off track a little bit these last few games, and he said that's happened to him obviously at other points in the season. What does he need to do to remedy that? Or when you've seen him kind of come out of those slumps before in the season, what has he changed that's gotten him out of it?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He's got to stay on the ball, let the ball get a little deeper on him, and stay in the middle of the field, just try to make good contact. That's how he comes out of it. But he's got to really follow the ball good instead of -- he's got to go straight through the ball. It's almost like he's a left-handed first baseman, a left-handed hitter, it's almost like taking his glove and catching the ball on the barrel of his bat if that makes sense. That's kind of what he has to do.

Q. When they're pitching, how much of Carpenter do you see in Halladay and how much of Halladay do you see in Carpenter?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Something is similar as far as the style and also the type of pitches that they throw. Carpenter throws a sinker, throws a cutter, throws a slider, big curveball change-up, and he uses all of his pitches. So does Roy. Roy, as far as their delivery and wind-up, there's a difference, but about the same sized guy, you know.

Q. Anything about how they don't let the big inning hurt them?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think that that's probably things that they've learned probably from who their coach was and by talking to one another when they were together.

Q. When you faced Carpenter last time, he was obviously going on three days' rest for the first time. Do you expect to see him in a little different mode tomorrow night, more better control?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I expect to see -- any time he goes out there, you expect that he's going to give you a quality start, just like probably you expect the same thing out of Roy, and I'm sure Carpenter is going to go out there and pitch his own game and do the same things that he's successful, and he's going to be prepared and he's going to be concentrating on his command and throwing quality strikes and using all of his pitches. That's what I look for, and basically how we've got to attack him, we've got to be aggressive, we've got to be relaxed and focused and get good balls to hit, make him throw the ball over the plate, do kind of what we did against him the last time he pitched against us.
He was having command problems the last time, and of course you were talking about the rest. And he was having command problems, and he threw a lot of low like sinkers and low breaking balls, and we were patient enough to make him bring the ball up some.

Q. You've got Roy and Cliff (Lee) both on full rest going into this game. At what point did you decide if it was going to come down to Game 5 you wanted Roy on the mound and what made the determination between those two pitchers?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think the fact that the way we had them lined up and also the fact that since Roy has been here he's kind of always been ahead. He was the guy that was in the No. 1 post, and we felt like that who he is and everything that he deserves the start.

Q. Are you concerned that your guys when they come up to bat are kind of being a bit too anxious, swinging at first-ball switches, not really working the count around as probably perhaps they ought to?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, basically tomorrow is the biggest game that we've played. I mean, this is the biggest game of the season that we're going to play is tomorrow. And what you see is our guys can come out -- they can come out in a really relaxed frame of mind, really pumped up and ready to play, as long as they can control their adrenaline and everything, and they can concentrate on staying focused on what they're doing in the game, and we can take it to them, and that's what I'm looking for.
I think tomorrow's setting here is ideal for us. We're in our ballpark, and we're going to have a full house, and everything is going to be going for us. I think basically what we've got to do, we've got to just be ourselves and play like we can, and I think that the results will be there.

Q. Are you contemplating at all any changes in the lineup, moving people to different spots?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think about our lineup, but at the same time, I'll be very honest with you, when you sit there and you're not getting too many hits and you look and you've got four or five guys 0 for 4, how much can I move them in the order? I mean, if that makes sense, if you follow what I'm saying. I know who can hit and what our best lineup is, and that's what I strive for every day. I don't know if I'll make any changes or not. I'll think about it. I've been thinking about it last night, and I'll think about it tonight. But you know.

Q. What was the mood of the flight like home, the clubhouse this morning, and do you do anything to guard against this team getting too tight considering all the expectations kind of going into the season and being in this spot?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Our clubhouse, right now we're in a very good mood. The guys got there early this morning, I got there, I always talk to him and BS a little bit with them and walk around and kind of get vibes on what they're thinking and where they're at, and we're ready to go.
I see everything in a positive way. I look at it as very positive. And I get our guys to -- like they know how good they are and how good they have to be, and we've got to go out there and win tomorrow's game, and that's not getting carried away with things. We're going to go out there and play our game, have a lot of fun. We've earned a right to get here and this is the biggest game we're going to play, and things are going to work out for us.

Q. Can you appreciate the pitching match-up between Roy and Chris Carpenter? La Russa called it a match-up of a lifetime. Can you appreciate that or maybe not until after it's over?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I love good baseball and I like challenges. I think that's the greatest thing of being a manager. The best thing about being a manager, you've heard me say it before, playing a game is No. 1; managing is second I would say because playing you're involved in everything on the field, plus you're getting to hit and you're getting to play the game. Managing is the next thing to playing, and it's competition, it's competing, and it's a battle, and you're kind of sitting there a part of it.
And I look at tomorrow's game as, yeah, we've got two great pitchers pitching against one another and there's two good teams, and I look at that as that's kind of what it should be. That's what playoff baseball should be. And that's where it's at.

Q. For the guys who have never been in a Game 5 or a Game 7 elimination situation, do you say anything to them or try to stress certain things to those guys about what to expect or how they should approach it?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically -- a lot of times, yeah, I'll talk to guys. But most of the time, you never have to say anything about the magnitude of the game or anything like that. You just tell them to be -- just be yourself, just play the game like he knows how, like do what he's capable of doing, stay within himself, and have a lot of fun, but concentrate on what you're doing.

Q. I know that you know and I know your players know how they're generally pitched and how the Cardinals in particular were going to pitch you in this series. Do you have a theory on why you think your players have been impatient, why they've chased so many off-speed pitches out of the strike zone? And how do you get that to change in a game that means as much as tomorrow night?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think it comes from actually -- I think that comes from just the whole atmosphere around the game. It's hard to set -- like I just left the clubhouse a minute ago and I was talking to some of our guys. It's hard to sit there and explain to somebody how you feel, like how you feel, even though that guy has played and I played baseball for 20 years, and you sit there and you -- a guy is trying to tell you how he feels, and yet it's kind of hard for you to relate to that. But at the same time, there comes a communication thing about it, and it's kind of a -- everything about it is human nature. It's kind of like when the -- Ted Williams, what he says about every at-bat is an adventure, so how many at-bats did Ted Williams get in his career. That means he had that many adventures? I agree with every one of those. So if every at-bat is an adventure maybe every pitch is an adventure if you want to break it down and try to master it.
What happens is it's hard for you to explain how you feel about things. It's a human nature and a human element that really actually plays the game, and just because you feel real good -- you can feel the best that you've ever felt in your life and you can be hitting low-line drives out of the yard and things like that and you can get into the game and go 0 for 4.
I remember one time I was in Detroit and Billy Martin told me if I hit a ball over the roof today in BP, I'll start you in a game. I hit seven in a row over the roof, I got in the game, I went 0 for 4, I struck out three times, and I popped up to the catcher once. So really, I'm just using that kind of an example, but really, if you stop and think about it, you can go ask the guys, too, they can sit there and tell you how they felt and everything, and maybe they might not be explaining it the way you want to hear it or basically where you can understand it, and that's what makes baseball so great. That's what makes baseball so beautiful and everything like that.
That same pitcher, he can get you out today, and that same pitcher can pitch tomorrow and he might not get nobody out. Now, if you can explain that to me, I'll be glad to listen, and that's kind of what we're dealing with. But at the same time, you've got two talented teams, and they're very equal and very kind of even. And it's going to be a good game, and the team that plays the best is going to win, and I think that we definitely can control our destiny and no one is to blame but ourselves.

Q. As someone who also grew up hunting squirrels, have you requested any squirrel proofing of the park for tomorrow, and are you afraid of a squirrel curse?
CHARLIE MANUEL: No, not at all. Like I've seen squirrels a lot in different ballparks besides St. Louis, of course, but at the same time the squirrel over there was a little bit different. There is a country western song about a squirrel, like getting in this church on a Sunday, and that's kind of funny. I'm trying to think about -- Mike Stevens sings it, sure does. Same guy that sang The Streak and all those songs, yeah, gotcha.

Q. Polanco obviously has been having struggles with his health and everything, but do you get concerned that sometimes when it lingers this long that maybe the frustration is getting in the way of what he's trying to do up there, as well?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, I think Polly definitely wants to play, and I think he's definitely able to play. If I didn't think that he was able to play, he wouldn't be in the lineup. But I think he definitely wants to play, and he's able to play, and I think that he -- yeah, he's having -- he's struggling right now. But at the same time, there again, he might just come out tomorrow and have a big day.
Freese had a big day last night, didn't he? I think he was a little bit off until last night. I mean, there again, that's the way the game goes.

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