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October 25, 2004

Tony La Russa


Q. Do you plan to do kind of what the Yankees do with Pedro (Martinez), go deep into the count so he compiles his hundred-count limit?

TONY La RUSSA: I don't think you can actually go out there and control that a hundred percent. I think what you have to do against anybody that's a tough pitcher, you have to compete every at-bat, and in the competition, sometimes you're fouling pitches out, you're not making any outs. You can't go out and run the count up, and take two strikes and follow with a bunch of pitches; he'll put you away. We're going to compete; every guy that goes to bat is going to compete.

Q. Jeff Suppan, he takes the mound tomorrow night, in a huge game tomorrow night here in St. Louis.

TONY La RUSSA: It's more important for us than them, because they have the two up. Jeff has been consistent in how he approaches games. He needs to make pitches against that lineup, and he's capable.

Q. You guys have had a great home record, how much is that because of the great fans here in St. Louis?

TONY La RUSSA: I think it's a big edge. We just came from Fenway Park. We were in Minute Maid, where their fans were helping the Astros. There's no doubt that the home crowd being excited pumps up the home team. It gives you an edge. So we'll see if we can take advantage and make that edge count for more runs than the other club. Our fans make us excited.

Q. Can you talk about the advantage you have just by playing National League rules in a National League park against an American League club?

TONY La RUSSA: I think as a matter of making a general statement, the National League club has the advantage. I think we're going to lose some of that because Pedro Martinez has pitched in the National League and is used to handling the bat and doing all the things a National League pitcher has to do. I don't know how much of an athlete he is, but if he can handle a bat it's not significant. I think Ortiz has played first base before, but that's not his favorite position. But you can't try to hit ground balls to first. But it's an advantage for us, just like the crowd is. It isn't more important -- the important advantage if our hitters had good at-bats against Martinez and Suppan was sharp against their hitters, that's the edge we really need.

Q. How is Womack feeling? Is there a chance he'll be back leading off come tomorrow night?

TONY La RUSSA: He came for treatment. I think he's sore, but he's going to play. And there's two ways of looking at it: One, has Tony back, and the other keeps him for 7.

Q. Can you assess Pedro the pitcher? Do you think he's changed much over the years, kind of had to reinvent himself, is he the same pitcher he was five years ago?

TONY La RUSSA: I'm not probably the guy to answer that, because you have to ask -- we saw him last year, I see him on TV. He has more experienced than ever, and is competitive as ever. I think he'll be a handful.

Q. A lot of people think St. Louis is the best baseball town in America, can you talk about that?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, I go by comments from players and I think they say St. Louis is the best because I think the fans are as enthusiastic as other places but they're probably a little more fair-minded, more willing to -- you can get booed here as a visiting player some. But you're not going to be embarrassed by the booing. And I think we've been in situations where the fans for the other people are real enthusiastic, very supportive, but they can get real nasty with the visiting club. And that's irritating, and sometimes dangerous. Here you don't usually have the nastiness, in fact, you virtually never see nastiness from our fans. If you like people that are really enthusiastic and fair to both sides, it's got a chance to be the best.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the walks that you had in the first couple of games. Was it a matter of being too fine and is it a matter of facing this kind of lineup?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, I think sometimes you try to make explanations and the fans say it's excuses. I think they have a very good lineup. I can give you a bunch of lineups in the National League that are good lineups, and we dealt with them. I don't think we executed like we had to. For whatever the reasons. It's not the way we pitch and we got hurt for it.

Q. I know Marquis pitched last night, is it the intention to pitch him Wednesday?

TONY La RUSSA: One of the bright spots last night is Jason got a chance to get out there and make some pitches. He pitches better when he's had some activity. So now he'll take his two days and he will be the Game 4 pitcher.

Q. You haven't gotten too much from Rolen and Edmonds offensively this series. Is there something the Red Sox pitching against them that maybe others haven't done, and how confident are you that they'll get something going against Pedro tomorrow?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, there's a couple of different answers there, one of them is Pedro is a talented guy and if he's sharp, I don't care which of our hitters goes up there it's going to be tough to center the ball. But you look at Rolen, Rolen is one of the game's great competitors, and he had a couple of games, I'm trying to remember, he ended up the season not swinging very well. Game 1 against the Dodgers didn't do much, the next day he got a couple of -- I know he got a couple of big hits. Same thing against the Astros. He got the base hit against Qualls and then the home run. Nothing is going to stop Scott from competing, when he competes like he does, any at-bat he can be clutch. And in fact, yesterday, if my memory is right, the first ball he hit was a bullet to third base. If that ball goes side to side that could be a double, if he got it in the air, it could be a two-run double. Jimmy has had the best year out of all the -- how many years he's been here -- since 2000. It's the most consistent he's been. But what I saw in the key at-bats, the split or whatever it was down and diving, and Foulke comes in and makes pitches on the one time he popped Rolen up. I think you have to tip your cap, we have to do it to them like they've been doing it to us.

End of FastScripts...

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