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October 26, 2004

Tony La Russa


Q. It has to be a difficult moment to you right now, you're three games down, and that come-from-behind thing, the hopes?

TONY La RUSSA: That's the problem with doing something like this, the loss is too fresh. We don't have any real pearls. We're about in as difficult a spot as you can be. All we can do is win tomorrow.

Q. I'm just wondering what happened on the Suppan off-third-base play in the third inning, and the fact you didn't score any runs that inning. Did that take any energy out of the team?

TONY La RUSSA: When you're in a championship competition, and the other team is playing well, you can't make mistakes, or you can't miss opportunities. We had a baserunner on first, and didn't get a mark. On that play -- it was an easy read. They had the infield way back; third baseman was way off the bag. And Jeff heard "no, no," and Jose (Oquendo) he was yelling, "go, go." So men are not machines, and it's a big miss, because Larry (Walker) did the right thing, hit the ball to the right side, and that was a big miss. But you can't do that in a championship competition.

Q. Can you talk about Pedro Martinez's performance tonight.

TONY La RUSSA: I thought he mixed things well, location, speeds, what the ball was doing. I mean he gave our club a lot of different looks, and it was -- I didn't see him throw too many balls over the middle. Jeff did a good job. He threw enough balls, that two out, nobody on. I think he got us twice with that. So Pedro pitched better.

Q. What did you feel about Jeff's performance tonight?

TONY La RUSSA: Competitive, you know, two outs nobody on, double, single. We've given up a lot of runs that way. We just need to make a pitch or close out the inning and we're not doing it. But before we start pointing fingers at our pitching, we missed opportunities to score; we're just getting beat.

Q. You guys have excelled in all facets of the game all year. Is it what Boston is doing that's stopping you or is it more the case of what the Cardinals aren't doing?

TONY La RUSSA: That's a fair question. Well, the first game was a close game, and the last two haven't been all that -- we scored two and one. So I think it's probably a combination. I think they're doing a lot of good things and we're not doing enough -- I don't think we're stinking up the joint, but we're capable of playing better. They're stopping us sometimes, but we're better than some of the pitches and plays and swings that we've had.

Q. You led the league in offense, I was curious how you can explain just how they've shut down your 4, 5, 6 hitters.

TONY La RUSSA: As long as the game has been played, if the pitcher mixes things up and keeps the ball in the middle, I don't care how good the hitters are, they have a hard time adjusting. I think we've -- we hit the ball hard to get a little bit more, but in a lot of key situations, they're making good pitches, and we're not. So that's credit to them and in some way our hitters need to do more. I think we can do a better job of hitting, but I think you've got to give them credit. They've made good pitches in key situations over and over again.

Q. Does your team take any heart from the fact that Boston came back 0-3 last week?

TONY La RUSSA: It's something you've got to notice. It shows it's possible. I think the one thing I'm absolutely confident about is that we've come too far to give an effort that will embarrass anybody tomorrow. It's really simple, I remember after Boston played -- I think maybe before they played the fourth game, I was listening to Terry (Francona) and he said, you can't say it better than that, "all you have to do is win the game." It's hard to do that sometimes. It's hard not to get discouraged and just -- but if you're strong, they did it and I know we're strong, so we'll do it. We're going to come out and try to win a game. We can win a game tomorrow.

Q. You've won all season using Tony Womack as your leadoff guy. Now you've put him down to the seventh spot. Is that because of his health and will that ever change if this series continues on, especially tomorrow?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, it was health the first couple of days. He hadn't had a lot of success against the last two guys that have pitched. So it's tough to put a leader that you worry about physically. I wasn't sure how his shoulder felt. Today he was good to go. But Martinez has been tough on him. But we've lost three games with him out of that lineup, probably you'll see something different tomorrow.

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