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October 10, 2001

Tony La Russa


Q. Even though Woody Williams went 7-1 for you. People still thought it was a mismatch facing Johnson. Talk about the match up.

TONY LaRUSSA: We're very aware of Randy Johnson. I mean, you know you're going to have a tough day at the ballpark when he had a chance to break that game, that's Randy. We played three times against him, but one thing we knew and our team knew it, the guy was going to take the mound for us. He's got no fear and he's a dead-game competitor. Based on what we've seen for two months, we thought he would give us a chance to win.

Q. What surprised you most about Williams, his glove his bat or his pitching?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, so far in his games he has done everything. He has bounced off the mound on a bunt and thrown the guy to third, speared the line drive to Dave. When I called Bruce (Bochy) about him and we made the trade and we were playing Atlanta and Bobby Cox told me they both said this guy could swing the bat. I think the biggest thing about him is that you have an idea, but until you see him compete inning after inning deep into the game, he gave us all he had, I think that's the thing you've got to see it and be on his side to appreciate it.

Q. Tony, did you realize when you got Williams, what a competitor he is?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, first of all, I know when Walt brought his name up, you know, one of the things -- you're always -- it's part of the fun of being in the league, major leagues. You're always checking on guys, and his reputation was that he was a real good competitor. But he's something special in that regard.

Q. I know you've gotten used to see Albert do amazing things all year but in a game like this with Randy Johnson on the mound, is tonight's performance almost top everything?

TONY LaRUSSA: He's gotten so many clutch hits. I would hate to disrespect some of the other huge hits that got us here, but this is a good one. I mean, that shows you how great Randy Johnson is. He struck him out. That doesn't happen so much with players in a scoring position. I would hate to put this ahead of some other ones, because he's gotten this a bunch of times.

Q. Woody brought the competitiveness to your team. What has Duncan done to enhance that?

TONY LaRUSSA: I think the way to set it up is -- you know, I've learned over the years, Dave is a complete pitching coach. If a pitcher comes in and he has his confidence down, he'll work with his mind. If he works with the mechanics, he'll work with the mechanics. In Woody's case, the only thing he's done is Dave is very good at evaluating a guy's style, making sure he competes with that style and not trying to do something he shouldn't do. And he has a way of adding a little wrinkle, and he talked to him about adding another type of breaking ball to what he already had in his other off speed pitches. One of our very favorite in St. Louis, Todd Stottlemyre. The other thing, Duncan spends all those hours studying the opposition. So you'll have a guy that's successful against Woody Williams or Todd Stottlemyre, and Dave will say, How did you pitch to him? And it's invariably, Look if you go over there, you've got a chance to get him out. And I think Woody has been intelligent and he's versatile enough to get away from some of those hot areas. So I think that's the two things. We've played games against Houston where they hit him and didn't hurt him because Duncan plays that way too. I want to make sure I say, I think we're reluctant to take away from the guy, the guy that goes out there is Woody, but Duncan gives the little edge that a coach gives a player.

Q. You have not used Kline a whole lot for two innings during the season. Was it just the case of going with a guy who is hot?

TONY LaRUSSA: I mean, at that point you're playing each inning like it's the game. The 8th was his inning and he was going to pitch the 9th no matter what. Because the way the game was played, there were a lot of right-handed pinch-hitters. We had Kline in the game. As long as you don't overwork him he's better when he pitches.

Q. Are you surprised that Matt Williams would be booed in his home ballpark?

TONY LaRUSSA: And the answer is yes, because we all know what a pro he is, and what a clutch player he is, but I mean this is the big leagues and people -- we're just glad they're here. If you're upset and want to boo, it's better than staying away. I'm surprised. The only player that doesn't get booed is Steve Kline in St. Louis.

End of FastScripts....

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