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October 3, 2000

Tony La Russa


Q. Talk about your final roster decision?

TONY LaRUSSA: The biggest factor was the health of Matt Morris. He threw this morning, felt normal. So, we definitely want him to be part of our bullpen. He has been critical ever since he got back. We will go with eleven pitchers, and that takes away the extra spot, at least for Game 1, we won't have a left-hander on the bench. Reames, we put on the club; so that is the 11th pitcher.

Q. Is it pretty much essential you win at least one here?

TONY LaRUSSA: I think -- common sense, I do not care who you play or where you play, when you have to win three games, if you are down 0-2 and have to win three in a row, that is not the way you prefer to do it. But, the key thing, what is essential is, we come out and play our very best, take our best shot, that way you have no regrets. I think that is the way competition is. If they beat you a game, you tip your cap, you do not want to later on say, wish we would have, this or that. The numbers will fall into place. Just like if we win one, we do not want to be satisfied, and Thursday say, we have essentially won, we want to compete every time we take the field. Take our chances.

Q. Is Glavine particularly tough because of the left-handers that you have?

TONY LaRUSSA: There is a couple of factors: One, our left-handers are good against left-hand pitching, that is one reason like today, we have them stacked up one through five, they have three left-handed relievers, you do not necessarily have to go to your right-hand pinch hitter, because the left-handers hang in there real well. Glavine is a pitcher, equally tough against left and right. You do not pick up an edge if left or right-handed, you have to be a good hitter. By the time we get to Thursday, there will probably be a player or two different in there, but a lot of the left-handers, our left-handers will still play.

Q. How good does it feel being at home to start the series?

TONY LaRUSSA: If you had your choice of Busch Stadium or Turner Field, definitely the choice is Busch Stadium. This will give us a boost, there will be an edge. So, I mean, we definitely, wanted it, worked for it, we were able to secure it. Just like today and in the game, Maddux has an edge in experience over Rick. We expect to overcome that edge. I am sure the Braves are looking at home field advantage and say, we need to overcome that. It is just an edge, no guarantees, but you look for every edge that you can get.

Q. Why did you send Kile down to the interview room here yesterday when you knew he wasn't going to be the starter?

TONY LaRUSSA: I did not say he would pitch Game 1, but would pitch in the Series. Biggest reason was, there is enough on Rick Ankiel whether he pitches today or Thursday. He does not need to stand up or sit up here and have to answer a lot of questions and think about answers to stuff that will get in the way of his pitching; how does it feel to do this or that.

Q. Would it have been better to not send a pitcher down here yesterday?

TONY LaRUSSA: We were told we had to send a starting pitcher. Unless you run the League and you said that, right, we had to send a pitcher, you did not like it, I very carefully, every time I talked about Kile, I did not say Kile was the first game pitcher, every time I said, we were keeping our options open. If you paid attention to that, I sent signals, wait a minute, things are not settled. We needed to send a starting pitcher here, Darryl Kile came out. I know he did not say he was pitching Game 1.

Q. In a game like this, a margin of error, do you think the margin of error is greater for Atlanta?

TONY LaRUSSA: I think, if you have a competition between two real good clubs, what will decide it probably, it may be something heroic or some mistake or error. I think, these are men, not machines, who knows who will be the hero or make the mistake; so, I think it is equal to both of us.

Q. Were you surprised at the national reaction about the switching of Ankiel and Kile?

TONY LaRUSSA: I am not real aware of what the reaction is. I would expect, I mean, for example, we were playing tomorrow and it would be Wednesday, Thursday, with just the one day off, Darryl would have pitched the first day. It is a way to take advantage of the fact that Game 4, the Game 1 pitcher can pitch on four full days' rest. I don't know if everybody shares the opinion, but I know a lot of baseball people who share the opinion that, if you are talking about, first of all, there is a pressure on a postseason starter, I do not care which started, whether Game 3 in Atlanta, but if you can make an argument, there is more pressure on Game 2, depending on whether you win or lose Game 1, for several reasons, Duncan, in particular, as we started playing around with doing it this way, when we knew we played Atlanta on Tuesday, it was really exciting for us, we saw some problems, it sets us up to take our very best shot, and I don't know that the national baseball interest would understand everything that we have to face, as far as Garrett, Andy, days off, all that stuff. Our obligation is to take our best shot, that is what we are doing.

Q. Are you getting closer to a Game 3 choice?

TONY LaRUSSA: I think we will see what happens in Game 1 and 2. Bobby, who I admire so much, last year during the, before he got to the World Series, had to use a starter as a reliever, in an extra inning game; we want to make sure that we play 1 and 2 like they are the 7th game of the World Series, then we will get on Friday, in that off day, we will look at what we have, you know it is not going to be Rick or Darryl, but could be Andy, Garrett or Pat.

End of FastScripts…

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