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October 5, 2006

Tony La Russa


Q. Tony, going into the game, was it your idea to get Jeff through five innings or what went into that decision at that point in time?
TONY LA RUSSA: I thought he threw the ball really well, but the lineup is getting ready to see him again and, you know, we had a lot of weapons in the bullpen. I just felt like, you know, he wasn't going to pitch into the eighth inning, so you try to give the bullpen a chance to come in and create a problem or not have a problem without waiting until there's some guys on base. So it was more of that than anything else.

Q. Does Duncan ever ask you to bring a finished product in that he can work with or does he like the reclamation products?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think in all the years, I think Duncan enjoys it all. He enjoys the young talents we have, watching Adam grow. He enjoys whether it's a starting pitcher or reliever.
He enjoys veterans that he respects the way they go about their business, and that's one reason why right away he and Jeff hit it off real well.
But I mean, everything that we do in this -- it's been true, I've been sitting in this organization since I've been here, since Oakland going back, if it has anything to do with pitching, it centers on Duncan. Duncan is the guy that's figuring things out and, I mean, he's amazing.

Q. Tony, this is the chance, this is the last game that David Wells will pitch. If so, how will you remember him?
TONY LA RUSSA: I remember when he was young and crazy in Toronto. And then I've watched him mature over the years, and he's still -- he's got a lot of life, but early on, you know, he had a lot of talent. And a little wild and woolly, but he's a better pitcher than people thought. Over the years he's become a good pitcher. He has a feel for what he does out there. That post-season record is no accident. He's got a lot of cool.
So I mean he's, you know, there's not many that bold in that ways, pitcher or personality. But I mean, I have to pull against him, I hope, as far as that this year.

Q. Tony, as important as the games were last week in St. Louis, is there anything you saved in terms of pitch sequences or trying to set up these hitters, knowing the possibility that you might face them in the playoffs?
TONY LA RUSSA: Actually not. We were working as hard as we could. But it's the same thing for them. I think we both came into this series with fresh knowledge. That's different. We played LA back in July, and, you know, if you play them, they play you, you're going back for what you saw in person several months ago and you're watching tape. So I mean, we've had both the Padres and the Cardinals, we've just seen each other but we definitely didn't pull any punches. They beat us 2 out of 3. They beat us 2 out of 3.

Q. Seemed like your point of attack in the first and second game was at the end of the fourth inning. The second batter was Duncan with a single, then Pujols with a homerun, almost the same situation with the double. Is that just a credit to you guys making the adjustments to the Padres starters?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think it's a just a freaky way, the way these two games have played because we got 2 and 2, got three more yesterday, didn't get anymore. But I got particular pleasure yesterday because it was Chris's (Duncan) first post-season game and he looked just as excited and competitive. And today was Preston Wilson, terrific career, first post-season game. He starts out what turns out to be the winning rally. Those are extra special when you look back on the game. But the fact that they both happened in that inning after one out, just can't figure it.

Q. Tony, you had a pitching change that worked out very well for you when you had to go with Kinney, and my thought was you had Bard coming up, Gonzales was on first base. What made you go to the right-hander and bring in Kinney and take the left-hander out?
TONY LA RUSSA: You flip the coin whichever way it comes up. In a lot of ways, Bard is a switch hitter, hurt us on both sides playing. What I looked at there, if we don't get Bard out, Kinney is going to face Cameron, and, you know, sometimes if you have to get somebody out of the inning, if you have given them one hitter, find the mound, get rid of some of the jitters, you -- I think you pick up a little edge.

Q. You weren't thinking --
TONY LA RUSSA: I was thinking Bard is tough on either of our two guys, but I thought Kinney would have a chance to see him get used to the mound and if Bard gets a hit, he's already been in there a little. Cameron is not so new.
MODERATOR: Thanks Tony.

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