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October 24, 2006

Tony La Russa


Q. Did the eighth just go too long to bring Chris back out after you had batted him?
TONY LA RUSSA: Clearly he was going to be the pitcher in the ninth I think, but we got that extra run and it must have been 15 minutes long, we just didn't think it would be worth the risk. We had good quality arms with Loop and Adam behind him.

Q. What made Carp so dominating tonight?
TONY LA RUSSA: He showed everything he could do, fastball, third base side, running fast, the first base side. He had good command of his curveball. He got a couple of good outs, up and down. He's got a lot of weapons and everything moves. He had really good command.

Q. You've seen Carpenter awfully good, many times. As far as efficiency goes, low pitch count, everything else, have you seen too many better than this?
TONY LA RUSSA: You know, the best compliment we can give him is we've seen him do this the last two or three years over and over again. Like last year, I remember Dave said, and he's had so many great pitchers, it was the most relentless streak of great pitching he'd seen.
He's so strong between the ears that nothing fazes him. He has a great game, he gets ready for the next one. Besides the physical talent he's got a good head, good heart, good guts.

Q. Can you talk about what a lift having a pitcher go out and give you shutout inning after shutout inning, just for the rest of the team, confidence-wise and what a lift it gives you in these kind of series?
TONY LA RUSSA: It has at least a couple of significances, one, you're playing against the other guy and you're not breaking through against him. So that's the only way you're going to have a chance to win the game. We caught a break for the other two runs.
The other one is, our club comes to the park the day he pitches and everybody has got a real positive expectation. So that's a heck of a burden for the No. 1 guy. When he carries it like he does, everybody feeds off it. So there's the true No. 1. Deserves a ton of credit because he has a lot he has to live up to.

Q. Jim Edmonds has a way of coming through in the postseason. So far he's shown that knack for the first three games of this series, how does he do that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, he's coming in here? It'll be interesting to hear -- however he does it, we have to teach it to the other guys. But he's got that quality where the bigger the moment, the more likely he's going to concentrate, not get distracted, and produce. He's done that ever since he's been here from 2000. He really is a primetime guy. And when you consider how he finished the season, sore, not playing much, there's no reason for him to have this kind of time, he's very talented. Nobody on either club is having better at-bats. Beats a left-hander today in the clutch. He's very talented. In moments like this, he just concentrates better than ever.

Q. How is Carpenter's hand? And secondly, Edmonds and the way that he's hitting lefties is so much better in the postseason than the regular season, can you describe why?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, first with Chris, you know, occasionally when it's been really hot, he sweats, he gets dehydrated and he would have a cramping problem. This was a strange one, because he was cool. He just relaxed it a little bit and it eased and then he didn't feel it again.
With Jim, over his career he's been a tough hitter against left-hand pitchers. It's a combination of his shoulder was bothering him and sometimes the competition wasn't fair and they were beating him up. When he's right, he hangs in there as well as anybody.

Q. You've had a great starting pitched game in every one of the first three games of the series. With the way the pitching is lined up the rest of the way, do you expect that to continue? On your pitching, is Reyes going in the fifth game, if everything follows through, if it's necessary after that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I mean I think our offense has produced enough. But one reason that we've gotten from day 1 of the playoffs to today, we're in decent shape has been our pitching, both at the front and back end of the game. And, you know, the good thing and the good confidence that we all have in uniform and we know that each of the guys, like Supp tomorrow, whether it's Anthony or -- each of these guys, they're working hard right through the end of the postseason, nobody is backing off.
He'll come out there ready to go. But we have a lot of respect for the Tigers, it won't be an easy game. You go about it right and you see what happens. All Dave is and I have talked about is keeping our options open. Short series, that's one of the beauties of playing in October, you get to consider bringing guys back on three days' rest, where you wouldn't think about it during the season. Supp tomorrow and we'll see after that.

Q. I understand Carpenter has been good wherever he's pitched, but at home he's been unbelievably good, any explanation there?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I think you said it right. He's been good no matter where. He's had great games in a row. I think sometimes stats are hard to read and this year he's been lights out at home. But he's the same pitcher no matter where he goes. And I think really on the road he had a couple of games where there were clumps of runs, you take those games out of there and his ERA would be in the twos as well.

Q. Fourth inning, bases loaded, nobody out, you get the fielder's choice. In that situation how critical was it that Edmonds comes through, and you don't allow Robertson to get out of that without scoring any runs?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think it's probably the biggest offensive key to the game because the right-hander didn't get him home, get the force at the plate. You've got a very tough match-up. If you look at what Robertson has done against left-handers, he's been very tough against left-handers to produce something there. One run would have been big, two was huge. Biggest offensive contribution we've had, and it was Jim's base hit.

Q. Everybody talks about the hitting and the pitching, but how huge was the defense tonight?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I said before, when a guy is pitching effectively and working quickly, the defense gets on their toes, and our defense likes working behind Chris because he's competing and he's making pitches. We have a very good defensive club when we play our game, which is most of the time. And I don't think it's coincidental that we played defense behind him like that, you know when he pitches, because they like getting back there and he works quickly and makes pitches and they get good jumps.

End of FastScripts...

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