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October 10, 2009

Tony La Russa


Q. Can you discuss what went into moving will Ludwick up to No. 2 and putting Rasmus in a little bit more of an RBI spot there?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I've got a right-hander and not a left-hander, and that's one of the reasons Brendan was hitting second, you've got a right-hander, so he goes down to eighth, and it's where you want to put Colby. Only had two left-handers in the lineup, didn't think it made a lot of sense to back them.
Although I don't know how much of a difference it makes because the way Joe plays it, his lefties face lefty-righties, but they're both real tough on lefties, so if it works out, they go through our lineup, Kuo with one inning and Sherrill the next, and we'd have to pinch-hit.
I think Colby in the middle, and we did that towards the end of the year several times. It never seemed to bother him. In fact, he's swinging as well as anybody on our team. And I like somebody with some thump hit at second. And Ludwick is swinging well, as well.

Q. Do you feel like this has been kind of a weird postseason?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, it hasn't been a happy one because we've got beat twice. But I mean, no, I don't think it's been weird. I think the games have been close and exciting, and we've come up short. But we've got an opportunity today.

Q. Not so much in this particular series, but there have been a number of questionable calls already in the postseason, especially last night at Yankee Stadium. Are you a proponent for more replay, and if so in what cases would you want to see it used?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think the first thing I ever said was that the absence of replays would not bother me. I've been around too long. You know, part of the game is umpires making their best calls. I mean, you watch us play, you watch me manage, nobody is perfect. You just try to be perfect.
But I know when there's significance that there's another argument, and then we introduced the home run thing during the season, so it's already -- something has already happened, so if you're going to do it, I would think if you're talking about significance and you get to the postseason, that would be something to consider where -- it would be really quick. You've got replay people there, and they could just blow the whistle and say, wait a minute, we're going to change that one.
I think it's already started. From the beginning it would be fine with me to go with it and take the umpires' best call. But if you're going to do it seems like in the postseason with something that's obvious, what does the rule book say, get the play right.

Q. Just again about Ludwick batting second, with how the Dodgers are clearly treating Albert, does that factor at all into the thought process there, and what can the guys ahead of Albert do besides the obvious, I guess, getting on base to help get Pujols' pitches?
TONY LA RUSSA: I mean, as long as we play games, no matter regular season or postseason, you've got a great hitter. You put guys on base ahead of him, that's why -- maybe I should go back to the pitcher in the eighth, because the bases are loaded, it's tougher not to pitch to Albert. So more guys that are on base ahead of him.
So if you look at today, is there a better on-base percentage guy than Lud of the other guys? I think Lud is having great at-bats, so he's a choice. And then you protect him with guys behind.
I think Matt is legitimate; I mean, he's definitely had a major effect on us being here in the first place, and he'll make them pay if they keep doing it, and then you cut Colby. So I feel good about it.

Q. Have you decided on a Game 4 starter? Is it possible Carpenter could come back on three days' rest?
TONY LA RUSSA: I saw somebody talked about me trying to be devious. You don't want to make an announcement until you have all the facts and then explain why you did or didn't do this. So I wanted to wait until yesterday. Chris did a little catch, played catch, and passed the test, so play tomorrow, Chris starts.

Q. How did Matt look to you this morning coming in?
TONY LA RUSSA: He looks fine. I saw him all day yesterday. We were here for a while doing some stuff, even though we weren't on the field. It's baseball. I mean, it wasn't an easy play. It's a play that you feel like you should make. But turn the page and do something special today.

Q. As a follow on that, to what extent is the kind of game that Carpenter had, I'm not talking about the results, about the kind of difficulty of it, does that give you any pause or make that a more difficult decision or do you just go on how he felt when he came in yesterday?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I'm not sure if difficult is because he had to work hard or difficult was because the results weren't typical Chris Carpenter. The fact is the amount of effort he put into it was okay if you consider pitching on four days.
But the key thing was how he came in yesterday, and if it felt like it was a risk physically, then we had other options. But he's good to go.

Q. Has he gone on three days' rest before, or do you have any concerns about -- I don't think he's gone very often, the lack of track record there?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, he hasn't done it since he's been with the Cardinals. I can't speak to Toronto.
If we were playing on Monday, Game 5, I wouldn't do it, because then you'd have to pitch him and Adam both. Sometimes you look at it, there is an off-day on Monday and Adam would be fully rested, and it's an edge that you play. If it's fair to say that we're always careful with our pitching and careful with Chris, then we'll be extra careful and just hard as you can and long as you can. If that's five innings, six innings, fine. Whatever he's got, it helps us compete in that game. It's the first time we would do with him.

Q. With Smoltz now definitely in the bullpen does that change the way you can use them? Before you weren't sure, maybe they were in the mix for that start.
TONY LA RUSSA: No, I mean, we played the two in Dodger Stadium, they were in there and we weren't going to worry about Sunday. I mean, if one of them had pitched Thursday, you know, throw an inning, get two days off, that guy could pitch on Sunday. So it'll be just like the first two games. They both are available to pitch today.

End of FastScripts

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