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October 24, 2011

Tony La Russa


St. Louis Cardinals 2
Texas Rangers 4

Q. Could you take us through that sequence with Albert and Craig in I think it was the 7th first?
TONY LA RUSSA: 7th? Oh, yeah, it was just a mix-up. It was a mix-up, and on our team nobody gets thrown under the bus. So it was a mix-up.

Q. Did he miss a sign?
TONY LA RUSSA: It was a mix-up, and that's all I'm going to say.

Q. And then the ninth inning was just the play that was on --
TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, I trusted Albert could put the ball in play. In fact, the two swings that he fouled the ball off with the second baseman going over, the hole was there and all of a sudden it was first and third and nobody out and the last pitch, the guy has a very live arm and it sailed on him and he missed. I liked sending him and having a chance to open that inning up, and it didn't work.

Q. The ball off Murphy's bat on the come-backer, did you at first think that was going to be a double play?
TONY LA RUSSA: I mean, all you had to do is ask Punto and Furcal, that's a tough break, but that happens in the game. But yeah, he made a great pitch, but it happens. Sometimes it happens for us, today it happened against us.

Q. Could you take us through the thought process leaving Rzepczynski in to pitch to Napoli.
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, what happened was that twice the bullpen didn't hear Motte's name. They heard "Rzepczynski" and they didn't get Motte. I looked up there and Motte wasn't going. So I called back for Motte and they got Lynn up. That's why he wasn't supposed to pitch today, so I wasn't going to let him throw that hitter. He just threw the warmups and walked him and Motte behind was ready. I don't know if it was noisy, probably real noisy. They just didn't hear the second time.

Q. (Inaudible).
TONY LA RUSSA: They heard "Rzepczynski" and they didn't hear "Motte", and when I called back I said "Motte", they heard "Lynn". So I went out there, wrong guy. He's not going to pitch today. I said, "Go back, get Motte ready. We'll walk the guy because I don't want Lynn to -- he is not supposed to pitch. I didn't want to hurt him. And then Motte came in. That's why -- it must be loud. I give the fans credit.

Q. Has that ever happened to you before where you had a call to the bullpen and guys didn't hear you right?
TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, well, sometimes real loud, especially when some of the bullpens that are right amidst the fans and excitement. It happens in Philadelphia. It's hard to hear it there. So it's not unusual. Maybe we need to come up with some ear mikes or something.

Q. Just to be clear, if Motte was ready, he would have faced Napoli?

Q. So you had no choice at that point --
TONY LA RUSSA: He was warming up, so I said,
"Get Motte up," and they heard "Lynn".
But by the way, we had a chance with Rzepczynski's stuff to get Napoli the first pitch, and then he put a nice swing on a breaking ball.

Q. A couple times when you bunted early, it ended up, whether directly or not, with the bat being taken out of Albert's hands. If you have those to do again, do you do them the same way?
TONY LA RUSSA: Let me ask you a question, if a guy was on second base and if Craig doesn't get him in or over, what are they going to do with Albert? They're not going to pitch to him. So what you do is you get the base. We had Matt with a runner at third, we had Craig with a runner at third, and they pitched well and those are the guys we'll bank on the next two games we play.
Yeah, it was 2-0, looking for a run, and Albert wasn't going to hit in that situation. This gives Matt a chance, and I'll take our chances with Matt.

Q. Two major things in this game, with Craig in the seventh was a mix-up, the bullpen with Motte not being ready was a mix-up. How frustrating is it to have two mix-ups have such an impact in the game?
TONY LA RUSSA: I was more frustrated the double play ball went off the glove and the fact we had numerous chances to add runs. That's probably more frustrating. The other part just happens. I mean, it's loud down there, and sometimes you call down there and you have to wait until the crowd -- and a guy gets up late. I mean, this is not unusual.

Q. Not to be dense, but what's the sort of procedure in terms of when you guys have the phone call and call down there, who gets the word, and how do they convey it?
TONY LA RUSSA: The bullpen coach hears it, and like he heard "Lynn".

Q. Oh, he heard "Lynn"?
TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, that's why Lynn got up, and I went out there. I thought it was Motte, and they were yelling at me as I went out. I didn't hear them. It wasn't Motte. So I saw Lynn, I went, oh, what are you doing here?

Q. On the telephone he didn't hear it?
TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, when you say "Motte", they heard "Lynn". It wasn't supposed to be Lynn because he wasn't going to pitch today.

Q. I think this was brought up earlier but is there a problem when something like that can happen? Is there a better way to do it, bullpen phones in this day and age?
TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, smoke signals from the dugout. There are times, like what happened in Philadelphia, the phone went out, and so we used cell phones, and then the Phillies brought down walkie-talkies, and they fixed the phone. But that phone in a loud ballpark, it's not an unusual problem. I mean, it doesn't make it right, but...

Q. You said it happened twice?
TONY LA RUSSA: When Rzepczynski first got up, I mentioned Motte's game.

Q. So Motte ends up -- did you want both of them to get up?
TONY LA RUSSA: Motte was just going to go along because I was hoping that we'd get the left-hander out and then we were not going to pitch to Napoli, and then we were going to go after Moreland. And then Motte would have been ready if they brought a pinch-hitter.

Q. I guess this is a protocol question: If Lynn isn't available for this game, doesn't your bullpen coach know that --
TONY LA RUSSA: He's available in an emergency, but I wasn't going to use him. But if he hears "Lynn" and I'm the manager, what is he going to say --

Q. That's why I was saying is there a protocol thing. Does he say "Tony, are you sure on Lynn?" Or something like that?
TONY LA RUSSA: I'm sure he's thinking that now, but when you hear something, he had a day off, but like I said, he wasn't going to pitch until Game 6. I saw the big fella come in, and I said, "Why are you here?" He came to pitch. "Walk the guy," because the next guy was going to pitch.

Q. The decision to pass Cruz, was that done with the idea thinking you had Motte for Napoli?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I was more thinking that we had a real good chance with Rzepczynski with a pinch-hitter or not, and if we got an out or not we were going to pitch around Napoli and then go after the left-hander. And if the worst happens, then we would have stalled and got Motte ready for Napoli. But he wasn't throwing, so we couldn't get him ready. That's when I called the second time and said "Motte" and they heard "Lynn".

Q. One more clarification: Is that conversation between Dunc and Lilliquist?
TONY LA RUSSA: It depends who makes the call. I made the call.

Q. So you made both calls?
TONY LA RUSSA: Today I did.

Q. To what degree do you think Holliday is still limited by the hand?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I mean, he hit a ball to left center. I think he got pitched tough and he fouled pitches when he had a chance to. I give their pitchers credit. Those were big at-bats. That's one of our strengths. You don't pitch to Albert, then you pitch to Holliday. Craig can hit left-handers, they punched him out.
We had a lot of chances. What did we have, nine or ten times to add a run. And Chris was great, got two outs, nobody on, the guy hits a curveball to tie it. He pitched great. Got the next three outs. It's a really tough loss because we had the opportunity to add the runs where you can make a mistake or have some kind of snafu and you still win the game. So it's a very disappointing, frustrating loss.

Q. With those missed chances to add, to what extent was that those guys pitching are pretty good and to what extent maybe were you guys getting out of their approaches or anything like that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I mean, you know, the same guys that produce offense one day that don't produce the other day, they don't stink. We have really good hitters, so if somebody gets them out, give credit to the pitchers. I told the guys, we tried, perfect. There wasn't anything for eight and a half innings that was wrong with the way we went about it. We played our butts off. We tried perfect. We didn't play perfect at times. So give the other guys credit. I do. That's my suggestion.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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