Good time for your first post-season home run. Did you realize that was your first?
Yes. It was one of those things that just trying to get a pitch, and hit an extra base hit, with a man on first with two outs. Just fortunate enough that I was able to hit it and get it out of the park.
Talk about the pitch. What kind of pitch was it?
I got 'em 2-0. I usually don't swing that much. I was looking for a pitch kind of just over the middle, trying to get a fast ball in. Fortunately enough I was able to get it and put a good swing on it.
For those of us who don't see you day in and day out, how would you assess how you played these three games? Can you be better? Can you be worse?
We won 'em, that's the main thing.
We go out there every single day and the main focus is trying to win the game. I
think we did a good job. You've got to give a lot of credit to
How important was it to win Game 3 and not be a point where you're possibly at risk?
It's very important. Every game can change momentum. Especially after we had that lead, you definitely don't want to lose that lead because in that situation you could end up all of a sudden they come back, then it's a whole new ballgame tomorrow. So it was very important for us to go out there and set the tone early and find a way to get a win.
Tony La Russa
How important was it, every game you got the big lead and held on, how important is it to get that early lead in each of these games?
It's always important to score first. Then you score with a couple crooked numbers, I mean, if you pitch and defend, you got a great chance to win it. I mean, each of the three games are so similar because the Padres kept really putting a lot of pressure, a lot of opportunities in the last part of the game. I mean, I had to be sure I checked the score card to make sure we won. It was so close. One at-bat here or there. The series is a lot closer than the 3-0 margin.
That's a difficult question because to compliment Mark and Chris, it seems like I'm going to criticize what we had last year, and I would never do that. We had really good pitching last year. It was tough to lose Chris because he was so important. Last year we had Woody. Woody was huge for us. I just separate the two years. I mean, this year having a healthy Chris is very important. You know, Mark's a real force out there. It's two years in a row we've had five starters strong, and that's why we've gotten into the hundred wins.
Certainly don't want to rain on your parade, but you mentioned the Padres comebacks. How do you feel about going forward with your bullpen?
Well, one of toughest things -- you like to have that tough thing. But when you have than more than just a run or two lead, like a three-run lead, walks a lead-off, that's a no-no, from the bench, I'm saying throw the ball down the middle. We did quite a bit of that. We wanted to challenge them. We got some outs. Got to hit some balls out of the park. They got some base hits. I remember we won three games, so every time, whether it was striking out (Mark) Sweeney in the game before last or the outs that we had to have, even Izzy (Isringhausen) the first time, he strikes out (Ramon) Hernandez. I think we have real confidence in the bullpen. I think it was more
trying to be aggressive and give them credit because they took advantage.
Could you talk about the importance of Reggie Sanders, what he did in this whole series. 10 RBIs, new division record.
In a short series, that's kind of what you look for. You get a hot hitter or two, a hot pitcher or two, you swing the games. He was big in each game. I don't think he had a meaningless RBI. There was a couple times, I remember the day he hit the ball to the right field wall, he hit the ball hard for outs. He really lit it up for us. He was the guy that provided the margin where it wasn't quite as scary. I think Reggie, you know, he fits in. One of the things we believe about our club is that we have a bunch of guys that are prime-timers, they're not afraid to take big at-bats. He's one of them.
Game 1 not till Wednesday night. How will you handle the next few days with your guys?
That's a really good question. Today I was kind of thinking about it messing around thinking about it. I was thinking it was too superstitious to think about it, but now we can. I know we're not leaving till tomorrow. Definitely work out Tuesday. What do we do Monday? We've been out of town. My guess is that probably do something optional on Monday. You know, if guys want to come in and get some treatment or work out in the gym or do something on the field. I imagine we'll do something on the field, but it won't be anything mandatory. Now, these guys run the club. If they get on that plane tomorrow and say they want to work out, we'll work out. I just think they probably deserve a little break.
How about your pitching plans? Do you know yet for the NLCS? Will you go back to Carpenter, Mulder, Morris?
Well, one reason that Dave
What are the differences between the two ball clubs?
The difference in the two clubs?
Yes, during this series.
Well, I mean, we got down every
game. We just dug ourselves too deep a hole to climb out of. But I can't say
enough about the effort, they tried to get out of it. Every game we came back.
Same thing tonight. We got the momentum switch there, swung over to our side. We
had the right guys up. They just played great. You know, they made pitches when
they had to there at the end, Izzy. But
we battled. We're disappointed to get swept. It's always very disappointing. But
we didn't play very well there in
Was it location on Woody?
More than anything, his location. He wasn't real sharp with it. The second inning, you know, we had two outs, man on first. That's when they scored all their runs. He just made a mistake there for the home run. You know, they just swung the bats well. Sanders killed us. He had a big series, drove in a lot of runs against us. Like I said, though, we were trying to come back. We just fell a little bit short every game. For that, I mean, I'm proud. We are disappointed we couldn't make it more of a series and win some games.
Looking back at the season, how proud are you of these guys?
I am proud. You know, we've been
riddled with the ups and downs, with the injuries. We had to deal with a lot. A
lot was said about our division. If you look at how banged up the club was
during the course of the season, we used everybody. They got challenged a couple
Now that the season is over, looking forward, there's three guys on the team, Hoffman, Giles, Hernandez. Would you like to have them back?
No question, I'd like to have them back. Those are three outstanding players, just quality guys. Now, you know, it's going to be up to Kevin (Towers), to see if things can get worked out. That's the business part of it. I certainly hope it does get worked out because they're great people. They did so much for this ballclub. Hopefully things get worked out there.
Anything you can take away from this game? Do you feel you played a little better this game than the two real tough ones?
Yeah, I thought we did. I thought we played better. We swung the bats. We made some hard outs. They played well. The better ballclub won. They won a hundred games. They played outstanding on defense. They pitched well. They executed. That's a good ballclub. They're going to be tough to beat because they play both sides of the ball so well. I compliment the St. Louis Cardinals because they played great ball. They did everything right. They deserved to win.
Even though you're in the context of a game, when you called Trevor (Hoffman) in, is there anything about that moment, not knowing the future? Anything you say to him at the mound that may have been different?
You know, I really didn't get into that. I mean, you know, like I said earlier, I hope that gets worked out with Trevor. I can't say enough about what he's done for the San Diego Padres, the community, myself. He's been my closer since I've been managing. I was more caught in trying to win the ballgame. We needed to put a zero up on the board. I felt good about that inning, I really did. We had the right guys coming up. Sweeney leading off. You know, I just wanted Trevor to go out there and shut 'em down for another inning and give us a chance, which he did. We did what we were hoping. We got the tying run at the plate with our guys up there. They just made pitches.
Did you think of taking Woody out a little earlier before Sanders?
We had (Brian)