10/08/2004 1:59 AM ET
La Russa postgame quotes
Manager talks about Cardinals offense, pitching
Q. Talk about the job done by the relief pitchers.
A. It's just one of those games, you know. We've had so many games where our starter, including Jason, has gotten us through the first third, but every once in a while -- we have a lot of depth in the bullpen, and man, they were outstanding. Every one of them.
Q. The longest hit ball today was by Haren, the pitcher. Can you talk about the different kind of offense tonight for eight runs as opposed to the first game?
A. Well, it's -- I mean, we've had a real good road record, and I think we're capable of playing a lot of different games, you know. Sometimes the pitcher is not allowing extra base hits, and you have guys putting it in play. I mean, the bunt that Reggie laid down,
that's the second time he's done it this year, so our guys just enjoy playing the game, and the game includes everything. Just sometimes you take whatever the pitcher gives you.
Q. Talk about the performance of the 6-7-8 hitters that provided most of your offense tonight.
A. I'm sure anybody will tell you that, you know, the scouts in Major League Baseball, there's no tougher guy out than Edgar Renteria. Reggie does damage every year. Mike Matheny takes his at bats real serious and gets 50 some-odd RBIs, gets a lot of big hits, so we really feel like, you know, we send eight guys up there that really work the at bats. Tonight it was their time to drive in the runs, and our pitchers, they're not soft touches either, but our eight guys, they work it.
Q. With the kind of performances that your relief pitchers did during the season, are you more likely to go to them earlier in the post season than you did the regular season?
A. We just play the game. I mean, if the starter's out there dominating, I mean, this format where you play, your off, you play, you're off, it means everybody that pitched today is ready Saturday. If you have to play three in a row, so it's the time of the year where you push guys, but we're still going to let the starter -- if Matt is out there on Saturday and he's dealing, the bullpen can just watch.
Q. Thirteen of your 16 runs have been scored two outs. How does that make you feel as a manager?
A. We've been really good at that this year. Our guys are very committed to three outs every inning. I mean, there's a lot of times there was nobody on base with two outs and somebody on the bench gets an extra base hit. It doesn't always happen, but they play three outs every inning. I think they have a lot of confidence that there's damage if we can get something going. Sometimes it doesn't get going until there's two outs and that's your chance, but it's been a format where I said this Tuesday. I mean, you don't give up the two-out hit and you get the two-out hit, you win a lot of games.
Q. Can you talk about Eldred and Haren's performances tonight?
A. You know, interesting that I think Cal was more excited than Dan. I mean, 15 years, his first post season appearance. I mean, he was really excited, and he comes out and gets us two outs, the biggest out of the game with Finley, but I mean, he had a big smile on his face the rest of the game afterwards. You know, Dan, he's a cool dude, man. He's tough as nails, and he gave us two big innings. Really, it turned the momentum because they were doing a lot of stuff, and all of a sudden there's two innings with zero until the last part of the game. They both did the job. It's interesting to me that Cal was the rookie and Dan was the veteran.
Q. From a strategy standpoint, what was your thinking when you pulled Jason?
A. Well, you just watch him closely. I mean, he has obviously had a very good year for us. One of the things he's done really, really well is put guys on base and then he pitches better than he does with nobody on. He's been outstanding, but you know, he was struggling. I mean, you get two strikes and go to 3 balls and get an out and then a walk, and then that last inning he just looked where Mike was setting up. He was missing his target. I just didn't feel -- Duncan and I talk about everything. We just didn't feel it was going to get better, and it was a good time to get him.
Q. Can you talk about the benefits for your bullpen of having those two days off?
A. You know, it is what it is so you make the best of it. You see the formula and you say okay, we're going to be fresh and so are they. I would definitely have preferred to play Wednesday. I wish we didn't have to wait around, I wish we could play tomorrow. We're just so happy to be in the post season, if you want to wait a week to play, we'll wait. Our guys came into this thing fresh. They could have pitched again on Wednesday, and we're in good shape.
Q. What did Cal throw to get Finley out in that clutch situation?
A. It was a fast ball. I mean, that was about as bad a looking situation as you can have. You know, we have been wild walking guys all night. They hit a couple. We didn't hit anybody, but we were just -- and then Cal comes in, you know, and he gets Cora. Then he walks two and then you've got Finley who is just spectacular with bases loaded. You get 3 and 0 on him, I mean, I'm thinking this is real bad. Now he's going to swing, but you know, Cal, that's one of his great qualities. He isn't afraid of nothing. He is a tremendous competitor, and he said hay, here's my best, and he got him to fly out.
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