10/09/11 8:30 PM ET
Postgame interview with Tony La Russa
By / MLB.com
TONY La RUSSA: Whatever it was, it was fast. He started out the game just getting the ball up, paid for it, and after that he just ... the delivery came together and I thought he pitched Hart pretty well and got a hopper in the hole. Then, he made three straight pitches right in the middle of the plate, they didn't miss any of them, just went like that.
Q. Best case there with Dotel, when would you have preferred to get him involved there? Was he ready?
TONY La RUSSA: Fielder was Jaime's last hitter. I mean, once he starts throwing the ball in the middle, and there's not much room for margin for error there, once he faces Braun and Fielder was going to be his last hitter, and Dotel was ready for the next guy.
Q. There wasn't a read there for Braun?
TONY La RUSSA: The guy is cruising, there's a ground ball, he makes one mistake. How many hits does he have at that point? Maybe so, because that's strategy.
No, he was not ready for only when I saw him throw the ball up the middle to Braun, I said that's enough. And he tried to make a pitch to Fielder and it's a two-run homer. No, I wouldn't have made a move to Ron. He was throwing the ball better than that. He made one mistake. He made one mistake. It's a tough League, but it's not that tough.
Q. Did you have someone up in the first inning?
TONY La RUSSA: Yes.
Q. Who was that?
TONY La RUSSA: Lynn.
Q. Why was that?
TONY La RUSSA: Because he was throwing everything right here. He walks Hairston, and then he gives up a two-run homer first pitch. He hits Fielder, it's the same pitch. They're all right here.
Lynn was ... he put it together, and after that he was good, like he can be.
Q. Given the damage you did against Greinke, how much of a missed opportunity was that?
TONY La RUSSA: We took a bunch of good at bats. You get five, and then we had a chance, first and third with nobody out with Albert. I thought we competed on the offensive side great all night. I wish we could average six runs a game for the rest of the series. We didn't take our chances.
Like I said, it was a weird inning, because he was really good, and then just three pitches, bam, bam, bam, it was gone. I don't know. I think he's just young. He has to learn.
Q. It looked like the umpire warned both benches after Fielder got hit. Do you think there's a little too much with the narrative built in that that warning is a little early?
TONY La RUSSA: Well, I think I'm sure the umpire and crew knows it, we've had our disagreements. But the guy who gets hit, hits a home run, the next guy gets hit. I certainly can't fault the umpire.
But, you know, you can't go out and argue those things, or you get thrown out. I didn't say anything. What I would have said is, if you watched the way Jaime pitched that whole inning, every fastball he threw was in that same area, out away from the right hander or in on Fielder. They just looked bad, but he was just trying to get the ball somewhere near the glove. But I don't fault the umpire.
Q. How much do you think that warning may have hurt Jaime?
TONY La RUSSA: Hurt him? He cruised. He pitched great, he got us three zeroes, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. 5th inning is a tough inning, the top of the lineup, some good hitters.
We were watching him closely. If you looked at how he pitched Hart. He just went three scoreless innings, we were encouraged, just got to watch him close.
There was a changeup up to Hairston right in the middle of the plate. He was trying a little sinker, hits the ball on the right-field line. I think he got a slider in the middle of the plate, it's 2-0. It was just bam, bam, bam.
It's unusual for a guy throwing the ball that well to miss. He's probably upset. Human nature.
Q. Is too much being made about whether or not you guys like each other?
TONY La RUSSA: Yeah, yeah. I think it's really a disservice to the competition. I think both teams have talked about with what's at stake here, we're going to compete as far as we can correctly.
And what I explained, I'm not even going to say yesterday, in divisional play I'd be willing to challenge anybody here to show me one division that didn't have one or two sparks. We play each other 15, 16, 17, 18 times. I mean, I can, off the top of my head, know what happened in every division in baseball.
We just play each other. And everybody reads the situation their way. But if you take the 18 games we play, other than a couple of three situations, the other two of them haven't won a game. There wasn't anything other than just two teams trying to beat each other.
I can give you one more, it's personal, and I think with a little bit of experience I can speak to a personal opinion, I think there are even some fans, or media, that are going to be disappointed if there isn't some crap flying in this series, and that's a shame.
I don't want our players and their players to be egged on, and I don't think they will. We're going to play as hard and good against each other as we can.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.