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Pregame interview with Manuel & Kendrick

Pregame interview with Manuel & Kendrick

In the lineup you have Victorino and you've been going with Jayson Werth, why do you go with Victorino?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Tough decision. My toughest decision today. I liked Victorino, I thought about it all night and I like Victorino basically because of the speed at the top of the order, switch hitter, and we want to take advantage and see if we can get some runs as far as maybe stealing a bag. And wagered that, the defense is real close, I just looked at the speed and the fact that Victorino was one for three off of him and Jayson in his career, I think this year was 0 for 1, a couple walks, about you career wise, he was 3 for 10.

And I picked Victorino because of his speed, mostly.
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Could you please tell us about the decision to put Ruiz in, and what helped you make the decision?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Got here at 8:00 this morning. Worked Ruiz out and he had good movement in his left arm, and he could also reach, catch the ball. And swung the bat real good. I watched him through BP and everything, too, but once I seen him, I wanted to put him in there. He showed me he's healthy enough.

You've gone with Carlos pretty much consistently down the stretch. Why him; do you think the pitchers are more comfortable with him? He doesn't seem to be swinging a particularly hot bat. Why Ruiz so much lately?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think I've been liking the way that pitchers have been -- I've been liking the way the pitchers have been throwing him, I like the way he handles him. Of course I like his defense and I like his throwing. Also, he can get a big hit for you. His bat, as far as that goes, if he's struggling a little bit, like he can always -- he can always come up it seems like with a big hit in the game for us.

Kyle, based on where you started your year, did you ever think you would be in this spot, and what are your impressions heading into what is the biggest game of your life?

KYLE KENDRICK: No, I didn't think I was going to be here but I am here and I'm just trying to help our team win.
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I'm going to go out tomorrow and just take it as another game. Obviously it's a bigger game. I'm just going to do my thing.

Kyle, you never seem to get too excited all year for a kid who went from Astros to winning ten games. Will you be nervous tomorrow? Has it hit you yet what this season has been like for you? It doesn't happen very often.

KYLE KENDRICK: You know, I get nervous every game. I'll be nervous but I'm not any more nervous -- it's just another game. But once I get on the mound, I'll be ready to go.

Kyle, this being your first divisional playoff, is there a different way that you're going to prepare for this; will you prepare for it the same way? And do you seek out the experience of a guy like Jamie Moyer?

KYLE KENDRICK: You know, I'm going to prepare for it the same way. I faced him twice already. You know, I'm just going to look back on film and what I did to the guys, probably the same way we went over the scouting report against him.

Yeah, I talked to Jamie already. I'm ready to go, I'm excited.

How much has Milt Thompson been an influence on your hitters this year? You have one of the top hitting lineups in the National League over the last couple of years.

CHARLIE MANUEL: Well, Thompson is our hitting coach, and I talk to him a lot about hitting. If I ever say anything to a hitter or something, I'd say, almost 100% of the time, Milt is always there to hear what I have to say, but most of the time I like to have the coaches work in their area and they are held accountable for their area, so why not let them do their job.

Can you talk about facing this lineup and the challenge of facing Colorado, especially you pitched against them twice, what is that like?

KYLE KENDRICK: Obviously they have a good lineup and they have some guys with power and can swing the bats.

You've got to mix it up, move the ball in and out, up and down, obviously they have a good lineup. So I'm going to go out tomorrow, you have to go out ask get ahead and do what I've been doing all year.

How has Jamie helped you this year and what have you learned from him?

KYLE KENDRICK: He's helped me tremendously. Obviously he's been around a long time. I just pick his brain whenever I have to go ask a question. He's helped a lot. He's been a big help to me and I thank him for that.

Kyle, was there ever a point in the season when you felt that you belonged in the Major Leagues? I'm sure when you first came up, you were probably wondering, can I make it here and everything like that, but at what point did you feel like you did?

KYLE KENDRICK: I don't know if there was a point where -- it was just like, you know, I can pitch here. I was just asking quality outings every game, it gives you confidence and you feel you can go out there and give your team a chance to win. If I can give quality outings and a pitch to even the game, that's all I can ask for.

A lot of the coaches on this staff were with you while you were managing the Indians, have you stayed in contact with them and have you been rooting for them as they have been trying to get to the playoffs as well?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Not a whole lot. I've been following them. I'm sure they have been following us.

Yeah, I'd like to see us go to the World Series and beat the Cleveland Indians. That would be good. But as far as keeping in contact with them, I have enough work to do here.

How much did the fans this year warm up to this team? This seems to be more of a love affair with this team than in the past.

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think it started last year. I think it started the second half of the season after trade deadline and we kind of changed our team around, and you've seen guys like Victorino, and our lineup kind of changed and we got what you call more speed, more effort and effort creates energy. When you have Ryan Howard hitting 58 home runs and you have Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins and these guys hitting the ball, I think they look at the way they played; and I think that's what they fell in love with. They were looking for the same thing when the season started, and finally we got going and they stayed the course.

The fans this year, attendance speaks for itself. Our fans have been fantastic.

Regarding Kyle, what caught your eye early when he got called up?

CHARLIE MANUEL: When Kyle first came up, I thought like -- I knew him, I met him in rookie ball. I used to talk to him and I used to talk to him about his pitching at times. He wouldn't be here today if I wouldn't told him everything about his mechanics and all that. (Laughter.)

I'm glad he kind of listened to me -- no. (Laughing).

No, I met him when he was a rookie and I liked talked to him. This year in Spring Training I saw him and he had got bigger and he's grown some and he's put on a little more weight. And I'd see the reports every day from Astros and I could tell how good he was pitching and everything.

So when he first came here, actually, it was kind of a look/see basis, he was coming to fill a stop gap for us and we would evaluate where he's at and everything. He's the guy that jumped out and he did his job early and the better he pitched, of course, the more he got to pitch. And the more he got to pitch, he'll probably tell you, his confidence grew and he just kept right on going. He's been there ever since and he's won ten games and he's a big reason why we're here today.

You mentioned the leg injury and looking back, it looked really bad; you had to be helped off the field. Were you concerned at that point that it was something pretty serious and that your season could have been in danger?

KYLE KENDRICK: Yeah, obviously it hurt and had X rays and everything and the next day after icing, it felt a lot better. Yeah, it was a little scary, but, you know, we did a good job taking care of it, and, you know, glad I didn't miss a start.

All four National League teams in the playoffs are relatively inexperienced which is really unusual. Is there any comfort in that for you? Does that level the playing field at all in your mind?

CHARLIE MANUEL: You know what, I looked at all four of those teams, and of course, I've seen them play this year and we've played them and I keep up with them. And actually all four of them, pretty close, as far as the teams go as far as talent; they are different in some ways but at the same time, I look at them as all four of them are very, very close as far as the way they play and ability. I think it's going to be a good series. I think all four teams could definitely win it.

Is experience important?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think any time you get experience, especially the more times you've been there and age wise and things like that, I think that's important. But at the same time, people are always stepping up and you know, like if you I look at it as when you see somebody like Arizona has got some young players; you know, at times, they definitely, they can shine and everything. I don't think -- I don't see how the playoffs are going to bother them as far as how they play. I think if anything, they will be inspired and they will be ready to go. I think experience wise, Chicago Cubs on the field has probably got more experience as far as playing wise.

We've got some depth on our team, especially in our pitching. But at the same time, the Rockies are young, but I look for these games to be real close. I don't think experience will have a whole lot to do with it except maybe in the pitching line.

Charlie, you mentioned when Kyle first came up he was seen as a stop gap. What would you have done if he didn't work out, if he didn't pitch the way he did the rest of the season?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think if -- first of all, if I think he was struggling or something like that; if there would have been a time if we could are have moved him, we probably would have sent him back and pitch and let him get more experience.

But what happened, the more good outings he started giving us and he got consistent; he earned his chances, and it's kind of like earning your wing kind of thing. He got in there and got going. He was good enough to stay in our rotation, and that's kind of how I look at it.

I'm always for the guy, the better you play or the better you pitch, the more you get to pitch and the more you get to play if you're a player. He earned everything that he's done this year and I look forward, he's going to be a tremendous big league pitcher.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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