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An interview with Manuel, Moyer & Howard

An interview with Manuel, Moyer & Howard

Earlier in the year there was a push to kind of move Ruiz out of the starting lineup. You were adamant in your consistently staying with him. How gratifying is it now that he's become one of your better performers in the World Series?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, like he's always been a good defensive catcher. And he throws good. And he was having trouble with his hitting. And at the same time when I used Coste, Coste was definitely, he was hot at times on offense. And like when we started winning games, that's why I stuck with Ruiz, our team got hot. And like I said the other day, it's not like Coste is not a good player or nothing, but once we started winning, I liked the combination, I kind of kept that. But I've always had faith in him. I've always had confidence in him and more than likely, if you follow me and the way I manage, I always go back and give a guy a chance. I don't give up on him, as long as he doesn't give up on himself.

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Tonight Ryan Howard hit his home run tonight. Chase Utley hit one. Are you starting to gradually see your 3, 4, 5 guys starting to come around a little bit?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, like when they hit, you guys tell me, hey, look, they're starting to come around. These guys are good hitters. It's like I said the other day, he didn't get the 146 RBIs with somebody giving it to him. He's a legitimate hitter. He's got stats actually the time he's been in the big leagues, nobody in the game could match him. And Utley, I don't have to say anything about Utley's hit, he's a tremendous hitter. These guys are good hitters, do they go over 0 for 4 sometimes? Do they go 0 for 20 sometimes? Yeah. That's baseball.

Where's Bob Ford at? Funny game. Bob, where are you at? I tell him that all the time. It's a funny game, that's how the game goes.

Can I ask you about the way the team came back. They had the 4 1 lead, it looked like the game might be a bit secure, and then to lose the lead then come back, talk about what that says about the team. And what was it like to have the home field? The crowd's so loud here.

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think I'll answer the second part first. The home crowd, I think it definitely plays a big part. I think it has a lot to do with us, I think it has to do with how we play all year long. We got breaks there in the end and we capitalized on them. It might have took a little squib roller down the third base line, but at the same time it's better to be lucky sometimes than to be good.

Does this whole series make you question the value of the statistic hits with runners in scoring position?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I've only been in the game about 46 years, and I think I learned that. I hope I know it.

Jamie, how tough was it to get into the regular rhythm today with the rain delay and not really knowing when the game would start and everything else you had to go through?

JAMIE MOYER: I don't really find it difficult, because I didn't have to start and then stop. It was a little tough trying to figure out when we were going to get started. But they gave us, both teams, plenty of advance notice to when the game was going to start and I was ready to go, obviously, well before that. So it was just a matter of when I went out to the bullpen, I wasn't sure if the game was going to start. They pulled the tarp but it was still raining and they said it's going to stop. I didn't think it would look like it was going to stop. I didn't want to go out and warm up and then have a delay.

So other than that I felt that I got into a decent tempo in the bullpen, and was able to bring that within the white lines.

Jamie, did the home crowd help you tonight?

JAMIE MOYER: Most definitely. I think it was very uplifting to walk across the field, even through the puddles and hear the excitement of the fans. I try not to get caught up in it but I do hear it. And I could tell when some of my teammates came out to get loose and things like that. I don't really pay attention to it but you can hear things. Not only that, when they announced the lineups, you know, to start the game, the first pitch of the game, the first couple innings you really felt like the stadium was on end. It was really electric in our ballpark tonight. And I think that's very big for us.

Jamie, a lot of guys say that having you is like having an extra pitching coach. I was wondering if you could speak to that a bit and what you might think of actually formally taking that role as a coach?

JAMIE MOYER: Like tomorrow? You know, I just try to do my job. I've been around the game a long time and I feel like I can add at some points. And sometimes it's better off keeping my mouth shut, but I feel like when there are times that I can add something, whether it's to a conversation or during the course of a game with a guy that's willing to listen or has the ability to talk during the game, that it doesn't become a distraction to him I think it can be very beneficial. A lot of time in the clubhouse, a lot of time during batting practice, a lot of times when we're traveling on the airplane, I like to pull guys aside and talk about things, and just try to give them my perspective versus their perspective. And I think through my experiences during the course of my career. I haven't experienced everything, but I've experienced a lot. And I feel like I can relate to my fellow pitchers. If I can help somebody at least think of something, if it's a struggle or something positive that they're going through, if I can help them think about that and become a better pitcher, why not?

Charlie, the series seems to be shaping up with your power versus their speed. Is that a match up you're comfortable with?

CHARLIE MANUEL: When you talk about their speed, when you get Crawford and Upton, they can really fly. When they hit the ball in the infield, they make you hurry. And they make you do things with it. They're quick and they're hard to stop. And also if you look, they've got a lot of switch hitters in their lineup. You've got to really be careful, especially when you go to the bullpen, how you match up with them because actually they are a hard team to kind of match up to. And they've got a good ballclub.

As far as their power, they hit the ball so far in this postseason, they've hit a lot of home runs, they just haven't hit that many against us yet. And hopefully they don't hit any. We're known to hit the ball out of the yard. Like we score a lot that way. But we can also manufacture runs with Victorino and Rollins and Utley and Jayson Werth. And like when we do, that's when we really put some runs across the board.

But, yeah, so far it's been good. I'd say, what, we're 2 1 and actually we could have been 3 0 or basically Tampa could have been 3 0. The games have been close, and there's been chances for both teams to win all the games. So far it's been an outstanding series. We've made mistakes mentally and physically, but at the same time I think our pitching has been very good in the series, and it's been good the whole series, so really, look, we've got to come out and win tomorrow and like we're trying to win the series.

Jamie, what was the difference for you tonight between the last two postseason starts, especially against the Dodgers? The second question, what was your view of the bunt there on your stomach on Crawford?

JAMIE MOYER: I didn't have much of a view. I caught it in my glove and flipped it to Ryan. And actually I asked Ryan after the play was made, and we were both kind of walking towards the mound, if he thought he was out or safe. I didn't know if he was out or safe. I obviously do now, I saw it on replay.

But the difference for me tonight was probably just creating a tempo, and I was able to create that tempo in the bullpen. And then I think with the electricity of the crowd here at the ballpark, and throwing some early strikes, getting some quick outs, just allowed me to get into the flow of the game early and really not have to fight and make a lot of pitches early in the first and second inning.

Jamie, you waited a long time to appear in your first World Series game. I wonder if you could tell us how much it meant, expectations, and how much it meant to you tonight?

JAMIE MOYER: I didn't know what expectations to really look for. And I think it exceeded every expectation or every thought or every dream that I had.

Jamie, before the series, the media had asked Charlie Manuel about your pitching in the World Series. I don't know how much you heard it. The questions and whether you would or wouldn't pitch. Did you hear it?

JAMIE MOYER: No.

What were your thoughts?

JAMIE MOYER: I didn't hear it. And you know what, baseball is baseball. And you're going to have good outings, you're going to have bad outings over the course of the season. My biggest thing, my biggest goal over the last ten days, two weeks, was to try to put those outings that I had previously behind me. And tonight was a new game. Three games ago this was a new series.

So focus on the now and not the past, and personally I feel like I did a good job of what I set out to do.

Jamie, can you describe your emotions on Longoria's ball to the wall?

JAMIE MOYER: I threw it, he hit it and I thought, "oh, boy" (laughter). It was high and I've seen a lot of those balls land in the flower pot. And I thought, oh, my gosh, this isn't a good thing. And then I actually watched Pat. I figured that would give the biggest reaction. And I saw him kind of camp at the wall without turning around like it was going to go over his head and he caught it. Other than that I felt like I got away with one.

Ryan, I know you're used to having rain delays, playing in an eastern city, but did it seem to be odd playing in the middle of the night like this, 1:30 in the morning and still out there playing?

RYAN HOWARD: No, not at all. Not at all. We knew going in how the weather was going to be today. And today it was not an easy day to try and be up to well, normally during the season a day like today is not an easy day to try to be up for a baseball game. But everybody was ready to go, and we knew we were going to wait it out and just go out there and play the game. So everybody was ready to go.

Jamie, what is your emotions like during those final two and a third innings, especially the ninth inning when you're watching your team's game and kind of helpless to do anything about it?

JAMIE MOYER: I was in the clubhouse, but I was pulling for the guys, just like I would on the bench. And when Bruntlett got hit, I wasn't wishing that he got hit, but he got hit and that started the rally. And then the errant throw, the wild pitch, the errant throw, now he's on third, now it forces Joe to do a lot of things. And everything worked out in our favor.

And I was sitting actually with Scott Eyre in the clubhouse, I felt like something good was going to happen in that situation. And when Chooch (Ruiz) hit that ball, I think I went from my seat to the ceiling. So I was excited.

Ryan, it looks like you finally found your swing. You're looking comfortable up at the plate. Is it something mechanical that was giving you the problem previously?

RYAN HOWARD: No, it wasn't really anything mechanical. It's just seeing the ball and picking up the pitch and just reacting to it. It's been kind of a slow but steady process. I had some good swings out there today and luckily for me was able to get a home run out of it today. I'm feeling pretty good at the plate. It's definitely coming.

Can you talk a bit about, I know mathematically you're just sat 1 1, but to win this game, the first of three at home, how important was this to get off to a good start here?

RYAN HOWARD: It's huge. Especially the way Jamie came out and pitched. It was definitely huge. This is why you have home field advantage. And you have to take advantage of it while you have it. So to come out here and win the first game here in Philly, you definitely want to come out and try to set the tone and put you in a good position to try to come out tomorrow and try to get another game.

Jamie was just talking about how he kind of watched the last inning unfold. Can you tell me how it was for you in the dugout, just with Bruntlett and Ruiz?

RYAN HOWARD: When Eric got up there, I think he got up to a 2 1 count or whatnot, and then got hit by the pitch. So whatever it takes to get the rally kind of going. And then Shane almost got hit. And Bruntlett took off for second and the errant throw, which allowed him to go to third. And right then we're sitting in a pretty good position. A guy on third and nobody out. And luckily for us, Chooch was able to get that hit, and it didn't have to go 400 feet, just about 25.

On that play at first base that Jamie made, what was your perspective on that? And were you impressed with the old guy's athleticism?

RYAN HOWARD: You know what, I was definitely impressed. The way that Jamie got off the mound, the ball just kind of kept going. Because when I saw Carl bunt it, it looked like it was going to die kind of early, and all of a sudden it kept rolling and rolling and rolling, and Jamie made a hell of an effort to get over there and get the flip.

I thought we had him. The only way I thought we can get him is by me trying to barehand it. I thought we had him at first base, but I guess the umpire thought otherwise.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
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