10/04/2002 00:25 am ET
Braves post-game quotes
Bobby Cox, Braves manager
Can you explain what comes over Javy
Lopez when it gets to important post-season
He's been swinging the bat
much better ever since we went to Florida, our last
trip. He hit the ball good there. He hit the ball
good in New York. Hit the ball good in Philly. It
was toward the end of the season, and Terry has
been working real hard with him, not so much the
hands or the stride, but just swinging at pitches
that are around the plate, and it's made a big
difference for him.
Considering the way he is swinging the
bat, is there a chance he might catch Maddux
You've pitched to Bonds in the two
games of this series. Does it have anything to do
with his post-season record?
No. Barry is a lot different
hitter than he was years ago, and the game has
not dictated what to do with Barry, pitch to him or
walk him. Every situation so far, we've walked him
once intentionally, and that's all. It just has not
You have to really realize he's -- maybe, I
don't know. He's just a great hitter and he's a
great home run hitter. He can change the game
around real fast. We've got all kinds of what-ifs in
the first inning, second inning and whenever he
comes up; the lead, behind, whatever; what are we
going to do with the guy? It's hard, actually, to
pitch to him.
Can you explain the performance of
the bottom of your lineup, you have big hits from
DeRosa, Lopez, Castilla?
Yeah, Vinny started
swinging good about two weeks ago, hitting some
balls hard, hitting the ball out. It took him three
months to get his last home run, and Vinny has
always been able to hit the ball out of the ballpark,
just one of those things. But he's hitting the ball
hard everywhere right now. It's just a great time,
really for those two guys to kick it in.
That's what you hope for. When you get
into a five-game series, which is a big crapshoot,
you need for anybody to get hot, and especially the
guys down toward the bottom. DeRosa hit .300
this year, one point below it and those were typical
hits of him tonight. The blooper in the right, he
gets a lot of those, and the line drive into right, he
gets a lot of those.
Is this the kind of start you've come to
expect from Millwood, even on short notice?
He's had a great year. He
and Moss were two of the keys this year, winning 18
and 12 apiece, that's 30 ballgames, and that's a
tough. Kevin was coming off sort of a so-so year
last year. He was extra good to tonight. He has
not thrown 95, 96, maybe ever. The good thing is,
Tommy threw 70 pitches the other day and
Millwood threw 70, and they both came back on
three days' rest, which they can do very easily.
Was the number of pitches and the
way you planned to use him, was that the main
factor in him coming out?
It was about 20 percent
factor. The other factor was he was so fired up
tonight, he about wore himself out. He was
actually done after his last out that he got.
Who do you plan to use at first base Saturday?
I'm going to -- we'll
determine that tomorrow at the workout. We'll see.
Haven't really thought about that right now. I
always like to sleep on those. Julio is swinging
real good, for me. He's been a .320 hitter for last
three months are so, and so has Matt. He didn't
get a lot down the stretch, but still a very good
hitter. We'll look at that.
Was Millwood hurt at all on the play at
Nothing major but a little bit.
We wanted to give him some time to recoop and
we wanted Javy to go out and talk to him and
Julio and it took him a while to get back and first
pitch, home run.
A little bit but nothing, really. He'll make a
start, believe me. He's fine.
Referring to Javy Lopez, is he a guy
that steps up in the post-season?
That's a loose term, "Step
up." I don't know how to accept that. Barry Bonds
in his years with the Pirates would always hit .300,
35 home runs; did he step down? You get lucky,
you get pitches to hit. I don't think there's any such
thing as that, myself, except you do take
advantage of the pitches you get to hit, or if you're
a pitcher, you are able to make the pitches. That's
a step up.
Five-run lead and you went to Smoltz
to close it out?
We've got to win every
game we can win right now. Holmes is throwing
great, don't get me wrong. He's throwing
absolutely great right now. I just didn't want to get
Kent on there and Bonds coming up. I wanted to
get Kent out. I thought Smoltz, something fresh.
He was ready to go two tonight, as well as Rem,
and he had a real short inning going with the first
two hitters and then he got two infield hits and
ground balls and he ended throwing a ton of
pitches to Bell and finally struck him out on a ball
in on him.
Rem was prepared to go two to night, as
well as Smoltz, because of the Hammond
Kevin Millwood, starting pitcher
What turned the season around for you after
you started 3-5 this year?
I just felt like I got my
mechanics right, getting them back to where they
were in '98 and '99. I think being hurt I changed
my mechanics to try to find a way to throw where it
didn't hurt, and I'm getting them back to where they
needed to be. It was probably one of the biggest
things I did all year.
Bobby mentioned that you were really
fired up tonight; if so, how could anybody tell?
You can't tell I'm fired up? (Laughter.)
I don't know, I think (pitching coach) Leo (Mazzone) could tell a little bit
in the bullpen before the game. Yeah, I was real
fired up. I knew it was a big game for us.
Definitely, we didn't want to go back to San
Francisco down two games and it was -- I knew it
was a big game. I was probably as excited or as
pumped as I've ever been.
Bobby suggested that you were
throwing harder tonight. Was that true? Do you
feel that you were throwing harder tonight?
Yeah, I felt like I had a
little more zip on my fastball. My slider was just a
little bit harder, and I thought I threw a couple of
curveballs harder than I have all year. It's probably
got a lot to do with adrenaline and things like that.
So hopefully I can keep it up.
Were you affected by the play at first
base, the fielding play?
At the time I don't
think I was affected. Maybe a little bit tired. Your
going to run into plays like that throughout games.
I didn't really get sore from it until after I had come
out of the game; I started feeling a little bit sore,
but nothing to -- nothing that's really going to
What part of your body is sore?
around there. I don't know. Maybe a doctor could
tell you better.
You seem to be in a position where
you could be a front-runner in the staff, even on a
staff with Maddux and Glavine; how do you feel
I like being behind
those two guys. Those two guys are going to get
all the publicity. It keeps it away from me. I don't
have people breaking down every little thing that I
do, which is kind of nice. I don't have a hundred
people wanting to talk to me every day, which is
kind of nice. I just go about my business. I don't
have to worry about being the No. 1 guy here.
How do you keep the same facial
expressions all the time?
Well, you know, I
watched Glavine and Maddux and Smoltz pitch
for five years now, and those guys are the same
way. They don't give anything away with their
facial expressions or body expressions. They just
go about their job and I figured the less I let the
other team know about what's going on in my
mind, the better off I am.
Did you think back at all to '99 when
you pitched in a similar situation with your team
down one game?
Yeah, I thought about
it. I think in any situation, you try to go back to a
similar situation that you were successful in. I was
successful then, so I wanted to go back and pull
something up, and that's what I did. So I thought
about it. I knew in my mind that I had been in that
same situation and I did well. Really, nothing
better for me to think about than that.
Bobby Cox said that he felt you were
pretty well done after six innings because of the
way you were so fired up. Do you agree with that
Yeah, I was pretty
tired. I felt like I may have been able to go one
more, but why chance it with our bullpen. Those
guys have been so good all year long, it's hard not
to go to them.
Could you be a little more specific
about your injury?
I don't know if I would
call it an injury. My groin is a little sore. I don't
think it will -- I don't think it will take away from
anything that I do in between starts. I don't think
for a Game 5, I don't think it would bother me for
It's just something that we just make sure
we'll take care of over the next couple of days, and
just get ready for Monday, if need be.
Vinny Castilla, third baseman
When Bobby Cox was in here earlier, he
mentioned that you had been swinging the bat
much better the last few weeks. Would you
comment about the way you have been coming
Yeah, I've been having
like a wrist injury that's been nagging me all year
long. The wrist is strong now, so I've been able to
drive the ball well now.
How important is it to get out of this,
come back and get this victory tonight and get out
of here 1-1 instead of being down 0-2?
That's very important.
You don't want to go into San Francisco like that.
It's a great win today.
Can you talk about Kevin Millwood's
It was outstanding. He
throws the ball great. He's been pitching the whole
year like that. It was a great performance today.
Was there a difference in how Rueter
was pitching tonight, as to the way he was pitching
in the regular season?
No. He's a good
pitcher, too. We capitalized on some of the
mistakes he made and we were able to hit the ball
Going into San Francisco 1-1, how
confident are you with Maddux on the mound in
the next game?
We are pretty confident.
We know we have a great ballclub, and going to
San Francisco with great pitching, it's a great
feeling to have Greg on the mound in the first
game in San Francisco.