10/14/2002 01:23 am ET
Cardinals post-game quotes
Tony La Russa, Cardinals manager
Twelve men left on base, is that too many?
It's kind of the reverse of yesterday. They had a bunch of chances early and didn't capitalize, and we came back and won the game. Today, we had some chances to add runs and we didn't. That comes back to haunt you.
Do you think (Fernando) Vina had a chance to score in the ninth inning?
Well, you know, the ball is, I think, a tough enough read where you can't get a real good jump. Normally we try to run on his arm, but it was a tough ball to read. It's pretty tough, you run into a double play there, you get third base with Albert (Pujols) coming up. I think the line drive carried a little too far.
Why didn't you bring a left-hander to pitch to (J.T.) Snow?
Well, we had a pretty good matchup where he didn't have to give in to him. He wasn't supposed to -- we had right-handers behind him and (Rick) White was nice and fresh. We were trying to get a nasty pitch. He just got a sinker up a little bit, and give Snow credit.
(Benito) Santiago, we had a similar situation where we didn't have to center the ball. There we had Snow behind him with Steve Kline coming up. He pitched well, but he missed his location twice and they were good enough to capitalize.
Can you take us through your thinking on walking (Barry) Bonds in the eighth inning?
Well, a lot of times strategy is judged on whether it works. So it didn't work. Bad strategy.
But, you know, Bonds is the most dangerous hitter in the game right now, and it's tough to walk in that clubhouse with giving him a chance to get the hit to beat you. Santiago has been very tough, but it's a little easier to take.
Were you tempted to hit for Andy (Benes) in the sixth with two on?
No. I thought that Andy was -- he looked like he had good command and was going after it.
I know somebody is going to ask about the short bench, but that really wasn't a problem. Andy is a good enough batter. I thought he might have a chance. I didn't think it was -- two-out walk to (Jeff) Kent, or the one-out walk because he struck out (Rich) Aurilia, seemed like he was throwing good enough and Kent, ended up walking him, and for me that was enough after Bonds.
Was it the walk to Kent that made you decide to take out Andy Benes?
Yeah, we had him 1-2 and got away. The guy coming up, Santiago walked once and had a fly ball on a 2-0 count. He's had probably more success against Andy than anybody in that lineup so I didn't think that was the time to push him.
Did you use White longer than you usually have this year?
Well, he's been really good for us. He was so fresh, came off one hitter, had a couple of days off coming in. We use him -- try not to, because that usually means he can't pitch for a game or two. But a game like today, he was fresh enough to go that far.
Look at the outs he got; how many did he strike out? He had 3-2 to Santiago and when (pitching coach Dave) Duncan went out to talk to him, he said, you don't have to center-cut this to him. Just, the sinker got away from him a little bit.
Can you comment on facing a possible elimination game tomorrow and the focus of your ballclub and the ability to bounce back?
Well, I think right now, the thing to do is to consider how we lost this game. We'll get ready to play tomorrow when tomorrow gets here. It's a very tough loss. We had a lot of opportunities. We are usually really good at advancing and getting men in.
We had success with the hit-and-run. Little fine things that we do, we didn't do enough of today. It ended up costing us a run here or there. When you get that deep in the game, you let them stay that close, it comes back to haunt you.
We'll talk about it. We'll be ready to play tomorrow.
Did you pre-think either before the series or before the game, late-inning situations where you know you will walk Bonds or do you wait and feel the game, how it's going and make the decision then that you would rather have Santiago up with a righty on the mound?
We treat Bonds like the really dangerous hitters in the League. Sometimes the game does not allow you. What are you going to pre-think if there's a couple of guys on base -- we know a couple of times how we are going to go after him, how we are going to try to go after him.
In all cases, we respect him and we are going to pitch to him like he's a dangerous hitter. The game dictates what you are allowed and not allowed to do.