An interview with Ozzie Guillen
White Sox manager discusses Division Series strategy
Ozzie, down at Tampa you told the media how the ballpark plays smaller at this time of year. Did you stress that to your team going into the home game's here, the fact that you had the aggressive base running, no home runs yesterday. I know they are aware of it, but have you stressed it since the weather turned?
OZZIE GUILLEN: Not really. I think most of the guys been playing here so long they know how the ballpark work. Meanwhile, I think they going to go to the play and take a different approach because of the ballpark. They see the ball better here this year. And you know what I mean the factor of the weather, I mean you know you are not going to hit that many home runs, and we got to take advantage on the baserunning.
Are you taking it into account when you manage?
OZZIE GUILLEN: Well, the game will dictate what we're going to do. I mean, you are not going to put a hit and run if nobody is on base. You are not going to put a hit and run when Thome is hitting. I got the right people on the base at the time I think the baserunning with Thome and Junior was outstanding. We not the faster runners, but we got smart people on the basepath. The thing they don't have is speed, but they know how to run the bases.
Ozzie, I'm sure you are focused on your team, but just when you prepare to play Tampa Bay what do you think of Evan Longoria, what he's done this season and this series on both sides of the ball?
OZZIE GUILLEN: This kid's amazing player. I mean, I think he make baseball better. I think he make baseball excited. I think baseball was hungry for young players like that. The new era take over.
This kid remind me a lot of good players. He reminds me of Edgar Martinez from Seattle. The way he swing, the way he is smooth. This kid's got a great opportunity to be a superstar. And the way he play against us, he has not surprised me at all. You know, this kid's got pure talent. He belongs in this league. And I think he spent that many years in the big league I wonder why. Because this kid is going to be outstanding player.
OZZIE GUILLEN: Gavin is a big boy. I think he's been pitching well with us. He beat pretty good ball clubs. He got a good record against good hitting team. Every time we need a big one, he show up and do it. One thing about it, Gavin throws strikes today and attack the strike zone, I'll take my chance with him.
Ozzie, would it definitely be Buehrle if there's a Game 5?
OZZIE GUILLEN: Yes. Yes. He's got the day when we were trying to make the rotation, that's what we're thinking. And if it was a Game 5, that's the guy, the best guy we have.
Vasquez going to be available?
OZZIE GUILLEN: Vasquez is going to be in the bullpen. Maybe to back him up just in case we need him.
Same question as with the same question to you. Will you make anything different as far as the pitching staff knowing, you know, yesterday's elimination today, today is elimination game. Will you go quicker to your bullpen?
OZZIE GUILLEN: We've been doing that since like two weeks ago. We try to get the best. Right now our bullpen is fresh. Right now, we see Floyd and as soon as Floyd come out and not be the way we thought he is going to be, you are going to see a couple guys up right away.
We can't sit down and hope for one good inning. And you are going to see Richard up right away. Like yesterday we are going to bring Thornton in the sixth because, I thought we need to get that done in the sixth just in case Danks was in trouble. And, you know, you not see Thornton in the sixth during the season. But now Thornton, Linebrink, they're going to see them early in the game if we have to.
Sonnanstine tossed a three hitter against you guys earlier this year. How tough a match up do you see it today?
OZZIE GUILLEN: Those guys got a outstanding, outstanding starting rotation. I think that's the reason they are [where they are].
When we faced them we was struggle. And we couldn't get anything done. Right now this kid throwing a lot of strikes, tagging the strike zone, not as scared. We have to be prepared for him. He will double up change ups. He throw you any pitch in any count. He's another good one.
Why would you say Gavin has emerged as a steady, consistent pitcher at the Big League level? Why would you say he's made that breakthrough this year?
OZZIE GUILLEN: You can see it from the first day he started in Spring Training. You know what I mean? I think this guy the only thing it never was pitch in the Big League because I don't think he got enough confidence in himself. First-round pick, every time go out there suppose to be good because of how good he was.
To me I think the pitching coach let him pitch. We let him go out there and do what he is suppose to do. He's a pretty smart kid. And every game go out there I think he's got better and better. And he's matured a lot. And just see the games over the season, every time we need a big game, against New York, Boston, Detroit Tigers, he's facing great lineups and he got it done.
Ozzie, you spoke about how good Longoria has been during the season. Since that first game you guys have shut him down pretty well. Are you doing anything differently or is he chasing more or what do you see?
OZZIE GUILLEN: We try to make better pitches. And every time the guy's got set to throw the ball I pray hopefully he not hit it.
It's hard to say, because every time I look at the line up, the first thing I look is who hits behind him. That's the first thing that goes through my mind.
But that kid is dangerous. Every time he is at the plate he is in a scoring position. He can do a lot of damage. I think we just pitch him a little bit better now.
Ozzie, you finished the season with three must win games at home. Is home-field advantage working for you right now?
OZZIE GUILLEN: I never believe that, but now I'm starting to believe. Especially this year.
Like I say, I talked to couple players I thought if we win today now we're going to take the series back to Tampa. Because other have been in this situation before. When you need to win and you lose two and win one there's a lot of pressure on the players and everybody. Hopefully when the day's over we're ready to go to Tampa then they're going to be excited. Hopefully we'll go back there. But I think we play good here. We not play good anyplace with a dome. But I will take my chance next game that we win here. I will like my team the next game we win here today.
Ozzie, after the game yesterday Wise said that everybody showed up in the clubhouse early as if they were up 2-0. That's the attitude they have to take. They were very loose. Does that come from you or just the makeup of this ballclub?
OZZIE GUILLEN: It's one thing I told my players, we got to take it one day at a time starting in Spring Training. I don't want to see my players down. Every time we lose the game, I'm the first one to blast the music. The game's over, you can do nothing about it. They ask me about a couple times, I see the guys doing the same thing over and over. I don't want my ballclub to change because we're losing. Just be yourself.
A lot of people ask me do you call a meeting. I said no. We got to react the same way. They do the same thing every day. We're not going to change no matter how bad a position we'll be.
Ozzie, some managers would say they would like having guys like DeWayne Wise around, who has been around the Minor Leagues, because they bring a good attitude and they're hungry. What has he done for your club since he's been in this role for the last few weeks?
OZZIE GUILLEN: It's funny because I think the White Sox signed this kid doing somebody a favor. I'm not for sure. He went through late camp in Minor Leagues, then he was playing well for us in Triple-A. And I like those type of players. I like players with speed. I like players that bring something to the table, make things happen.
We call him up in Tampa, I remember, we're playing in Tampa Bay and we had to send him down. I told him I was begging him don't go to another organization. Because he could be a free agent and go somewhere else. I said you have a great opportunity here. We sent him down and a week later he was back with us. Since that day, he is what we wanted him to be.
He help us in different ways. He is a big clutch hitter for us. Huge. The championship, the run and play the bases, steal the bases, that's the type of player you like.
Ozzie, just wondering, what it's like for you to manage a guy like Ken Griffey Jr., who you played against when he was arguably the best player in the game?
OZZIE GUILLEN: I got a couple picture bat signed and a jersey signed. A Hall of Famer. Junior make it easy for me. A lot of people thought he is going to be a pain in the butt here. He has been awesome. He has been great for the club, for his teammates, contributes a lot. I just feel I don't know they feel that old but I feel proud. I feel proud you know to get this job when I was still young and when he is in the Hall of Fame I can tell my grandkids I managed that guy once. Going to be my third one I think. Fourth. I managed Frank, Alomar, Thome and now Junior. That's a pretty good compliment for those guys to play for me.
You were talking about pressure before. I want to go back to 2005 when you were ahead in series. Was the pressure more on you to wrap it up? In other words, who has more pressure now, Tampa to wrap it up?
OZZIE GUILLEN: I don't want to talk anything bad about Tampa Bay. I have so much respect for those guys. They know that. And for the organization.
But, yes, they have to have more pressure because if we win the thing I says, oh wow we did it. We just go out and fight and do what we do the. If we don't, we're down 2 0 before the thing start. But obviously I remember being there and got to the playoffs we 3-0. I remember told the guys don't wake the dog up. Because you never know what's going to happen.
And a lot of people said don't take anything for granted. We have to get it the best we can, the quick we can and take out the dinner. Believe me, every time you win one game, everything changed. Now you think about saying now we not have to win three we have to win two. I don't care what they say but I would say yes and I was in the same situation and they will think about it. Yes they will.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.