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10/06/05 6:14 PM ET

Guillen off-day interview

Could you tell us your thoughts, your team's thoughts, your thoughts more importantly, on Tim Wakefield, what he brings to his team, and how important it is to face a knuckleball pitcher like him when he's on.

GUILLEN: Tim has had a lot of success in the past in the post season series. I think every time you go to face the ball somebody throw the ball different, he make a lot of difficulty to face it.

We swing the bat pretty good against him in the past. Hopefully we do it tomorrow. I think this kid, him being in tough situation before, he know how to handle it. He's always pitched real good here. Hopefully we take the best advantage that we can.

Were you confident going in that your team could shut down or at least contain the Red Sox to this extent? They've only scored in three innings in the two games.

GUILLEN: Well, you know, we survive and we play good all year long because our pitching staff. You want to beat those guys. The only way you going to do it is shut the offense. I think this team has got the best offense in the league right now.

You know, you look at the guys, you a manager, you say, "We not going to pitch around this guy to face the next." You don't have that space in this ballclub. Even Graffanino is batting nine. He's one of the dangerous hitter we have all year long. All of a sudden you have Mueller, you have Varitek, a lot of people. One thing about Boston, they always talk about Big Papi and Ramirez, but a lot of people forget about Varitek, Nixon, Mueller, Damon. These are really pretty good nine people to have in the lineup. It is not easy to go and face out there. We pitched pretty good against them.

But that was our strength. I think that's our toughness. Our pitching staff has been great all year long and they just continue to do it.

Despite being here at Fenway, do you think there's more or less pressure to close out a series on the road?

GUILLEN: Well, I don't know. I think I come here, is going to be different ballgame. I think for us is easier because we did it before. We play good on the road trip. Last time we clinch, was on the road. Hopefully we get this thing done as soon as we can. I would like to go back to Chicago, but you never know what's going to happen here.

They know how to play in this ballpark. The fans here is pretty into the game. Like I say, every day, they know how to play the game. They're going to show up tomorrow and play the best game they can. We'll see what happens.

On the eve of a potential clinching tomorrow, did you put any stricter rules on your guys when you're on the road or do you allow yourself to go out and have a good time tonight?

GUILLEN: There's one thing I told my players, be careful, there's a lot of fans here, they love baseball. I was in the street today with my kids. I never thought I was so popular walking in the streets. I've been in this game for 20 years. Now they know me because I play against Boston.

But you go out, I just told my players, you have dinner, stay the closest you can from the hotel. Couple issues happen in the past. I don't want anything bad and the fans get into my players, something happen. You know, my players, I'm not a baby sitter. They do what they have to do. I try to stay away from them. But they know we come here to play baseball, not to have like a tourist. I think we have to be prepared for the game tomorrow and forget about party and whatever else.

Playing well on the road is so difficult. What is it about your team that made you play so well on the road? Why do you think your team played so well on the road this season?

GUILLEN: Well, a few thing. I think our ballpark in the summer is not an easy ballpark to pitch. Every time we go on the road, (indiscernible) was pitching. Then we play Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland. Those ballpark, they pretty fair ballparks. Again, that was in our advantage. The reason we play better on the road is because we pitch better on the road.

I think just one thing happen a year back, but the different thing is U.S. Cellular Field is pretty small in the summer, and you know our type of game.

What do you see differently in Freddy on the road and at home? Is there anything to explain why he's so much better on the road?

GUILLEN: Well, when you pitching in U.S. Cellular Field, like I say, in the summer, I think Freddy pitching right now would be fine because the ball is not carrying the way it carry in the summer. Believe it or not, that's going to be on your mind all the time while you're pitching. The wind is blowing, you know, it's hot in the air. You try to make the right pitch, it's not there. It's just one of those thing happen to the players.

I think right now, that's why I picked Freddy to pitch in the road trip. Hopefully he continue to do what he doing all year long.

How did you and Carl get over your little misunderstanding from a few weeks back? What is it you see about him now that has his bat going? Do you think he's got a special axe to grind against Boston at this point?

GUILLEN: Well, Carl is always play good here, I don't know the reason, against Boston. He got his own reason.

The misunderstanding, you know, I always make the best lineup I could to make my team win. In that particular time, Carl was not the hitter I thought should be batting third because he was really struggle. In that particular week, we need some offense. We not have any. Thank God I got the guts to do it.

A lot of players make a lot of mistakes. You know, I play before. I play with great players. I play with real bad ones. I play with professional ones. I play with gamers. I play with guys you don't want to even see. I play with it all.

The problem is, when the players...the manager got to tell the players why you not playing, why you move down, why I move you up. That's respect. I'm not talking about Carl. I'm talking about baseball in general. I'm the manager, I make the best lineup. Who you to tell me why you play seven, six or eight? You tell the player, you batting third, I move you down to six, you look at yourself in the mirror and asking you why. You feeling good. You not going to move. That happen to a lot of managers. I made the best lineup. They don't like it. Go your way, get another job.

Did you and Carl have an actual conversation?

GUILLEN: Not really. We don't have to. We don't have to. He's one of my players. He don't like him batting six, he got two choice: not playing or he batting six.

(No microphone.)

GUILLEN: Well, yes, because I think this kid is a player, he's a gamer, he's a big time player, he's a veteran, he know what he doing, he want to help his team to win, he want to help me to win.

Like I say after the first game in the playoff, it's all about winning now. It's not about stats. I think Carl, he had a key hit for us in the past. He got the game winning RBIs when we clinch in Detroit. He swing the ball better.

Have you had to say anything to your players about the fact you have obviously three tries to get one win, but let's make this game tomorrow urgent, get it done now, get it over with? Have you said anything like to this to your players?

GUILLEN: No. I think we have to think that way because when you enemy down, you got to keep him down because you wake up you make some noise and you wake up the monster, you going to be in trouble. Because I see those guys. I got a lot of friends in Boston Red Sox uniform. I know how they play. I know how loose they are. Seem like they don't even care.

When you go deep in the heart, they want to beat you the best they can. You have to get this thing over as soon as you can. If not, you're going to be in trouble.

Unless I misunderstood, you seemed to say yesterday you're going to stick with the rotation order no matter what happens with the rest of the series. Can you talk about what goes into that decision?

GUILLEN: Well, I have to be there first. We do it tomorrow. Garland been pitching almost like seven days. We got to sit and think about it. I'm pretty much like stay with the same rotation. Give Garland the shot to start the first game.

But, like I say, I made my rotation about who is the best pitcher I have. I got to say in my rotation, who is the guy who throw the ball best? I think the reason why Contreras was the first guy on my team, I think he was the best guy that was throwing at that particular time.

But to me it's not fair to start with Garland with a 10, 15 day rest, and we got to figure out how we going to do it. But I going to go with the best guy. If Contreras start, we might start with Contreras, but I got to be in that position first to make the decision.

Are there some little things can you do with Wakefield because he's so slow to the plate? Can you run a little bit and do some small things if you can make contact?

GUILLEN: Well, we going to play the same way we play. I hopefully (indiscernible) get on base and take advantage of the knuckleball. Knuckleball, not easy to handle a knuckle ball pitch. We going to do the same way. We going to try to run the most we can and hopefully those people get on base and those people be on base to make thing happen.

It's one thing about Wakefield, that kid show the way he's capable of throw the ball, is going to be tough. Hopefully we get him wrong day. But we should be good against him hopefully, like I say, we face him on the wrong day.

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