10/06/06 6:27 PM ET
Grady Little workout day interview
Little discusses the lineup, pitching options and motivating his team
By / MLB.com
GRADY LITTLE: Nomar did go for an MRI this morning and there is a tear in his upper quad. And he'll be very limited for the rest of this series. But he will be able to pinch-hit, but the running part of it is very limited.
In 2003 you were in the same situation, down 2-0, but wasn't able to win three and advance. With that said, how is it encouraging that you guys still have an opportunity to advance in this series?
GRADY LITTLE: Well, we're still playing. As long as we're still playing, we feel like we have a chance. And we have got another game tomorrow. We are in a situation where we have to put together a three-game winning streak to come out of this series and everyone realizes that. So we'll get after it tomorrow.
You saw Greg Maddux as an opposing pitcher when he was with Chicago, you've seen him pitch for your club, is he a different pitcher? Is he a better pitcher now because the results would seem to indicate that?
GRADY LITTLE: Well, to me Greg Maddux is good all the time. I saw him, I was working in the Braves organization for many years when he was over there. He's an artist. He's an artist out there, and he always paints a good picture. He might not always sell it for a good price, but he's painting a good picture every time he goes on to the mound. There's no doubt in my mind that he will take a plan out with him tomorrow to that game and get the best results he can get.
Is James Loney going to be the guy at first base every game or are you going to go with Saenz?
GRADY LITTLE: We'll take that day by day but James Loney will start the game tomorrow at first base.
With a right-hander starting for the Mets, will we see Ethier in the lineup tomorrow?
GRADY LITTLE: I'm still a little bit undecided on that. Marlon Anderson has done such a great job for us, it's going to be hard for me to take him out of the lineup tomorrow and I suspect Marlon will be in there tomorrow in left field.
In the must-win situation you guys are in, how nice is it to know that you have someone like Greg with the Hall of Fame credentials like he has?
GRADY LITTLE: Well, we feel good about our pitchers that we're putting on the mound. But we also realize that at this time of the year we have got to play a little bit better baseball than we have played these first two games. Because you can't make the little blunders that we made in the first two games and expect to get away with them against a good ballclub like we're facing.
Depending upon the game tomorrow, would you ask at that Takashi Saito to pitch two innings?
GRADY LITTLE: The game will dictate that. But we feel like he's fully able to do that. He was prepared to do that last night and he'll be prepared to do that until we're done. We have got three games, three very important games here to go and for us to win a lot of games this year he's had to be involved. To what extent we'll let the game dictate that.
Because he could have been needed, how angry or frustrated are you at Joe Beimel, because of what happened to him and how he was not truthful with the ballclub about the incident in injuring his hand?
GRADY LITTLE: Mostly we're disappointed. We're disappointed in what's happened here. But we can't -- it's like a 10-game losing streak; we can't look back on it. We have no time to waste on that right now. Our disappointment is unlimited. But we got to continue going. We got to go forward and we got to go forward quickly. We have no time to waste on thinking about that right now.
You guys have been so streaky this year and you've had so many dramatic victories here, does that make you feel any better about coming back and making this a series?
GRADY LITTLE: We always feel good about coming back to play in Dodger Stadium. And we realize the importance of everything we do right now is under a serious microscope. But what we have got to do is go out and play better baseball than we have played the first two games of this series and when that happens, good things will happen for our club. And we have got to play one game at a time. We got to win one, then we got to win two, then we got to go back to New York and win three. And we have been in this spot before, it happens.
I know you've been in this situation before, not too long ago. Do you say anything to your team to try and put things into an historical perspective for them that this can be done? Or is that not necessary?
GRADY LITTLE: You know, there's little conversations going on all over. I'm not going to address the ballclub. We all understand the situation we're in. We understand what needs to happen here.
And addressing the whole ballclub, giving them a pep talk right now would -- I don't know how much that would do.
Since Greg joined your team he's averaged per start something in the vicinity of about 80 pitches. And I mean obviously he's very economical pitcher. Do you need more out of him in this next game maybe because it's an elimination game or because your bullpen isn't as at full strength as you would want it?
GRADY LITTLE: Well, what we need out of Greg tomorrow is exactly what he's going to give us. He's going to give us the most he has. And when he's had enough, he'll know it, we'll know it, regardless of when it comes. It could come with 60 pitches in the fifth inning. It could come with 80 pitches after eight. We don't know what that's going to be, but we are confident in the fact that whatever he gives us out there is going to be the very best he can give us for as long as he can.
What were your expectations of Russell Martin when you called him up and how do you think his teammates feel about him?
GRADY LITTLE: I think that Russell is just like any other young player that comes to the Major Leagues, he's untested no one knows what he's going to do. He's got to come in and experience it, perform to the level that he has performed. And he earns the respect that's gained from his teammates, from the players in the league. And this is just going to keep growing. And the kid's just at the beginning and he's got a long career ahead of him.
Your players have said that if there's anything that characterizes this team it's been the resiliency. You've had bad streaks and come back with good streaks. Why is that? Where does that come from?
GRADY LITTLE: We have done -- we have had a lot of conversation about that and one of our local writers and I had a long talk about that a while back. And I wouldn't name his name, but then I would be shorting other people, but he knows who he is. We came to the conclusion that this could be mostly due to the fact that we're not a home run-hitting club. We're a base hit, single, double, base on balls, it takes a lot of those in one inning to get us going. And on days when that doesn't happen, we haven't been able to really sit there and rely on the Albert Pujols to hit a three-run home run to win a game for us. It takes a lot for us to score runs and when that's not happening, we struggle. And sometimes that happens in streaks. But we did have a game recently where we hit the four home runs in the ninth inning and one more in the tenth. But believe me, that didn't happen that many times this year.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.