10/03/07 7:56 PM ET
Manuel and Hamels postgame interview
Manuel says lack of hitting was difference in the game
By / MLB.com
CHARLIE MANUEL: We put him in. I knew when I put him in that often sometimes on his fastball, he's going to slide step. We put him in to run, but a lot of times when he's going to throw a breaking ball or something, he'll throw it -- he's quick to the plate. He's actually about 112, 108, he's real quick to the plate, picking a good place going to run. But he held him pretty tight and Ruiz ended up hitting into a double play and that's the reason I put him in to run. But he didn't go. We couldn't get him to go. I mean, he could have gone but at the same time, Hawkins held him on real good.
Can you talk about the job that the Rockies did in the first four guys in your lineup today and why you thought they were so effective?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, that was the difference in the game. I felt we didn't hit. We only hit a couple home runs and we're supposed to get two solo homers and Cole got a base hit and Ruiz hit that ball to second base pretty hard.
Outside of that, I felt like Francis did a heckuva job. And of course, their relievers were good.
Cole, can you talk a little about the second inning, what were the pitches to Helton and Atkins?
COLE HAMELS: You know, I think going into that inning, my main focus was obviously to throw strikes and I know those are the types of guys that would definitely swing at first pitch and ambush you and I fell right into his traffic and I didn't throw it effectively enough to have him at least foul it off or miss it.
Just getting an out when Atkins is up, I definitely wanted to get that strikeout because it sets it up for a potential double play if a guy gets on or if you walk the guy. With Atkins, I threw too many changeups and left one changeup up. I definitely had him with that pitch because he wasn't on it as much unless you leave it up, and I definitely just put it out there on a platter for him.
I thought they had somewhat of a methodical approach to you in the second inning; Is that true?
COLE HAMELS: No, it was a lot different, a lot different than what I have faced in a while. I think that's what happens with scouting. Going out there and knowing I can throw either offspeeds or fastballs, but they were laying off the offspeed stuff when I had two strikes on them and swinging at them the first two strikes. That's what I learned a little too late to my liking to go after them with a fastball and it showed in the third, fourth, fifth inning that I was capable of doing that.
But need to do it a little bit sooner.
Could you talk about the predicament you guys are in now, losing the first game in a five game series at home and how the pressure seems to be on you to win tomorrow?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Been there all year long. Like we've got to come out and win tomorrow's game, that's the bottom line. Today we didn't score enough runs. I feel like Cole, he hit a rough inning the second inning. After that, he did a helluva job, a helluva job. He retired the last 15, 16 he faced. You know, we hit two solo homers and when our offense scores two runs, more than likely we lose the game.
We have to come out and score some runs. They have a good club and also we have a good club, too. Today was a good game but we lost. Tomorrow is very important for us to lose -- I mean, to win, I'm sorry. (Laughter.) Better not lose.
In your first postseason game did you have more of an adrenaline rush than you expected?
COLE HAMELS: For myself, I was definitely focused. When you go out there, you want to succeed, especially at this sort of level in the spotlight. You know, you can be a little hard on yourself and I think that's what I do a lot in these cases. I try to push myself but unfortunately you know, you can't play against yourself and then play against a team. It's better to at least just play against the other team because you have a better chance.
I think, you know, there it's a little bit of experience and nothing can really prepare you for what this situation is like. Especially with that second inning that I had, and you know, with the crowd going like it was, loud and those guys getting hits and runners on and walking guys. It's just something that now I understand and just put that back in my memory bank and just have to go after them again some other time.
Did you think your hitters might have been -- because for most of them it's their first postseason game, a little uptight; And Cole, I think you alluded to it, is that part of your problem in the second inning, maybe the difference?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think some of our hitters might have been a little uptight. But you know what, that's the fourth time I've seen Francis pitch and the third time this year. And he definitely was way better than the other two times we faced him. His command and his control was very good. He was mixing his pitches good and his location I felt like was way better than before. And he was aggressive; He threw enough balls inside where he could go out on the right hand part of the plate and work on our right-hand hitters and he did a great job on our lefties and that's the best I've seen him pitch. You put those two together, his pitching and the fact that we might have been a little uptight and trying too hard, and he ended up throwing a helluva game.
COLE HAMELS: For myself, going out and getting the first inning over with is always important. But you do, when you get that first guy on, especially a lead off triple, in my case I don't want to allow too many runs. So you just keep battling and you might put yourself you know, it's a game of inches. If you make a bad pitch an inch off, it's a ball and you're going to get no reward.
Trying to make guys chase, that's where their game plan actually worked for them right there. They were very calm in not chasing out of the strike zone late in the count, which, you know, that's what I normally like to get guys out with.
You know, that's something that in my case, I'll learn a little faster now, because it won't take an inning or a couple more outs; It will happen right on the spot after a pitch.
Going off that last question, but I think this is only the second time in Utley's career he's had four strikeouts in a game; Do you think his first postseason game, that played into it somewhat?
CHARLIE MANUEL: You know, I've got to think that the pitchers did a good job today, because Utley, he's very relaxed, he's very disciplined and he keeps his poise real good and he concentrates very good.
I think some days you have an off day. Of course, that's what happened to him today. But at the same time, I think they pitched him good because he's that good of a hitter, and I definitely think that the way that they went after him and the pitches that they made on him, I think that had a lot to do with him; A combination of things.
Your last start against Washington you got into a little bit of early trouble and weren't able to settle in and today obviously you didn't have the same success there, but is there anything in terms of maybe just taking a little while to settle in early in the game now that you're saying to yourself?
COLE HAMELS: You know, I think there is. I think it's something that, you know, I have. You can probably check all of the stats. I'm the type of guy that, you know, the first couple of innings are going to be probably the most rough for me and I can calm down and smooth out. That's something that I need to go in there and be a little more disciplined and be just a little bit more relaxed. I think it's something where you can't expect perfection right off the bat, and that's something that I do. I strive to be the best and unfortunately you just have to work at not worrying as much as going in there and trying to, you know, strike out every guy or not give up a hit or not walk a guy. I mean, it's going to happen, it's baseball. These guys made it here. They are obviously really good players.
It's just being able to execute. You know, that's where it comes into play with their game plan definitely outplayed my game plan.
At what point did you take off your sleeves?
COLE HAMELS: After the second inning.
Did that have anything -- ?
COLE HAMELS: You know, I don't want to use that as an excuse. But, you know, with the type of games I've been playing, I was using more so with my arm just trying to keep it all warm just because, you know, with the injury and all that.
You know, it's something where it was definitely hot out and just trying -- not knowing, having that mental, you know, just that preparation with understanding that when it gets hot, I'm going to sweat a little more and when I was throwing my chink up the sweat was dripping down in my hands and I wasn't able to get a good grip on it. A lot of changeups in the second inning, they took and they obviously were not strikes?
So the sleeves affected you in that inning?
COLE HAMELS: A little. I definitely realized it so I changed them as fast as I could because I didn't want to have another second inning like that. I just went out there and you know, I understand a little bit more and talked to some guys about it. I think they explained to me why with outfits when you stretch, they kind of stretch and fall down a little bit more and that's why they cut them so short.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
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