10/12/07 9:10 PM ET
Bob Melvin pregame interview
D-backs skipper talks of Upton's mental toughness
By / MLB.com
BOB MELVIN:I don't think there's any doubt. I think it's influx of younger players earlier now. You gotta tread sometimes psychologically knowing guys at the big-league level earlier. Some are brought to the big leagues early out of necessity maybe to be on the bench which fiscally may be the thing to do to keep salaries, payroll down. So I think the days of -- who was the coach in Washington who would sit up in the tower and had no relations, football coach, no relations, that's gone. It's just as much being their friend at times as it is their coach or manager. So it definitely has changed.
It's been nearly 24 hours now. I'm sure you've had time to review the play and look at it on video. What are your thoughts today compared to last night?
BOB MELVIN:We want to just move on and play, not dwell on it too much. But it's an interpretation rule. And he thought he went out of his way to redirect the play, where we felt like he was in the proper boundaries. It's a tough call at times. A little farther out where you can't touch the base, a little closer to the base. I mean, the intent is to try and keep him from getting the throw off and turning the double play. We felt like he was right. And that play will come up a bunch. You'll see it go either way. It's a tough call for the umpire, too.
Just for people who haven't covered your team this year or people who are seeing him for the first time, can you compare Justin Upton to anybody as far as skill wise? Just talk a little bit about how talented the kid is.
BOB MELVIN:Well, just for me just as important is mentally how tough he is. And you know for a guy, I think I was 19 or 20 years old, and would I be able to play in the big leagues at this point in time. There's no way. So it's just as much from maturity level as it is a physical level. Physical skills are there. You could probably see that at age 16 from him. And the way he's moved through our system. It's more the mental approach how we felt he's able to handle more difficult things, obviously culminating in being called up to the big leagues, it was the most important factor for us. If he did go through some struggles at the big leagues would he be able to handle it. All those things were taken into consideration before they brought him here, and our player development people were right on. He was able to do that. So the physical skills will be there forever. He's got unbelievable upside, he gets compared to Griffey and guys like that. I think at their age, I think that's a fair comparison.
You obviously see the Rockies a lot. From your perspective, what does Clint bring to that team as a manager?
BOB MELVIN:A lot. He's had to be a patient guy over there with this group. And then all of a sudden this team took off because of his belief in the players. Contributions from guys like Tulowitzki, their pitching is much better, defense is much better. He's been a stabilizing force for them in staying with the guys whether it's Hawpe and Atkins and all these guys. Like I said, with the influx of some of the pitchers this year and Tulowitzki and Iannetta and guys like that, he's a stable force for those guys and has done a great job with that team.
Couple of changes in your lineup tonight. What's behind that?
BOB MELVIN:A little bit of a lefty righty thing with Salazar and Clark. Sometimes with Tony it's more than just the left right thing, it's kind of the stability he brings to the lineup at times, defensively at times. But Jackson and Clark have been productive. Both guys have done well for us and we'll mix and match. Same thing with Upton and Salazar, whether it's a matchup on a particular day or if we're profiling maybe defense a little bit more in a certain day. So a lot of things go into it and I would say all those things today.
You guys have thrived without much attention on you this year. With everything that's going towards the Rockies, 18 out of 19, yada, yada, is this a good thing for you that you guys can sort of be the same as you've been throughout the season, just laying low and ready to strike?
BOB MELVIN:We try not to get caught up too much in the other team. We try to take care of ourselves and do it day to day, and therefore the distractions maybe aren't as much, especially when you get later in the season, especially when you get in the post season. We're aware of what's going on over there. Saw the culmination of it at the end of the season. Seen these guys enough. We are aware of what's going on. We have to stick and focus on what we're doing here and do it on a day to day basis and not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Seemed like last night you guys were aggressive going after Fogg early in the count. Tonight do you think you need to be more patient, the hitters or what's your thought process on facing him?
BOB MELVIN:Each and every day you gotta take a look and see how you think they're pitching early in the game. Those guys got different stuff than yesterday. So if we feel like the command's not there early on we might try to get the pitch count up and take a little bit. If he gets predictable in some fastball counts you need to make sure it's in your zone and let it go. First and foremost we'll try to get some guys on there and try to get them to throw some pitches. And if he's pounding the strike zone, you have to do it a little differently and maybe go at them a little earlier and try and get in some triple counts and if he's throwing strikes, go after the first fastball.
Eighteen of 19, first question is that a good thing or bad thing for you guys because everybody is talking about that? Secondly, when a team is that hot, they're playing with a lot of confidence, how do you chip away at that?
BOB MELVIN:Well, take solace in the fact that one was us. So we've got that going for us. But once again we try to take care of ourselves. Rightly so, there's a lot of attention on that team. They've created it. Like I said, we're aware of it. You just go out there and try to play your game and hope that's enough.
When you brought Coach Gibson onto the staff this year, what kind of influence were you hoping he would have on the players and how has that played out?
BOB MELVIN:He's been a tremendous influence on these guys, just from the minute he walks in the door everybody knows who Gibson is, what he embodied how he played the game. With a younger group I think he's had a significant influence on mind set how we try to play around here which is each and every day, every pitch, as hard as you can. So I think he's right on time for this group and that we do have some influence on younger guys. And I think the way we want to do things here in the future starting this year, he's going to be a big part of. So he's had a significant influence on a lot of these guys, competitive desire, preparation, all the things he's always brought to the table.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
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