10/14/07 6:17 PM ET
Hurdle pregame interview
Rockies manager talks about challenges the weather presents
By / MLB.com
CLINT HURDLE: I really don't have any comment on that. I really like Eric and it's his perception.
Given that the weather has turned a little bit here, what are your thoughts about playing the regular season in the heat and humidity and deciding the postseason championship in weather like this? It's been this way in the last three or four postseasons it seems?
CLINT HURDLE: This is my first experience in the postseason. You play baseball when it's time to play baseball. This is when the games are scheduled and the weather is going to be what the weather is going to be. And you get ready and you go play and we're looking forward to the opportunity to play tonight.
And it presents a little different challenge, but it's one that we are not uncomfortable nor unfamiliar with here.
Can you talk about what Manny Corpas has meant to you this year and do you think that blown save the other day will have an effect on him?
CLINT HURDLE: He's been able to anchor the back end of the bullpen. When you try to establish a formidable bullpen, you work your way backwards and forward. We're fortunate we have a number of guys out there that have experience in closing. Manny took the ball and just ran with it from his first opportunity. I think he went through 16 consecutive saves before he missed one. He ran off another 10 or 11 before he missed a second one.
And I think if you look back to both times he wasn't able to close, you look at the next inning he pitched in the same ball game. Very slow heartbeat. He got outs. I have every confidence of him of moving forward, business as usual.
You have Franklin going Game 4 tomorrow, he's never faced the Diamondbacks before. Do you think in this situation it's an advantage or disadvantage for him?
CLINT HURDLE: From my history as a hitting coach, when you haven't seen a pitcher before, sometimes it can present some complications or some challenges. But then it comes down bottom line the pitcher's got to make pitches. The pitcher doesn't make pitches, he leaves the ball over the plate, doesn't spin it well and doesn't get it where he wants to, his chances of being effective are going to be minimized.
But he has a short, quick arm. I think he's got some deception. So I look for him to be in real good form tomorrow night and I think it's going to be an opportunity that he'll embrace. I think he learned a lot from his first opportunity in post season play.
What do you think the success, the key to success to Franklin has been he jumped up from AA, got right in the middle of a pennant race? He's 21 years old. A lot of guys would have melted so to speak. What do you think has been his key to success?
CLINT HURDLE: He has great skills, number one. I think the comfort of the clubhouse and the team that he's on, they've embraced him and they've hugged him and challenged him at the same time. And they're looking for results. And I think he's aware of the fact that he needs to find a way to get results.
From my experience as a Minor League player getting to the Major Leagues, I moved up kind of quickly myself. In some aspects, in AAA, have you a safety net. If you don't do well, you're in AAA and you might be working on this or something else is going on. You get to the Big Leagues there's no safety net. You need to find a way to get things done. Sometimes that puts him in a better frame of mind and challenges him in a more positive way.
You mentioned that you played baseball when it's scheduled. But are you concerned about how the weather might affect some of the players, some that maybe aren't used to playing in this kind of weather?
CLINT HURDLE: All our players are used to playing in this kind of weather a little bit. We live in Colorado. In the early months it's kind of cold and we've had some rain. We've played in snow.
We'll just monitor Kaz and Willy, the two guys that have had some injury issues lately, we'll monitor them as we go along. And everybody else has some experience with it. They'll layer up and get loose and go after it.
You won those first two games in Arizona without Helton and Holliday and Tulowitzki really having big games, and they're three of your really big guns. I'm guessing you feel good about being ahead in the series and I assume you think they're going to get going?
CLINT HURDLE: One of the strengths we have working for us is we have a hitting coach that has a very calming influence on our hitters. Alan Cockrell has done a fantastic job working with our guys this year individually. He knows them. He's able to simplify things for them. Slow them down. They have a lot of confidence in him. So I have every confidence that they'll be able to find their way back on track and I'm sure Alan will help them do that.
Helton has joined a long, long line of great players who struggle in the post eason at times. Just as somebody who has watched it from the outside in the post season all these years, do you have any theory as to why?
CLINT HURDLE: No, I really don't.
You mentioned earlier about Franklin, he learned something his last time out which was his first postseason game. What did he learn and how do you think he's going to benefit from that?
CLINT HURDLE: Maybe it wasn't the context of my statement, just the experience of being out there. The experience of facing the lineup, formidable lineup in that type of environment, being on the road.
And also maybe having a little more traffic than he's had to deal with early in the game. And just the bottom line concentration level, just make pitches and not let some of the other things get involved in the game. I think he got more animated than he's a fidgety guy. It doesn't matter. He's going to be a little fidgety. But I thought that game maybe he was just a little overfidgety than what we've seen. And I think it was a good lesson for him to learn just be yourself, don't let the circumstances around you dictate how you're going to pitch. You just make pitches.
Forgive me if this goes back before this Rockies team. I'm wondering, you have guys -- the whole heart of your order played with Larry Walker. Did his Rockies way sort of pass on to the guys now who are starting for you when he was there? Is there any legacy of his tenure here with those guys?
CLINT HURDLE: Well, I'm not so sure the accuracy of that statement as far as the meat of our order. I guess we'll have to do the chronological.
Holliday, they were around the same time?
CLINT HURDLE: I'll take your word for it. Atkins?
CLINT HURDLE: Okay. Larry's a great player. And I think Larry had an influence upon people. Whenever you would watch him play, you marvelled at the skills. There was nothing in this game he could not do.
And he was probably the first -- one of the guys that just put the Rockies on the map. Played both sides of the ball. Played a very intelligent brand of baseball. So from that standpoint I'm sure a lot of those things they might have encountered with their tenure with him could rub off and they pay attention to. So he was obviously an asset to this organization while he was here, no doubt about that.
With the wet conditions, how much will that help Willy who likes to bunt to get on, and secondly why has this team had so much success at home I believe 40 wins than most of the Majors since June 2?
CLINT HURDLE: The field from my understanding is dry right now. We were tarped from yesterday and no precipitation. Have they uncovered it lately? No. So the field's dry. Now, if we get precipitation during the game, putting the ball on the ground probably won't be a bad idea. We've got a couple of guys that are very good at doing that.
As far as the base paths and all these other things, we'll just have to see how it plays itself out. We're going to push. We're going to use our speed when it's smart and when we can. Regardless of the situation, but if the weather makes it a challenge that way, we'll have to back off and use the barrel of the bat a little bit better.
What about at home?
CLINT HURDLE: Home, we have just redefined ourselves and found a very good comfort zone. We don't think we're going to lose here until we lose. And I know it sounds silly, but until the umps walk off, we're playing, and we're planning on winning. We had some late finishes here that worked our way. We've been able to beat closers, number one starters, beat number two starters. That bodes well for our confidence.
So I think those things probably tribute as much to our success at home than anything.
Have you been a little surprised with Willy's production out of the lead off spot, missing so many games for him to be as sharp as he was the first two games?
CLINT HURDLE: No. I had every confidence in Willy when I put him in the lineup. And that's why we made the decision we made. Willy has skills. How they were going to play out, time was going to tell. But does it surprise me? No, it does not surprise me.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.