09/30/08 2:39 PM ET
Dale Sveum pre-NLDS interview
Brewers manager discusses upcoming series with Phillies
DALE SVEUM: Yeah, we have it set, but I'll announce it after our workout, just in case anything crazy happens during that workout.
But, yeah, we have it set. And obviously two weeks ago, you know, I was here, I believe, just getting swept by these guys and it wasn't a very pleasant experience. But obviously my life changed the next morning. And it's definitely been a whirlwind.
And starting tomorrow I think what this team just went through over the last week at home, tomorrow's going to be nothing to them. It's been obviously a crazy last seven days for these guys and they came through in flying colors, obviously.
And tomorrow is pretty much a cakewalk compared to what they just went through.
Can you talk about Yovani and all he's went through and being in the spotlight on the stage?
DALE SVEUM: He's a special young man. He's got the heart of a lion, and that's pretty much based on why we're starting him. Obviously he's put himself through a lot this season with the knee injury and battled back and did everything he could, and obviously threw four great innings against the Pirates a week ago.
And his makeup, we feel he really is the right guy for Game 1. He's way ahead of his age as far as mentally, his makeup, the poise he has when he's out on the mound. We feel he's the right guy for Game 1.
To follow up on that, what kind of a pitcher is he looking at, what does he have in his repertoire? And, two, Salomon Torres has a bad ERA. Has he hit a wall?
DALE SVEUM: I don't know that he's hit a wall. He's a lot better when he gets rest. He's got quite a bit of rest over the last five six days and he's ready to go. Our bullpen coach said he threw the heck out of the ball when he was up last night when the last out was made. He's fine and I have all the confidence in the world to get the ground balls and get us out of it.
As far as Gallardo, he's got the full package. He's got the changeup and the curveball and the heavy fastball, and he has the extra velocity when he needs it. He's a pretty special young man.
It was such a turning point moment really for both clubs the last time you were here, and yet the thing that's different this time around is Gallardo and Sabathia are pitching, two guys the Phillies haven't seen this year. To what extent does that alone give you hope that it will be a different result?
DALE SVEUM: Obviously, it's a different scenario. Sabathia didn't pitch in either of them games, four games when we were here, and neither did Yovani, a guy they haven't seen yet. And, obviously, Sabathia is CC, whether you've seen him or not.
So that's water under the bridge, so to speak, what happened last time. This is a whole 'nother ball game, so to speak.
What is this park like for power hitting teams? Obviously you have a power hitting team, the Phillies do. Can we expect a high scoring series?
DALE SVEUM: The playoffs and a lot of times what wins games in the playoffs is pitching and defense. And they've got some very good starting pitching going out there as well as we do. So who knows. But, obviously, it's the hitters, and we all know this is one of the better ballparks to hit in throughout the league.
Ever since CC Sabathia comes at you, in addition to what he's done on the mound, what has he meant in the clubhouse in terms of bringing guys together and keeping the guys' heads straight throughout the season?
DALE SVEUM: CC is not only a great pitcher that we all know, but he's one of those special human beings that comes around every once in a while. What he does on the field, the clubhouse, the person he is, he's very professional and works hard. One of the nicest guys I've ever been around that's a superstar.
He brings a lot to all aspects of the clubhouse. Obviously, on the field, we see that every two or three days.
On playoff experience, this team doesn't have very much of it. Obviously, a lot of young guys. How do you compensate for that or is it just something you're going to go in and they're going to get it as you go along? And secondly, off of that, the one guy you do have, who is great in the 2004 2006 playoffs for the Cardinals, Suppan, that's the time he rose his game. Is he going to be your Game 3 or 4 pitcher and how much can he lend to the team in that area?
DALE SVEUM: He'll be either 3 or 4. We'll have to see what happens. They know that what the scenario is. But, yeah, Sup has obviously pitched some big games in his life. And he pitched a big one the other day against the Cubs. Game 1 there. He pitched five solid innings, gave up a run, I think, and that was basically a playoff game.
So a lot of these guys don't have a lot of experience, but like I just said, we're basically in a playoff game every day for the last week and they came through with flying colors obviously. The bullpen was phenomenal. We got some big hits by our young guys. Brauny came through huge, Prince [Fielder]. And we have veterans in Cameron and Durham that have been there before. And Jason Kendall.
So like I said, tomorrow's nothing compared to what these young men went through this last week.
When are you coming up with your Game 3 pitcher, when will that be determined?
DALE SVEUM: Probably after tomorrow's game. We'll see how the whole game spreads out as far as bullpen and match ups and what we have to use here and there.
You said Gallardo has the full package in terms of his ability to pitch, but the fact that he's a rookie, do you feel that he also or the fact that he's a young player, do you feel he also has the mental makeup to not get fazed by Game 1 of the playoffs?
DALE SVEUM: Yeah, the young man wasn't fazed back off of knee surgery and all that. I think he struck out the first seven of nine batters against his first start out. So, no, I have complete confidence in him pitching Game 1. I have no problem with it. If I had a problem with it, we could have started someone else. So I'm fully confident of Yovani Gallardo.
How has your life personally changed here in the last couple of weeks to get thrown into a manager's job in the middle of a pennant race and now you're here in the playoffs?
DALE SVEUM: Well, it's changed a lot. Obviously I have a lot of responsibilities now. Not just sending guys home and stopping guys and positioning infielders. You've got a lot on your table now.
But it's something I've prepared for since I got done playing. Even before I got done playing I was kind of preparing to be a manager some day. And obviously some strange circumstances to get the job. But obviously we made the best of it and we found a way to win.
But life has changed. Two weeks ago I didn't think I was going to be making the decision to let CC hit and let him finish the game. That wasn't something I was thinking about two weeks ago, that I was going to have to make a decision like that.
But it's been fun. It's one of the greatest rides I've had in my career.
Is Ben Sheets off the table for this series and if so what's the level of disappointment for him and for the rest of the team?
DALE SVEUM: Well, we haven't made that decision yet. We'll find out today more about that and make all those decisions after this workout today.
What is your message to the team as they get ready to embark on this journey? I know the other day it was give them hell. But what is your message, and just are you now getting to know you a little better are you always this calm on the brink of something like this?
DALE SVEUM: Yeah, I don't get too excited about things. Obviously, you know, I've probably found in the last week my heart rate got to somewhere where I've never had it before. But I try to stay as calm as I can. It's just kind of my nature. It doesn't change. But obviously the message is kind of what I just said.
What you guys just went through in the last week is nothing the rest of the way. That monkey is off your back and now it's just time to go play your game and have fun. It's an experience of a lifetime and nobody can say they haven't been in the playoffs because what we just went through was the playoffs.
Every game was a playoff game for us. And those guys knew that. Their backs were against the wall and they knew they were going to have to win seven of the last six or seven games in a row, and they did. They won six out of the last seven games.
So as far as I'm concerned, they've been through it.
How deep do you expect Gallardo to go tomorrow?
DALE SVEUM: Nine innings. That's obviously the goal when you take the mound.
But realistically coming off the first start, four innings?
DALE SVEUM: He can go nine innings, if he throws 10, 11 pitches an inning. So my expectation is he'll throw a complete game and then we'll worry about the rest of it when it happens.
The last time you guys were here 10 runs scored. Is that the matchup with this pitching staff or was it just a hitting slump? And have the lineup changes you've made maybe improved your chances in that regard?
DALE SVEUM: Well, you like to think so. But obviously we were not playing very well at the time or swinging the bats very well. And the lineup changes change anything. The fact of the matter is, like I said, teams get to the playoffs because they have one, two, three really solid starting pitching. And that usually will stop good hitting most of the time anyway.
But, yeah, things have changed in that regards. But I completely have all the confidence in these guys now that they've gone through it that they'll swing the bats. But obviously, like I said, there's good starting pitching, that's why the teams are in the playoffs.
Will you stay with your platoons at second and third base? And also what special challenges does Cole Hamels present? I know he's got a killer changeup.
DALE SVEUM: I'm going to stay with the left and right handed pitching. So that is not going to change at all. And Cole is one of the top pitchers in baseball, but he has a power changeup. He can work his fastball both sides of the plate. He works the ball up in the zone. And, like I said, he's got an out pitch that helps anybody. When you have a power out pitch like he does, you'll be able to get outs when you get in trouble and things like that.
He's kind of the guy hopefully you get some guys on, somebody pops a three run homer and score that way, because the best pitchers find a way to get out of jams and things like that. We obviously see it from CC and when Sheets was healthy, those guys have good enough stuff to have the bases loaded and nobody out. And somehow or some way you don't score a run off those guys.
Two questions. One, have you heard from Ned Yost and, two, what's the biggest change you've made in two weeks from being a coach to a manager, with the team? What's the biggest change?
DALE SVEUM: To answer your first question, no, I haven't heard from Ned. I was going to kind of wait until this all settles down. Obviously we'll talk about it and everything. But obviously the biggest thing, the change in my life, is you have all the responsibility now.
I'm talking about the team. Is there anything you did differently to change the direction of the team, not you personally but is there anything different about the team in the last two weeks that didn't happen before? What was the biggest adjustment you made?
DALE SVEUM: I don't know. Obviously I changed the lineup around. Other than that, you know, I just tried to be a calming influence. Just go out and have fun and play. If you do bad, it's not like I told them in my meeting that the game came hard to me. It wasn't easy. So I know about struggling and knowing how hard the game is and just go and play and don't worry about me thinking indifferent about you, if you have a bad day or a bad at bat or a bad inning pitching. That's just not the way I am.
I'm a very optimistic guy and understand how difficult this game is. It was very difficult to me and I had plenty of struggles. And I just wanted those guys to understand that's the way I am and that's the way it's going to be.
You mentioned being a calming influence a number of times, and how do you balance, obviously when you play ball, if you have a more relaxed approach, just take it as the game may get better results, how do you marry that with the importance of this series you're in? How do you get players to perform loose and just go have fun yet play with the intensity they need to really have fire?
DALE SVEUM: If you don't play with intensity in these situations, you probably don't belong here. This is what we grew up wanting to do and obviously since we were five, six years old we sit in the backyard and pretend we're in Game 7 of the World Series or walk off home run in the playoff game. And that's kind of the stuff that just happened to these guys. And these guys don't have a hard time playing hard. We really have a good team as far as that kind of stuff, working, playing hard, running balls out.
I don't have to really worry about that too much, those kind of things. So these guys, you know, they come to play and they have a lot of fun in the clubhouse. We have a lot of fun personalities. So they keep loose. Like I said, the fact of the matter these are young men and a few veterans we have on the team have just gone through the playoffs. So this is kind of a cakewalk compared to what these guys have just been through.
Ryan Howard has been arguably the hottest hitter in baseball over the last month, really getting all kinds of big hits for the Phillies and coming through in the clutch. Without giving any trade secrets away here for this series, just talk about your approach to pitching to Howard and what you've seen in him in the last month, just the general comment on him?
DALE SVEUM: Obviously, he's done some things in a month that sometimes take a guy a lifetime to do. He's been unbelievable for a month. And two weeks ago, he had a heck of a series against us here.
You keep him in the ballpark, games change. So pitching to him, whatever, that's just part of the game, whatever you're going to do and whatever our philosophy is going to be from at bat to at bat will change. But, obviously, no matter who it is, they've got a few more home run hitters than him. They've got a heck of a lineup.
So you just try to keep anybody in the ballpark, and that's the biggest goal we're going to have to have to deal with is keeping these guys in the ballpark.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.