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09/30/08 5:27 PM ET

Lou Piniella workout day interview

Manager says having best record in NL doesn't mean anything

Do you have a lineup for tomorrow?

LOU PINIELLA: No lineup yet. We're going to see how a couple guys that have had physical problems are, and after the workout, then we'll come up with a lineup. Right now we don't have a lineup.

Is DeRosa one of those guys?

LOU PINIELLA: Yeah, we're looking at DeRosa, and we'll see exactly he came out and ran yesterday, and he was okay. Let's see how he feels today.

You guys knew plenty about Dempster coming into this year, and I know he had a record as a starter from way back. But realistically, what kind of expectations did you have for him? Could you have seen this much from him coming?

LOU PINIELLA: Well, we put him in the third hole, third starter coming out of Spring Training. So that meant that we felt pretty good about Ryan having a good season for us.

Well, he's probably superceded our expectations, 17 wins, been very consistent all year. I think he and Lilly have probably pitched the most innings on our staff. So obviously we're quite pleased.

But we felt that he would have a nice season for us.

When will you have a decision on the final makeup of the roster?

LOU PINIELLA: I think Jim Hendry will have that for you probably after the workout. One thing that we're looking at, too, are -- a little bit of our injury situation to make the final roster spot player position wise.

On paper, because of the record that you had all season, the best record, you'll be the, quote unquote, favorite in the National League. What does that mean, if anything?

LOU PINIELLA: It means that we're the favorite. What else does it mean (smiling)? It means nothing. We've got to go out and play on the field.

Any team that gets in the postseason has earned it, and any team that gets in the postseason is very, very capable of winning.

So if we go out and play really well, we've got as good a chance as anybody else.

After two years here, home field advantage is one thing, but what is the Wrigley Field advantage for the Cubs?

LOU PINIELLA: We play well at home. I think we probably had as good a home record as any team in the National League. So we're happy to get the fifth game at home.

But the playoffs are a lot different than regular season. Teams are a little more rested, teams have had a little more success. It comes down to whoever pitches best and whoever hits the timeliest and whoever plays the best defense.

The home field advantage, yeah, I'd rather play three games here, and if we can get through this round, four games here in the second round. But these teams that come in here, whoever they are, they're very capable of beating us.

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This is a veteran team. Do you talk with them before the playoffs?

LOU PINIELLA: I just had a little talk with them now. Derrek Lee said a few good words, too.

Look, the time for talking is over. The time to get on the field and perform starts tomorrow.

Our club is confident, as I'm sure the Dodgers are, and we're going to go out and play as well as we can, as hard as we can, for as long as we can. And that's it. We know what everybody in this city wants, and we're going to try to give it to them.

You mentioned the injury situations, how is Geovany Soto?

LOU PINIELLA: Geovany is going to be fine. I'm not really concerned with Soto. With DeRosa I am concerned a little bit about running. I want to see how that plays itself out today. That will help us make a decision on our roster spot and at the same time what our lineup will be tomorrow. So that's why I don't have a lineup.

You and Torre have managed against each other going way back, a lot of wins between you. When you look at Joe and his success, what do you admire about how he's done it over the years? How would you describe you guys' friendship, relationship?

LOU PINIELLA: We're friends. We compete against each other, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, obviously, as a person and as a manager. He's had a lot of success managing the New York Yankees. Went over to the Dodgers this year and got his team into the playoffs. And as a person he's a friendly guy that I enjoy talking to.

Are we best of friends? Probably not, but I enjoy talking to him when I see him. I respect his baseball acumen, and at the same time I respect the fact that he's had a lot of success.

Can you just talk a little bit about the difference in the Dodgers between the club you saw early in the year and the club they have now?

LOU PINIELLA: Yeah, we had our advance report meeting from our scouts, and they're a lot different than when we played them earlier in the year. You know, you add a Manny Ramirez bat to the middle of that lineup, you add Blake with experience at the corner, and you add a Greg Maddux to an already pretty darned good pitching staff, and you're going to have a much different look and a much more potent look. At the same time, Furcal, it seems like he's gotten back into the fray here at the right time.

Look, we respect the Dodgers, and we know that we've got to go out and play well to beat them, and that's exactly what we're going to try to do.

There's so many National League teams scrambling, as usual, at the end. How much stock do you put into how you go into the playoffs, if any?

LOU PINIELLA: Well, we had a difficult week to finish. It was a unique situation in that we clinched here at home on a Saturday and still had to play two teams that were competing for postseason. So on one hand you want to rest your team, and on the other hand, you want to keep a competitive balance. It's not the easiest thing in the world to do. I hope I don't have to go through that ever again.

But look, we did what's best for our baseball team, and we did what we thought was as fair to the two teams involved, the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers. We pitched our guys five innings or so, our starters. We played our regular lineup every other day, and we did the best that we could do to win baseball games.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.