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Have you decided on your playoff rosters with the pitchers and key position players?
Yes, we do. I don't have it at the top of my mind right now. But we already made the decision. We just finished up making the decision about the guys who are going to start is going to be Vazquez, Buehrle and Danks. Probably going to be the bullpen for the first couple days, and Floyd will start the fourth day, if necessary.
Ozzie, they've had a pretty incredible home record this year. What is it about this place that makes it tough?
Well, it's their home baseball. Around baseball everybody plays good at home. And I think those guys they believe in themselves when they play here. They've got a lot of come from behind win games, and they played real good out there because I think they have a lot of speed and they use that.
Last time we played here we should win those games and we lose it late in the games. I remember I was not too happy about it when I leave this place. But I think like everybody out there in baseball right now, we know they're playing good here. I don't know why.
With the playoff roster, what were some of the tougher decisions? I mean was there anybody that's left off that you guys really debated or feel bad about?
Well, you know, it's always tough because all of a sudden those guys helped you to get here, and when you go to make the decision, but I have one thing in my mind, it's about winning; not about feelings.
We've got to try to pick the best guys out there that we think are going to help us. We've got to have those guys just in case we need them. Try to get them ready, and have them put down. We've got to keep always around just in case something happens.
But, no, I mean, I learn a lot about that. As a manager you have to make the decisions. Sometimes you make the right ones, sometimes you make the wrong one. But there isn't any hard feeling about somebody left out.
Were there any surprises?
No, not really. We're going to talk today right after I leave here, let them know what's going on. They have to understand we can only carry 25, and we picked the best 25, those guys. Unfortunately, you want them to be on the roster or you want them to be part of this, but we can't carry more than that.
Can you just talk about how impressive it is with what the Rays have been able to do this year with the, just the amazing turnaround that they've had?
I think in my opinion it's the best thing that happened this year for Major League Baseball. I think it's a great thing happened to them. I think it's one of the best history in the summer, and I'm happy. I'm really happy for them, because I think I was here one year and they don't know what direction they want to go. And I see what they did and what they've done. It's amazing. I think it's one of the best things. There's no doubt about it, it's one of the best things that's happened in the game.
In '05 you relied heavily on your starting pitching and it got you to the finish line. Based on what you went through this past week, how good do you feel about your starting pitching, just what they had to do to get here? And also, the status of Clayton Richard, are you going to use him in long relief?
Richard's going to be in the bullpen. I feel good. I mean, Javy is complete rest. I think that's what's going to be the key for us. Hopefully Javy will come out tomorrow and pitch well.
Everybody knows what Buehrle can do. You know, and Danks threw an unbelievable game yesterday. It was tough to pull Gavin from the fourth spot, but I want two lefties for a reason. They have a heavy lefty lineups, and hopefully those two lefties back to back we can hold them. But Richard's going to be back there. And you know, hopefully, we win the first one with Javy and then we'll see what happens.
Is it about time that Javy proves you wrong, that he can pitch in the big game? It seems the longer this goes on and the more he stumbles, the more that reputation that he can't come through in a big game is going to stay on him and keep growing.
There's a reason Javy's going to be my first guy. I have a lot of confidence in him, our coaching staff, too; our general manager. I think right now he's just got to go and be him, be aggressive. The only thing I ask Javy about is be aggressive and give it the best stuff you have. I don't care how many innings you're going to get.
It's not about Javy. It's about every pitcher in baseball. Every pitcher in baseball if you're not that aggressive in the strike zone, you're not going to have a good game.
Has it been an advantage at all for your club to be playing in the past three games that have been really in playoff atmospheres where you must win? Is that an advantage going into the true postseason?
Oh, I think so. I think because we've been playing like this for the last maybe last month. Like every game was big for us. Every game was do or die. I think the reason we do that is we see how the back performed the last three days. I think it's a little bit relaxed from the player. I think you've got to take another break.
I think when you pull off that last couple days, we faced three different ballclubs in different times, all kinds of crazy things happened, and did what we did, I think the players should be more relaxed right now.
I don't want them to be happy just to be here. If we don't make it to the next round, I'll be disappointed the same way if we was make it. I'm not the type of guy, oh, we made it here, everybody rah rah, good job, great job.
You're not playing in the World Series, you're just spending another three days in the ballpark, that's it. You have to go to the World Series to get the thing done for the year.
Ozzie, can you compare this with the last time you went to the Series? There's more expectations this time. The city seems pretty charged up for both Chicago teams. Is it a different atmosphere than the last time?
I spent a lot of time in Chicago as a player. I never, never thought I was going to see the ballpark like it was last night. Wow! When we played the World Series, when we played the World Series, there was a lot of people out of town, lot of celebrities, everybody wants to go there. But last night was amazing. It was all White Sox fans. And that's the best, best I ever seen in years. I never thought we were going to see that. It was exciting to play in front of that crowd.
I think people in Chicago should be proud of both teams. I think that both teams play good. Hopefully we play together against each other pretty soon. But I think the city should be really excited.
What are the Rays doing right now that they weren't doing when you were here in 2000?
I don't want to get in trouble, but I think they don't know what direction they want to go. They sign a couple kids or they signed veterans. Obviously they signed me, the wrong guy. And they really don't know what to do, what they want.
First of all, I think they want to win right away and they spent a lot of money on a lot of my friends. But in the meanwhile, they're not mixing the right people at the right time.
I think they want to win so fast and forgot how to build, how to do stuff. I think the new people around here did a tremendous job putting this team together. They grew up with a guy who is a baseball man, grew up in a great organization with the California Angels. You don't win games without your players, but that manager has a lot of things to do with this organization.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports