10/02/08 11:39 PM ET
Scioscia, Kendrick workout day interview
Team is motivated by positive clubhouse atmosphere
By / MLB.com
MIKE SCIOSCIA: I think with any pitcher you're going to face, you want to make him work for outs, and Dice K has great stuff and sometimes he'll pitch on the fringe and expand the strike zone with all of his pitches and I think if we get good counts and good pitches to hit you have to take advantage of that.
You can't give him hitting counts and give it back to him by expanding your zone or being too selective and taking a pitch that you could square up. Hopefully we're going to make him throw some pitches tomorrow but the key it when you get in those hitting counts you've got to take advantage of any ball that you're going to get a chance to square up, or you're just giving the advantage right back to the pitcher.
Howie, Torii Hunter was talking about the team needing to have amnesia and forgetting not only yesterday but last year, and having gone through that how hard is it to forget how tough it's been against the Red Sox?
HOWIE KENDRICK: We can't focus on last year and having amnesia is actually a good thing. You have to play this game for what it is. You have to hit and pitch and play defense and we've been doing that all year long and regardless of what whether we're playing the Red Sox or anybody else, we have to play our ballgame and last night they took advantage of a couple of mistakes and Lester did a great job yesterday.
At the same time we have to bounce back Friday and play the game for what it is and who we are. And we just have to go out and battle and continue to do the same things. We've got to hit, pitch, and play defense and you know what, those are the things you have to do to win ballgames and do the fundamental things.
Mike, I know as much as you look at the pitcher/catcher relationship and how catchers with their defense can help pitchers, when you look at a guy like Jason Varitek for all these years how much appreciate do you have for what he does?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: I think he's probably outside of the Red Sox organization and with the work in the club he probably gets less appreciation because people are going to focus a lot on the offensive numbers and if you're not having the type of offensive year maybe you're thought not to be contributing as much. But Jason Varitek has been a guy there that has brought as much to that organization and contributed maybe more than anybody to what they've done in the last five or six years.
So I think I certainly appreciate what he does behind the plate and there is no doubt in my mind about what he brings to that club, and I think when you look at the defensive aspect of catching, not many guys bring it like Jason Varitek does and we're fortunate we have two guys in our club that do the same thing so that's been a big -- had a big influence on our success.
Mike, given your team's record and in one run games, is that an indicator at all of how this team handles the pressure of those situations? And given those situations does it breed confidence in the team?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: I think it's really a by product of a couple things. First is I think for large stretches of the first half of our season our offense was really just -- just didn't show up. So we were pitching very well and the other side of that our starting pitching was terrific and our bullpen was, I think so, as good as anybody's in baseball when you look at what Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez have done where the development of Arredondo. Those guys, we got close games late in innings, they held leads and we won.
So we have the confidence to get outs late in a game, but when your offense is getting one run, that puts a lot of pressure on your pitching staff and those types of leads are going to be difficult against some higher offenses. So we need to have some things happen in close games.
It's a little different when you're talking about a 1-0 close game than a 4-3 close game or a 3-2 close game so we do need a little more margin of error for our pitchers and it's going to have to come from the offensive side.
Have you considered any lineup changes? What do you do to jump start? I know you had a bunch of hits last night but...
MIKE SCIOSCIA: We're considering a few things and the core of our lineup will remain the same. We have a lot of confidence in what our guys can do on the offensive side and if you look at the last 60 or 70 games that we played I think you saw an offense that can grind it out or hit the home run and break games open.
We had a lot of positive things happening, obviously Jeff Mathis is going to catch tomorrow and we're look at a couple of other things but I'm sure there will be some slight adjustments to our look but the core of our offense will be intact tomorrow.
Is Napoli okay? He got banged up.
MIKE SCIOSCIA: He's sore today but he'll be available tomorrow.
Did Lowell take the bunt away from you guys from where he was playing and were there other times that maybe you had opportunities to steal, you had opportunities to be more aggressive, and maybe it didn't happen?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, we didn't have -- we put guys in motion first and second on a 3-1 count, but we didn't have a lot of looks. We didn't have the right combinations. We didn't have the right things happening to try to put some guys in motion.
Mike Lowell was absolutely taking the bunt away from the guys that were going to bunt, Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar, and it looked like fastpitch softball from where he was playing and it's a concern that he has and if it's there, obviously we're going to consider it but where Mike was playing yesterday, there was not going to be a bunt that you were going to get down that was going to be a base hit.
Assuming the tweaks you're talking about in the outfield, with all the different style of players that you have to choose from among your outfielders, how do you go about each day trying to decide what will be out there?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, it's a little -- the field is cut down a little bit with Vlad D.H.ing, and the bats we're going to look at are either Gary Matthews or Juan Rivera, and Kendry Morales, perhaps, Torii Hunter and Garret are going to be out there playing.
I don't think it's going to come down to one player, as far as the whole lineup, we need to pressure teams every inning and it's going to have to be a cohesive unit and if one player brings continuity, sure, it can have an impact but we'll examine some things and there will be some minor adjustments, yes.
Mike, given the team's record against the Sox in the playoffs, one would assume there might be some tension mounting. Visits like clubhouse visits from Aquaman, appreciated by you and the guys in the clubhouse? If you could comment about that, too.
MIKE SCIOSCIA: You have to know Justin Speier, he probably did just come from the beach, knowing Justin and he had his rubber flippers on and his wetsuit and I expressed the next pair of flippers he's going to wear are going to be cement flippers, so he knows what's happening.
Our clubhouse is loose but our guys have a blue collar approach when they get on the field they practice the game hard and if you look at the way these guys go about their business, there is no questioning they will be ready to play and they are ready to play. We need to examine and really focus on the steps that it takes to add up to winning a game. Everything from secondary leads to situational hitting, it has to be there. And at times, you know, we haven't been able to bring that game on the field and that's where our focus has to be and what we have to look at. You want that end result of winning a ballgame but you better examine the path there and what's important to getting you to that goal and right now it's obviously some situational hitting and I think some -- there are some base running things that we need to stay aggressive with. Part of it is some secondary leads so we need that whole package for us to add up to winning games.
Howie, did you want to add to what Mike was saying about the clubhouse and the attitude the players have right now in there?
HOWIE KENDRICK: Our clubhouse, there are a lot of guys I've played with in the Major Leagues and Minor Leagues, Mark Teixeira just came in and Torii is the guy in the locker room every day, good spirits. He's like a fire cracker in there and he gets everybody pumped and he's filled with that intensity and he's established a leadership role in the clubhouse, and Garret Anderson who is around is more of a leader on the field and Mark Teixeira just goes out and does it and ever since he's been here he's putting up ridiculous numbers.
He's a patient hitter and he does a good job out on the field and you can see how those guys work and I think it's good for us younger players to see how they play the game and follow their leadership because not only is it going to help us now but it's going to help us down the road, too, so when you come in and see guys like that, Speier and John Lackey.
John Lackey is another guy who is filled with intensity. He's a great guy, I love playing behind him, he goes out every day and he wants to be out there every day and he's going to come at you.
Same thing with Ervin, those are the guys you want to play behind and our locker room is a very relaxed atmosphere, everybody gets along, we all know each other. We feel comfortable with each other and we can deal with each other every day and you're going to have your spills now and then but we have a group of guys that mesh well together and I think that's the thing about championship caliber teams is you have to play well together and you have to get along and I think that's the thing we do have here in Anaheim.
Howie, being an aggressive hitter, maybe you can talk about facing Daisuke Matsuzaka tomorrow, a pitcher at times that has a walk in his game, what will be your approach tomorrow?
HOWIE KENDRICK: Just try to be patient, make him throw you that strike and sometimes you have to talk to yourself.
Being an aggressive hitter I don't want to get myself in trouble. Yesterday with runners in scoring position I was trying to do a little too much and not taking what the pitcher is giving me and when you got guys out there on base you have the advantage, the pitcher has to make his pitch. He has to throw you a strike and I think being patient and letting him work a little bit is going to be huge for us.
If we can get him out of the game early and everybody can go out with the same game plan and see some pitches or be aggressive at times when you have to be. But for the most part I can tell ya that I have to be patient and try to make him give me something over the plate that I can handle and giving up that borderline pitch or letting him-- if he makes a good pitch you got to let it go and take advantage of things and it's going to be a different situation but we have to get guys on and with runners on it's a different situation and the more guys we have in scoring position the better off we'll be.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.