© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

10/04/08 8:30 PM ET

A pregame interview with Lou Piniella

Cubs manager puts first two games in NLDS in the past

I know your home record and I know how successful you've been at home and how much everybody likes to play at home. The way things went the first two games, might it be good to get on the road?

LOU PINIELLA: Well, I don't think we have a choice. (Laughter).

Maybe we'll relax here a little more. We've got a good pitcher going tonight in Harden. And what we need to do is put some runs on the board early and give our pitchers a chance to pitch with the lead. I think that's the most important thing.

As far as what happened the first two games, that's in the past. What we need to do now is win three in a row. We've done that about 10 times this year. So we're obviously capable, and we're going to try to get that done tonight, starting tonight.

On that note, if I saw it correctly, I think only five of the Dodgers have ever faced Harden, like Manny and Casey Blake maybe seeing him the most, and I think that's only a few times. Do you think that gives you an edge in addition to Harden and his normal capabilities?

LOU PINIELLA: I think it's to the advantage of the pitcher, when the hitters haven't faced you. The Dodgers, they've got a nice combination of veteran players and young players. And they've got some talent over there.

complete postseason coverage
Rich has always pitched well in these type of situations. He's well rested. So we really expect a good game from him tonight.

Obviously it's a luxury for you to have a Mike Fontenot. How tough is it for a guy like him to get the playing time. Can you talk about what he's meant to you?

LOU PINIELLA: He's done a nice job here. You know, in September he swung the bat well. He's hit over .300 for the year. He deserves an opportunity to play. And we're going to give it to him. I've got him in the 2 hole hitting tonight. We separate our left hand hitters as much as possible. We've done that all year. So let's hope that he comes in and swings a bat and gives us a lift.

Wonder if you could speak to the idea of the ripple effect of adding a hitter like Manny Ramirez to your lineup. I guess the experience you had when Reggie came to the Yankees, what does it do for the other hitters in terms of the kinds of pitches you see and maybe the pressure it relieves?

LOU PINIELLA: It's a settling thing. The same way when you add a top of the rotation pitcher to your staff or you add a good, bona fide closer to your bullpen. There's settling effects on that particular segment of the team.

And when you add Manny in the 3 hole, I think it makes everybody feel a little more comfortable and obviously more confident.

And then, you know, you add a Furcal there at the top of the lineup, and you add a Blake at the bottom part of the lineup, these guys have all had post season experience and all of a sudden you're facing a different look than what you've seen this past summer from the Dodgers.

So everybody talks about -- I'm amused -- I was amused reading a few of their comments about, well, there's no pressure on us, nobody expects anything from us. You know, they've got a nice ball club. And we've got to go out now and win three games in a row. That's about as simple as I can put it.

We're capable. We're very capable of going out and winning three games in a row and going on to the next level. We gotta do it on the field, though. We really do. I've managed this team now for five games in post season and we're 0 5 and we've scored 11 runs in the five games that I've managed.

It's hard to win during the season when you score 11 runs in five games. In post season, when you're facing better offenses, it makes it that much harder. So we've got to go out and put runs on the board. And tack on runs like we have during the course of this season to win the 97 ball games that we won.

And tonight is no different. The kid that's pitching for them is a very capable pitcher. He pitched a really good ball game against us here this past summer. I think he pitched a complete game if I'm not mistaken. So he's a very capable young pitcher also, Kuroda.

So we've got to go out there and be patient and swing the bats and put runs on the board.

From your experience, you hit well in the post season with the Yankees and teammate of Reggie Jackson and Mr. October. Do you remember what you and everybody else did to block out the distractions and treat it as just another game?

LOU PINIELLA: It's a game. It's a game. That's really what it is. It's a game. You've got to have confidence in yourself. That's the most important thing. And you've got to have confidence in your teammates. And you can't try to overdo.

You gotta -- I remember in '81, we played the Dodgers in post season in the World Series, and we beat them two in a row and came here and Fernando (Valenzuela) was pitching Game 3 and I was hitting fifth that day. I came up with two runners on base in the third inning. I was ahead 3 1 in the count. I wasn't a home run hitter; I was more of a gap hitter. I said, I'm going to crowd the plate and hit a home run. Well, he threw me a screw ball and I hit a nice double play ball where if I had just done what I had done all year and stayed within myself and hit the ball to right center field, we probably would have scored a couple runs and given our pitchers some runs to work with.

And that's what I'm saying. You get in these situations, you can't try to overdo and you can't try to not take what they give you. The pitching is going to be better. They're going to make better pitchers. They scout you a heck of a lot more so they know you much better.

So you gotta stay within yourselves. And that's what we have to do here over -- tonight, especially, to get back in this thing.

They say that sometimes the last game is the hardest to win. Let's hope it's so.

Could you talk a little bit about tomorrow's starter for you, Ted Lilly. Seems like he had an excellent season for you?

LOU PINIELLA: We want to give Lilly a chance to pitch. This guy has really pitched well. He started out 1 5. And he won 17 ball games, tied with Dempster for the most wins on this team. He's throwing the ball as well as I've seen him in the two years he's been here.

He's pitching with confidence. So if we can get to a Game 4, I like our chances there, too. So we'll see.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

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