10/10/08 1:06 AM ET
Manuel, Hamels postgame interview
Hamels believes succeeding at home builds confidence
By / MLB.com
Charlie, you're always talking about minimizing the damage. Talk about Cole when he was behind 2-0, how he toughened up and was able to keep you guys in the game?
CHARLIE MANUEL: He kept us right there. I thought when the game started -- he can tell you better than I can, I thought he was a little bit revved up, he was ready to go, rearing and ready to go, and he gave up a couple of quick hits early. I thought actually I thought Manny Ramirez's ball might have a chance to get out.
I think he got a fastball, Cole put a fastball, I don't know if he wanted to put it where it went, but Manny got on it. And like we fell behind early. But what he did he stayed right there and he kept him at bay. And when they got to two runs we were still definitely in the game. And he ended up pitching very good.
Cole, what did you feel like when you saw that ball from Manny hit off the wall in center field and stay in the park?
COLE HAMELS: I guess that's the furthest ball anybody can hit. And for it not to be out of the yard. And when he hit it, I didn't know if he really got it that well, but he put some backspin on it and it took off. I thought maybe it would have been off the wall a little bit lower, not the very top.
But I'm just lucky enough it didn't go out, because it definitely helped out and definitely put us in a better favor than down 2-0 instead of 1-0.
Cole, putting aside the one ball where the park played to your advantage, seems like maybe the other guys saw not to take anything away from the balls that were hit out but how tough this place is to pitch. How much of a challenge is it keeping the ball in the yard here and sort of pitching your game as opposed to getting caught up in that?
COLE HAMELS: It's a huge challenge, when you're pitching in this day and age, it's all about the home runs. The crowd wants to see the home runs. So bats are a little bit harder, balls are a little bit harder, the fences are a little bit shorter, to be a pitcher you really have to grind and be mentally tough.
So playing here, I think if you're able to succeed here, you can pitch anywhere. And I think that just builds your confidence to go out there no matter what team you're facing, how powerful they can be, you can still keep them in the yard and you can still battle them all the way to the end.
Charlie, you're always saying that you think excitement comes from guys getting on base and it seemed like for a while there no one was getting on base and the game was kind of flat. Did you agree with that? And also how big, then, was Utley's home run and Burrell's home run to get some excitement back and get you guys back on top?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically you've got to give Lowe credit. He was playing a good sinking fastball and also he had a good slider and looked like he was changing speeds on his slider, and everything he kept the ball down, everything was down. He didn't bring many balls above the knees or above the belt. Everything was down. And he did a tremendous job.
I thought maybe when Furcal threw the ball away at first base, I felt like that was kind of a turn for us, because Utley steps right up and hits a home run, ties the ball game up and Burrell hits one out to left. And I felt like basically if you go back and look, I felt like the ball that Burrell hit looked like he was trying to get it in and the ball that Utley hit looked like it was a little out away from him and he was able to pull the ball, got out in front on it.
Cole, you don't have to face them, but to look at your lineup and the diversity of power in there, do you ever wonder what it must be like to have to go out there and be on the other side?
COLE HAMELS: I think it would be tough, if I compared them to a team it would either be Boston or Yankees with the type of lineup where they have power all the way through the 8-hole and they're able to speed, and good position. So if I had to face our team, I think I might have the advantage because I have been able to watch them for a long time.
But as an opposing pitcher, without being able to see them every day, I'd have a tough time. I really would. And they've done a tremendous job throughout the year and they're doing a tremendous job in the postseason. That's where you need them is this post season.
They've come up huge with some big hits.
Charlie, Pat Burrell has had two good games in a row now, was it just a matter of him waiting out the slump or is he doing something different? And also how important is it for you guys to get production out of that spot in the order?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think Pat is seeing the ball better. He's staying back, getting a better look at the ball. He's not getting out over his front side. And, like I said, his bat's quicker now. Like before he was starting, he was getting out, striding too soon, getting out over his front side and just kind of swinging with his -- just his upper body, what do I call it, somebody who swings with his hands and arms. Right now he's staying back behind the ball and driving the ball.
Charlie, I'm sure there's a lot of discussion how to pitch Manny coming into the series, I'm wondering when you went out in the eigth inning was to reinforce what had been discussed or was there some change in strategy or was there any thought to telling the pitcher not to give him anything at all or -- because it's unusual to have with nobody on base to have a strategy session?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I wanted to make sure we knew how to pitch him and what we wanted to do. I didn't want to -- actually I didn't want to -- I definitely didn't want to say nothing negative, but at the same time I wanted to stay positive and reinforce how we wanted to pitch him. Manny was the tying run, and he wasn't the winning run.
Charlie, to further question you on that. Is this what we're going to see? You guys really went at Manny, both you didn't pitch around him in any situation, is that something we can expect to see in this series?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Not really. (Laughter) really, he's very dangerous. I think Cole saw that in the 1st inning. He's the guy in their lineup that really -- he's the guy that really seemed like they want to hit with Manny. Since they got him, their lineup has definitely taken off, and they've got they became a team with a lot of energy, and he definitely brought that to them, I feel like.
They like to play. They've got a good ball club.
I want to go back to what Charlie said in the beginning, you might be revved up. Were you somewhat revved up when you started today's game? Because you settled down, obviously, and made all the pitches.
COLE HAMELS: I think going into the game, I definitely had the nerves that everybody does. You're just so excited to finally be here. You step out on the field. The crowd's going crazy.
I guess when you step up to the mound and you finally get in there and you dig in, you just kind of -- trying to force it out, but you are excited. I mean, this is what we play for is the postseason. When you first let that first pitch go, most of the time the nerves disappear. But I think a lot of times with starters it's after the first inning.
After the first inning you truly try to settle down, and if you can get out of the first inning with no runs or get out of the inning with a couple of runs, you try to settle down and you do settle down most of the time.
Cole, with your last two outings, do you feel you could be someone who could be considered a big game pitcher?
COLE HAMELS: I hope so. I'm going to go out there, any and every opportunity that Charlie gives me with the ball I'm going to go out there, try to win and pitch deep in the game to allow the team to win. I think that's all Charlie can ask for me and that's all I can ask for myself is go out there, play as hard as I possibly can and hopefully at the end of the day we have a W.
Cole, somewhat along the same vein, how much did the validation that your Division Series win give you and the fact that your team can hit the way they did keep you calm behind 2-0 in an environment like this?
COLE HAMELS: It always does, especially being at the home field, knowing that when you get last at bat always makes things a little bit easier. But the way the team's been playing, I've had the confidence in them and knowing that even if I do put them down early, we'll come back just because of the fight that we have.
And we've shown it throughout the last months of September and we're showing it in October. And that's what I think everybody is growing accustomed to and liking about us.
Chase obviously struggled in the last series and his power numbers have been down a little bit about the last month of the regular season. Just wondering how much concern you had about his swing coming into the series or just the way he's been swinging the bat?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think I answered that question either today or yesterday. It's just a matter of time he found it. A matter of time until he got going. He hasn't had what I call -- in the second half of the season, he hadn't really at times stayed strong on his backside and got through on the ball like he does a lot. But it's still there. He proved that tonight. He always comes up with a big hit and drives the ball at the right time.
It hasn't gone anywhere. He's still got it.
Cole, you talked about going deep in the game. Could you tell if the Dodgers seemed to be taking more pitches than usual and if so, in general, when you can sense a team is waiting, waiting, waiting, does that change how you're going to go after them? Because the pitch count was high for quite a while. If they can get you out of the game in the fifth or sixth inning because the pitches are so high, how do you keep track of that and adjust?
COLE HAMELS: That was something I did notice when they played Chicago. They definitely were taking a lot of pitches and they got their starters out quick. And so when you do see that, all you can really do is really try to hit your locations as fast, as quick as possible and not miss too many spots.
I was missing some spots in the first inning, but I was able to come in the second, third, fourth inning and really hit my spots. And that's when you let another team know you can't take too many pitches because he's going to throw strikes no matter what and you're going to be down in the count. I think that's what I was able to do and establish.
But it did, it took me about an inning or two to really get that. Once you get that then you really do know that you're going to have the advantage or you're going to be able to at least pitch a lot deeper because having that, I guess, in your favor.
Charlie, I know each of these games are important. But beings that you were at home in the 2-3-2 format getting a good performance out of Cole like you did, how important was it to actually win this game?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think any time in a playoff, when the round starts, like a first round, second round or even when you go to the World Series, first game definitely becomes important. I mean, that's huge. But you still have to win four games, and tonight, you know, like we played a good team and we played very good and we came away with a victory, and now we've got to concentrate on winning tomorrow, that's what we do.
Charlie, I asked this question of Joe and I was wondering how you would answer it. When you're in a playoff series like this and if you see that things are not quite going the way that they usually do according to your team's game plan, would you hesitate to make a change or make an adaptation to how you or the style you were playing?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think that where we're at now, that you try to definitely put the best team out there to win the game, and if you need to make a change, I think that you should do it, because, I mean, we have to win.
And, I mean, hurting somebody's feelings or whatever, that doesn't have anything to do with it right now. I mean, you know, you have to check your pride I guess somewhere else. But we're all right.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.