10/04/11 5:28 PM ET
A Postgame interview with Joe Maddon
By / MLB.com
JOE MADDON: Before I take a question I do want to congratulate Texas. I'm getting a little bit tired of this, but they are fantastic. They did a great job against us two years in a row. To the entire organization and from the top on down, and especially to a good friend, Ronnie Washington.
Wash and I have known each other for many years, and he has done a phenomenal job down there. They all have. They are truly a formidable opponent, as you saw once again. Hopefully we will get a chance to try to even the ledger again next year.
But they were fabulous. I think everybody as a baseball fan had to be entertained by this series. I thought they were great.
But I really want to commend our players. I just had a little toast with our guys, and I talked about ... you probably don't know this, but in the beginning of the season we began 0 6 and were getting on the first plane ride and I had a really nice bottle of whiskey, some Charbay from the Napa Valley. I gave everybody a cup, and at that time I saluted the best 0 6 team in history of Major League Baseball. I didn't realize I was such prophet.
So eventually we come down, I think we were the first American League team 0 6 to go to the playoffs. On top of that, what we did in September to come back from behind to arrive at this point.
So you say some things ... I say a lot of crazy things sometimes, but actually this one kind of came true. It is the best 0 6 team in history of Major League Baseball, and I am very proud of our guys.
Q: If this was the year of the Napoli, what is this for the third baseman?
JOE MADDON: Well, I have always been a fan of his. When he was with the Dodgers, he was really, really good. And too bad that hammie got well so quickly.
He's just a phenomenal baseball player. He's a wonderful man. We've had conversation, and I do enjoy that.
But I've seen it. I've seen it with the Dodgers, with the Angels back in the day. He has power to all fields. He showed that again. He's one of the better fielding third basemen in the game. Always believed that. He has a joy for the game, too.
So what did we give up, five hits today and four homers? Is that right? It's one of those things, man. It's tough. But hats off to him.
I have been part of a three run home run exhibition in the past on my side when Adam Kennedy did that versus the Twins several years ago.
It is a great moment for Rangers, and I do salute him.
Q: Joe, you mentioned beforehand how you didn't want to get into a bullpen war with them. How much did you base that premonition on them having Ogando in the pen and what did he do for their pen?
JOE MADDON: He makes them even more difficult. I'm looking at during the season the acquisitions of Uehara, who I really am a big fan of in Baltimore, and then Adams. And I did not see a lot of, but I saw enough of him to know how good he was. And then you thicken it by Ogando going back out there and then you are going to pop Holland in there all of a sudden.
And they have just such good arms. They do a great job with their pitching, and you know that. You know that.
But, again, you look at this overall series, they beat us by two one run games here. We know that coming into it. We know how good they are on the mound. And they just held us down enough, to their credit.
But, again, I don't want to talk so much about how great the Rangers are. I am really pleased with our guys, too. Took Hellie out quickly today because he doesn't give up homers like that to righties, so I was a little bit concerned.
If the homers came from the lefty, it wouldn't have bothered me as much, but the homer to the righty bothered me a little bit. This is a lot of innings for Jeremy for this season. It's above his threshold basically. I had to get him out of there, I thought. And I thought Matt did a wonderful job, wonderful job again. And so did Wade.
And I just thought, Man, come on. It's a well played series on both sides. They beat us some close, tough games. And I give them a ton of credit, but I want to give our guys a lot of credit, too.
Q: I hate to follow up with a question after you just said that, but you guys are great with numbers and doing your homework. And Beltre came in 1 4 during the series and I guess a .091 batting average. You said earlier he's a great guy and you've seen him work, but considering the recent trends, were you surprised at what happened today?
JOE MADDON: It's what we reference as a small sample size. You have to look at the whole body of work. His numbers this year have been spectacular. I am sure when you come off an injury like he did, it takes time to get things going again, also. And maybe just a game like today would ignite him as they move forward.
But, listen, I don't take anything for granted with him or any of those guys. That's a really formidable lineup. I've said that several times. They are really good. They are really, really good. So walk in, you've got to pitch to Napoli; you walk in, you've got to pitch to Cruz. They are thick, man, very thick.
Q: Besides the results, do the three home runs have anything in common in terms of the pitches that he hit?
JOE MADDON: High fastball, fastball away, I think two of them are high fastballs. I think, if I remember correctly. The thing I have always remembered about him is he doesn't miss ball up in the zone. That was the big MO with the Dodgers, I thought. I remember that distinctly. And of course he's looking for it right there. He was definitely hunting the fastball. He got it. He got it in the right spot and didn't miss it.
You can hunt all you want, but the key is not to foul it off, not to take it. He didn't foul it off. He didn't take it. He hit it well. And to his credit.
Again, he's really good. And, like I've said, I have always been a big fan. We saw him a lot more often last year in Boston, and I thought, Good, he's gone. But unfortunately he ended up in Texas.
Q: Joe, I know this isn't the way you wanted to end the series, but talk about Sean Rodriguez and his play today, especially at the plate, bowling over Napoli?
JOE MADDON: Sean Rodriguez is a baseball player. He is a throwback in every sense of the word. He could have played in any decade, any era. You know certain guys you have to schmooze over a bit if you move them around in the batting order, give them a day off or don't play them for a couple days.
He does not need any explanation ever. He just shows up ready every day. If his name is not on the card, he remains ready for the moment. You need him. He's kind of unique with today's baseball player.
You could see that play lining up. It was just lining up, because Matt hits the ball relatively well, but Cruz cuts it off, Kinsler good relay, Napoli tough, sitting on the plate, and beautiful collision, because nobody got hurt and the Rays scored a run.
But that's who Sean is, and I respect him a ton for all of that.
Q: Joe, B.J. and Longo have been ... they had some really big hits for you down the stretch. The first couple of games out in Texas helped get the offense going. Here they pretty much held those guys in check. Did they do anything different? How much of an impact does that have when they can hold them down?
JOE MADDON: Of course, like you said, we were going really well when both of those guys are pretty active. Just Texas has good pitching. We just have to face that. And there are certain days where something ... when the game is over and somebody hasn't done something well and the other side has, they are both ... we are both professional groups and both teams are loaded with talent. They just happened to get us here.
We would not be in this position at all without B.J. doing what he did the last month or what Longo did on the very last day of the season. So it's just one of those things that occurs.
Again, this is one of those moments where you just credit the other team. You don't criticize your group; you don't point fingers. The other team was really good, too, and they beat us. They beat us pure and simple. They beat us in a five game series. They did the same thing to us last year. They're good. They are very good, and I don't expect them to go anytime soon.
So we just have to keep trying to get better for the next opportunity to meet them in the playoffs and hopefully come out on top the next time.
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