ALCS off-day interview: Washington

ALCS off-day interview: Washington

Q: Can you talk about how much Elvis Andrus has stepped up in this series? I know he slumped towards the end of the regular season. Can you talk about him?

RON WASHINGTON: Well, you know, towards the end we got him a little break there, and the kid is turned into a big game player. He's certainly the guy that ignites us. He's certainly the guy that makes things happen. And we're very pleased that he caught his second wind and was able to do just that. He's a very talented young kid. He plays the game with a lot of awareness and we follow his lead.

Q: There's been so much talk about Cliff Lee in the last three or four or five days. Is there any chance that the rest that you're putting too much emphasis on Lee and going into the third game that there's too much about Lee and not enough about the other 24?

RON WASHINGTON: I don't think we did that. I think it's things that are being written, things that are being said. We are in our own little bubble. Cliff is in his own little bubble. I think Cliff's main goal to go out there and do the best he can to keep us in the ballgame. But it's the other 25 and other guys that's on the field that goes through the process of trying to put runs on the board, they have to do that. Cliff can't do it by himself. All he can do is go on that mound and pitch his game and the rest of us have to do it. Cliff don't have that mindset. We don't have that mindset. The only time I know about that is when I read about it.

Q: This might be repetitive but this guy comes with extraordinarily high expectations. Have you seen that get to him at all? Are you worried that that kind of pressure on him is a little too much?

RON WASHINGTON: No. When you have the ability that a Cliff Lee has, he expects that out of himself. But not that he thinks his opponents are any less than competitive. He just goes out there and he throw his game. He has good stuff. And on any given night, if it's working, it can be successful. But he's only human. If anything go wrong, he's going against a ballclub that can make you pay. So once again, his focus is tight, and all he's thinking about is what he has to go out there and do. And I don't think he can do anything about the hype. He comes as he is. He's Cliff Lee. He's that guy that people expect to go out there and throw amazing ballgames. All you can do is hope that the day he takes the rubber, that happens. But you don't know. It's tough to predict baseball. You have to play it between the lines. And we know who our opponent is, and we're certainly not taking them light and Cliff certainly isn't.

Q: When a club comes back as yours did in Game 2 from a really difficult defeat and plays exactly the kind of game you said they would play on every single level, that has to be extraordinarily gratifying for a manager.

RON WASHINGTON: It is. Especially when you know your club. You know where their heart is. You know their passion for what they're doing. You know how they're always in the moment. That's what's so special about my guys. They play for the day. And the game of baseball is so much adversity, all you can do is think about the things that you are capable of doing. And if you come out after a bad loss and all you're thinking about is what happened, you will miss what's supposed to happen. We turned that corner during the course of the year where we learned how to just come out and play for the day. That's why we're so confident that they can come out and continue to play the type of baseball that we play. Yes, it hurt. But you have to get over that quick. That's what competitors do. And we're definitely competitors.

Q: Andy Pettitte as a pitcher has always been so good at being mindful of the guys on base and controlling the running game. How much does that affect what you guys do, if at all? You guys are so aggressive and you guys like to get guys moving. What does Andy's presence do to that?

RON WASHINGTON: You know, we'll show up, as usual. We'll go play. If we can't run the bases, we're not going to force it. We can play baseball in many ways. Whatever it takes for us to do on that day to win a ballgame, we'll do. If our base running has been taken away from us, we have to do it in other ways. We're ready to do that. I think everybody in baseball knows what Andy Pettitte is all about. We certainly know. It's going to be a very good game tomorrow night. And once again, we're looking for opportunities. We're looking to take advantage, as they are. If we can't run the bases, we have to do it in other ways. We're not going to give in simply because we can't be aggressive on the base paths. We know how to play the game in many, many ways and we win games in many, many ways.

Q: Joe Girardi was in here earlier and gave pretty high praise to Elvis Andrus, compared him to Omar Vizquel. Your history, you know a lot of infielders, you have worked with a bunch of them. Where does Elvis rank for you and what do you see for him going forward even?

RON WASHINGTON: Well, you know, Joe has an eye for talent. We were fortunate enough to have Omar Vizquel here in Elvis' first year. He mentored him. He gave him a lot of smarts on the mental side of the game. Not so much of the physical side of the game, it's the mental side of the game. And that was the most important thing that he got from Omar Vizquel. Talented, the kid is off the charts. He hasn't really reached his potential yet. He's still in the process of learning. He's only 22 years old. You know, I think the presence of Omar here last year grew him up quite quick. He's taken that. He has trust in his ability. He's a very smart guy, sometimes to a fault. He'll go up there sometimes and at bats gets away from him because he's true I go to do something to help the team. Trying to describe Elvis, I don't have enough adjectives. But to rank him in Omar Vizquel's category, I think he has to get some more years under his belt first. But he's certainly on the way.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.