TONY LA RUSSA: Well, that's why, I was
telling you earlier, and there's no reason it should
be true, his pinch-hitting record is not great. But
his record as a starter at first, third, in the outfield
has been huge, and that was part of the Scott
Rolen discussion. You've got somebody like Scott
sitting there. If you didn't, you'd push Scott and he
would be a warrior and go out there.
But Spiezio, he's done it all. He's taken
great at-bats, he's got so many clutch hits. Got in
front of that one bullet. He played defense. He's
just been really clutch for us.
You've seen So hit 16 home runs in
four or five big league seasons and here he is
hitting a home run off one of the best closers in
baseball, how amazing was it to see that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, one of So's
qualities is he really plays well late in the game.
Ever since he first got here, September, I don't
even remember the year now, 2001, 2002,
whatever it was, in September, he got a couple big
hits. He plays well late. In that at-bat, fouled a
couple of pitches where he was getting the head
out. So he's not intimidated at all by pressure
So much was made of the Mets'
bullpen going into the series, but not that much
talk was made of your bullpen. Your bullpen
has been amazing the last week of the regular
season, and now in the postseason. Can you
talk about their performance here.
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, first of all, all the
credit, recognition of the Mets' bullpen is
well-earned. I mean, around our league, they are
really tough. They have got so many different
But our guys, they have really picked it up.
It's been fun to watch because they don't go out
there with a lot of experience, and they have got
good arms and they are excited. I think today was
the first run they have given up.
So it's a big reason why we're here in the
postseason because they shut down San Diego, a
fine offense, and got a bunch of big outs today.
Do you think at some point tonight
while there's still so much series left, will you
spend a couple minutes thinking about how
this one ranks with the other postseason
games you've been around in terms of
importance, which we'll find out later, but just
the idea of this game itself?
TONY LA RUSSA: Oh, this is going to be
a fun one to reflect on. It's a shame we don't have
that day off to really enjoy. Already thinking about
But it's a heckuva win, a very, very tough
win, a very important win to give us a chance in the
series. And to come back like we did, every time,
it's a great win. And, in fact, I already did it, put my
lineup card in my suit jacket, so I can replay the
game and enjoy.
But going back over the postseasons, I
haven't been -- it's maybe the best comeback on a
club that I've been around.
Scott was talking about how the
veteran guys have talked to the bullpen. Did
you talk to them at all, or like what's been the
big turnaround for you, especially the young
TONY LA RUSSA: The bullpen? No, I
mean, Dunc doesn't allow me to talk to our
pitchers. (Laughter.) Only thing I'm allowed to say
when I get in there, here, get a pitch and get an
out. I do everything Dave says.
I think he's talking about guys like Izzy.
The last homestand, Cal Eldred was in town, great
influence, great advice, tremendous respect from
the young guys to both those guys. So they have
given them an edge on an important way to get
With Chris starting today, did you
almost feel this was a must-win game in this
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, kind of. I mean,
because you go down two, and the three guys that
were going to throw in St. Louis in our home
ballpark, we're expecting them to pitch effectively,
but Chris is our horse. Here again, he really
struggled. When it's all over, he's as important to
our win as anybody who pitched or played, the way
he hung in there and really stopped the bleeding.
Yeah, going back, 0-2, would have been,
even though we are going home, it would have
been a tough situation.
Because it was so many hours ago,
Jim Edmonds, what he did early in this game,
probably is not going to be talked about the
way it's supposed to be. You made a move,
putting him behind Albert and obviously one of
those things that paid off and it's supposed to
be noted. I would imagine that that swing is
probably, really in theory, as good as any
swing that was put on tonight by your side.
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, Jim has a history
of rising to the occasion. All you've got to do is just
get him healthy enough to play and that's really the
secret. Even now, he likes the challenge of hitting
behind Albert and he's got a good stroke when he
gets it going. As impressive the home run, pull a
ball hitting off Billy Wagner throwing 98, that was a
piece of hitting as well. If we keep him healthy
enough to play, definitely helps our chances.
So obviously is good in the late
innings, but of all your guys in the clubhouse,
where would he rank on the list of guys you
expect to hit home runs?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, he's not a big
home run hitter. But serious when I tell you, that if
you give him a clutch at-bat, and he will give you a
real good effort. You know, you're expecting a
single or double, not expecting a home run,
especially off a guy like Billy Wagner. But he
handles that situation. You can tell with his
experience, in Japan he was a big-time player and
he's not intimidated by it.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.