WILLIE RANDOLPH: I've always felt like it
was good. I think it was -- I don't want to mention
any names, but I thought people tried to make a
big deal about our relationship, but I know what
they were talking about. I think it had to do with
the fact that he was out most of the year and when
he came back, I think everyone assumed that he
was going to be right back in the rotation. And
because I had other things to think about and a
team to run, I didn't throw him right back in there
and people came up with this idea that I didn't like
him. But I've always felt like we got along well. I
have a lot of respect for him. I always have.
He wasn't around much last year so I didn't
have a chance to really know him. But since he's
been around and in Spring Training, I've gotten a
chance to really know him well and he's a great
guy, and like I said, quality ballplayer.
Yeah, we've gotten closer in that we know
each other a lot better and we understand each
other and we always try to communicate directly
with him and he understands that I'm going to be
straight with him. I think we've come a long way,
but from the beginning, I've always felt like we've
got along well.
If it's about injuries, get Mark. Dr. Hale.
Everybody healthy? Everybody good? (Laughter.)
Cliff, he's ready to pinch-hit for us tonight.
He's not starting and hopefully when he comes in
and gives me a thumbs up, he'll be in the lineup.
I don't even need to be here.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: You know. It's
already typed in anyways.
So with a kid like Perez, who is
largely inexperienced particularly in roles like
this, what are the dynamics within the
clubhouse, particularly with some veterans to
make things easier for him moving into
tomorrow, is there anything that goes on
between them and Oliver to just try and help
him along before he pitches?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, since he's
been here, he's worked real hard, I mean, not just
with Rick Peterson, but I think with our staff, with a
guy like Tommy Glavine, Pedro. Those guys have
been very instrumental in his coming together,
making some adjustments.
He's done a nice job of repeating his
delivery, throwing strikes. Every once in a while
he'll get a little bit erratic, like most pitchers will but
he's really been very consistent throwing strikes
and since he's been here that's been a big
improvement for him.
More from a standpoint, he's a kid
that has every right to be nervous tomorrow,
WILLIE RANDOLPH: He's a very
excitable kid and you can see that he's kind of
high-strung, if you will. On the field he's very
animated and enthusiastic. I don't see any
scared -- he seems like when he competes, when
he gets the ball, he goes after you.
I think he understands where he is and
wants the opportunity to show what he can do.
Even though we can see him as a little bit excited I
think that once he's on the mound, it's just a matter
of him harnessing a lot of that energy and I think
he's pretty focused when he's on the mound. I'm
sure guys have helped him a little bit to settle in but
he's been around long enough to go out and just
let his talents go and hopefully he can just harness
Last night you said that your team
has been in tough spots before and that they
have been resilient and that this didn't worry
you, but what specifically during regular
season can you point to that's comparable to
the spot that you're in now?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Oh, geez, we've had
many, many times where we've turned the page
and we've stepped up to challenges, tough
pitchers, tough ballclubs. There's many instances
where we've done that. I can't really think of one
because we've been very consistent with that.
We've won a lot of games this year. We were the
best in the National League.
What makes me say that is we lost, what,
four in a row one time this year maybe, something
like that. So that's all that needs to be said. We
play hard every day, we turn the page, we don't
panic or overreact to the day-to-day things that we
So that makes me feel like, you know,
we've won one now, four-out-of-seven and can't
wait to get back out there. The fact that we're
playing five in a row is really good for us right now,
everyone is rested. We came into the series,
everyone was more than rested really. So four or
five days in a row is really what we've done all
year, so ready to go at it.
Usually you have a pretty good time
shaking off some of the tougher losses. Was
last night, based on the fact that it's a quick
turnaround and it was a tough loss last night,
was last night a little more difficult for you
getting over that?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, we could taste
it, we feel like we gave one away. If you look at it
that way, yeah, it was tough.
But in the playoffs you don't have time to
think about that kind of thing. It was a long night. I
slept real well. Glad we're back at it again. In my
mind, it was already gone. Initially when the game
was over, I felt like, yeah, we let one slip away and
couldn't wait to get back out there today and
It's easy this time of year to turn the page
because you know that you have to and you're still
in a pretty good position.
Is there a difference between the
series being 1-1 and 2-0 in your favor and
things that you could not do and cannot do,
like for example in your bullpen, if you were up
2-0 you might do this, but because it's 1-1
you're not going to do that?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Nobody saves
anything. You try to look at the long term or big
picture, but I think you really have to stay short
term in the playoffs and look at for what it is.
There's no trying to save anything. You know your
staff, you know who is rested, who is ready.
But no, it's just one game at a time really.
The old cliche, but that's really what it all boils
down to for me. We've kept it simple all year long
and no reason to change that right now. Whether
we're 0-2, 1-1, 2-0, doesn't matter, we're going to
go out and play the game today.
In the times that you've called on
him in the post-season to pinch-hit, Franco is a
guy that's struggled so far, a lot of strikeouts,
could you conceivably start to look at other
guys more for that prime pinch-hitting spot,
whether it's Woodward or somebody you might
want to give a shot to?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, he's my
pinch-hitter and he's experienced at it of course.
We're going to keep going to him like we would a
closer or anything like that. No, Franco is going to
be fine. He's been kind of getting himself out a
little bit and that's just typical sometimes when you
swing at bad pitches and I think that's what we've
done for the most part. He knows how to handle
himself in that way and he's one of the best at it,
and best of all time, so I'm not going to give up on
Is there anyone in the bullpen
tonight who you may be more reluctant to call
upon, or do you expect to have everyone
available? Bradford pitched an inning and
two-thirds last night.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, Bradford has
pitched one and two-thirds in the last week and a
half or something like that. Man, everyone's ready
to go. You don't save anybody for this. You have
a guy like Bert, Bert was up two or three times last
night and I asked him how he feels today, he said
he's ready to go again.
No use saving everybody. Everybody is
good. I keep emphasizing that going into the
series, everyone was very well rested. It was not
like we were being taxed or anything like that.
Pete and I are very conscious of how many pitches
are thrown and how guys are used and where they
are in day-to-day stuff. So I was just chomping at
the bit to get the guys in the game. No, you save
nothing, got to go, got to play, got to win a
Is there anything with Valentin that
you see mechanically that he has to adjust to
as he's been struggling in the post-season, or
is it just that he might be getting himself out
much like Julio?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I was going to say,
very similar to Julio. Valentin, he wants to
compete and he wants to do well. He's a veteran
guy that's been in this position and sometimes he
gets overanxious and I think he's been coming out
on his own a little bit. He knows that. He's played
great defense for us and he's been solid up the
middle and, yeah, I would say that he's a little bit
out of his zone I think at times and he needs to just
kind of narrow it down a little bit and I think he'll get
It was so weird, we were here in St. Louis
the last time when I challenged him to step up and
that's really how he got going. He looked at me
and said, "I'm going to get ready the next couple of
days." I didn't tell him exactly when he would be in
there but I put him in two or three days later and he
had one of his biggest years for us this year, so it's
ironic that this is where it started for him. It would
be a good time for him to get it going again and
hopefully he will.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.