WILLIE RANDOLPH: Nothing's held him
back. I said earlier that sometimes you have to
give credit to the pitchers for changing their rhythm
and their cadence and holding the ball and quick
pitching, stepping off, all those things upset your
rhythm of any base stealer.
I don't think anything's held them back.
We saw it earlier, also. In the playoffs you can't
just run wild and crazy, either. It's a little bit
different than the regular season. I don't think
anything has held them back. You have to give
credit to the Cardinal pitchers for giving different
looks, and he's probably ready to go on next the
Is the lineup the same, is Cliff still
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Same lineup, yes.
Another shortstop question would
be Eckstein of the Cardinals. Now that you've
played him on a daily basis except when it
rains, what problems does he pose for you as
an opposing manager?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Nothing in
particular. I watched David play for a lot of years
with the Angels. He's just one of those
hard-nosed -- he's a player. That's the best way to
describe him. His talent doesn't jump out at you,
but he's a winner. He fights you, he battles, he
puts the ball in play. He gets the most out of his
abilities and his skills. So he's just one of those
guys that loves to compete and is a winning-type
ballplayer and that's why he's been on winning
ballclubs. I think he's an exceptional team player,
and that's why he's always in the mix when things
Have you definitively settled on your
starting pitcher for tomorrow night?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Not definitively, no.
We're going to see how things play out today.
Everyone is just about available except maybe
Tom Glavine and we'll see what happens at the
end of the game here and we'll make a choice
tonight or tomorrow. Tonight probably.
Given that both teams here are
missing players with injuries and both teams
are playing with a lot of stress, with a lot of
pitching stress, do you think the Tigers no
matter who wins will have any sort of
advantage, at least in the opening games?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: You might think that
going in, or you might think that, but I've seen
situations where that really doesn't mean a whole
lot, in a four-out-of-seven series, they might go
cold and somebody might get hot. You can look at
it just on the surface, you might think that, yeah,
but it doesn't always play out that way.
If you need a long man tonight,
would you go to Oliver, or would you try to
piece it together a different way?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, I'd probably --
well, it depends. I'd probably go with Oliver. It
depends where we are in the game, second, third,
fourth inning, whatever it might be. But if it's
early -- I won't hold anybody back.
How much of the burden falls on Lo
Duca to navigate John Maine, a guy who has
not lasted very long in the playoffs?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: It's no burden. He
just has to take charge like he always does. Just
keep him in the game and take charge like he
does. He'll hopefully put the right fingers down and
John will make the right pitch and we'll execute
that and move on.
No, Paul is not going to change anything
right now. Just another game and go out there
and take charge and hopefully John will give us a
Will you manage tonight as though
it's the seventh game without thinking about
anybody's availability for tomorrow and just let
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yeah, we have to
win the game. If we don't win the game, we won't
be thinking about tomorrow. Just like a sudden
death game for us and everyone will be ready to
go and we'll try to do whatever it takes to win the
ballgame and deal with tomorrow, tomorrow.
Given that all ballplayers have
slumps at one point or another, is David Wright
having a, quote, normal slump that you have
during the middle of the season or is the
postseason a factor or the team that's
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I don't really
subscribe to slumps, being in slumps per se. I
think again sometimes you hit balls good at people
and if you don't go 4 for 5 someone says you're in
slump or whatever. I don't look at it that way.
David is obviously trying a little too hard I
think, that's what I see, and that's natural. We
were talking earlier about being in a situation for
the first time. Until you go through the process,
you need to learn how to channel some of that
energy. And he's a big hitter, he's been big all year
for us, he's been producing and wants to do well.
That's a natural thing. You can't really put your
finger on why that happens and why that is. But
the bottom line is, right now, he's had some decent
at-bats, but, you know, he seems like at times he's
a little bit overanxious and that's for anybody. You
see Carlos sometimes, as well as he's swung the
bat, every once in a while he'll get anxious. You
get your confidence going, and David he's fighting
out there every day and I think he's going to come
up big for us before too long, and hopefully tonight.
With losing two important pitchers,
do you suddenly start hoping that the team will
do more consistent hitting as a way of making
up for it?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I said from the
beginning when we first came into the series that
we need to swing the bats collectively. Like in the
fourth game, I believe, we scored a bunch of runs
and that's going to be the key for us. Any time
you're thin with your pitching, you have to put runs
on the board. All year long we've been a team
that's fed off our energy and our offense for the
most part and that's a big key for us. We're the
type of team that when we get up early, get out
quick, you've seen us, we continue to roll.
With any situation like this pitching is
always the key but if you have that extra offense,
that added dimension, it makes your life a lot
easier, believe me.
So without getting the offense, how
disappointed are you?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I'm not disappointed
at all. When you lose games, you're disappointed,
but I'm not going to hang it on the offense. I'm
never disappointed in my guys. We win tonight,
we'll be okay for tomorrow. It's not over now.
You're not giving in, you're not giving up are you?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, the offense
can turn around real quick, man. We've had two
days to bang it around a little bit, and we'll see.
The offense is back, it's back. I'm not
disappointed, man, that's the way the game goes
sometimes, and even if you don't get offense, you
have to pitch. It's a collective thing. I have a good
feeling we're going to score some runs tonight, I
really do, I really do.
Considering that your team was
generally considered the best team in the
National League all season and favored to go
to the World Series, I'll use the D word again,
are you disappointed, dismayed, shocked, all
of the above, at the turn of events and the
position that you find yourself in now?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, it's not over yet.
Why would I be disappointed or shocked? It's not
over yet. We're still playing. We're playing tonight.
It's not that it's over. We have to win tonight and
we win tomorrow, we're going away to Detroit.
No, wow, this is -- what we've been doing
every day since Spring Training. The reason why
this team is good and the reason why my staff and
I have, we stay positive and focused and we
understand we were the best team in the National
League. But at this point since it's not over with,
there's no reason to be disappointed. As a matter
of fact, we should feel pretty good about ourselves
because we're still playing.
Certainly the team knows what they
are up against, but do you feel you need to give
them any kind of special message, either
collectively or individually to help them relax
for the game tonight?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, our travel plans
for Friday are what we are going to talk about.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.