TONY LA RUSSA: The reason I like the
National League game is just because you see
more things that are part of the game. But the only
reason it's a tougher adjustment normally is
because the pitcher has to participate in the
American League, -- an American League pitcher
But I think it's an easy adjustment for
them, because they get the shortstop back at short
and the first baseman back at first. Jim been
managing it longer than I have, so it's not going to
be a problem for him.
There's a story today that Hal McRae
said that Kenny Rogers was also scuffing balls,
and that you guys have six or seven of those,
can you comment on that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Enough conversation
about that yesterday, so I'm not -- my conversation
on that is going to be zero. I think it's Game 3 and
we've all got work to do, so I'm not involved with it
anymore, and I don't want our club to be.
I understand that that is, I guess,
Sunday's news, Monday's news, but what if the
opposing pitcher tonight had pine tar on his
hand or some substance on his hand, would
you play it the same way or would you maybe
try to get him thrown out? A lot of people think
maybe Rogers should have been thrown out of
TONY LA RUSSA: I took longer than I
should have yesterday to try to explain where I was
coming from, and that explanation still holds, and
it's a brand new day. If it's a second occurrence
with the club, you're not going from zero, you're
going from plus one, so you look at it differently.
I don't anticipate it happening. I think what
we need to do as the Cardinals, we need to
concentrate on playing the game of baseball and
not get distracted with stuff like that that's going to
make it tougher to win.
Just talk about Jeff Suppan and the
opportunity he gives you tomorrow night on
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, this guy's been
such nails for us. His two 16-win years for us, and
the second half this year we were really struggling
for wins. He's come through so big. But I've got
people that I know in the Cardinal organization that
have been around 30, 40 years, that compare that
performance in Game 7 with what any Cardinal
pitcher has ever done. I don't think you can give
him enough credit.
But the reality of sports, our game, other
games, that's already done. You're only as good
as the next time you go out there, whether it's our
team tonight or Jeff's -- that's history. He's got a
special place. But this is a brand new series. The
way he's throwing we feel like we have a solid
chance, just like we do today.
Why the decision to play in right
TONY LA RUSSA: So, there's been a
couple of times he's been right on the mark and
gotten nosed out. You've got to get what you earn.
He's been clutch off the bench. He played Game 1
and showed good life, got the bat out. So part of it
is Juan is struggling. It's not like he's the only guy
that's struggling, I don't like to point fingers, but
he's talking about not feeling right. And that's a
good indication, if I've got an alternative, I ought to
go the other way.
How do you analyze David's 8-for-50
postseason so far?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think he's had some
at-bats where he's been beat up. I think he's been
feeling better, I thought, and that included the last
couple of times against the Mets he got the hit out
better. I don't care how you're feeling. It's really a
tough call sometimes because you can be feeling
good at the plate, you're facing postseason
pitching, and you can be retired even though
you've got a good feel at the plate. And then other
times maybe you find out that you're not yourself.
But I've checked with him, because we have a guy
like Aaron ready to go. And he says he's got no
restrictions. So I think part of it is the quality of
pitching you're facing. And I also think with a guy
that competes like Eck does, he could break
through tonight and none of us should be
I hope I heard this right, but could
you discuss what went into your thoughts on
where you put Preston, Ronnie and So in the
lineup, specifically the decision between
Wilson at second and Ronnie at third?
TONY LA RUSSA: Right. The first lineup
I had penciled in had Preston in fifth. But you're
going with a lot of short information, short history,
and Preston has been tough on Robertson. And I
think if you're going to try to get the bat in his
hands with Albert behind him as opposed to a
left-hander, and I don't care, even though it's Jim,
Robertson has been wearing out left-handed
hitters. We have a better chance with him second.
Then you figure out Belliard has some
at-bats against Robertson, so I really like his guts.
He can hit anywhere. Fifth is not going to bother
him, fourth, third. And when you get to Taguchi at
eight, it creates a lot of problems; a lot of pluses for
us. It's kind of how the lineup was changed.
With guys like Rolen and Pujols and
Belliard, why has your club struggled so much
against left-handers this season?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I tell you,
through the first almost two-thirds of the season it
was such a freak thing, nobody really paid
attention to it. If you took the individuals and
looked at our numbers against left-hand pitching,
they get hits, but in the games we haven't put
together and we've got a losing record, and it was
in that last third you start to get serious and you
know what the heck is going on. It's really tough to
I thought at times in a game or here or
there our approach was something that we could
work on. I always feel like we've got a shot, look at
the quality of the guys we're putting up there. I
tried to paint the half-full picture by looking at, we
won games where Glavine started and Oliver
Perez, but if you look at it a little closer, we didn't
win by pummeling the ball.
I don't think there's an explanation, except
some guys have pitched well. We need to make it
as tough as possible, and I think our approach at
times could be improved. We'll see tonight.
This is an old issue, but what do you
think about the DH rule and how baseball uses
it in the World Series?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, if you're going to
have it, and I certainly wouldn't mind, somebody
suggested here years ago, just like in interleague
play, you're probably better off switching around,
so the fans got the chance to see the DH in the
National League. If you're going to have it, I don't
think it makes any difference once you get to the
World Series. If you're going to have it, it makes
as much sense as anybody. It doesn't make sense
to have two leagues in Major League Baseball,
have such a distinctive difference in styles of play
and how you construct your teams. It doesn't
seem to make sense, but that's what it is.
Does the way they play now, AL
rules, NL rules, does this add a sense of
intrigue given that some teams have to put
their best hitter in a defensive position? Is
there a little drama in all that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, I think there's a
little drama and intrigue. I think if we play with the
pitcher out of the game there would be a lot of
drama and intrigue. I'd sacrifice the little for the lot.
The game has a lot of ways that it can
produce where it's going to go and what is going to
happen. More of that happens in a National
League game. American League game you rarely
pinch-hit. You don't have to worry where the
pitcher is. The bunt defenses are almost
nonexistent. The game has a lot of ways to be
exciting and you see more of it -- I'm not saying -- I
say this very carefully, I think it's real tough to win
in the American League because you're getting
nine guys out and it's a slugfest every night
potentially. It's really tough. I think it's harder to
handle pitching in the American League than it is
the National League, but I don't think it makes
enough sense to have two sets of rules. And I
think you guys think we'd have more fun if all the
American League fans saw what the National
League fans see with the game.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.