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An interview with Clint Hurdle

An interview with Clint Hurdle

A lot has been made of American League trying to figure out how to lose the DH or what they're trying to do about it. For you adding a DH you obviously have a good line up already. How much of an advantage is it for you to add somebody quality like that?

CLINT HURDLE: It's all going to depend how Beckett pitches tonight. He's really good. So to have another hitter in the lineup is not going to hurt. Spilborghs was involved in all three games here in Boston. He's got a little familiarity, and he's got some barrel to his bat. He's the best option we have to come in and maybe three or four at bats to him and see if he can do something.

It's not the way we play the game but we'll see how it works out for us.

You always talk about guys having a slow heartbeat and all this. I wonder since they've gotten here the past couple days, how do you feel your team is handling the extent of this attention?

CLINT HURDLE: I think they're just continuing to go about their business with good focus. I think they're very representative and aware that we're bringing the National League to the World Series, and there's the accountability and responsibility that goes with that. They've earned this opportunity. They're looking to finish the drill. You know, as they continue to write up on the blackboard, not done. This is the next challenge, the last challenge and the last opportunity. They've been relaxed, they've been focused. They're really looking forward to playing a game. All of us are.

A question from your native state. Could you please go over just what family members of yours still live in Michigan, where they live and which ones might be coming to the World Series?

CLINT HURDLE: First and foremost, grandma Lucille is in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I talked to her today. She's turned into a media darling. I think she's been interviewed twice in the last few weeks. Grand Rapids Bugle, I don't know what it is (laughing.) She's gotten a little air play and she's quite happy and proud.

I still have a number of aunts and uncles that live in Michigan, quite a contingent. It would be too numerous really to go through. But Lucille, don't miss that one, if we can get that out and put her in play, she's 95 and she's my girl. She's my daddy's mama.

The first three Red Sox starters are getting a lot of attention obviously. They're big name pitchers and pretty accomplished pitchers. How much do you think the key is for guys like Jimenez and Fogg who are lesser known guys, how important obviously are their performances do you think in this series?

CLINT HURDLE: Starting pitching is usually the key to any series, so everybody that takes the mound has a very important part to play. Our guys, they're going to do what they do. We're going to start with Francis tonight. He's our number one. He gets outs.

Jimenez is -- that stuff will be electric. That's the kind of stuff that every once in a while you step back and you go, wow, that's special. He's shown some special poise for a young pitcher. And he's got good stuff. Any time you get a swing and miss pitch against a good offensive club and you're playing in a small park, that's important.

Fogg, don't try and figure him out. He just battles. He throws it out there and he makes his pitches. Nobody on our staff pitches away from the bat, and I think that's the thing that's going to play out in this series. It's a very disciplined club, very offensive club. We don't pitch away from the bat. We might have a plan early, we get strikes and try and get some outs with balls, but everybody does that. It's all going to be play for me out on the mound is going to have the biggest impact of anything.

Do you typically watch the World Series in past years? Have you watched it when you weren't in it?

CLINT HURDLE: I will catch -- I do not sit down and watch every game, every pitch, no, because we pick sticks at home, and Dora and the Little Mermaid come into play, and if I get third, I catch the late innings. We've been up in Breckenridge a lot this time of year, and sometimes we get some channels, sometimes we don't. I like to watch it, I like to pay respect to it because there's a part of me that's envious, but I'm not a slave to watching it.

Back to what you were talking about a minute ago about the pitching staff, how important has Torrealba in terms of bringing some of these guys along, especially the younger guys?

CLINT HURDLE: He's been a quality dynamic for us behind the plate. His pitch selection has been so very, very good, his touch and feel with each individual pitcher. It's not been one concept he's tried to throw on everybody else, he's taken the pitchers, knows their strengths, broken them down, reads the other players, knows when to give them a pat on the back or a smack on the backside. He knows what to do one or the other. He plays with a lot of emotion which I think fits into our ballclub very well, also. He plays with a bit of edge and a chip, especially when we brought Morales and Jimenez into the starting rotation, a lack of any communication, that just disappeared. He communicates very well with anybody we have on the mound.

I'm sure you know there are going to be a lot of people who will be watching this series with great interest at Children's Hospital in Denver. And for those who don't know, can you talk about the evolution of your relationship with Children's?

CLINT HURDLE: Well, everybody has a special place, and everybody has a place where you try and make a difference.

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I have an opportunity to be a little bit more vocal with it and get a little bit more attention, but Children's Hospital is our special place, my wife Karla and I. Not only do we have a child that spends a significant amount of time there but we have friends that have children there and we've made friends there.

So that being said, we are very fortunate in the state of Colorado and the city of Denver to have a facility like Children's Hospital for our kids, and just importantly for the parents. The care is remarkable and it's very special, and it's one of the finest institutions in the nation. We need to be representative of that. They need a plug every now and then.

You hit Spilborghs ninth just to cause the least amount of disruption for other guys in the lineup?

CLINT HURDLE: That was one of the reasons. The other time is the couple times in the playoffs we have had situations where we need to put a ball on the ground, maybe a bunt or something, and Torre in front of those isn't the fastest, and this splits them up. I get usable speed in front of the two guys that can run and really put the ball on the ground. But continuity and normalcy has been huge for this ballclub. The last thing you want to do is throw out a lineup where the players walk out and go, "what's he doing," especially at this point in the year. It's a lineup that's similar to the ones we've had before.

Gary was asking how the players feel now that you're here. Now that you're a couple hours away how are your butterflies?

CLINT HURDLE: I can't say to play a game. The best thing that can happen is we play a game and win. The next best thing that can happen is we get to play a game. We need to play a game. We're getting closer every minute, and I'm excited about it. I can't wait to watch our team take the field and start playing again. From then we'll figure out things to the best of your ability, how we need to back off or adjust. Butterflies, I haven't had any. I haven't had any. Maybe they'll jump on me when I get out there. Maybe I'll get a big one out there when I hear the opening lineups. We're just looking forward to going out and playing a ballgame and finding a way to win.

Wally Madison didn't have any AAA. What has he done differently at the Major League level, and is it in some ways harder to pitch at Colorado Springs because the balls

CLINT HURDLE: A lot of difference of opinions. I've never pitched at Colorado Springs, the human door effect can come into play. One of the things I've thought about from my perspective is sometimes in AAA you're always being asked to work on something, so if you work on something and it's not working you've kind of got that attitude, well, I'm working on something.

You get to the big leagues, that working on thing you've got to put to the side and find your team a way to win a game. You take out the safety net and find a way to get after it. That's one opinion. Another opinion is sometimes they try so hard to get there and they're not getting there, they get frustrated, and once you just get them there, it loosens them up a little bit and they pitch. I don't know which ones work, but something has popped for both our young pitchers that they perform much better at the Major League level than they did in the minor leagues.

We hear so much about Boston having so much veteran experience, they've been here before. Your team, so many first timers. Is ignorance bliss in a situation like this because they've shown it so far in the postseason?

CLINT HURDLE: I think it can be, but again, it's actually been I've been presented with a thing, this is the time of year when it's who wants it most. That's a joke (laughter). It's not about wanting it most right now. What it really comes down to, we're focusing on, is execution. Who executes the best is going to win the games. Experience, yes, it can help, I've got to believe it can help. But we didn't have any experience in the Division Series. We had limited experience in the Championship Series. We're facing a very good ballclub. Our biggest challenge this season on the biggest stage we're going to play in. But again, our focus has been simple. We execute well, we'll have a chance to win. We don't execute well, we put ourselves in position to lose.

One more thing about Jimenez, how important is tempo and pace for him?

CLINT HURDLE: It's very important, and Torrealba is very good with that. He's very good with all our pitchers. One of the things, you want to keep we like to keep our guy in the dirt, keep him working quick, defensively that's one of our strengths. We don't want him thinking too much. He has to have a plan going in that they really can rely on as far as calling the game, putting something down, shaking yes and going.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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