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An interview with Dale Sveum

An interview with Dale Sveum

Do you plan on any lineup changes or any batting order changes for tomorrow?

DALE SVEUM: No. We'll go with our left handed lineup against Moyer. Rickie will be in there and Billy will be in there, same spots.

The offense obviously has been struggling the last two games. What kind of approach is it going to take against Moyer?
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DALE SVEUM: Well, I think it's evident what you have to do against Moyer -- you've got to work the middle of the field. You can't try and pull him, simple as that. But obviously that's easier said than done sometimes.

How do you talk to these guys about taking this as one game instead of looking it as a whole of three?

DALE SVEUM: Well, I think it's just -- they know the message. We were just going through that before the playoffs started. That's what I emphasized when I first got here and especially that last week of the season when we were -- I think we were three games back in the loss column going into the last seven or eight games of the season. It's one game at a time. You can't think of anything else except the game at hand that day, and obviously we're in that spot right now.

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Have you even thought about lineup changes? And if not, is it because you just have too many different guys struggling, and no matter where you put them

DALE SVEUM: Yeah, I think that's as good a point as any. A lineup change at this point, will it help, will it not? But like you said, it's not like we have three guys swinging really good and three guys medium and a couple guys really bad. Nobody has really got a hot hand right now at anything. So to move them here and there, at least when they go to bed at night, tonight they'll know the lineup, they know where they'll be, and that's comfortable in its own way sometimes.

But like you said, we've struggled for not the last couple days. Cole Hamels was unbelievable. You know, those things are going to happen against great pitchers. But we really haven't swung the bats for a month now.

Does the Mike Cameron thing give you any pause at all? Since you made him lead off hitter his numbers are really, really bad.

DALE SVEUM: No. I mean, I think, like I said, where you put guys right now in the lineup is irrelevant to what we've got going on. All you're doing is obviously wishing something will turn around, but I don't think -- personally I don't think moving somebody in the lineup has got anything to do with it.

I played a long time. If I were struggling, moving me somewhere else didn't make me a better hitter. That's never made sense that way. Just because you move a spot in the lineup -- you've got to remember, after your first inning, besides Cameron leading off and Billy hitting second and Braunie hitting third, after that everybody is in a different spot anyway. You get a couple guys on, all of a sudden you might be the fourth hitter the next time.

So all that stuff is irrelevant.

Is the sense of urgency right now greater than it was a week and a half ago?

DALE SVEUM: I don't know. The way that last week started, to end the season when we got home or the last game in Cincinnati, they knew that they had to win seven games, or six games would possibly do it. Obviously we got some help from the Mets to win six out of seven, got us in the playoffs. But I don't think there's any more urgency than what we went through the last week because our backs were against the wall every single day we went out there. Unfortunately our backs are against the wall now to be eliminated from the playoffs.

But it's just one game at a time, and you know what you have to do. You can't think about Game 5, you can't think about Game 4, you've got to win Game 3 any way you can.

Is there anything that you can draw off your '04 experience with the Red Sox in that ALCS that might help you in that situation?

DALE SVEUM: Well, you know, one thing you draw from it is it can happen, and that was obviously in a bigger fashion. We were down 3 0 and we got killed in Game 3 like 19 8 or something, and came back and obviously won eight games in a row.

There's always somebody sitting here right now that's gone through it. And they witnessed it. These guys in that clubhouse saw what happened in '04, and they know it can be done.

Has Robin had a chance to speak on what happened with the '82 club and how they came back from the same deficit, 0 2?

DALE SVEUM: You know, no. I think there's one thing you try to stay away from with teams is bringing up the past, especially -- they've heard a lot about the '82 team. They've made their own team here and their own destiny, but to bring up something like that would be like me walking in there and talking about the Red Sox or the Yankees.

Players don't really want to hear that. They know it, but you don't call meetings for it or anything. You do things like that on the side.

How do you attack a guy like Jaime Moyer, 46 years old, throws slow, slower, slowest and has had some success against this club?

DALE SVEUM: Well, like I said, you've got to be patient. You've got to work the middle of the field. You can't try and pull the guy. He's obviously very crafty or he still wouldn't be having success at 46 years old. He knows what to do with a baseball. Even the velocity is not -- hitting speed is what we call it. He's below hitting speed. So you've got to be patient. You can't try and pull the guy.

Like I said, it's easier said than done, but a guy has got to be patient, and you can't try and pull him.

Two part question: You've faced Moyer. Is he a different pitcher now? And if so, how? And with Boston, was there one thing that turned that series that you recall distinctively, turned it in your favor?

DALE SVEUM: I mean, yeah, I faced Jaime. He was a different pitcher, obviously. He never was a hard thrower, but he obviously had more velocity. Same kind of pitcher. He still did the same thing, still located, still had to locate because he didn't have any overpowering stuff ever. But it was still the same approach you had to take with him. You had to wait him out. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes, keeps the ball down and away. He's a less velocity, Tom Glavine type guy, a little less velocity. But when those guys are on, they're very good at keeping the ball down in the strike zone. That's what makes them successful.

The one turning point in that series was probably, you know, you can name a lot of things, but I think the fact that having a lot of characters on that team. Kevin Millar, kept that team very loose after Game 3. We had some guys like that. But we had a really good team, too. We had a really good team like we have in that clubhouse right now. You don't win 90 games and not have really good team.

So a turning point, you can say what you want. We had big home runs. Dave Roberts stole a huge base. Great bullpen effort. But as a turning point, I think what happened in that series was just winning Game 4, obviously.

I mean, we had to, but I think once those guys won Game 4, then they knew it was at their hand because the pitching was matching up in our favor the rest of that series.

Your bullpen hasn't given up a run this whole series. What are some of the attributes about them that makes them effective?

DALE SVEUM: Well, I mean, they've really thrown the ball really well for two weeks. Our bullpen is why we're here, really. They kept us in all those games that we were able to hit the walk off home runs. Braunie's bottom of the eighth home run. Of course, CC was still in the game there. But for the most part, they've gotten some huge outs and kept us in the ballgames. Even the last two ballgames, they kept us in the ballgame to give us a chance off Lidge in the last inning of both games.

But they've done a great job. The match ups have worked out, but the fact of the matter is they've gone out and got those outs in those match ups.

With the way Moyer pitches and the way your team approaches hitting, would you consider this a tough match up for you guys? You guys are very aggressive and strike me as the kind of team that Moyer might want to be able to take advantage of.

DALE SVEUM: Well, sometimes obviously that works in your advantage and works against you. I think if he's not locating, sometimes that approach really works well, because when a guy isn't locating, that kind of pitcher, when he's not locating his pitches and getting them up, if you're trying to be really patient and then there goes the mistake he just threw, and you're trying to be too patient. So sometimes it's a double edged sword, but there's no doubt about it, our team tends to swing at balls out of the strike zone and get a little anxious sometimes.

But in the long run, sometimes it works for you. You just try to limit those things, and when you do swing at a ball out of the strike zone, sometimes you hope you miss it. You don't put it in play.

If Kapler wasn't injured, would you be tempted to play him in right some and give Corey a break?

DALE SVEUM: Yeah, I think I would. I think it would only -- it would definitely have to cross my mind. I mean, whenever you have a guy like Kapler available, it's always in the back of your mind to get him in the game somehow.

Has his ability to really give you good at bats, even if it's just a pinch hitter, have you really missed that with what's going on with your offense?

DALE SVEUM: Yeah, there's no doubt about it. Kapler was a big entity of this team, got some big hits. He's just one of them guys that brings something to the table every day. Like you said, he'll give you a great at bat all the time. He's not afraid to get deep into counts, let alone his defense and his demeanor around the clubhouse and knowing that that guy is in your corner helps a lot.

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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