You're right, 42 is a lot. He told me he felt great yesterday. And I really did appreciate him saying that, but regardless, he would be available tonight, a much shorter version of him. If we are able to avoid him tonight, what you would see tomorrow, if necessary, could possibly be what you saw the other day. I would be willing to go back up to that number.
When I was in the minor leagues I was always really aware of that 30 to 40 pitch mark with my relief pitchers. When they did that, I normally like to give them two days off, that was always the number that was in my mind, if they threw 30 to 40 pitches. Some guys even 25. Like 25 to 30, I thought one day, less than that, day to day. But when you get up to that 40 number, a lot of times I'm thinking two days. And especially with a young man like that.
He'd have to be very convincing tonight. He has been, so we may be able to utilize him tonight, but not like what you saw the other night.
We hear a lot about what good veteran catchers can do, developing young pitchers. You've been able to develop a pretty impressive staff with a young catcher, can you speaking of what Navarro has been able to do with the staff?
Navi has done a great job, obviously. Navi listens. Navi takes constructive criticism extremely well. He's also got a very good pitching coach to tutor him, Jim Hickey, as well as Brian Anderson. I really mean that. They have had a tremendous influence on him, as well as Bobby Ramos, our catching instructor. So you look at Navi, where he's arrived at right now, a lot of it has been mental, in regard to his improvements.
So all these guys have had an impact on him. I mean, of course I talk to him, too. But I'd like to say, and I believe this, that Hick, B.A. (Anderson) and Digalo Bobby, and of course Navi himself have really gotten to this point. It's easy to see the physical improvements with him. You look at the batting average, the percentage of throwing out runners, et cetera, all that stuff is there. But the biggest difference with him is catching a championship kind of staff. And he's taken that a lot upon himself. But these guys have done a good job tutoring him.
Have you seen your family, did you get your subs?
Yeah, they're here. They've arrived. My kids got in last night, my granddaughter from Arizona, they're all good. And then today Beanie showed up with three bags and a box. I don't even know, that might be like 36 to 40 hoagies, cold cuts, and the bellhop sent the cheese steak or the steak and cheese that they make back there. We really have enough to almost feed the entire team. I'm passing them out, they're really within the clubhouse right now. I don't want them to go bad. But she did not let us down.
Did you make any lineup changes from Game 2? And if so did the weather have any factor in your decisions tonight?
We did, we put Gabe Gross there in right field tonight. I really was pondering that one a lot. Again, it's versus Jamie Moyer, the left handed situation. You look at Jamie, I've known him for years. You look at our right handed hitters versus him, you look at our left handed hitters against him. Believe me, that one I went back and forth with a lot. I was not comfortable making that decision until I really let it stir a bit. The way Gabe swings, the swing path where Jamie likes to throw the ball, I felt Gabe was the best match up with him even over our right handed hitters tonight. So we chose to go in that direction, and that's quite frankly the reasons.
Again, not trying to get too smart, but when we have so many options, almost too many options, like in right field we could go either Ben or Fernando or Rocco and of course Gabe, and the other guys being right handed it looks like you might go that way. For those of you that have watched Jamie pitch in the past, sometimes it might be better left handed.
There's been a lot of talk about Phillies hitters with runners in scoring position. I'm curious from your view, is there something about your pitchers who were having an influence in those situations, maybe not to push it to this degree, but is there something there that you guys have talked about or are focusing on that may be leading with that number as well?
I think we had a relatively good percentage with that against the White Sox, too, if I'm not mistaken.
I don't have a real good answer for you. I just think we've been doing an overall pretty good job. Look at the line drive that Feliz hits, that Upton catches. If B.J. is not playing a shallow center field, that ball is in there, that's two points and maybe everything jumps in the other direction.
So I just know our guys don't give in. I really like the makeup of the starters in those tough moments, the relievers in those tough moments. I think we don't give in. I think we stay with the plan. We don't want to walk people, of course, but there's times when a walk is a good thing. There's a time when you have to pick your poison, too. Again, I don't want to over extend with this point, but Hick does a really good job in preparing our guys, and Navi has a really good idea of the game plan. Then you have to execute it. It's all about execution all the time. You could have the best plan in the history of the game, but if you don't execute, it doesn't mean a thing.
I think primarily our pitchers are well prepared and they know that to stay with the plan. And we try to of course you make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes, but for the most part I think our guys have done a pretty good job of execution.
I was actually just wondering what you did last night, if you enjoyed it and if you ran into any Phillies fans?
Is it already in the newspapers? I had a great night, actually. I did run into a lot of Philly fans. I went to Panorama, a really cool wine bar with some really good Italian food and some wonderful homemade limoncello. My God, I really recommend it.
The Philly fans have been very cool, actually, very cool. Very complimentary to our group, wishing us well, but not too much. I've been astonished by the whole thing. I went and had lunch today downtown, and the same thing happened in the restaurant there. It's been a great experience. I know once we get out here and the game starts it will change a bit. But really respectful, very nice people.
And you know what, I know these guys. I grew up not too far from here, this is all very familiar to me. I do say "youse guys," I had to break that habit five years ago. I used to say "henna" all the time. That wasn't as much a Philadelphia expression.
But when you talk to the folks around here, they're very familiar. So coming back to Philadelphia is actually very cool for me. But more than anything the people are sports nuts. They recognize. They know who's the manager of this team. They know the manager of every team, and they would recognize with glee, almost anybody managerial wise walking down the street. That's how in tune these folks are. It's been very complimentary, and very nice. And the gentleman that brought us the flight of Cabs last night. Thank you very much.
Can you talk a little bit about Andy Sonnanstine how he's pitched so well down the stretch in September and the postseason?
That all began post All Star break. We gave him a couple of extra days, because he was a little worn out. I think since that moment he's pitched really, really well. I don't think his velocity has been back up. He, on our gun, which I think is an accurate gun in our ballpark, threw a lot of 88, 89, and even touched 90. When Andy's throwing between 87 and 89 consistently, then the disparity between that pitch and his other stuff is a good thing in regard to velocity. Just like J.P. Howell, when he has more velocity there's a bigger gap in pitches. What you're seeing with Andy there's a bigger gap between velocity and his other stuff.
Furthermore the guy is a winner. I've talked about him for years. A guy like this comes through the minor league system, or even gets drafted in the first place a guy like Andy to get drafted in the first place takes excellent scouting as far as I'm concerned. You have to read into the guy's heart. And you get people like him who always won and continues to win, it shouldn't surprise anybody. I've often talked about Marcel Lachemann had a lot of impact on me in the past, recognizing minor league pitchers that maybe don't pitch to the radar gun but win, and he's one of those.
So he's just doing that. His velocity has come up and he's a very confident young man.
Why haven't you guys been intimidated at all being in these situations? You go up to Boston, and win two games there. You win in Chicago, the whole regular season, does that lead you to believe that won't be the case here, either?
I tell you, I've often spoke of this, and I believe this to be true, playing in the American League East is the best training ground for a baseball player. When I first came on board it was often heard, God, don't you wish we were in another division and I kept saying no, I'm really glad we're in this division. If you're going to break in some young guys and want them to be good or the best, you have to beat the best. I think having played in Fenway so many times and Yankee Stadium so many times, and playing against Toronto's pitching staff as we so often do, which I still think is the best, we've faced very good competition this year and in hostile environments. I think it's the best training ground and breeding ground in young players, if you want to get them battle tested quickly, put them in the American League East, put them out there making their mistakes, be patient with them and that's what we've been able to do. And that's why I think to this point regardless of what happens tonight, I know our guys are fine. We might get beat up or whatever may happen. I know our guys are fine, a lot of it has to do with where we play and how we play those guys.
You're playing one of the biggest games in your career and two hours away from your hometown. How's it been for your family and your friends back home in Hazleton?
It's crazy, quite frankly. They're having a blast. And see, you have to understand from my perspective, I know what's going on for me personally, and I know. But the most gratifying part is to see them enjoying the moment so much. That is truly to me what I really pick up on. I know how much my mom has enjoyed this, my whole family.
And then again our little town, I mean, there's plenty of you guys that have been up there to see Hazleton, and it's a unique place. And I know, even though I haven't been there, I know exactly what's going on in each barroom and the luncheonette and the discussions and the fights and the arguments and the people defending me and others just not defending me. And even though that I'm from there they're still going to root for the Phillies because they're loyal. It's all good stuff. It's really good stuff. And that to me is the most pleasurable thought I have about it. Of course I want the Rays to win the World Series, and of course I'm very happy and honored to be in this position, but for those that have been around here and they understand the culture within this part of the world, what these people are enjoying right now to me is the most gratifying part of it.
Bring it back to the weather a little bit: Rain delays, late starts are nothing new in baseball. Your club has been through them. With so much at stake and in this environment, talk about your clubhouse as the evening progresses. Do you keep things on schedule or do the guys sit around and play cards?
You're fortunate to have a delay like this in this ballpark. If you're in Fenway, in that clubhouse, it gets kind of annoying (laughter). The clubhouse is, what, maybe half this size. And when you have all the amenities and you get yourself a nice cheese steak while you're waiting or watch a game on the tube. J.P. is up there watching Texas versus Oklahoma State right now. This kind of facility ameliorates that situation a bit and permits you to get through the moment.
Now, Matt Garza is a different story. I don't know what he's going to do. If there's a padded room around here, I'd really like to know about, so he can go there and bounce around for a bit.
But when you have these kind of facilities, with all the different things at your disposal, I think the guys can see furthermore, knowing that it's not going to start on time helps our guys a bit. If there's a dramatic shift in that, they'll actually like that. For right now we'll be okay.
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