Oct. 5 Ron Washington pregame interview

RON WASHINGTON: Well, I slept well last night and got in today and went through my routine and just waiting to get out for BP, waiting really for this to get over and then I can go through my BP, but I feel pretty good.

Q. It's unusual for a manager to compose a roster for a one game playoff. Can you walk us through what your thinking was as you put your roster together, knowing you're just doing it to win one game?

RON WASHINGTON: Well, we just wanted to make sure that we had good balance, and the majority of the issue was with the pitching staff. The other issue we had was carrying that third catcher. Other than that, everything else was easy. So it wasn't that difficult to do it. We've got two starting pitchers that we're carrying in Harrison and Holland, so we've got four lefties down there, so I've got good balance in that bullpen down there, and that what we were looking for, just balancing the bullpen.

Q. Two years ago you had a do or die game. Does this feel like that?

RON WASHINGTON: You know, I don't really know how it feels because I haven't tried to put too much emphasis on it other than the fact that let's come here and prepare and try to just go out here and play our game. I think if you start trying to compare stuff in your mind, then you won't see what's in front of you, and I just want to continue to watch what's in front of me. I'm just looking at it as us going out there and playing a game. I know the implications if things don't go the way we would like it to go. But I'm not thinking about that because if that happens, I want to be shocked.

Q. Nobody knows this team like you do. The temperature, considering everything that's happened in the last two weeks, particularly the last week? What's your feeling of what your team, how it sits right now?

RON WASHINGTON: Well, it feels pretty good about itself. You know, there's disappointment because we didn't win our division. That's what we wanted to do. But you have to get past disappointment. What we do know is we can play baseball. It's just a matter of going out there and putting it together the way we know we're capable of doing it. Tonight if we do that, win the division, I think that'll be in the distant past. We'll be in the playoffs, and then anything can happen. I feel pretty good about my club. I walked through the clubhouse. I didn't see anything different than they've been doing all year, and I think we know what's at stake. Once again, it's just going to come down to pitching and executing what the game asks you to do, and if we can keep it that simple and we can execute, we'll be fine.

Q. Thoughts on Joe Saunders?

RON WASHINGTON: Well, I haven't seen Joe Saunders in a long time. From what I understand and what I've been reading in the reports, he's not the guy that I remember reading about when he was in Anaheim. So I think we just have to wait and see. We know he's going to use his off speed, we've certainly got to make sure we get the ball up in the zone, not do a whole lot of chasing, make him come to us. As far as how we handled him in the past, that gives you a little confidence, but you've got to handle him the way he is today. We don't know where he is today until we get out there and see. So we'll go by what we got on reports, what we can find out by watching on film, and then once the game starts, everybody will know.

Q. What do you like about having Hamilton in your lineup?

RON WASHINGTON: Well, Hamilton has only of course we know about his production. It's his presence. He can make other guys in the lineup better. He can change thought processes of a pitcher. He can make managers make moves that maybe they wouldn't want to make, like walk him and go to Beltre when he's sizzling hot. Those are things that he can do, plus he's a tremendous athlete, and we're certainly looking tonight to jump on his back and take a ride.

Q. What has Darvish been doing so well lately and what's your level of confidence in him?

RON WASHINGTON: Well, I think this is only my opinion because if you talk to the pitching coach and you talk to Darvish you may get a different take on it. What my take on it is he's coming out of the bullpen understanding what is working and he's using it. He has a tremendous repertoire of pitches and he hasn't been throwing the kitchen sink at everyone, once again, because he's been using exactly what he knows he feels good with coming out of the pen and then making adjustments deep into the ballgame. That's what has made him effective in my opinion. I feel very comfortable with him going out there tonight because he's in a relaxed state. He's a very confident guy, and he can pitch. And having those three things, I think any manager that has a chance to play a ballgame would like to have it, and I have it, so I feel pretty good.

Q. I know this is something you've probably been asked the last couple days and I know that you guys and the Orioles both finished with the same record. Do you think that this game, the one game winner take all is an adequate reward for a season like yours or theirs?

RON WASHINGTON: I think in the game of baseball, all you want is opportunity, and this is an opportunity. Because we both have the same records, this is what has to happen. The only thing that me as the Texas Ranger manager is happy about is that I've got an opportunity to still get in the playoffs, because our vision was the division. So because I got this opportunity, I love the format.

Q. You mentioned that you guys are looking to jump on Hamilton's back tonight, and everybody has seen his talent. What gives you the confidence that his focus is where he needs to be after the last couple weeks when he wasn't playing nearly as good a baseball?

RON WASHINGTON: Well, I think his talent mainly more than anything else. As far as focus goes, we all know what's at stake here, and the past couple years, the success we've had, Hamilton has been a big part of it; the success that we've had this year, Hamilton has been a big part of it. So there's no reason for me to think otherwise that Hamilton isn't going to show up tonight and be there for us now. I say jump on his back because he's a talent. He can take over a ballgame, but I have other guys in that lineup that can take over a ballgame, too. But we were talking about Hamilton, and that's why I said jump on his back. If we were talking about Beltre, I would say jump on his back. He can take a ballgame over, and you never know what day that is going to be. I'm a very optimistic guy, and I believe that today is the day that we can jump on Hamilton's back and other guys in that lineup's back.