Q. Can you talk about what went into activating Neshek and at what point did you make the decision on that?
BOB MELVIN: Well, we talked about it when we heard he wanted to come back quickly. I think the fact he hasn't been out that long actually a little bit of a rest as far as his arm goes. But it was actually a very easy decision. It's something he wanted to do. He wanted to get here sooner than later. He wanted to be here for his team. He wanted to help his team out in a very difficult time for him, and that made it pretty easy to add him to the roster and make him available today.
Q. You didn't have many roster questions heading into today maybe aside from the bullpen. Was it a matter of wanting a couple more lefties in there?
BOB MELVIN: I think just one more lefty. Blackley needed to be there anyway based on length. You never know, something could happen to a starter that you don't envision happening, whether it's twisting an ankle or something along those lines. And he fills in pretty easily for that. The more difficult one was either Jim Miller or Pedro Figueroa. And we just felt like with an added guy, we weren't looking as much length as potentially maybe matching up with a couple of left handed hitters, and I think Pedro has come along here recently getting key outs for us against some pretty good hitters that we let him face from the left handed side and does have power stuff to throw the ball by some right handers if we need to. But it's a luxury having the eighth bullpen guy and a left hander that throws as hard as he does.
Q. Is there any wisdom you've shared with your players based on your experience playing in the NLCS back in '87 with the Giants?
BOB MELVIN: I don't know if my wisdom goes that back far to tell you the truth. Maybe more '07 with the Diamondbacks, which was a younger team. But we're just trying to keep it pretty close to the way it's been here recently. Really try to play for the day, not worry about what's going on the next day, try to keep the distractions to a minimum, make sure you keep your routine that keeps you in the right mindset, preparation wise, for that particular game. I think that probably more than anything else.
Q. Piggybacking on that, I was going to ask you about the similarities between this team and what happened in '07, kind of that team played above, way above expectations. I think if I remember correctly, you clinched the wildcard on the Friday before the regular season ended and the West on Saturday, and then went into a great roll in the first round of the playoffs.
BOB MELVIN: I would take that at this point. There are some similarities with youthful type group. I think maybe more youth as far as the pitching, especially the starting pitching here, where we had some veteran pitchers with some younger position players. We're here probably very youthful all the way around. I think there's some similarities. But I think each and every team has its own identity and they're going to play accordingly to that. I don't think anything that I could say about a particular other team would really hit a mark here with this club. We're just trying to talk about what our strength and weaknesses are and continue to do that.
Q. I mean more personally similar experience
BOB MELVIN: Well, yeah, it is kind of eerie with the way those things happened and the fashion and the timeliness that you talk about.
Q. You talk about your routine, having a noon game tomorrow, which is obviously 9:00 for maybe some of the body clocks, how does that fit into your routine? Is it potentially a problem or how do you approach that?
BOB MELVIN: It can be, depending on the length of today's game. We'll hit in the cage regardless. That's what we do after night games, especially with a quick turnover. Hopefully because it is a 6:00 game tonight it plays more like a 7:00 game than a 1:00 game, similar with the 6:00 12:00, so hopefully that's the case and our clocks are along those lines.
Q. You have Norris in there, a catcher over Kottaras, against a right hander. Just you like Norris' bat in there? Did you want to match him up with Jarrod? What went into the decision?
BOB MELVIN: I think all the above. He's been playing well, swinging the bat well. We always envision him being our number one catcher. George has been terrific for us, especially when D No was struggling a little bit. I don't think the left/right splits on Verlander are significant enough to throw another lefty in there. He's tough on everybody. And D No's faced him a couple of times, but I think the fact that D No's playing really well at this point.
Q. The last time you were here Coco did play in one of the games, but he wasn't quite himself yet, and he missed the other two. How much of a difference is have him here for the series?
BOB MELVIN: It's always good having Coco in the lineup. You're always trying to hold down the fort when he's not in the lineup, and when he is, you know that this is a guy that a lot of our guys rely on to set the table. He's the one guy you look at his numbers off of Verlander, it's the one guy that hits over .300 off Verlander. He hits good pitching, he hits late, pitching, closers, setup guys. He's a guy that we value very highly and takes a lot of pressure off of everybody else, so it's always nice to have him in the lineup.
Q. What did you learn about managing in the postseason? Some guys manage significantly different, some guys a little differently, if it's a five game, seven game. What have you learned? Is your prep time more? Could you talk about that?
BOB MELVIN: I don't think it's so much the series as it is the particular game. You're always going to face a difficult starter for the most part. And the teams that make it to the postseason usually have more pitching depth. So I think it's more a feel and the personality of the game if you're going to do things differently, whether it's bunting earlier in the game or doing things maybe you wouldn't do over the course of a regular season. But I think it plays out, and each and every game kind of has takes on a personality of its own. I try not to look to the next game and try to do something that particular game because of a game that's coming up. So I think it's based on the fact that you're playing better teams and it's usually better pitching and you can kind of go accordingly.
Q. Given that you are always facing a strong starter, and that Detroit's rotation is pretty tough, how significant is an approach, a patience and a focus on getting into a bullpen?
BOB MELVIN: Well, I think that's important. And you always have a game plan, especially against a starter like Verlander. Last time we were here, we didn't hit him but we got him out of a game a little bit earlier than you normally would. We made him throw some pitches. I think the longer you stay close to a starting pitcher like that, sometimes the more nervous the other side gets that they have their ace out there on the mound and now that kind of that advantage may be going away a little bit, if you can get him out of the game sooner than later. Having said that, he can also throw 130 pitches. And it's difficult to get out of a game as far as pitch counts regardless and they have good depth in their bullpen, especially on the back end when they're ahead. There's more than one way to beat a good starter, and sometimes you don't just have to knock them around.
Q. Historically with a guy like Verlander, maybe it's changed a little bit, but it seems like with the bigger games he comes out and he's throwing 99 right off the bat. And he's a little jacked up and maybe that's easier to take advantage of. Did that show up in your scouting and any plans about that tonight?
BOB MELVIN: Well, we've seen a guy that typically throws out 93s and 94s a little more often early on in the game than ramps it up. He's able to pace himself and pitch according to the game, according to the swings he's seeing, whether he needs to throw his breaking ball earlier in the game. I think that's more what he's doing as opposed to what we're trying to do. You know he always has 98 and 99 in his back pocket. When he pulls that out, you're never really sure. If you get him in a little bit of a jam early on, he may need it to get out of a jam, which maybe works a little bit against the grain for him, what he's trying to do. But I don't think that the magnitude of a game affects him. I don't think his plan is to go out and do anything different than he would in any regular season game.
Q. With the Neshek decision, obviously everybody who follows baseball feels some emotion when they listen to it. The conversations you or a member of your staff had with him about being on the roster, was there some emotion to that and could you describe your side of it?
BOB MELVIN: There wasn't even a conversation about him being on the roster. Once he was here, he was part of the team. We just went to the guys that were here that weren't on the roster. I think he knew once he was here I don't think that was a conversation that needed to take place. He's part of our staff. He's a big part of our bullpen. And if he's available to pitch, he's going to be on our team. So that wasn't a conversation I had with him when he got here. I had other conversations with him, but not about that.
Q. I know you broke in with the Tigers back in the mid '80s. Wondering if you have a favorite baseball memory of here in Detroit.
BOB MELVIN: Probably my first game as a Tiger. I started out on the road. We were playing in Seattle. I was lucky enough to catch a game. Went 2 for 3. Had a couple of doubles. Won 3 2. And caught The King at the end of the game, the whole bit, which was the World Series team the year before. That was a very exciting day for me, I think your first game you play. But I think the first day in Tiger Stadium really caught my attention. There was a buzz at Tiger Stadium that was unlike no other and putting on the white uniform with the English D and walking into Tiger Stadium with the people right on top of you. I remember Kirk Gibson got hit in the mouth by a pitch when I was on second base, was bleeding all over the place. Stitched him up right there, stayed in the game. Pio DiSalvo was the trainer trying to get him out of the game, and he refused to get out of the game and ended up having to come out a little bit later. But I remember him laying there bleeding, fighting to stay in the game. And usually your first thoughts and memories revolve around yourself, but this one was more about one of the guys on the team who kind of embodied what that whole team was about.