China postgame interviews March 4

Q.  You had an extra base hit home run, your lineup finally woke up.

VICTOR MESA:  Yes, first, before the game, before batting practice, like I mentioned at the pre‑game press conference, our lineup is getting loose and our condition is getting better day by day.  So that's why I think my players worked very hard.

The first two innings, we scored only one run, but these innings are an opportunity to get loose, but after the third inning, our players swing very hard.

Q.  You won two games in a row, how satisfied are you with that?

VICTOR MESA:  Yes, it's a very interesting thing.  Our aiming is to clinch the Pool, so we are very pleased that we won the first two games.  This is because the reason why we flew all the way from Cuba here to Japan, and also, watching playing Asian baseball, how they play baseball, I'm very interested in watching very seriously.  The way they are playing, they are wonderful, excellent.

Q.  Now, tomorrow you play against Team Japan for the top Pool A, and how important it is to be the first base and second place for Pool A?

VICTOR MESA:  For me, the most important thing is not Japan.  Japan is No. 2.  No. 1 thing is ‑‑ the most important thing is who goes to San Francisco, who goes to the USA.  That's the most important thing than any others.

I am wishing we can go to San Francisco.  Of course, in order to do that, we have to compete with Japan.

Q.  You hit the very first home run of Pool A, how was it, your at‑bat?

ALEXEI BELL:  Yes, I am very happy with that.  And although I hit one home run finally, not only me, but the whole team, can get momentum.  That's what I think.

Q.  The day after tomorrow you are playing against Team Japan.  How do you feel about Team Japan, especially for pitching?

VICTOR MESA:  Yes, Japan is always very competitive and their pitching level is very high.  So I know it's tough to hit against Japanese pitchers.  Of course, everybody recognize Japanese team is very high level, and each single game have a different pitcher.  All of them is very solid, high‑performing pitcher.

Q.  You put Gourriel on the seventh spot have you ever put Gourriel on there before?  And do you have a game plan for Japan, starting pitcher, anything?

VICTOR MESA:  First, when we played against Chinese Taipei, like a week ago, Gourriel is a very solid player, but on the other hand, his condition is not good, that's what I understand.

Bottom line, Gourriel is a very talented player.  This is the actual tournament, so in order to get the win, we have to change the lineup sometimes if needed.  If needed, you have to change a plan, strategy, lineups, that's the point.

Anyway, to clinch this division, we need to do the best as we can.  And a lot of Asian pitchers, Asian players, we are not Asian players, but we are Cuban, so just be ourselves, be ourselves.

Q.  Have you decided who is going to be the starting pitcher for (against) Japan?

VICTOR MESA:  Team Japan, the Japanese pitchers have great location, power of command.  I respect them and their ability.  They are very good players.  And also, the catcher is an important factor in the game of baseball.

All of the Japanese pitchers has very solid talent.  So I don't think we've got a lot of easy hanging balls, as well as Team Japan has very good defense.  Personally I am wishing ‑‑ personally I think Team Japan is a very good competitor.

Team Cuba, before we came here in Japan, when we played at Chinese Taipei before we flew from Japan, we realize how they are pitching at the time, the very first time.  So time flies, and maybe tomorrow we will recognize who is going to be ‑‑ I am watching the result of Chinese Taipei pool, which is Pool B, so I don't think I can announce who is going to be starting pitcher and would is going to be reliever for the game plan.

We have to wait for the Pool B result, so maybe hopefully by tomorrow this time, I can make it clear.  But not right now.

Q.  You won two consecutive games in this round, how do you feel about your team offensively and defensively?

VICTOR MESA:  Yes, we defeat both countries two games in a row, so no matter how many, to win two games is great.

We had one struggling player, Gourriel, who hit seventh tonight, he's not in good condition.  And also we have some other problems, a little issue, a little problem, but overall, we won two straight games.  That's the key fact.  But at the same time, I don't feel very comfortable 100 percent.  I need something ‑‑ we are lacking of something.  I don't know what it is.  It's not like 100 percent.  Maybe we are 80 percent, 90 percent.  Once again we are not 100 percent yet.

But overall, we are happy to defeat two countries two games in a row.  Anyway, I'm very satisfied in what we did in Fukuoka.

Q.  Your players have two home runs but earlier in the innings.  Some of the players made a mistake with the sacrifice bunt, as well as last night's contest.  Are you using a lot of hit‑and‑run and agility and bunt strategy a lot?

VICTOR MESA:  Right now I am asking my players to do a lot of bunt practice, one hundred, maybe 200 for bunt practice.  They don't bunt a lot when they play in the domestic league in Cuba, so I am asking all my players to do a bunt workout.  It is important fact for the game of baseball.  Being manager of the national team of Cuba, although we gave them a sign of the bunt, some of the players don't want to bunt, so that's a tough situation as a manager.

Q.  Today you have a huge run difference and the game ended in seven innings.  Are you trying to beat as fast as you can, or if you can play till the ninth inning, you have more opportunity to hit and also some of the pitchers can hit.  Are you trying to score as much as you can?

VICTOR MESA:  I don't think I have any specific plan.  It's not necessary to be a called game.  The important thing is winning.  One Chinese pitcher has 90‑plus miles, some throw hard.

Because we defeat both Brazil and China, that gives us a confidence and the team ourselves are very pleased of what we did, and our condition is very calm and confident.  The final result of what we want, our goal is to go to San Francisco.  That's thing I am most concerned about, go to San Francisco, that's the most important thing.

Yeah, we did a lot of bunt, a lot of mistake, a lot of hit‑and‑runs.  But overall, we won tonight's game, all I can say is keep moving forward.  Once we go to San Francisco, we have a great opponent, very nice players and very experienced managers.  These are the opponents we have to face against.

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