Tony Pena Postgame Interview March 12

Q.  4‑0 in the first inning, coming from behind, one step from the semifinals.  Was this the most difficult game for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic?

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) Definitely.  As I said before, I take my hat off to the Italian team.  I think our pitching after the first inning did a great job.  The whole baseball team, they look weak on paper, but whenever you go between those two white lines, you don't know what you're going to get.

The first inning, that was tough, and that has to be the toughest game that we have played in the WBC.

Q.  Edinson Volquez looked very in control.  What did you tell him when he couldn't get back his rhythm?

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) I only told the boy to go back to his work.  It is normal when he wants to do one thing and things don't come out well.  The first inning was lost.

Volquez, he want to do so good that he found himself in trouble.  But after the first inning was over, he settled down and did a great job for us to keep us in the ballgame, and the bullpen did a great job to keep ourselves in the ballgame just like we said before.  The power of this ballclub is our bullpen, and they did it again today.

Q.  In San Juan, I was asking Moises Alou if playing against Italy could in some way have you relax and be overconfident.  Do you think in the first inning something like that happened?

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) no, no, there was no overconfidence.  The boys were ready because we talked before the game and they were ready.

Confident?  No, we was ready to play.  The thing is he just had a tough time finding the strike zone, that's all.

Q.  That was about as much emotion as I've seen a team play with, especially celebrating on the field after you took the lead in the seventh inning.  It was almost like a walk‑off home run at the end of the game.  Has that been what's been going on throughout the tournament so far or was that more emotion than you've seen from your team?

TONY PEÑA:  It is a unique group, and this group are here for a reason, and they know the reason, and everybody knows the reason.  We have a great experience in the past.  We were a great talent and didn't make it past the first round.

Today when we got close to the game, they knew.  They were starting to feel that.  They kept talking in the dugout, hold it right there, we're going to come back and win the game.  We're going to come back.  It showed when we scored the run.  It's a very emotional team.  This team has a lot of emotion.

Q.  We know that Volquez came with a 50‑minute delay from Venezuela.  Did you think about taking him out even though he was the ace in the rotation?  Did it cross your mind to take him out?

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) yes, definitely.  I didn't want the game to get out of control, and I wanted ‑‑ that's what I told William Castro, get a pitcher ready because the thing about this is that it's very difficult because the game means a lot.  It's three games to go to the next round, so you don't want to give a lead to the other team so that you cannot come back.  But yes, we were ready.  I was ready.

Q.  You were talking about the bullpen, but could you describe it a bit more, the work today, including this game?

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) it was extraordinary work.  The bullpen was ‑‑ as I told the boys, only give me the lead, and from the fifth inning forward, the bullpen can take care of the rest.  It was a great job from Santiago Casilla, the work that has been done by Rodney ‑‑ Rodney, as I said before, he was like he was in the middle of the season.  Rodney looks very well.  The extraordinary work done by Barcelo.  We have used him.  He has pitched three times already in four games, but he has done great work.

Our bullpen are doing a great job, starting from Octavio Dotel, Barcelo, Strop, Casilla, Rodney, everybody being able to pitch well.  Today was a good example of that.  Cedeño came in in a tough situation and struck out; that was a big out for us.  They've been doing a great job.

Q.  Cano has 12 hits and 19 runs, two home runs and five doubles.

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) Cano got ready for this.  Cano got ready for the Classic, just like every one of them.  When I was told that I was going to lead the Dominican Republic, the first thing I told the players was to get in good shape, and I did think they took it seriously, and I'm not surprised by what Cano is doing.

Q.  Having seen how the Classic has turned out, after the elimination of Cuba and Venezuela, the big favorites to win in Latin America?

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) we did not consider them favorites.  We did not consider ourselves favorites.  We feel like we're rookie players.  Every day we want to progress, and that's one thing that this team is doing.  I don't want any of the boys to feel overconfident, and if we feel that we are beneath everybody, we'll keep going.  If we are not the favorite, we don't feel favorite.  I think that the favorite to win here is the United States.