Puerto Rico postgame interviews March 12

Q.  Edwin, does it worry you right now, the slump of your big hitters?

            EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  Yeah, we have the right guys in the right situation, but you have to tip your hat to their pitching.  I mean, they made the right pitches, and I think that was the key of the game.  We didn't come up with a big hit.

            We had plenty of chances to score, but then again, you have to tip your hat to their pitching.  But it doesn't worry me.  I'm not going to be worried that Pagan, Rios, Beltran, Yadier Molina; they will hit.  It was just a matter of you have to give them credit to their pitching.

            We have a life or death game against Italy, so focusing on the pitcher for this game, we'll keep philosophy since the first day of practice, one game at a time, and the game that was played by the United States and Gio González, we have to give him a lot of credit, so what happened happened.  We have to focus on what is coming one game at a time.  Tomorrow we'll face Italy, we'll win, and then on Thursday we'll be free.  So we'll go with Nelson Figueroa, which will be the winning card.  We have to take it a day at a time with a full house.  The enthusiasm is high, the boys are committed, and the enthusiasm is high.

 

            Q.  What made him so good tonight?

            EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  I think he established his fastball right off the bat.  The first inning he already established his fastball.  I think he's been doing that for many years, and then his secondary pitch after the second time around, his secondary pitch was working.  But everything starts from the fastball, and I think that was the key for him.

 

            Q.  Edwin, they seemed to take advantage of all the opportunities.  Whenever they had breaks, the fans, different players, they were able to take advantage.  Was that the key that they could open the game like that?

            EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  (From Spanish) yes, we came out of some defensive situation, but with two lines, you have to attack the strike zone.  You cannot get back in the score when you have ‑‑ like when you have Giancarlo Stanton batting eighth.  You cannot afford the luxury of falling back on the score.

 

            Q.  And also, what did the United States do against you tonight?

            MARIO SANTIAGO:  (From Spanish) I feel proud of myself because I faced a lineup that I had never faced in my life before, and my plan today was to follow Yadier, and that's what I did.  There was a few pitches that you cannot get confused because it's a star team, it's a Major League team, but I feel okay.

 

            Q.  What made it so difficult to pitch against that lineup?

            MARIO SANTIAGO:  (From Spanish) not so much difficult, but to focus on Yadier.  As I said before, he's the best catcher ‑‑ to follow him and not get confused with the pitches that you want to throw because there are so many good names, so many good players, superstars.  And I feel well with the work I did today to pitch in a Major League stadium in front of so many people, and I feel proud of myself.

 

            Q.  In the first round in Puerto Rico, you highlighted the work of your bullpen.  Until the eighth inning that held up.  In the eighth inning what happened?

            EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  (From Spanish) I go batter by batter.  There were good breaks.  If you hit where the hits and the pitching to David Wright with full bases, that pitching ‑‑ nine more times, I do have to take off my hat, David Wright made his adjustment in the middle of his pitching, and whatever he connected.  The bullpen was still effective.  Mario did one hell of a job.  The bullpen was effective.  If I had to do it over again, if I had to make the moves that I did during the game, I would make the same moves.

 

            Q.  Elimination game coming up tomorrow, kind of the message to the team and how do you approach the pitching in that one?

            EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  Well, I think that's what it's all about.  In this tournament every game is very important, so if you go inside that clubhouse everybody is up.  They're still talking about getting tomorrow.  From day one when we started working out in Fort Myers, we established our philosophy that one day at a time, so one day at a time.  We lost today, we turn the page, we concentrate about tomorrow, and that's what we're going to be doing tomorrow.

 

            Q.  With as inexperienced as your pitching staff is, how tough is a tournament like this with a lot of young pitchers against these guys?

            EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  Well, it is tough, but we came from the first round where we faced two of the best lineups in the tournament, Dominican and Venezuela, and they pitched very, very well there.  So coming to the United States and playing against the USA, we still faced a pretty good lineup, but you have to give that lineup credit.  I think they had a lot of breaks that went their way, and the pitch to David Wright, that was a hell of a pitch from Xavier Cedeño.  If he throws that nine or ten times, he's going to get people out.  But you have to give David Wright credit.  I'm still going to go out to my bullpen, and I think that they have the talent and they have the experience.  So I think we're going to come up very, very well from this tournament.