Oct. 7 Joe Maddon pregame interview

Oct. 7 Joe Maddon pregame interview

Q. What gives you the sense in this moment today that this team is ready for this?

JOE MADDON: Oh, absolutely. We've been ready the whole time. We did not, like I was just talking to the boys inside, we used not to play well in Boston. They outplayed us, they beat us. It wasn't because we weren't ready to play or were tired, they just beat us. Even through those two games it didn't look so good. I thought we were ready to play and I feel the same way today. With Alex pitching, we feel very good about that. We had a day off, actually slept in our own beds, and that felt good. We'll see how it turns out tonight.

Q. I've been playing Delmon against righties the last few weeks. Was Clay Buchholz just not the right

JOE MADDON: I was looking at all that stuff. It's a close call. I felt better with him versus Lackey than I do Buchholz right now. The other part of that is to have Delmon on the bench if necessary in the latter part of the game. Although it's like I've talked about getting on top and staying on top is really important.

But keeping Matty's skill set involved. Hopefully we'll play more games, I thought that was important. But Buchholz versus Delmon and Matt, I just like Matt today better.

Q. You were in a similar situation back in 2010, down 0 2 to Texas. You're back home for this series. Is there a similar feeling now versus then or do you feel like you have a different approach?

JOE MADDON: We went to Texas on that one, didn't we? Yeah. It's no different. I do remember going to Texas and I do remember standing on the top step of that dugout and really trying to demonstrate to the rest of the group that let's go, we're ready to play, we can do this, that kind of stuff. And we played well and we got it back home.

But listen, you're down two, you've won three games in a row in the past, we've done that before. We just came off of an incredibly difficult stretch. The different is the team we're playing. This team we're playing is really good. I'm not saying the other ones aren't. But this team has played really well all season, and they've played well against us. We have to turn this boulder around pretty quickly.

Q. Can you talk about Ellsbury and how important is Jacoby both offensively and defensively for the Red Sox?

JOE MADDON: Well, you're right. Primarily, when everybody looks at batting average or hitting or whatever, but his on base abilities are among the best in baseball right now. You're better off when you don't permit him to get on base, and then it really helps. The other day he was on all the time. He's very good. He's a difference maker. He continues to get better.

The game continues to mature with him, from my perspective. He's just a good baseball player. And for us to beat them we have to keep him off the bases as often as possible. Defensively he's outstanding.

Q. You had an early lead in Boston and it didn't work out. In your mind how important is it for this team to get an early lead tonight and does that cause them to relax a little bit or does the hole feel deeper if Boston jumps out in front?

JOE MADDON: The main component is if you do that way, then you get to your bullpen in situations where you can really matchup and use your bullpen properly. Whereas on the other side you're going to see different members of their bullpen. A big part of that's a nightly recipe for success, whether it's now or in the regular season, but even now I think it's amplified a bit.

To be able to do that based on how well they've been playing, how well they've been playing against us, we need to take control of these moments and then I don't want to say hold on, just take control of the moment. To try to fight back against what they're able to do in the latter part of the game is very difficult. That's no big secret.

So from my perspective, our perspective, it's really important to do that. That's one of my goals, our goals in the regular season, I put on the top of my scorecard nightly, "7 innings," meaning win the game in 7 innings. You don't want to try to beat the other team's 8th and 9th inning pitchers, it's very difficult to do. You want to win the game in 7 and then have them beat your latter pitchers in the game. So it is important. I don't deny that. I'm not saying we can't come back, of course you can. But when you break bad, it's not so good.

Q. Stu Sternberg said, and this was even before the Cleveland game, that he already considers this season a success, but this is the time of year

JOE MADDON: Who did?

Q. Stu Sternberg. He said this was a success even before the Cleveland game. Given the limitations with this franchise, how do you measure success, is getting to the next level

JOE MADDON: Everybody's going to have a different answer for that, and obviously when we go to Spring Training on an annual basis, since we've turned this thing around, our goal was to go to the World Series and win it. I remember in 2008 I mentioned it and at that time I said we're going to play the last game of the year, that was our goal. But I failed to mention "and win it." Since then I've amended to we're going to play the last game of the year and win it. On an annual basis that's your goal.

Now of course, the people from the Lombardi era, if you don't really do that, then it's considered nonsuccessful, and I don't agree with that. Everything that we've done this year to be able to end up winning 92 games with the plus 1, that's pretty impressive. What we've done over the last several years is really impressive.

And again, that speaks to the entirety of the organization, not just what we're doing on the field. I think it speaks to ownership, of course. And no organization does well without great ownership. And we have great ownership. Actually went out to dinner with two of them last night and they picked up the bill, that's even better ownership.

And beyond that you go to our front office, which is uniquely great. And then when you're able to coexist the way we do on the field with the people upstairs, you've got this really good thing going on.

You keep trying to pound on the door on an annual basis to try to get the last game of the year and win it. And if you do, obviously that's the ultimate success. I don't even know if success comes in different levels.

For me, for us, yes, this has been a successful season to this point, no question about it. A lot to be proud of within the entire group. But our goal still is to play the last game of the baseball season this year and win it.

Q. After what Wil Myers went through Friday and you've talked about how you were impressed with how he handled things and then he had a tough day at the plate again Saturday. Did you sense pressing, did you sense any feel how he'll react tonight and carry that over?

JOE MADDON: Put him in the 4 hole, specifically. I really think he's a special kid and I think this is a perfect opportunity for him to really kind of turn things around for himself right now. He's going to over a period of time, there's no question. Turning it around is the tough moment he just went through. This guy is going to be a high end, very successful, sought after Major League Baseball player for many years.

I thought he handled everything great. I really believe in the accountability factor, when you are accountable, then you are permitted to get better, then you are allowed to get better. You deserve to be better.

And so with that, I think he did everything properly. And I'm eager to see him play tonight. I thought, again, the Boston fans, I thought that was quite entertaining and I thought it was good spirit and all that. And I thought he handled it wonderfully. So let's just continue to move it forward.

This guy is a very good Major League Baseball player, he's going to be a great one eventually. I threw him in the 4 hole tonight to see how that works out.

Q. A lot has been made of the rivalry between the two teams. But a lot of the check points touched on a lot of the most important points in your team postseason history, the Red Sox are there. Can you speak to the history between these two.

JOE MADDON: The history? Well, obviously we were, and I think I read it at some point, and I do read once in a while, that we were a punching bag for a while. And eventually we stopped being their punching bag, or the Yankees' punching bag.

Since 2008 I think it's kind of flipped obviously, and that moment, then, when we were able to beat them in the Championship Series, to move on to the World Series, that was pretty impressive. And that turned everything around around here. But even moving beyond that, the comeback from a couple of years ago when we had that really huge deficit in September, able to overcome that, and then eventually overtake them, that was pretty significant, also.

I think in the recent past, regular season and playoffs, we've done pretty well against them. Their team this year is different in the sense that there's a lot of new faces there. And a big part of it is beyond numbers, these guys have great makeup and character. That's the thing about this particular group that I find most formidable.

I've spoken about Jonny and about Napoli and Victorino in the past. There's a big difference to me in regards to this kind of guy, this kind of player, because their numbers aren't always going to be overwhelming. But I know what they do in the clubhouse and the locker room.

I think right now what you're seeing, which you saw this year, is them flipping their culture back based on a lot of personalities right there. We're facing a different kind of foe particularly right now, I believe, than we had in the past, even though they were very, very good. This group presents a little bit differently.

Historically I think we eventually had our breakthrough with them in 2008. The big comeback, what was that '11? I don't know what that was and what's going on right now. They had their way with us this year. We've got to figure this out fast, man. But I think a big part of their turnaround this year, is really the contributions of some personalities as much as anything else.

Q. What led to your decision to show faith in Hellickson for a potential start Game 4, and how much concern has been raised over him seemingly taking a step back?

JOE MADDON: The thing about Hellie, what we believe and feel, is when he's given rest and actually extended rest, he normally comes back pretty well. We did that beginning of September, at the end of August, he came back and threw the ball well. This is a pretty good rest he's had between the last time he pitched and the time he's going to start next.

With that we feel good about the fact that you're going to see this discrepancy and disparity between velocities on his pitches which really helps him become effective. In the past we've normally given him that kind of break in the season, this year we weren't able to give him the break during the season. I feel strongly getting to that game tomorrow you're going to see a very good performance.

Q. You talked about how you believe the season was a success. But do you think 90 wins without winning at all is getting kind of stale outside your clubhouse, it feels a little familiar to people.

JOE MADDON: I love the fact that all of a sudden you could be really good and then to get stale. I don't know exactly. You have to look at the entire big picture of how this is all done and what it takes for us to get here on an annual basis. And then you look at the exact moments of the games themselves. The opponent, Boston being a very formidable opponent.

If people are getting stale, if it does appear to be stale, I really feel badly for them, because I think this is an impressive group that you should support and really look forward to on an annual basis to see this organization going from a perennial 100 game loser, or something close to that, to the point where you're winning 90 games on an only basis. Over the last several years I think only the Yankees have more wins than we have in all of baseball.

Of course, you do want to win the final prize, there's no question about that. In the latter part of the season, in short series, sometimes the matchups are tough and sometimes they just don't roll your way. But I really hope and believe that the people in the Tampa Bay area would not frown upon 90 plus wins on an annual basis. And a bunch of guys that come out and play with the kind of zeal our guys do on a nightly basis.

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