10/14/11 7:05 PM ET
Workout day interview with Ron Washington
By / MLB.com
Q. I was wondering if you can talk a little about your pitching situation. You've had the starters not go past six innings in the postseason, which may or may not be a good thing, but your bullpen has been fantastic, which is a good thing. Are they getting a little taxed maybe?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, I think when you use the bullpen as much as we had to, it's a possibility. We certainly want to see our starters get deeper in the ballgame, and tomorrow hopefully Holland can bring that to us.
But I think the bullpen is in great shape, and the opportunity presents itself that we have to bring them in. We just have to keep doing what we have to do.
Q. Other than intentionally walking them every time, how do you deal with or pitch to a guy like Miguel Cabrera?
RON WASHINGTON: I don't think you have a certain way to pitch to him. I don't think yesterday he needed any luck trying to get base hits. He hits one down there the possible double play and it hit the bag.
So you just have to try to make your pitches and hope that he doesn't do it in situations where he can hurt you and he keep the ball in the ballpark. That's all we can do.
Once again, if the opportunity presents itself that we feel like his swing of the bat can hurt us, we won't let him swing it.
Q. Wash, like the majority of guys in your bullpen, Ogando has had two days off. How much do you think you can use him tomorrow night? And given his success against Detroit, what's the earliest you would be willing to get him into a game?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, it depends. It depends on how Holland do tomorrow and if I have to go get him quickly. But if Holland can take us deep in the ballgame and it might be the seventh inning, it might be the sixth inning.
But he certainly can give us multiple innings, and we'll just play the game according to the way it's flowing.
Q. Wash, with Holland, how much of his game right now is just mental when he gets on the mound of slowing himself down, making sure he has a tempo and not getting ahead of himself?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, I think that's the problem right there. Him being able to corral the energy and anxiety that goes along with competition. And hopefully tomorrow he can corral that. If he corral that anxiety, that goes with the competition, I think we may finally see a guy get deep in the ballgame.
But that's something that Holland have to control within himself. We can talk to him. We can tell him what he have to do. But once he cross those lines, it's all on him. And that's been his problem. It's not his stuff. It's just trying to control anxiety.
Q. Can you walk about Nelson Cruz, the guy who a few years ago you all waived, sent him down to the minors, how far he's come since then and whether you think that that experience may have given him something to prove?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, I don't think it has anything to do with trying to prove anything. That period of time in Nelson's life, he hadn't arrived yet. You know, we all got experience things before we finally make our way to where we want to be. That's certainly probably has done a great deal for Nelson to experience that and realize once he got here that he certainly have to figure out how to make the adjustments. And he's done that. The last three years he's done that.
What we're seeing out of him, yes, it's amazing with him hitting the ball out the ballpark the way he's doing it. But it certainly isn't anything we haven't seen before. We're just very happy that it's happening at this time. But Nelson has come a long ways. He worked hard at it. And it's not as I said before, he's not a one dimensional player.
He works hard at every aspect of his game, running the bases, playing defense, doing his throwing every day to make sure he can maintain his accuracy. He's hitting the ball out the ballpark right now.
Q. Ron, how serious is Josh Hamilton's injury? And do you have other injuries you're dealing with as you go into Game 6?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, you know, I think we all are banged up at this point of the year. Yes, Hamilton had some discomfort. But the discomfort is not going to make him a player tomorrow as far as we go.
It's an issue that we have to deal with. But he will show up and he will be in the lineup and he will play. And as I said earlier, we are all dealing with some nagging injuries. But we can play through it.
Q. Ron, a year ago your whole team was going through a lot of this stuff for the first time. You came home for Game 6 last year with the same chance to clinch. When you look at what your team has gone through this year and coming home in this same situation, do you think the experience of last year helps them deal with the highs and lows and the momentum of the game?
RON WASHINGTON: I think it does. We've played five ballgames. In my opinion, it's been a tremendous five ballgames. If there's anything you want to see in a ballgame, I think the Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers has brought it out.
Tomorrow we have to go out there and we have to play, but we're very confident. We're not overanxious. We know what's at stake, and we clearly will go out there and try to play to what the game asks us to do and try to execute in certain situations and do those things. And in the end, good things will happen.
But having been through it, yes, we're more confident and yes we're very relaxed. But we also understand that the game have to be played. We certainly are playing against an opponent that's tough. We'll just have to wait and see what happens tomorrow night.
Q. Hey, Ron, when you got here, obviously, there was some problems with the organization. They had will be losing. You've gone from that to one of the premier organizations in baseball over the last few years. What has caused the transformation into becoming a winning organization like you have?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, it all comes down to three things: It comes down to the attitude. Comes down to commitment. It comes down to the effort.
And number one, we certainly had to learn how to pitch. We had to learn how to stay in the ballgames. We had to learn how to get our starters to go deep in the ballgame. We certainly had to learn how important defense is. We had to catch the ball. We had to learn how to run the base paths. We had to learn to take advantage of the talent we have and let that talent go out there and expose itself and find out what it can do and what it can't do.
And we allowed them to do that. We've given many opportunities to young kids that may be in other organizations wouldn't have had that opportunity. We nurture our players. We certainly support every one of them throughout the whole organization. And I think that's what it's about when you talk about success.
You have to pitch every day, you have to play defense every day, and everything else falls into place. We certainly have the mindset of when we take the field we looking to take advantage of opportunities that is afforded to us. Sometimes it hurts us, but most of the time it help us. And we try to eliminate the opportunities we give.
If you can consistently do that, it always puts you in a position where you have a chance to win a ballgame. I think that's what happened to this organization from top to bottom.
Q. I know you talked about Nelson throughout this postseason, but earlier in the year you were really calling for him and pushing for him to step up and to be the player that you knew he could be. How nice is it for you and gratifying to see it come together for him like in this time of year?
RON WASHINGTON: It's very gratifying, satisfying, all of the above, simply because we need Nelson. He's a big part of our team. Not only on the offensive side, defensive side, status in the clubhouse, energy that he brings, all of that comes into play.
You know, he got hurt towards the end of the season, and yet he struggled a little bit coming back, and there was some questions as to when he would arrive, if he would arrive.
But the thing about baseball, if you keep fighting and you keep believing and you keep trusting, good things happen. And good things are starting to happen to Nelson for us.
As I said, we need him very badly, and he stepped up in some situations where he came into play. I just hope he continues.
Q. Ron, how important has it been for the three young starters, Holland, Harrison and Ogando, what they've done this year? How important has it been for the organization?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, it's been tremendously important for the organization simply because, you know, we had to make a transition. We had to put some unproven commodity out on the mound.
We knew the talent, but they haven't proved anything, and this year they took on a huge load. They took on innings at a Major League on a Major League schedule that is very tough. You know, they made it through.
They had some ups and downs, but simply because of the talent they have and the belief that we as the organization put in them, we gave them a chance to fail. We gave them a chance to succeed. And we gave them the one thing that they should know, we gave them an opportunity to learn that they can.
And they have done that. And we hope that this continues for years to come. So they played a huge part in us having this opportunity right now. I think you have to commend everyone within the organization for sticking with those guys.
Q. We were told that Josh, Adrian and Nelson aren't here today. Josh has a groin. Sounds like you are giving those guys the day to mend. Is that accurate?
RON WASHINGTON: That's it. We called a workout. It was optional. Optional. And they chose the option not to come.
Q. Did they choose not to come?
RON WASHINGTON: It was optional and they chose the option not to come.
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Workout day interview with Derek Holland
Q. Obviously, you heard all the people talking about the fact the starter for your team hasn't gone more than six innings in the postseason. Is that something you guys worry about? The bullpen has really picked you up. It's been a team effort. Do you want to break that streak tomorrow?
DEREK HOLLAND: That's the plan. Every time we go out we don't try to go three innings. Our plan is to go nine. We want to start the game and close it. That's how we look at it. We're going to try to do the best we can to take care of business and do everything we have to do. I'm not going to look too far ahead. I have to look one pitch at a time.
Q. Derek, you've always talked about how your emotions sometimes get the better of you on the mound and even Wash has talked about corralling your anxiety on the mound is what's key. How do you do that in a game like this? How do you go out there and calm yourself and get a tempo?
DEREK HOLLAND: I think after just being able to go out there the first time and the way that things went my first time out, I'm going to be a lot more calmer than I was before. And just to get the jitters out was the big thing. And I think now going into tomorrow I'm going to be more relaxed.
Q. Derek, how do you even out the highs and lows that you've had this year? You've had four shutouts, you've also had four shutouts where you haven't gone more than three innings.
DEREK HOLLAND: What are you saying again?
Q. How do you even them out?
DEREK HOLLAND: You just don't think about it. Don't worry about it. Obviously I've had good games and obviously I've had some bad games. You can't think about those kind of things going into tomorrow's game. You have to stay positive. That's the big thing.
Q. As you're going through a start like the last one where you feel that your emotions are getting ahold of you, is there a way you can rein it in? Have you learned a way to -- deep breathing or something?
DEREK HOLLAND: You just kind of calm yourself. Don't let your emotions get the best of you. You have to control everything out there. This is a tough game mentally, and you have to make sure you stay focused when you're out there. Don't let things like the home run or whatever eat you up.
Q. Derek, in your between starts throwing session did you focus on any one pitch or one thing in particular to prepare you for this start?
DEREK HOLLAND: Just working more on my mechanics, making sure I was finishing the pitches. I know that's what happened to me in Game 2. I didn't finish. That's why I was leaving the fastball up for the most part.
So when I was out in the bullpen when I threw the other day in Detroit, that was the main focus, make sure I kept the ball down. I thought I was doing a better job of doing that.
Q. The anxiety Wash talked about, your last start you had an extra day to sit there and think. How hard was that? Was that a difficult deal?
DEREK HOLLAND: It's actually more of a better thing for you, because you get to prepare yourself a little bit better. It didn't hurt me or anything. It's just my fault for going out there. I was a little anxious.
I felt calm, but everybody said you could see that I was going a little too fast for the way I usually work.
So the big thing now is just to control myself, and I feel like I'm going to be doing just fine with that tomorrow.
Q. When all is said and done with this season, how will you reflect on what you did? What will you take away from it?
DEREK HOLLAND: There's a lot of ups and downs. The big thing is I felt like I did a better job of improving from last year. I had some injuries last year that hurt me, and the big thing is I feel like I did a good job of keeping my team in the game and doing things to help the team to win.
Q. Derek, growing up in Ohio, were you an Indians fan or a Reds fan?
DEREK HOLLAND: I was actually neither. I was a big TBS guy, so I got to see the Braves all the time. I was a Braves guy. I grew up idolizing Andy Pettitte, though.
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