10/25/11 12:35 AM ET
A postgame interview with Ron Washington
By / MLB.com
Q. The strategy of walking Pujols obviously worked. Could you take us through the decision in the seventh after Craig is thrown out, you've got two out, nobody on, and then you walk him?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, I certainly wasn't going to push Craig to second base. So once first base got cleared up, then I put him on first base.
Q. In the ninth you were sort of forced to pitch to him?
RON WASHINGTON: Yes, I was. I had no choice. And Neftali got it done.
Q. Before the game the other day you decided to split your left handers. Can you talk about that, because that obviously wound up playing a big part in what happened in the eighth inning.
RON WASHINGTON: Well, I usually leave Napoli in the sixth or the seventh spot. And when I play both Murphy and Moreland, I usually run them back to back. I just decided that with the lefties that Tony had down there in the bullpen, that if he brought in a lefty, he would have to go through Napoli or he would have to make an extra pitcher come in. So it worked.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Napoli's overall game? Once again, he delivers. And have you ceased to be surprised when he comes through in the clutch at this point in the season?
RON WASHINGTON: No, I don't. You know, as I said, he came in as advertised as far as power, on base percentage, and my personal observation I've always admired the way he received when he was in Anaheim. So watching him now on a daily basis, I know my thoughts of him were correct, and he hasn't proved me wrong in any respect as far as his game goes. He certainly knows how to play baseball, and he was taught well.
Q. Tony said that he wanted Motte in the game, bullpen coach heard "Lynn" on the phone. He said that's happened to him before, was just a complete mix up, bullpen coach didn't hear him correctly. Has that ever happened to you?
RON WASHINGTON: Yes, it has. It has. And you've got to do what you have to do.
Q. Talk about, you stuck with Murphy there instead of sending up a right hander to pinch hit against the lefty there in the eighth.
RON WASHINGTON: Sometimes when a lefty comes in I feel good about Murph been being up there, and I thought Murph was having good at bats all night. And I just felt like right there was a good opportunity to let Murph swing. He could get lucky for us and make something happen, and he ended up hitting a ball up the middle off the pitcher's glove, loaded up the bases and it worked out for us.
Q. C.J. was very wild today but you stuck with him into the sixth. Were there any points earlier when you thought about taking him out? And what made you stick with him?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, he was getting in trouble and getting out, and I was certainly hoping for the one inning when he could go out there and find his rhythm, and then he could put two or three innings together, four innings together and get it done. You know, and it was a battle for him all night. I mean, every inning he was out there, but that's the type of warrior he is. When you've got warriors on your team, you let them fight, and I let him fight and I kept him around. I had to go get him in the sixth, but from one to six he kept us in the ballgame even though it wasn't a C.J. like type game. But he's a battler, he's a fighter, he's a warrior, but that's what my team is. So we fight, we battle, we go to war.
Q. You said the other day that you didn't think you could win a chess match against Tony. Do you think you won one tonight?
RON WASHINGTON: Nope. As I always say, it's your players that make you look good. You know, I did what I felt I had to do with my players, and that's all I'm worried about. As you said, I can't match wits with Tony. I haven't been in this game that long. I just wish I could stay around as long as he has and be as successful as he has. I just trust my players and try to get them in a position where they can be successful, and they haven't let me down so far.
Q. What does it say about your pitching staff that you could walk four guys intentionally in the same game and nobody ended up scoring in any of those situations?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, you know, they executed pitches. My bullpen has been great for me since the 31st of July. They've been coming in and getting it done. We had a meltdown the other day, but other than that, they've been great. No matter who we call on, they've been coming in and getting the job done, and I trust in them and they trust in me and they trust in each other. And they just go out there and keep playing the game of baseball. That's what we do.
Q. You've been in this game many years. I know you're not going to say you've seen many things happen, but how does it feel being one win away from the ultimate prize which you've always wanted?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, right now, there's two games left to be played, and our attitude is when we get the field again on Wednesday, we're just going to go out there and try to play the best game we can Wednesday. We can't be thinking about we've got to win this game, because all of a sudden we might miss something. We want to stay in the moment, we want to play our game, and if it's good enough Wednesday, we'll win. If not, we'll play Thursday. But we certainly won't be out there thinking about we've just got to win one game. I've been there before, and that doesn't work.
Q. In the seventh you made it clear it was Ogando's inning. I'm just curious what you saw from him tonight relative to his first three times in this series.
RON WASHINGTON: He fought. He fought. He was out there battling. You've got to give credit to the St. Louis Cardinals' hitters. They're pretty good hitters, and they made him work, but he didn't give in. He was out there battling, and that's what we do, and we battle nine innings and he was a part of it, and he got the job done. He got the job done.
Postgame interview with Napoli and Young
Q. Mike, two nights in a row you're the centerpiece, the hero. Can you talk about what it means to be able to do this two nights in a row, to bring your team to within one game of the ultimate prize?
MIKE NAPOLI: I'm glad I can help to contribute. Anybody in this lineup can do it. You've got to give Beltre credit for hitting the homer to tie the game up. If he doesn't do that, I don't have a chance to do that in the eighth inning. We all do it together and there's key things that are overlooked, but we fought hard.
Q. Were you surprised to see Rzepczynski in there pitching?
MIKE NAPOLI: I mean, not really. I have Mitch hitting behind me, he's a lefty. I didn't really see anybody warming up in the bullpen, so I kind of figured I was going to face him.
Q. You contributed both offensively and defensively. When you look back at this game maybe a couple months down the road, what will you remember this for, the offense or defense?
MIKE NAPOLI: I want to be a complete player. You know, I'm not just here trying to be an offensive player. My job is to get pitchers through innings, give them a quality start, try to get us a win. I'm trying hard on the defensive side. That's my main goal. And then when I come up to hit, I go to hit.
Q. Michael Young, you've had a few years now with Wash. How would you describe his managerial style? It certainly seems a little bit different from Tony but it's working. What makes him so effective for this team?
MICHAEL YOUNG: I don't really compare my manager to other managers, I just know how he works it us. I think the mark of a good manager is putting your players in spots where they can have success and Wash does that consistently with us. His biggest goal, like I said, is to make sure the lineup he puts out there is one that he feels is going to have a chance to win a ballgame. We have complete faith and trust in Wash and we know that that's a two way street.
Q. You turned to the dugout and yelled after you threw the runner out and I was going to ask you why you yelled at the dugout. And I was wondering, Michael Young, about your level of confidence when he comes up given, how he's using the whole field and swinging the bat well lately.
MICHAEL YOUNG: Yeah, we had the right guy up there, and given the way our lineup was, Napoli was in the 8 hole, we separate our lefties and I'm not really sure how that affects other managers in terms of the matchups they use. Fortunately that's not really my business to think about that. But obviously with Nap up there right now, we needed a sac fly, and with the way he's going right now, he got us two. So that was obviously a huge knock for us.
MIKE NAPOLI: I was just excited. It's a key point in the game, ninth inning, and to get a double play, keep that tying run from home plate is just -- I was excited and showed some emotion.
Q. Can I ask both of you guys, I know you're a game away, I know it's not over, but how excited are you right now to be in this position one game away from winning the championship?
MICHAEL YOUNG: We're excited about it, but we'll take the same approach we always have. We have a really hungry team, but it's professional in every sense of the word. You know, it's just definitely the most mentally tough, blue collar type club I've ever been a part of. Because of that we'll be ready to roll on for Game 6. We'll be playing that game to win like we always do, whether it's a Spring Training game, regular season game or in the World Series. Obviously we know the stakes right now, but we'll show up ready to compete and play our game.
MIKE NAPOLI: Yeah, I mean, we're going to prepare the same way, go out the same way and take our BP, go out there and play a game. We're a confident group, we expect to win every day, and we'll go out there and play the game the right way.
Q. With the damage you've been doing all postseason, Wash explained his reasons, but is it still a little funny to see yourself batting eighth and putting up these numbers?
MIKE NAPOLI: No, it doesn't matter to me. It's a team thing. Whatever Wash wants me to do, I'm going to do. So I mean, we've got a deep lineup, and like I said, we all do it together. When it's my turn to go, I'll go up there with the approach I take, and whatever happens to be done, I'm going to try to do.
Q. There's going to be talk about this after Carpenter got you out for the last out of the inning, the camera showed him screaming out loud, did you perceive he was screaming at you?
MIKE NAPOLI: Yeah, I guess. I don't really know him. It's unfortunate if he was yelling at me because we've never had any things going on. So it's unfortunate, but it's not my -- I'm not going to pursue anything.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.