TONY LA RUSSA: Well, we've done it,
Dave and I have been together for a while, and, I
don't know offhand how many times we've done it.
I would say the majority of the time, a good portion
majority of the time, the pitcher has been effective.
I think the biggest hurdle is they are not
used to doing it. They got used to the four days
and they have a routine that they do this on day
one, two, three and four. I remember routine,
postseasons for Dave Stewart, he would throw
twice with three days' rest. I remember we had an
example here where Darryl Kile pitched on three
days' in 2000 but had a rough couple innings, but it
wasn't because -- his stuff was outstanding. I just
think Jeff knows it's coming, he's getting ready for
it, and we're optimistic.
When you picked up Preston
Wilson, since you picked him up, has he met
your expectations, perhaps even exceeded
what you hoped his role would be with this
TONY LA RUSSA: We thought at the time
that it was a real break for our club, because that's
the time that we had real issues with Jim's health.
As it turned out, Jim was unavailable a lot more
when we first thought when we first got him, we
thought this is a guy that gives us some depth
there. I was always very impressed with the way
he played and he's competitive, very dangerous
and when he gets it going, a very live bat. Coming
over as a teammate, he has an infectious
personality, he's good when he plays, before the
game and after the game. In fact, I just posted the
lineup and he's not playing tonight, and it was real
difficult to leave him out because I always think
he's going to do something big.
What has the approach been for
your hitters, your right-handers against lefties,
what was it before you've tried to amend it this
TONY LA RUSSA: No chance to get an
answer out of that. That falls into scouting report.
I wouldn't say what we've been doing
wrong, and I'm not going to tell you we hope we do
better. I mean, that's my answer. I don't think we
should be talking about it, just in case they haven't
figured it out, which I think they probably have
At what point did you contact
Manager Leyland yesterday or vice versa and
how did that conversation go?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I forgot to turn on
my cell phone when the night was over. And it
wasn't until, you know, 2:00 or so and I
remembered, and I turned it on and he had called
a couple of times because I was going to call him.
He called a couple of times, I figured by then, it's
three there, so I talked to him this morning. And I
could have called him at three because he wasn't
You must be used to seeing Rolen
and Edmonds and guys like that in your
sparkling defense, but does it ever get tired
and what's it like to have that kind of safety net
for your pitching all the time?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, you're right, I
think sometimes a couple years ago, we had three
guys hit 100 RBIs, MVP's and all that stuff. But our
defense, year-in, year-out, you talk about two guys,
and then you had Edgar, and now you've got
David, so that's solid there. Second base, and
then Albert's gotten so good, we're used to playing
great defense, and it can get lost in the shuffle with
the pitching and the hitting.
Those guys put on a highlight film quite
often, and those two guys are two of the best at
their positions all the time. They can rank with
some of the very best. So every time you --
especially against a lineup like the Mets that has a
lot of dangerous hitters, you know, if all of the
sudden you turn a potential hit into an out and
there's an extra baserunner, very important.
You talked about Preston not
playing today, did you find a way to keep him in
the lineup and what else have you done
through your lineup today?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I ended up
saying, Wilson is not in the lineup. And the reason
Preston is not playing left field is that Scott is.
That's what it came down to. It came down to
Scott or Preston, and you know, Juan is playing
right, hitting fourth, and Jimmy is in center. So
really a tough call. I'm always thinking a guy is
excited about the post-season as Preston is, I
guess yesterday, walk, base hit. But it's hard here
tonight with the lift that Scott has given us in
games that he's started.
When you look at what Jeff has
done here at home, do you see it more as
maybe pitching in front of so many people or
pitching at home or pitching when it's been
hot, what do you see with why he's pitched so
much better when he's on the road versus
when he's here?
TONY LA RUSSA: His first couple of
appearances he was still trying to get in a good
groove. And that last home game that he pitched,
I thought he pitched very, very well. I think the way
he's throwing, he's got a chance. I just think it's a
coincidence when he starts pitching better, we
have more assignments for him.
Just to follow-up on your
conversation with Manager Leyland, what are
your feelings about that, and what are your
feelings generally when you see people who
are -- who you've been affiliated with, including
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I include the A's,
especially Rene Lachemann who was really a
terrific teammate for many years and I guess
because of hook or crook, he would miss a
post-season for the first time.
You know, when you have teammates, a
special bond, and when you become friends, it's
even more special and feel great for them. The big
thing, Jim and I talked about it this morning, the big
thing about the success of the Tigers is, I feel
about Jim like I do about Dave Dombrowski, we go
back to 1978. The big thing is the franchise and
the fans. You have a personal relationship with
somebody, just like our players can have a friend
on one of the winning clubs. But the significance is
the Tigers as an organization, what it means to
Same thing with us. We're getting to the
post-season. It's not individual or it's not too
personal. It's really players, team, fans. I
mentioned to somebody, I don't see him here this
morning or this afternoon, but there was a
gentleman here from Detroit. I mean, I could
remember sitting on the bench on the A's in the
early '70s and going to Tiger Stadium when Vida
Blue pitched and 50,000 people in a doubleheader
and they gave him a standing ovation when we
went to pitch in the bottom of the first. I remember
in the '70s and '80s, you go into Tigers Stadium
and that was electric. It's great to see that
franchise having success for baseball.
Was it tough at all not to find a way
to get Taguchi in the lineup, particularly
against a lefty today?
TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, that was tough
not to play him yesterday, but here again, you start
process of elimination. I think Juan is our best
fourth place hitter, he's going to play, Jimmy is
going to play. Preston, So, Scott, I mean,
bothered a little bit, Aaron Miles has done a really
good job and has had some success against the
Mets. This is, what, our fourth game and he hasn't
started yet. It's a tough ball, but it's the kind of
problems you like to have.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.