AL DIVISION SERIES: RAYS v RED SOX
October 6, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
TAMPA, FLORIDA: Workout Day
Q. Just from an on?field standpoint, what is it going to take for you guys to get back in the series, what has to be done?
JOE MADDON: I think something we've been unable to do with these guys is score more runs. And we have not been very offensive against the Red Sox. I know they've had two good games against us. They played well the other night. But primarily we have just not scored runs on these guys. We have not been able to get any kind of lead and hold on to leads, and that's generally what we do best.
More than anything just thinking about it last night and this morning, if we could play better offensively it would help a whole lot.
Q. Any changes you're planning?
JOE MADDON: No changes planned, still looking at everything. Buchholz, since he's come back and even before that, this guy is really, really good. He's always pitched well against us in this ballpark. He presents a lot of challenges. We're talking about we have not swung the bats well against him. Part of it is because they're so good on the mound. They're really good and have a great bullpen. But at some point we have to figure that out. We're running out of time.
We've just gone on that particular tour of winning games in Toronto, Texas and Cleveland. So we've done this. We have to play a better game. More of our kind of a game. Less mistakes. And we have to be a little bit more offensive.
Q. Can you talk about Alex Cobb?
JOE MADDON: Alex is ?? he's a tough guy. He really is. That was awful. I mean, you talk about ?? I could just see it, the line drive hitting him. We had no idea what to expect when he went out to the mound. And a couple of months later this guy is pitching probably better than he's ever pitched. Fastball velocity has been up, actually, he's been throwing the ball hard with great movement like he normally has. Curveball has been outstanding. He's got this exceptional change?up. He was missing the change?up a little bit in Cleveland, it just wasn't quite right. But he still has other great stuff to get by. Love to see him come out there tomorrow night with the whole package working for him, because he's very difficult when that occurs.
JOE MADDON: It wasn't easy, but I would not want to use that as an excuse. I thought it was actually going to catapult us. I thought the energy was good. First game it was really good. Yesterday I felt we were fine going into yesterday's game, also. You've got to give the Red Sox credit, too. Sometimes you take some days off and you would think maybe an edge goes away, but it has not happened with them. They've played extremely well. They've pressured us. They've played their game.
And a big part of us not winning the Division this year or the hole we're in right now is a result of not playing well against them. They've been our primary foe this year that we've not played well against. I thought it would be more energy laden, catapult kind of a thing coming out of those three days because sincerely, honestly, we were not fatigued. I thought we looked and felt and prepared really well. And we just have not been able to get over the Boston hump.
Q. What will the mood of the team be tonight?
JOE MADDON: Good. Listen, we've been in these moments in the very recent past. We've always prided ourselves on one day at a time approach. That's why we sent out the T?shirts this year, being yourself and then be present. That's the one thing I've talked to the boys about in Spring Training was not trying to be perfect, but be present on a daily basis. Perfection is a really boring concept, it's really unattainable, but you can be present. And then on the back of the shirt I borrowed from the "Sopranos": "Forget about it." You can have some bad days. You can have some bad days. To carry negativity with you does absolutely no good whatsoever. You learn from your mistakes, no question, but move it along.
I really expect us to be in the present tense tomorrow. And with that we've shown in the recent past what we can do when we're able to file things and move it along.
Q. You talked about being more offensive?minded.
JOE MADDON: First of all, sometimes pitchers versus teams, they see the name on the uniform and they pitch well. And I think he likes pitching here. There's these intangible components that are unmeasurable, that he likes pitching against us in here. And beyond that he's really good. He's got good stuff. The cutter he's throwing ?? the cutter is an interesting component with him. He's got a good fastball, but he pitches a lot with the other stuff. And he's able to fade it on our lefties, he can cut it in on them. He can elevate when necessary. He's a good pitcher.
I think probably his skill set is matched up well against our skill set at this particular point. However, at some point we're looking for that turnaround. With our guys, we're not going to back down with anybody, we'll be ready to play. But I cannot argue with you, he has really pitched well against us and he's really good.
JOE MADDON: The other thing about the emphatic nature of guys hitting home runs. I've talked about that. It's not unlike what they did the other day, running against us.
There's been times that teams have accused us of doing the same thing after a home run. I know pitchers can definitely be put off by that particular moment. And I've never been a Major League pitcher, so I don't know how that feels. Again, from my perspective ?? I don't even look at that stuff. So I think it's more of a personal thing from the pitcher's perspective. I don't know if they're feeling like they're showing them up or not and you're not going to see it again. Whether it's a physical mistake, a mental mistake we make in the game or away from the game, hopefully we learn from these things.
So I think that one of my first thoughts was, next Spring Training when we have our media training, you're going to see this as a perfect example of what not to do. That was my first thought when I heard about all this. Again, in the real world, in the bigger picture, it really doesn't mean a whole lot. But I think that on a personal level the fact that he did something wrong, even more importantly that he corrected it, I think is even more important.
Q. What makes you decide this particular guy is ready? What do you look for?
JOE MADDON: A lot of it has to do with makeup and stuff. For me it's not just me. You have to understand we do things organizationally. There's a lot of people involved in decisions. A lot of times, like with Matt Moore as an example, I didn't really see him pitch up to that point. You have to rely on your Minor League people and your scouts and the front office to say, Hey, we really think this guy is ready. So a lot of it is organizational with us. When it comes down to these particular moments, a lot of it has to do with personal makeup, do you think this guy can handle this moment internally, his heartbeat? And beyond that, of course, physical ability.
But with Matt Moore I know the biggest thing there was we all know he has the ability. But can he handle the moment. And the answer was yes, we thought he could. And the same thing with Cobb. With Archie it's not that he can't handle the moment. It was at that threshold, the number of pitches, all that stuff. And more recently, it just looks to me like in short bursts he can be really good. To try to even trust him in six or seven innings might be a more difficult thing, just based on unchartered waters for him. That's all. Because I think he's also got the makeup to do this.
These are the kind of judgments that we have to make that we do make. We do rely and trust our young people a lot here, because that's who we are. And that's how we have to be. And I kind of enjoy it, actually. What Wil Myers is going through is actually interesting. And I think the Nietzsche I thing, if it doesn't kill you it will make you stronger. So he's going to ?? for all of this he's going to be better, if everything is handled properly. Again, it's a teachable, interesting moment in an athletic sense.
So if our pitchers, are they ready to do this internally, physically, are they in good shape to still do this? But I really enjoy working with a young, really good athlete. From my perspective, an academic perspective, it's really fun.
JOE MADDON: I do. Listen, a big part of the problem is the Red Sox, obviously. They're playing at a really high level. You have to look at the foe itself. There's certain teams you might be more confident against, just based on where they're at, how good they are. They're good. They're real good right now. They were good all season. And not only that, they have a lot of battle?tested fellows on that team. That presents more of a concern or problem.
However, I do believe if we can, and we need to get off to a good start, get on top, stay on top, that kind of stuff, that's what we need to do. To try to come back from behind that group or permit them to snowball in the game is going to be very, very difficult.
Tomorrow we're capable of and we've shown that to get out early, get on top, stay on top. I think that's really important to win these next three games.
JOE MADDON: No question. This guy has been there before. And he knows he can do it. I know I feel good about it. I think our whole team feels good about it that Cobb can do this. So it's going to make a difference.
Now, again, he and we, we have to play well. We have to catch the ball like we normally do, be in the right spots, catch line drives and all that stuff. But from an offensive perspective, to put pressure on our pitchers, to constantly keep them at zero or negative runs is not easy to do. So we have to be a better offensive club while we play the rest of the game normally.
Q. Many college programs have policies about their athletes using social media. At any time did you or people in your organization discuss the idea of social media policy for your players or do you think that's an issue to be discussed?
JOE MADDON: Not a policy, necessarily. Like I said, we have media training from Spring Training where we try to cover all of these items. Again, I really hate to try to legislate behavior when it comes to those kind of moments. Just like your kids, you try to give them the right thoughts or right ideas, the correct word is warn them in advance of the potential consequences. But sometimes you've got to make a mistake in order to come out on the other side and be better for what you do. So I'm not ?? I don't like legislating anything, actually, when it comes down to personal behavior.
I do like trying to set a good example or trying to conversationally, if you ask me, I'm going to tell you what I think. I don't necessarily try to impose my mores on you, even as a manager. I think philosophically with us, I've talked about it a lot, one of our strengths is that we do permit a lot of freedom. When you permit a lot of freedom you normally get a lot of respect in return from accountable people. And I think that's what you normally get here.
I don't want to take one isolated incident and try to turn it into something. I think that's something we do nationally a little bit too often, too. So I don't want to take one isolated incident and try to make more out of than it actually is. I have a lot of faith in David. I think David did the right thing after he had done the wrong thing. And I believe in the future you're going to see better judgment.