Q: You are five outs away for the historical moment, but couldn't happen.
BARRY LARKIN: Well, our pitching completely fell apart, and it wasn't just the eighth inning. We had opportunities during the game offensively; we could not take advantage of opportunities. You have to give credit to the Chinese pitchers, Bu Tao pitched very well, as did Oscar Nakaoshi pitched very well.
So that eighth inning, we had a two run lead; it should have been much more than a two run lead. We obviously are disappointed in the results of the game. I think we could have done a better job at execution today. But certainly in that eighth inning, we completely fell apart.
Q: So tell me more about the eighth inning, a lot of pitchers had trouble throwing strikes, how do you feel at that moment as a skipper?
BARRY LARKIN: I try to put the people in that I think can be successful, not only physically, but mentally, guys that can handle that situation. You had the right people there. Gouvea was pitching very well and all of a sudden he lost it. Then we started trying to match up people.
Our youngest pitcher, Danny Missaki, 16 year old pitcher, is a guy that went out there that pitched most effectively. We brought in our closer, he couldn't find the plate. Pitching just fell apart, and that happens.
But once again, early in the ballgame, we had opportunities to lessen the load on our pitcher and get a more substantial lead and we just did not do that. Our approach just wasn't very good I don't think offensively. Bu Tao, who was pitching very well, started one inning and he had 59 pitches, and when we swung at the second pitch and the next guy swung at the first pitch, he got out of the inning; those type of things shouldn't happen.
But this is a learning experience, and these are the type of things that happen, and they are certainly frustrating, but they are all learning opportunities.
Q: This is the first opportunity for team Brazil to participate in the WBC tournament. What is your impression of it all?
BARRY LARKIN: This was a fantastic experience for the country of Brazil, fantastic experience for myself and fantastic experience for these players. I'm not disappointed at all in how we went out and fought. I certainly am disappointed in the results today, and disappointed in the fact that we didn't have a better approach during the game today.
But overall, the experience overwhelmingly was a very positive experience, and certainly something that we can learn from. There are certainly some pieces that were missing. There were certainly some areas that need to be addressed. And the thing I feel good about is that the infrastructure exists in Brazil to support more people participating.
I truly believe the next time there's an opportunity, it will be in the qualifier, because we didn't win a game here. But we'll have a much stronger team. And hopefully, at that time, all of the guys that are participating in Major League Baseball, which I expect that we will have some, will be here to help the team win.
Q: You went out there with a lot of pressure.
OSCAR NAKAOSHI: Yes, I was not trying to give up more than two runs. That was in my mind, and I'm trying to get out whatever I can, and the result was good. I went to the fourth inning, and couldn't keep any runs.
Q: After the fifth inning, how did you feel, especially for the eighth inning, your teammates gave up five runs?
OSCAR NAKAOSHI: Yes, you never know until you get the out, you never know the future, and we learned today again.
Q: This is your first WBC experience, what's your general impression overall?
OSCAR NAKAOSHI: I am not yet a perfect pitcher. I am on my way. The tournament was fantastic, wonderful, and the opponent was tough. So if I have a next time, I hope I can be a better pitcher.
Q: We all know how hard these guys worked to be here and to be in this tournament, and we could see at the end of the game, some of the guys were about to cry because it was so tough for them. How do you intend to manage this pressure? How do you intend to talk these guys so they can keep working and trying to be here for the next World Baseball Classic?
BARRY LARKIN: As I've said, this was an experience, a great experience, for the country of Brazil, certainly for myself as a manager, and for the players.
Each and every opportunity you go out to compete, at the end of it, you can reflect on things that happen during the game. You reflect on particular situations, and you can put those in the memory bank. That's how we become better baseball players, is by going out and failing. We failed today. We failed in certain individual situations. We certainly failed in the eighth inning on the mound. But all of those experiences are experience that motivate you to become a better baseball player.
So what I will share with the players is just that; that baseball is a game based on failures. The greatest players in the history of the game fail seven out of ten times offensively, yet they are still the greatest players in the history of the game. So most of us are going to fail more than that. It's how we rebound, it's how we come back, it's how we fight the next day.
I know the guys are disappointed. I'm certainly disappointed in the results. But once again, I'm not disappointed in our guys. I'm not disappointed and I am very proud to represent the country of Brazil. I'm very proud to be their manager. I'll go to war any day with these guys. And once again, we just came up a little bit short today.
But, we have a workout tomorrow and we'll be out working again.
Q: Team Brazil, this is the last day for Team Brazil, and from now on, you have four years for the next competition. What's the key point to fix, to improve Team Brazil?
BARRY LARKIN: Once again, every time you get a chance to go out and play a ballgame, you get experience. I can't wait to be in the eighth inning of a ballgame again, in a 2 0 ballgame and see how our pitchers respond.
I look forward to next time that we get in situations. But the pitcher with a pitch limit, and we take a little better approach as far as stretching them out so we can complete the inning.
There are so many small battles in the game of baseball that when you don't pay particular attention to them, you get exposed. This entire tournament, we have been exposed. We have always been a little short here or there. We are down a man obviously here. But when we don't pay particular attention to a small detail and when we don't execute and do the small things correctly, it's monumental; monumental as far as in the results of what we see.
I was speaking to the guys the other day in practice, and we were sharing with them some numbers, some statistics, in the first two games. And those statistics were contrary to what happened with this team in Panama.
So the point was at that time, what we were telling the guys, was that our approach needs to change. It didn't change today. And I think it didn't change for a couple different reasons.
I think it didn't change, No. 1, because the Chinese pitchers pitched very well. But we have to certainly be better in situations like that.
So that's what I'll share with them. And you know, it's a learning experience. I don't know that I would have done anything differently, but certainly a win would have been nice today. We didn't get it, and I'm certainly disappointed with that.
Q: Your team put themselves in a position to win three games; you could argue that you out played Japan, you played Cuba very tough, and you were in a position to win against China. With that in mind of coming close, is that a positive or a negative?
BARRY LARKIN: It's a positive, I think. It's certainly frustrating. And once again, I talked about exposure. There are certainly some areas that need to be addressed. We lost ballgames late in ballgames every time we played. That's unfortunate.
So, it's a positive thing; the fact that we learned from it. But it certainly is frustrating because I think we all could taste victory. We didn't get a chance to celebrate and do our song (inaudible) that you all would have so enjoyed. But that's the way the ball bounces. This, hopefully, will serve as incredible motivation for the guys that the next go around will be part of it.
I know it's bittersweet in the fact that we were able to come here, and we were not able to get a single victory. I'm assuming, because I feel like I know these guys, I'm assuming that is going to eat at them for the next three and a half years, until we get ready to prepare for this again. And hopefully, next time we get a chance, we'll be able to do something a little bit better than we were this time.