Oct. 5 Joe Maddon pregame interview
Q. Your team looked loose and relaxed. Sam Fuld was out there playing with a frisbee. Looks like they've basically hit the "delete" key from yesterday.
JOE MADDON: The thing I preach from the first day of Spring Training, is I want to play the same game regardless if it's March 15th, June 11th or October 15th, or 5th, whatever it is. I really don't want us to change anything ever. I think when you go about it that way, even though the game has more magnitude or whatever, I concede that point, but I don't want them to change their routine. If you go out and do frisbee, go ahead and play with the frisbee, I really don't care.
So I want to believe that we will go out and play with the typical looseness that we do.
Q. What about the pressure David Price obviously says he never feels it. But just the pressure from his teammates, in the interview room yesterday everyone said they say feel good because of David Price, David Price, David Price. It was repeated.
JOE MADDON: I always thought that pressure is a good thing. I remember always preaching that thought in instruction leagues in Mesa, Arizona for years. If the word "pressure" is being utilized, that's probably good, because something good is going on, something significant has the potential to happen. So I like those moments. And I think David does, also. I think our players do.
Again, if you hear the word "pressure" being bandied about a lot, normally something significant can happen in a positive way. Don't look it as a negative. Look at it to spur yourself into more positive conclusions. I've always liked that. I know David does. I think our players have grown to like that thought or moment. Since we've been able to flip our culture several years ago, we expect to be in this position on an annual basis. So what better venue that this one right here?
Yesterday was a tough game. I really believe our players will be ready to play today.
Q. Yesterday we were asking you about David and biking over here. I was going to ask you about his general approach. He's so light, I saw him a couple of minutes ago, just free and easy before a game. The idea that that's his mindset going into a big game like today, how does that help him?
JOE MADDON: I think it helps a lot. Everybody is different. You've seen some really intense guys that will be intense prior to and go out and do their job very, very well. Other guys need to be more lighthearted in order to go out there and be themselves at that particular moment.
I don't discourage or whatever either approach. It just comes down to how you are personally, what makes it work for you, and I think it works for him that way.
He is, when he's not playing, he's our best cheerleader. He really carries the banner for everybody when he's not participating. He's the guy that's going to be there to pick somebody up in a bad moment when the game isn't going well. I like the idea that he really doesn't change. He's pretty much the same dude regardless of when he's playing or not. I've always advocated that approach.
And again, it's so individual. It's how you were raised, what you believe in, who taught you the right things to do when you were ten. All those things matter. I do like the way David is. I do think it benefits him and us in these moments. Again, coming off that last game that he had. That's really the interesting component to me, because the guy won a Cy Young, he pitched in the World Series. He's been really, really good, but he never pitched that game he did a couple of days ago against Texas, and was so dominant. So I'm really eager to see how it carries over.
Q. Just staying with David, the other night, he's still so loosey goosey on the outside, but you said the other night he wanted that game like he wanted oxygen. Can you talk about the competitive guy beneath Peter Pan?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, I mean, you've got to look at his eyes, just watch his eyes today. He's got a laser focus, there's no doubt in my mind. You have to have that kind of focus to have that kind of command. This guy has great command of his pitches and his skills and his body during a very stressful moment like the other night or big games in general. So he's got great, great focus. I think it begins with his eyes. You'll see the lightheartedness in his eyes when it's not that important, and then you're going to see this really I'm into it focus when he is.
I imagine the thing about oxygen the other day because I really thought that game really validates everything that he's done to this point regarding his career. And I think he knew that and he wanted to be that guy. And in that moment he was. And now he really knows he's that guy. Watch his eyes. He's got these really expressive eyes. And I believe for me watching him that's going to tell you exactly where he is in that moment.
Q. We saw Delmon Young against Salazar the other night, a righty. Are there certain types of righties that you like him against or with a few righties coming up, are you thinking he's your everyday guy at that position?
JOE MADDON: If you want to break it down sabermetrically, there's absolutely different righties that he's better against than others. I'll concede that point right now. The thing is that Delmon, right now I believe that he is kind of locked in. I think he's had really good at bats against some tough right handers, also. If you really want to break down all of our right handers, there's going to be different right handed pitchers, they're all going to have difficult moments against.
Delmon's really demonstrated the ability to come through in key moments at the end of the season, I believe in that, too, beyond numbers. I believe there's a certain group of people that are able to really rise to moments or occasions. And he's proven that. Right now I just thought and of course normally it would be Matt Joyce over him, just giving you the straight skinny. But right now I think Delmon is playing at a different level, when it comes to a mental at bat, quite frankly. So it's not like I've lost confidence in Matt Joyce, I think Delmon is playing at a different level offensively. So we'll find out today.
You look at John Lackey's body of work, there's a reverse to his numbers this year, in particular, also. So again, I don't know if I'm right or wrong, I guess the nine innings of baseball always show you that or not. But going into the game I like what Delmon has done more recently.
Q. What about Wil Myers. How is he doing? Because you know fans are going to be chanting his name out there, and I know he normally is not bothered by anything; we've seen that. Do you have to say anything to him tonight?
JOE MADDON: I hope his oblivious nature really takes over today. One of the things that I thought really helped him coming into this baseball season is that when I got to know him, he was not overwhelmed with anything. He ran into a difficult moment at home: Recently we played Texas where Andrus scored on a routine single to right field that he was playing at the moment, on a full count with two outs, and I thought he learned a pretty good lesson there.
Yesterday, listen, that was a mental mistake. That wasn't a lack of hustle; that was a mental mistake in a ballpark, in a relatively big game and he was confused. He thought he heard something and he got out of the way. So that happens. And then beyond that it could be exacerbated by the Fenway faithful, when they're going to get quite loud right there. If he channels that properly, it could work to his advantage actually. There's a lot of great players in the history of sport that like to be booed or maybe have your name chanted loudly. If he could possibly channel it in a positive direction, you might see a couple of balls fly over the wall today.
I talked to him this morning; he was in good spirits. I lent my expertise to moment and not really trying to be too knowledgeable, because I'm not when it comes to that particular moment. But nevertheless, I thought he was in a good place today. So we'll see how it plays out.
Q. You've had a chance to talk with Myers and you just said "He thought he heard something." So it was not just a visual thing?
JOE MADDON: No, footsteps. Footsteps. He heard footsteps or a visual from the side.
Q. So it wasn't a matter of someone else called for it?
JOE MADDON: No, no, no. There's no chicanery by the Red Sox. Although I would not put it past them (laughter).
Q. The original question I was going to ask is, when the Rays organization is going to acquire somebody in the middle of the season, either via trade or signing a free agent, is it just about how well the player hits or pitches or fields or is there some vetting of the personalities, something that you guys look for?
JOE MADDON: Oh, yeah, we try to review everything possible. I think character and makeup are vitally important to our success, also. I think you're always going to look at the overwhelming physical abilities first. I think every sport does that. But beyond that I think we're real careful in vetting, like you suggested, the personality itself. Whenever I have conversations with Andrew that's always brought up, not sometimes. What kind of guy is he? Have we heard from other people what he's like? How does he handle moments? How is he in the clubhouse? How is he with the teammates? All of that stuff is brought up regarding all of the guys.
Sometimes you will take more of a chance. Just based on what I say, you'd bring up Escobar's name as an example. I thought things that was suggested about him were overblown, in talking to people that were around him more closely. We try to do all of our homework.
Q. When you guys faced Buchholz after the long layoff and then preparing for him again, is there anything that you do differently now after looking at him after the layoff as he was early in the season?
JOE MADDON: I think he looked pretty good. Listen, he's pretty much pitched well against us, period. I know there's even times when he was not going well. But if he saw "Rays" on the front of our uniform, he would pitch well.
I just this guy is really good. The answer is I don't think we're doing necessarily anything differently. It's hard because he's got really good stuff. And when he's got command of what's going on, his stuff plays really well against us.
That's part of it, too, you look at pitchers and how they match up against different groups, and he just happens to match up well versus our group and he's tough. He's very tough.
Q. We talked to you back in Tampa, you say there's variables going into a ballgame. But if your team does X or Y you'll be happy. What are those factors today?
JOE MADDON: We did it yesterday and it just got away from us. Just really getting on top is really important to us. I think when you look at bullpens in general, I talked about this from the very first day of the year. I talked to the team about winning the 7 inning game. When we were able to win those 7 inning games, most teams are really good. You don't want to mess with good bullpens, and they have an outstanding bullpen. Cleveland had an outstanding bullpen. Texas has a great bullpen. When you get to this time of the year I think it's very important to get on top and try to stay there, just based on that reasoning. We did it yesterday but we just made some uncharacteristic mistakes.
More than anything I'm looking for that because when you have to battle from behind and match up bullpens, and try to, like in the middle of the game, try to prevent them from adding on, it's very difficult. Your starting pitchers, and we've got good ones going the next two games, try to permit them to stay deep in the game, and while they're doing that, try to get ahead in the game. For me, especially this time of the year that's most important.