Tampa Bay Rays

Maddon's bullpen plans don't work out

ROGER MOONEYrmooney@bradenton.com

PHILADELPHIA – Joe Maddon had the unique situation of spending more than 24 hours trying to figure out how he would manage the final three innings of Game 5 of the World Series.He said he would have a plan before the game restarted Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park, and it would almost be a script, similar to how a football coach scripts the first 10 or 20 plays of the game.

He wanted Grant Balfour to continue pitching, and he wanted J.P. Howell for the lefties in the Philadelphia Phillies lineup.

The key, Maddon said before the game, was getting outs.

It didn’t work out as planned. Both Balfour and Howell allowed runs, and the Rays lost 4-3.

“Furthermore, after that Chad Bradford, before the game, I wanted him within that group, (Shane) Victorino, (Pedro) Feliz, (Carlos) Ruiz, I thought about that specifically,” Maddon said. “And then we were going to turn it over to David (Price). So all that stuff worked. They just got two runs, which was the non-popular thing that they did.”

Double-switch

Maddon knew he would be making a double-switch at some point in the game. He allowed Howell to bat for himself in the seventh with the score tied, and Howell laid down a sacrifice bunt.

But Maddon was forced to replace a position player with a pitcher, and he chose Carlos Peña, after Peña made the final out of the eighth, replacing the Rays leading home run hitter with Willy Aybar.

“I did a double-switch with Aybar and Peña, only because if it got to that point we had a tie or go ahead, and I did not want to have to lose David Price at some point,” Maddon said. “So I had to do that. You don't like to do those things, in the National League game, but that's what we had to do. Actually all the stuff that happened we had planned out before the game, they just got some very untimely hits.”

What a season

Here is Maddon’s response to the first two questions of his postgame press conference:

Q. Looking back on what has truly been a magical season, if I can use a rock and roll analogy one more time, what Stones is closer to you at this time, "Happy" or "Shattered"?

“ ‘Happy,’ man, absolutely, no question. This has been a remarkable year for us on so many different levels, to get to this point. Very few people in this country or throughout the baseball world would have even guessed that we could get here.

I'm very proud of our guys as a group. Really, a truly remarkable job. We made a powerful statement. It's just the beginning. I view it as just the beginning. We go to Spring Training next year, with all this momentum built up from this season, validating all the concepts that we had put out there, and in order to sell the program. I'm not just talking about the Major Leagues, I'm also talking about the minor side of the program, also, becomes somewhat easier.

So I'm really looking forward to that challenge, also. I'm so proud of our guys' effort level. I talked about nine equaling eight in the beginning of the year and it certainly did. Again, I think we validated and created the Ray way of playing baseball. I'm very proud of that, and we have to make it better.

Before I go any further, I want to say congratulations to the Phillies. A great effort. They are a very, very good ballclub. Look in the mirror and I see us a little bit. They're a lot like us; we're a lot like them. Really like the way that they play. They play hardball the right way. They do things properly and right. And I have a lot of respect for them. So congratulations to Charlie and Mr. Gillick and the whole group. Truly a wonderful team and deserving to win the World Series.

Q. Did you address the club? Would you be able to share any of that?

“Yes, I just talked to them and of course trying not to become too emotional. I just wanted them to know, beyond all of the stuff that happened on the baseball field, I am most proud of their growth as people. I really loved the way they handled this entire moment. You look at our guys, really young, and I've read -- this is one time I have been reading the newspapers and watching TV, and I really liked the way our guys -- loved the way our guys handled themselves. I thought we presented ourselves really well. And I think all this country now knows who we are, as well as the world, the baseball world.

So I really want them to understand that and thanked them for the effort as well as our coaching staff, who I think did a tremendous job. Again, managers get way too much credit sometimes, but believe me, I delegate really a lot of responsibility to our guys. They did a tremendous job with that. So our coaching staff was fabulous and permitted me to do what I had to do, also. Primarily that was the message and I'm really proud of our guys.”

Perfect in Philly

The Phillies became the first team to ever win seven home games in the postseason and joined the 1999 Yankees as the only teams to go undefeated at home since the advent of the third round of the postseason. The Yankees won six games at Yankee Stadium that year.

NL wins

The Phillies are the fourth National League team to win the World Series this decade, the first since the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers in 2006. The American League still leads in overall World Series championships, 61-43.

Close onesThree of the five games were settled by one run, and the Phillies won each of them, including Games 3 and 5.It was the first time since 2005 that three games in the World Series were decided by one run.

Baldelli blasts

Rocco Baldelli got his first hit of the series when he homered to left field in the seventh inning to tie the score at 3-3. Baldelli had only four hits in the postseason. Two were home runs.

Finishing strong

The Phillies won 25 of their final 30 games, including an 11-3 run in the postseason.

“I think the other day when someone asked me my philosophy, I said excellence over success,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “You get on a roll and you start winning games. And then everything is going good for you, and really like from a manager's standpoint, you might believe it or not, these I look at it this way, we've got to win four out of seven or three out of five in the first round, things like that. And I take it day by day, try to win a game. And all of a sudden you look up and 25-5 or whatever. And whatever you just said and that's -- that's kind of like the groove you get into. And you know you're winning, so like, therefore, you don't have to keep up with it. And that's the part where when you play good and you master the game, and you work on correcting mistakes and weaknesses, and you prepare every day, and you want to be the best player that you possibly can be, like those are things that happens to you. And that's basically my philosophy.”

Not so sorry Charlie

Manuel has had his detractors, so leading the Phillies to the World Series was a very enjoyable moment.

Here’s an excerpt from his postgame press conference.

Q. You've been in this game for so many years, the culmination, obviously, winning the World Series, can you talk about what's going through your heart and mind, especially when you saw the last out?“ When I saw the last out, you know, I kind of looked up and I was kind of watching the fans and I was watching our players and I knew it was over (laughing). And I said, you know what, we just won the World Series. Like we're champions. I kind of laughed. I took it all in. I liked every minute of it. Actually it's bigger than I actually felt like it was. I've been in the World Series before as a coach and things, this is way ahead of that.

But also, believe me, the things that go on here, it kind of gets hectic and you definitely can lose focus. And if you're not careful -- you've got to keep things in perspective because a lot goes on here, there's a lot of talk, there's a lot of people and to win is hard. To win a World Series is probably even harder.”

Q. What does it mean to you?

“It means everything to me. You know what, you see people in baseball, like for instance, you'll see people if they've got a ring on, everybody always wants to see the ring, but not only that the symbol is that you're a winner. Once you win a World Series you became a winner. Dallas Green is a good example of that. If you go ask him, the biggest thing he ever did in baseball, he would say "People call me a winner." Why? Because he's got a ring where he managed and won a World Series. In baseball, when someone asks me what I want to be known as, I want to be known as a winner. That kind of tells the whole story.”

Q. Fair or not, you've been criticized here in Philly. Do you feel like you've proven some people wrong? And second of all, what did it feel like to be on that podium and hear those fans chanting your name?

“I can handle that podium. I'm old enough and I'm experienced enough. You know what, until you win something, like a lot of times like you're going to be criticized, especially when you're losing or like when you don't get off to a good start, you're losing and you come in new, yeah, there's going to be criticism. And like I said before, sometimes it's hard to take some personal criticism, but at the same time that's part of being mentally tough, and also it's part of being a professional. And those are the things you have to handle in the job.”

Q. Charlie, when you count the last two-and-a-half weeks in the regular season and the postseason, you won 25 of your last 30 games, in the hardest part of the year to win games. Why was that? Why were you able to run off that kind of streak at this time of year when it's so tough to win a ballgame?

“I think the other day when someone asked me my philosophy, I said excellence over success. You get on a roll and you start winning games. And then everything is going good for you, and really like from a manager's standpoint, you might believe it or not, these I look at it this way, we've got to win four out of seven or three out of five in the first round, things like that. And I take it day by day, try to win a game. And all of a sudden you look up and 25-5 or whatever. And whatever you just said and that's -- that's kind of like the groove you get into. And you know you're winning, so like, therefore, you don't have to keep up with it. And that's the part where when you play good and you master the game, and you work on correcting mistakes and weaknesses, and you prepare every day, and you want to be the best player that you possibly can be, like those are things that happens to you. And that's basically my philosophy.”

Q. Do you think you proved anything to the people back in Cleveland?

“I wasn't working on trying to prove nothing. Don't take this in a cocky way, I already knew how good I was (laughter).”

MVP! MVP!

Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels was named series MVP. He joined Willie Stargell (1979), Darrell Porter (1982), Orel Hershiser (1988) and Livan Hernandez (1997) as the only players to win the MVP honors in the league championship series and the World Series.

Hamel started two games. He was 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA.

“I'm definitely going to have to enjoy this moment, because there's a lot of times you don't have everything go your way,” Hamel said. “I was just fortunate enough to, I guess, be on the good ends of these victories and winning a trophy. But truly it was the teammates behind me that really helped me through these times. They're the ones that scored the runs. They put up runs in the first inning and that makes my job easy, it really does. It makes things -- all the excitement and stress that come along with this game kind of fades it away to a point so that you can go out there and relax and just throw, because you know the guys are going to score, and you know that you have that confidence that our bullpen is going to seal the deal in the end, too.”

Noteworthy

Dioner Navarro led the Rays with a .353 average in the World Series … J.P. Howell was the losing pitcher in two of the three games in Philadelphia … Carlos Peña hit .118, while Evan Longoria hit .050 … Jayson Werth hit .444 and drove in three runs, including the run that gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead in the sixth.

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