10/05/06 6:15 PM ET
Willie Randolph pregame interview
Randolph discusses his lineup, his possible rotation and being a coach in the playoffs
By / MLB.com
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Endy is a part of the team. He's done a good job for us this year and deserves to play. He should play. Don't you like Endy?
I would have wanted a better answer from you. I like him.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I just feel he's a part of our team and he's done a great job. Why not? I'm not mad at him, anything like that.
Maybe it would have been Cliff if he didn't have the home run yesterday?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, not necessarily.
Are you committed to Endy playing Game 2 no matter what?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I thought about it last night. Like I've done all year, I've always gone with the way I feel. You know, with the lineup, what we have pitching maybe, all that kind of stuff. I mean, it's not rocket science. It's just basically I feel like when you have that on your team, that contributor play well, you sometimes feel like this is the best matchup or the best feel for the game that particular day. That's why I made that decision. Very simple for me.
Sorry I didn't give you a better explanation but, you know, that's, you know, as cut and dried as you make it.
How impressed were you with Kuo last month, and what, if anything, did you pick up from what you saw in that outing from him?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, you know, we heard a little bit about him coming in. Obviously, he hadn't started too often. He was impressive. He had good arm strength. He came at us. It was pretty much an easy outing for him. He just kind of mowed through us pretty good. We have to make some adjustments tonight and hopefully make him pitch more. They said he was a little bit erratic with his control. I think we're the only team he's pitched relatively well against. He's 1-5, something like that. But he's got a great arm. Slider is pretty tough. Velocity is up for a left-hander. He's pretty funky, but we have to have a different approach on him tonight and hopefully he won't pitch as well.
Is that to say you were less patient with him than you'd like to be?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Maybe a little bit. Sometimes when you haven't seen a guy, you see him for the first time, you might have a tendency to be a little overly aggressive. His ball had good movement on it. So it's deceptive sometimes when you see a guy for the first time you might not know the movement. Once we've seen him, watched some film on him, hopefully we can be more patient on him. He's one of those what I call effectively erratic. Seems like he's out of the zone, but the time you're waiting to be patient is when he throws it right down the middle.
Just have to square him up and take better swings against him.
Talk about Jose Reyes, what he means to the top of the order and how he's matured as a leadoff hitter.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: He makes us go. No secret about that. He's been doing it all year long. Gets on base, starts to move. He's gotten better and better understanding what we want him to do as far as setting the tempo, the tone for us. He's had a phenomenal year. He's just getting better and better. He's driven in some big runs for us, even hit for a little power. He's growing, getting better. Kind of player you feel real good about because he's young and you know he's gonna be around for a long time.
He's our igniter. He gets us going.
What does a guy like Billy Wagner bring to your team?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I heard you. Still sounds the same.
He's our closer, man. I mean, you know, jeez, when you have a guy who comes in and, you know, sometimes he'll make it interesting, like most closers do, but he has the capability to strike you out, miss bats. That's what you want from your closer, to be able to come in and dominate, dominate an opponent. Obviously when he started to settle down a little bit as the season went on, he got into a nice little rhythm. You could see him gain more and more confidence. Kind of what Carlos might have went through last year when he first came in, settle into a new environment, get comfortable in your surroundings. I felt like after he got his 300th save, he kind of exhaled and relaxed a little bit more.
You know at the end of the game you feel good about giving him the ball. You know, we'll do it every time.
You went with Guillermo Mota for two innings yesterday. Do you have the same kind of confidence in some of your other pitchers in that pen like specifically Chad Bradford? If you needed him for two innings, would you be able to go to him for two innings?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Ideally, you don't want to go two with Chad unless there's a lot of righties lined up, you know. He's done it a little bit this year. The flexibility in our bullpen is such that we have guys that can do that. Aaron can do it. You maybe don't want to stretch Bert to do it but we have that flexibility.
So Mota is a guy that, again, you want to stay away from that if you can, if they've rested, if you have time to get him going, then you do that. It's nice to be able to have guys you can do that with or whatever.
But Chad and Feliciano and Mota are guys that if you can, you want to keep them into one. But this is a time when you can't think about tomorrow and worry about how tired guys are. Everyone's ready and healthy, so we're gonna go to our horses.
You've been a player and coach, what's the difference as far as the pressure goes going into Game 2?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: The difference in the pressure going into tonight's game?
Yes. You've been down as a coach one game to nothing, up as a player one game to nothing.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I don't look at it like that. There's no more pressure. Just one game, we want to win the game. Obviously, we're one up, but my approach and my feeling going into the game is pretty much the same. Even if we were down 0-1 it would be, again, to me, the same. You have to win a game and continue to move forward. Three out of five, and ultimately we want to win ten more games total.
So you feel, you know, excited, anxious. Pressure, maybe that's a different word for me. I don't really feel that.
Have you announced your starters for Game 3, 4? Have you decided on that yet?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, not yet. Not yet.
Are you leaning towards one --
WILLIE RANDOLPH: As I said yesterday, it might be either Trachsel or Oliver Perez. If one goes Saturday, he'll go Sunday. We'll flip-flop those guys.
Is that contingent in any way on the results tonight?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: It could factor it in. We'll see where we are at the end of the game. You know, Steve has been getting some work in. I'll talk to him, see how he feels physically. He was away for a couple days taking care of some family problems. That's factoring in, also.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.