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10/15/06 6:22 PM ET

Willie Randolph pregame interview

Mets manager talks about his starters, bullpen

After Darren came in last night and gave you six strong innings, would you ever consider using someone like Aaron if either tonight's starter Oliver or Tom were to falter or struggle early on, would you consider ever using Aaron since he started in the past or would you rather just go with a collection of the relievers?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: Bullpen by committee, yeah. You don't have to have Aaron stretched out to do a long situation right now. He's been our 7th, 8th inning guy. He could give us one, maybe two plus if he had to. But everyone's fresh. It was good to not have to use my big guys last night, and due to the great job by Darren Oliver. So we'll piece it together and the good thing about our bullpen is that we have a lot of flexibility and versatility in those guys, so we should be all right.

What's your take on Glavine on three days' rest, and because of the experience he has and as an old pro, is there any concern about it?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, not at all. That can be overrated sometimes. You look at the stats, maybe certain guys don't do well on three days', four days' rest whatever it might be. But it's a different time of the year and Tommy is strong and fresh and ready to go as far as being taxed. Second half of the season, you know, he was pretty strong. When I think back on some of his starts, they were starts where he got through them real well and got ready for the next start. This time of year, three days' rest, all the money on the line, it's not a big deal.

What's Trachsel's status today and his availability for the rest of the series, if needed?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, today, he's icing down. He has a bruise on his lower thigh. We'll wait and see how he feels tonight and tomorrow and go from there.

Jose Valentin has struggled mightily. Is he in the lineup tonight and what do you make of his approach?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yeah, he's in the lineup. He got a hit last night, I believe, and hopefully that's going to turn the corner for him. He's been playing great defense for us and he's one of those kind of guys who can always step up for you at any point in time. So he's out there, he's my guy and we've still got a lot of series left. He's hopefully going to get going a little bit like everyone else.

Could you talk about the significance of getting the offense going, especially after the bats were so silent yesterday?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: It's a big key as far as our momentum and what we do as a team. Jose had a nice game yesterday. We couldn't get him in, but there's always been a key for us all year long. We feed off our energy and when the guys are swinging the bats and we can get out there and move like we want to move it's kind of contagious for us. It's imperative that we do that and that we do it tonight. Suppan was good last night and they played good defense behind him and that negated a lot of what we wanted to do. I still feel like overall offensively the guys are swinging the bats pretty good for the most part. I don't sense that outside a couple of guys, if you look at the 0-fors might jump out at you but things can change pretty quick. Our guys come to play every day and we'll find some holes tonight.

Is there anything new on Floyd? And second part, about what percentage would he need to be for you to run him out there?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: Oh, that's totally up to him. I can't tell what he's feeling or how he feels. I think he's feeling a little bit better today. But it's up to him. When he comes in, gives me a thumbs up, I'll put him in the lineup after conversing with him on how he feels. But that's totally his call. Basically to me, it's what he feels as far as comfort and what he can deal with when he's on the field. So it's totally up to him.

Two questions. First of all, given how well Darren pitched last night, will there be any consideration to starting him in Game 7 if the series got that far? And second, do you think the Tigers have an advantage against whichever team comes out of the series just because they are going to have a week off?

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WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, Darren, we'll wait and see obviously, but Darren has started for us and that's a possibility. Obviously wait until we get to that point. Yeah, he's done great things for us this year as a spot guy, obviously a long guy and he's pitched in short spots for us, too. I love his versatility. We'll wait and see on that. The Tigers, well, you've seen it, I've seen it many times. That's just a crap shoot. You throw it out there, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. It depends on how you are that particular day. I've seen teams go in after long layoffs and just roll, and I've seen teams that just do the opposite. So, you know, got to get there first and then worry about that.

If Steve's leg responds tomorrow, could you see him being available out of the bullpen?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: Have to wait and see, I don't know. Depends on where he is, really. Everything's open this time of year, all options are there and just do what you have to do that particular day. You've seen it before. We get to a situation where you have to, you know, put all the money on the table and let it all hang out, I guess if you can do it, everyone's available, yeah.

Do you have a sense on Oliver Perez's nervousness level tonight?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: I'm sure he'll be a little bit hyper. He may be a little bit nervous but hopefully he'll get through the first inning and calm down a little bit. I think why he's good sometimes is he's able to feed off some of his energy. You don't want to take that away from him or talk about it, let him manage it himself. I've seen him come into games with that kind energy and he's fed off it really well and hopefully that will carry over for seven or eight innings this year.

He's pitched against the Cardinals well this year, how much did that go into your thinking?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: Each game is totally different. You go into each situation totally as a brand new experience. Someone said that he had, his ERA wasn't that good against the Cardinals or whatever, that means nothing to me. That's something that you can kind of write about. When you get to a situation like this, it's about executing pitches and executing and timely hitting and all that kind of stuff. It means nothing to me.

You mentioned that you're encouraged by guys' at-bats, can we assume that David Wright is one of the guys you're talking about, are you encouraged by his at-bats?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yeah, he's swinging the bat, he's hit the balls pretty good. That's why I never look at 0 for this, 0 for that, it's very misleading. David needs to find a few holes more than anything. For the most part his at-bats have been pretty good and he's stung a few balls and tonight it might be a different story. David's stepped up for me all year long and he's a dangerous hitter every time he walks to the plate. Tonight is the night I feel he's going to bust out.

The '98 Yankees, if I'm recalling the year right, trailed the Indians in the LCS two games to one, won Game 4 and went on to win the World Series and I can recall guys talking after they won how winning Game 4 in the LCS was a moment of truth and pivotal point. Do you regard this as being a similar type of situation for your team?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yeah, it could be. I think every game is a big game, really. But when you look back in retrospect, usually this type of game is the one that you might look back on and think that this is the one. So it could be tomorrow, for that matter. Even if we lose tonight, we still have a chance to win it in seven games or whatever it might be. So, you know, hopefully this will be the game we get things rolling tonight and keep moving on.

You've been very optimistic throughout it all, but a lot of people sort of predicted that you would have to scramble with your pitching with Pedro and El Duque out. In your heart of hearts, is this about what you expected?

WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, not really, because I've seen guys always step up for us and do the job. Listen, one of the strengths of our ballclub all year is we don't really concern ourselves with who is not here and what we don't have. These guys have shown me time and time again their resolve and their toughness and their character. So I still think, even though we are down 2-1, we're still in this mix here and things can change real quick, maybe overnight hopefully, and we'll just keep moving on. Guys like Oliver Perez and John Maine and Dave Williams when he was here, those guys, we always felt good about giving those guys the ball because we're a team and we feed off each other, not just one particular guy who is not here. I came into this series feeling like even though we didn't have El Duque and Pedro, we still had a good chance to win, and that's the way we all feel about each other.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.