10/16/05 5:59 PM ET
Mike Scioscia pregame interview
Manager discusses lineup changes for Game 5
By / MLB.com
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Nothing new. You know, as we talked earlier in the week, it will be doubtful if he's not picking up a ball by today or tomorrow or the next day, whatever the time frame would be that he would be available, if we move on.
But he's feeling better, but there's no word as to what any kind of timeline would be.
Did you say something to your team last night after the game?
SCIOSCIA: Yeah, we just talked about a couple things. I think the whole gist of the meeting was to let these guys know that playoff momentum turns in a heartbeat, especially on the offensive side. At times it takes one guy to square one ball up and it starts to roll. We've seen that this year before with us, but in the playoffs it can happen even quicker. No series is over until that ball is in somebody's glove when you clinch the fourth win, and we're not there yet.
We talked about in spring training. If we had said, "Hey, you have four days left where you have a chance to reach your goal and you have to get on a three game winning streak," we would have taken it and said, "Hey, let's get after it." This team has the capability to do that, so we're going to play ball tonight and see where it takes us.
I'm not sure if it's been released since we've been up here, but is your lineup any different today?
SCIOSCIA: We have some lineup changes. We're going to go a little bit different defensive look. We're going to be Garret Anderson in center field, Juan Rivera in leftfield, and it gives us a chance to have Juan Rivera's bat and Casey Kotchman's bat in the line up at the same time. I don't know if it's going to spark us or not but it's going to take some pressure off some guys in the middle where if they haven't swung it gives us trouble. It gives us a little deeper line up and offensively it can help us.
Would you go through the lineup for us.
SCIOSCIA: Give me your lineup first and I'll give you mine. What's yours? Who's leading off?
(David) Eckstein (laughter).
SCIOSCIA: We're going Figgins, Cabrera, Anderson, Guerrero, Erstad, Bengie Molina, Kotchman, Juan Rivera and Kennedy.
Since you've got here, you've preached turning the page, worrying about that day's game and not looking behind and not looking forward. How difficult was it to get your players to buy into that?
SCIOSCIA: I don't think they had to buy into anything. These guys have played the game a long time, and I think I just know what focusing on the game at hand does. It helps you to turn that page, which can get heavy at times if you had a tough game before. It helps you to turn that page, get to the next game, and realize that the most important game of the season is the one that you're playing on that night, and our guys, they understand that. Our whole coaching staff believes in that.
Yesterday Chicago's general manager said that with the exception of Podsednik, he doesn't consider his team to be a particularly fast group of guys. Have you found that their speed, the rest of the White Sox' speed or aggressiveness on the bases has been an issue for you guys?
SCIOSCIA: Well, I think they're in many respects a lot like our club, where we have one guy that's just a legitimate burner. You talk about Chone Figgins as they have Podsednik. But I think the overall team speed is a plus for them. It shows up in a lot of forms, it shows up with guys going first to third, it shows up with these guys getting good secondary leads and scoring on singles and Jermaine Dye stealing bases as he did the other night. I think they have overall team speed, but I would agree with that assessment, as our club does, that they have one guy that's really a legitimate guy that you have to shut down. The rest of the guys can certainly steal a base when it's needed but they've run the bases aggressively and they push the envelope on that side of it, much like we do.
Can you talk a little bit about Kennedy's defense? I know you said before that you consider him one of the best defensive players in the AL?
SCIOSCIA: I think he's a Gold Glove second baseman. If you see him day in and day out from his range to his hands, there's not a better second baseman in our league. I think what he's done in the middle of the infield along with Orlando Cabrera has influenced our productivity on the pitching and defense end, a big difference maker.
Adam is terrific.
Will you play tonight's game like a Game 7 and will K-Rod be available for three innings?
SCIOSCIA: Yeah, those are the things unfortunately being in this position obviously things you have to consider. We'll have enough depth, but there could be a situation in the game where you'll see some of our guys come in a little earlier. We did last night with Scottie Shields coming in earlier than usual to keep a deficit in check, and we'll have to consider that tonight if we get in that situation. Hopefully we won't be in that situation.
Three innings for K-Rod would obviously be his longest stint of the year. He did it last year in the playoffs against Boston. He threw 44, 45 pitches. That's a possibility. But I think we'll have the depth where if it did it would only be in an extra inning environment where you'd have to go that long with him.
Is there anything in Chone Figgins' approach, either mentally or the actual batting approach, that makes him more, as you say, susceptible to perhaps being shut down in the postseason?
SCIOSCIA: I think out of all the guys in our lineup, you can talk about Vlad, you can talk about the consistency of Garret, you can talk about a lot of guys, Chone Figgins is along those same lines because he can create offense without swinging the bat well, whether he hits a ground ball that happens to squeak through and find a hole or a bloop or works a walk or puts pressure on and gets an infield hit. He's in scoring position every time he goes up to the plate because he can create offense without swinging the bat well. That's why we're a little perplexed this post season that some of those things haven't happened, because that's what makes him such a dynamic offensive player, and we haven't seen that materialize yet.
So we're hoping that's going to happen because if it does happen, it could lead to big things for us.
We keep talking about your offense and approach. Does your pitching staff have to change its approach to Konerko? I mean, he seems to be the one guy in their line up that's hurt you the most.
SCIOSCIA: To be blunt, we have to stop hanging breaking balls to him. I mean, if you look at some of the pitches Paul has hit, not to take anything away from Paul because he's an incredible offensive player, but if we can make good pitches, we're going to have a good chance of getting him out. We haven't made good pitches, and when some of the breaking balls were hung, good hitters aren't going to miss those pitches.
I think our game plan is very good. It all goes back to execution. You have to go out there and you have to do the things that you want to do on the field, and we've had a little problem executing some of those things. A lot of times when you're not scoring runs, your defensive approach at times is all or nothing, and sometimes that leads to bigger innings because guys maybe have to try to make a pitch to get out of an inning instead of just kind of containing an inning, and at times you get out of it. We certainly did in Game 1. Guys made some bold pitches to get out of some innings, and we were able to hold on to a lead. We did in Game 2, also, but as these other games have unfolded, we haven't been able to make the pitch we needed, and it's been a difference.
With respect to the inning ending double play by Finley last night, do you consider the greater sin the missed call or that Finley became distracted by what had happened and that it may have prevented him from running to first as fast as he might have?
SCIOSCIA: Well, you react to what happens on the field. When you swing a bat and you feel your bat hit something other than the baseball, it certainly is something you react to momentarily. This whole game is based on reflex and reactions, and I don't think there's anybody in the game that's going to be able to discount that and just act like nothing happened and keep going.
So I don't think that, I think that under the circumstances Fin did the best he could do. He tried to draw attention to the fact that, "Hey, I hit his mitt," also realizing the ball is in play. I don't view that as any kind of sin at all. That's just a guy reacting to the situation.
Did you give much thought to maybe moving Figgy out of the lead off spot for tonight's game?
SCIOSCIA: We gave a lot of thought to it, and I think what it comes down to is when we look at the options we have and you look at what Figgy can do even when he's not swinging the bat well, he can create offense, he can be a spark at any point. We're going to be in much better shape, not only to go out and win tonight's ballgame but moving forward with staying with this set up and having the confidence that it's going to turn.
This whole thing doesn't hinge on Figgy. Sure, Figgy is valuable, he's vital to our offense as far as the leadoff. The guys that are in the line up are the guys that have to swing the bats, and we need guys to swing the bats to have this happen for us in this series.
So moving Figgy out would probably create a void in another area that is as important. We need Figgy to get into his game, and the best way to get him into his game is keep him leadoff and hopefully he'll spark and get going.
Can you talk about what went into the lineup tonight, and then also last year with the Red Sox coming back in New York
SCIOSCIA: Are you were going to ask about bringing Washburn in. Are we revisiting that?
No. Do you think recent history helps your club right now, knowing that just a year ago there was a huge comeback in this series?
SCIOSCIA: Well, on tonight's lineup a lot of thought went into it, and we certainly considered defensive continuity when we were putting our lineup out there, and we are comfortable with that, especially with a pitcher like Paul Byrd. We're comfortable with Garret in center field, he's comfortable, he's running well, we're confident he's going to give us the range out there that we need.
What happened last, I don't know if you can, if you're in this position, or like the Red Sox were last year, it's an opportunity to make history. You're going to be motivated to go out there and do something that hasn't been done. The Red Sox were able to accomplish that last year. What they did last year doesn't make our challenge any easier and what they did last year wouldn't make it any easier. It's in front of us and it's what we have to do. I don't know if history is going to give us any motivation. I think the motivation is to know we need to play our style of baseball, and we do, we feel we still have a chance to win this series.
Just to have three pitchers pitch for three complete games for the first time in 32 years. In general would you like to see the game get back to a nine inning mentality by starting pitchers?
SCIOSCIA: I think it's going to get back to a nine inning mentality by starting pitchers when starting pitchers come up into the big leagues and have the ability to do that.
The White Sox have a unique staff. They have guys, they acquired guys that have the capability to pitch deep into games, and they've developed guys, when you look at Buehrle and Garland, that have shown that ability to pitch deep into games. So I think that their staff is unique. Our starter rotation pitched deep into games, certainly as deep as we felt they needed to. But I don't know if it's ever going to get back to just letting maybe a starter who gets a little tired win or lose a game in the eighth or ninth inning when you have the caliber of closers that are out there on a lot of teams and bullpens. But a staff that has that ability is certainly a strength and an asset, and those guys have done it all year. Their staff has the capabilities of doing that, and if you see more guys come up on staffs or staffs created like that, you'll probably see games pitched and defended along those lines more so than maybe what we've seen recently.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.