NEW YORK -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter spoke to reporters before his team's decisive Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
Here's a complete transcript of his press conference.
I realize this is all¿hands¿on¿deck game, but what is the state of your bullpen as far as length of availability and things like that, people like O'Day and Matusz, do have you a long man?
SHOWALTER: We have Tillman, today it got lonely down there, he says he likes Bill Castro. But he is not much of a conversationalist.
But it is one of the things where, just like we do all season long, Rick will go along with the physical part of it and I will kind of come around, and put my foot in the water a little bit. Some of the things, I might go up to a guy and say, can you go for us today? It is our decision. You don't put pitchers in that decision. It is like going out and asking if they want to walk somebody. You don't put them in that position.
I haven't heard anything that would make me think people are not available. Don't hold me to it. We can gain something, hear something, find out something between now and game time. But so far so good. Chen will be available down there.
Buck, how tough was the Ford¿Thome decision where you are kind of going by recent success against CC?
SHOWALTER: They are all tough this time of year, but it gives us some good options on the bench. It also, you know, Lew has done some good things for us, and there's not a right or wrong this time of the year until after the game's over, then you look back at it and say that. But it's kind of who we are and what we have been doing.
And I have a little concern with Jimmy, try not to throw what he's gone through physically with his neck and back out the window. Trying not to overextend him some. But he's got a good at-bat in him today at some point if we need it.
Is this a day or night game? What are we calling it? Twilight? I asked Thome, do you eat breakfast or lunch? He goes "both." A dumb question.
The way the series has gone back and forth, alternating wins, how much do you believe in momentum? Can you say momentum, after what we have seen, just doesn't count in this series? What do you think?
SHOWALTER: I don't know who said it, momentum is your next starting pitcher. Regardless of how we handicap everything with lineups and defense, it is a given Hamm has to pitch well for to us have a chance. And we have to catch the ball and do some other things, but any time you're in a game, like we were last time we played them, it was because Hammel had a real good outing, and that is true all times through the year it seems like.
But that's why we play the games. They assume certain things when certain guys are pitching, but sometimes you look back when the three or four hours are over and you say wow, that didn't follow script at all. The one in Oakland did. I hope that script is going to get a little bit different editing today. Because that's what certainly appears on paper and rightfully so. So we'll see. We'll see. We'll get our curiosity satisfied.
Buck, when games have gone back and forth and they have been so tight, how do you weigh the decision offensive versus defensive? One error can cost you a game or one at¿bat can win you a game. How does that decision-making process go as the innings progress?
SHOWALTER: There are a lot of variables that affect that. For instance last night Andino went in. We had seven hitters before he would hit again. And actually Roberts had some good at-bats in the postseason, some big hits for us. So it is just different things that come into play. You know, where you are, what their bullpen looks like. Does it feel like you are going to need to score more runs? Is that much of a change in the defense? At Yankee stadium right field is not very big, a lot of variables come into it. What hitters are coming up, where do they usually hit the ball type things and then somebody fires one down the third-base line, and you want to throw that chart out the window.
So it's tough. You try to make sure, if you don't know the strengths and weaknesses of your players and pitchers by this time, then you haven't been watching. Joe knows his guys and I try to know mine. But sometimes the best laid plans, you know, we'll see. It's a moving target. It's a moving target. Especially this time of year you don't get caught into "always, that's the way we have done it."
There are so many things you do during the season for long-term success. You might not put your best foot forward on a given night to keep the integrity and health of your bullpen and win, you know, four out of your next six games. And you roll the dice in that one. A lot of things are different this time of year than they are during the season.
What was your reaction when you heard that Joe had sat A-Rod down today?
SHOWALTER: I just got the lineup card. They sent it over.
No, it didn't surprise anybody. Joe is going to do what he thinks is best for his team. He knows his people better than anybody else. It creates some good options for him on the bench, just like it was with Chavez on the bench. And they are going to have someone on the bench who has a real track record of success every night. They have it with Ibañez, they had it with Chavez, and Nix played well against us, too.
He has been impressive. And you pick your poison. It is all poison potentially.