Interview with Joe Maddon after Game 4

Interview with Joe Maddon after Game 4

Q. Joe, Longo had a big night. A couple of his doubles where he ran he looked like he was coming home from battle. How bad is his leg? And how much is he getting through on toughness here?

JOE MADDON: He is under strict managerial orders to not run hard, although he can't anyway. What you're seeing is pretty much where he's at right now I want him to guard that leg. As we get deeper in the playoffs, it shall get better. But for right now I'm good with what he is doing. Making a nice play, dove to his left. Didn't get the ball, dove, a nice dive, meaning his leg did feel good moving to his left like that.

The ball's in the gap, listen the walking double, I'll take it every time from him. And of course the home run over the wall is a nice play. I am not really concerned about that, about his leg. Just that he tells me he is well and he can play. I am happy with that. And we'll adjust down from there. But I'm not concerned about him not being able to run hard right now.

Q. Joe, you've moved Carlos from fifth to sitting him to seventh to fifth. How has he been able to respond the way he has the last two days?

JOE MADDON: We just talk a lot. Carlos is very much a team-oriented guy and I talked to him about what I think regarding the match-up on the other side and where I like him. But I thought after yesterday's game he really needed to hit in the five hole for Longo's sake. And I feel very comfortable that Matt Joyce could protect Carlos in that situation.

So based on his game yesterday, I really felt if we had hit him seventh today he would not have seen one good pitch all day, that's why we moved him to the five hole.

Q. Whatever happened to home-field advantage? Is it overrated?

JOE MADDON: That's what I was talking about the whole AL East stretch run, wanting the home-field advantage. I know one thing from our perspective we are a much better road team, period. Our record on the road was very similar to the record at home. There was a time this year we struggled at home and I had to put the pedal down a bit to get back to a good home record.

So I don't know, I just think that some teams are better able to play well on the road. We demonstrated that this year. I still want to believe there is a home-field advantage and hopefully that's going to show up Tuesday. That's what I talked about in September regarding winning the East, having the best record. As the playoffs get deeper, you get the extra game at home. I have been talking about it all along. Hopefully it will bare out.

Q. Joe, shutting down the big bats, especially Josh Hamilton, what do you feel you have been able to do in this series?

JOE MADDON: I mean, in this series here I think both Matt Garza and Wade Davis pitched well. I was looking to get Wade deeper to parcel out the innings among relievers, but he got us deep enough. Primarily I think we are making good pitches, especially the last two guys. That's why we wanted them to pitch in this ballpark. More power-oriented. We wanted David in the first game, but Matt and Wade can be more power-oriented and can make you swing and miss at a fastball in the zone. They can throw a baseball for a strike when they are in a fastball count, which they both have demonstrated the last couple of days. I think that we pitched Josh well obviously to this point, but I take nothing for granted with that. This guy is probably going to be the MVP this year. We have to continue to bear down and make good pitches.

Q. Joe, all season long the common refrain around the Trop was, man, if Peña and Upton can get going. Six RBIs in two games, two elimination games. Could the timing be better?

JOE MADDON: And it also speaks to their attitude and the fact that they like big games. They do like big games. Both of them do, and when you talk to either B.J. or Carlos prior to a game like today, man, it is a very calm conversation. You can talk about anything you want, they are not out there, they are not too quick; they like these moments. So there is no question in my mind that B.J., he might not have a good game, but I know he's there mentally and the same with Carlos, and that's what I really appreciate about these two guys, as well as a lot of our other players. They hang well in tough moments.

Q. Joe, the discussion with the umpires, is Carl singled out? It seems a lot of guys have the back line, fudge it a bit.

JOE MADDON: Looking for clarification. I had that happen to him once in New York and I just did not want that to happen. For that to happen to him here, especially during the course of an at-bat opposed to prior to the at-bat. The at-bat is in progress, and then all of a sudden that's kind of disturbing. So the issue, or the rule is any part of your foot needs to be able to touch that back chalk line, whether it's your toe that can get on the chalk line and you are still in the batter's box. For years I had the argument when Edgar Martinez would hit, he was always way back in the box and barely touching that line with their toe. A lot of guys do do that. I was talking to Billy. He is very much a stickler on that particular rule, I said okay, I wanted to make sure if the next time up he had a problem tell Carl prior to the at-bat opposed to during.

Q. Joe, how hard is it to play with what he has, Longo? What does it keep from you doing normally?

JOE MADDON: Longo definitely is not going to it has to be a lot worse than what it is to have him not play, especially in this particular moment. I think it goes back to when it occurred and I think we gave him enough time to get him to this point during the four games in Kansas City, struggled with whether to play him. But Ronny Porterfield, our trainer, talked me out of it and it was the right decision. It gave him more time opposed to DHing and pinch hitting and tweaking it more. I told you at that time I wanted him to come back and play third base and not just DH, and that's what has been able to happen. He played a fine third base. Not 100% yet, but as we move it further along, I am sure he will get better and better.

Q. What does Longo go through to be able to play at this point?

JOE MADDON: You can ask him personally, but I know all the work that they do. I have so much faith in our medical staff and our trainers, I think they are the best in baseball. And I know that when it comes to getting this work done, I know Longo is the first guy at the ballpark every day to get all this work done. So it is a combination of a great training staff and a guy that's dedicated. He can answer it more specifically regarding what he has to go through. I know it is a lot.