© 2005 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

10/26/05 8:18 PM ET

Phil Garner pregame interview

Manager says team has ability to bounce back

Last night you were in here after the heat of the battle and you said some things like being ticked off and embarrassed. Whatever sleep you've gotten, have you tempered that at all?

PHIL GARNER: No, I'm ticked off. There seems to be a lot of sort of trying to figure out what that means. The question, I think, was what are my emotions at the time. And my emotions are I'm ticked off. Those that have known me, been around me, I don't like to get beat and I don't like to get beat in my own home. They're having their way with us right now. So I'm ticked off.

That doesn't mean that -- listen, I'm proud of my players, we're battling with everything we've got. I just don't like to get beat, that's my emotions.

Could we dispense about the roof issue being a causal factor with anything that happens in the series?

GARNER: Yeah, the roof wasn't a problem last night.

In addition to your postgame comments, you were quite animated a couple of times during the day, the homer and those who haven't seen you, it seemed out of character for you to do that in a game?

GARNER: That's not out of character (laughter). Is it, guys? It's not out of character. I have a great passion for this game. I'm not going to keep it inside.

It was more a failure to execute than --

GARNER: You mentioned --

Ausmus and the home run?

GARNER: I didn't like to see the home run, it was a decent pitch. We battled, battled, battled, and we were making pretty decent pitches. I'm frustrated, I'm ticked. So I'm animated, yes. It wasn't at Brad.

Sometimes that can be inferred that way.

GARNER: Well, no, no. Brad and I have our differences at times, but I don't do that to try to show up Brad by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just ticked off because the guy hit a home run. The pitch was down, it's where you like to throw the pitch. I'm frustrated about the whole game. We didn't get to run across and they did.

Can you explain how the exchange between you and Everett got started last night?

GARNER: Well, Crede was hit with a pitch, and popped off to Oswalt. I took exception to that. We made a whole bunch of pitches in the middle of the plate, and they've been hitting pretty good. And you haven't seen any of our guys yelling. When you miss a pitch inside a few inches, take it and go home, plain and simple.

Any team meetings today or talking to the team before they go out?


You've always been really good at turning the page from yesterday. How hard for you personally was it for you to turn the page; were you able to go home and sleep and get over it. And how hard is it for the team to turn the page after a game like that?

GARNER: Well, it's hard when you lose a tough ballgame, especially if you're passionate about the game. You would hope that everyone is passionate about the game. And one of the things, when you think you're going to win a ballgame and you lose it, it hurts. It digs deep. That's the way we play and you want to feel that way.

Also you have another opportunity in our game, it wasn't the last game of the series, so we have another opportunity to go out today and do something. So turn the page this morning when you get up. You start all over again. And I was encouraged by a bunch of phone calls that I got from my friends who said, listen, we need to do this a little sooner, because you're wearing us out, my friends.

And then I had a lot of messages from fans that were saying, hey, we're behind you, you can do this. I had a call from a military wife who we had had here earlier in the year whose husband was involved in a helicopter accident, and she said, the call was from her husband that said we're standing behind you, we're sticking with you. Those kind of things encourage you, make you feel better.

Our players have been good about turning the page. You have heard me talk about an unusual team in the sense that we didn't celebrate excessively when we won the division or won the Wild Card or won the NLCS. And by the same token when we've had some gut wrenching losses, we haven't been all that flat. We seem to be a very even keeled team. I don't understand it, I've learned to go with it and accept it because the team has bounced back. It's our team's personality.

So we seem to bounce back from those kind of things. We've had a whole bunch of situations this year when it was do or die, and this is certainly do or die for us tonight.

Because of the way the offense is struggling, are you more tempted as you run the game tonight to do some things to try to get a run across the board? Things you ordinarily wouldn't do and were you tempted to do that in the ninth inning last night, first and third?

GARNER: There's several questions about the squeeze last night and a lot of people tend to think that the squeeze is a given, that it works. Well, a whole lot of times the squeeze does not work, and from my standpoint if you put a squeeze on a guy who has been wild, was throwing the ball up in the zone a few times and out of the zone and he typically does nibble a lot. That, number one, makes it a little bit risky. Number two is if we put a squeeze on and it doesn't work you're out of the inning and you don't get your best hitter up with a chance to win the ballgame.

In my viewpoint, take a shot with Willy, who's done real well for us, numbers wise, and second thing is you've got the best pure hitter, Berkman coming to the plate. And even if you pitch around him you have Morgan who is having a tough series, but it only takes a swing of the bat for him to do something. So the squeeze was definitely considered, but just because you put a squeeze on doesn't mean it works.

As a player, you had a great World Series as a hitter, when you had a chance. Why do you think some of your guys in particular are having trouble hitting in key situations in this series, and really throughout the playoffs?

GARNER: Well, I don't know that, other than the fact to say that we're in a good old fashioned, a little bit of a slump at this point. We have been in a good old fashioned slump in key situations through the playoffs and now in the World Series. And by that I mean I just reviewed the whole game last night and we are -- and I think I said this last night -- that the story of the series so far has been we're making mistakes and they're hitting them for base hits, and they're hitting them hard. We make good pitches and they're fouling them off. They're having good at bats in that regard.

On the flip side we had a lot of pitches to hit last night and we fouled them off or took them. And then we put a lot of their good pitches in play, pitches that you really don't want to put in play, you'd rather foul them off and stay in the count a little longer. That's kind of the definition of a slump. Where you get the pitch that you know you should have hit and fouled it off, most pitchers don't give you four or five good pitches to hit, you're going to get one at bat a lot of times and we missed them. The reason? I don't know the reason.

Historically you've had hard feelings towards the White Sox and Milwaukee and Detroit; is there more of that or are you able to step back and take an objective look and admire what they're able to do or both?

GARNER: The past has nothing to do with where we are right now, it's all together different personnel over there, it's a different set of circumstances. I have no particular problem with the White Sox. I don't know anybody over there. We had great battles with them. Unfortunately we lost most of those when we were in Milwaukee, but we had a pretty good rivalry, but that was a long time ago with a different set of people. I admire anybody that gets to the World Series. I think it's good that they achieve that. By the same token I think we're pretty good, too, for having gotten here. I would hope that we make a better series out of it, that's all there is.

What's your latest thoughts on Roger Clemens' availability?

GARNER: He's still penciled in for tomorrow. I have not talked to him today. He did throw a little bit yesterday, he was a little bit better. So we're still going with it, as of right now.

What do you expect out of Backe, what do you hope to get out of him tonight?

GARNER: Well, I'd like to see eight innings of terrific ball and have a couple of base hits. He might even steal a couple of bases, too. I expect a good game out of him tonight.

Is Roger around or is he working out away from here?

GARNER: No, he's here. I don't know if he's here this moment. He was here last night. He's been coming in for the games.

In working your pitching staff today with Wandy and Ezequiel, will both those be available if need be?

GARNER: Yes, if we have to use them, we'll use them. We'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

The White Sox are 10-1 in this postseason; in your mind do they look like that kind of dominant ballclub?

GARNER: What they've been doing well, from what I see right now, especially against us, is -- when they get you on the run offensively they're doing something with it. You have a few innings, and each one of these games we've had several innings where we've gone right through the lineup. We get outs, good outs, quick outs and make good pitches and have them swing and miss and work sequences like we want to.

Where the trouble has been and what they've done a good job at, when they get a couple of guys on base their bats have been better, gone deep in the count. I think Jermaine Dye's at bat last night is a classic example of a pitcher throwing a ball exactly the way you'd want to, designed just the way you want to do, good fastballs, great locations, worked him in, worked him up, worked him down and Dye fouled off some great pitches and got through six fastballs or so, makes a beautiful pitch for a slider and he flips it out into center field. You have to tip your hat to him. Roy did a good job and Dye did a good job.

So I think that's sort of been what's happened and what the White Sox have been able to do. They go along and when they've got you on the ropes they've done a pretty good job of closing the deal.

Do you see the White Sox as a team with great players or more role players who are playing together as a team?

GARNER: I see them playing together as a team real well right now.

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