Workout day interview with Ron Washington

Workout day interview with Ron Washington

Q. You were saying yesterday a team could not necessarily raise its game this time of the year but could raise its focus, does that constitute for you peaking at the right time, because that's what everybody talks about now, and your team is apparently doing it.

RON WASHINGTON: That's exactly what it means. You know, especially in the playoffs, that's what you want to do, peak, and try to play your best game. Because every game is more meaningful than the next, because if you it don't get it done, you go home. So that's exactly what I meant.

Q. A lot of people talk about Cliff Lee waiting till Game 7, but can you talk about your level of confidence in Colby, given how well he threw in Game 2 against these guys in this ballpark?

RON WASHINGTON: Well, we have confidence in every one of our starters we send out there. We certainly have a high level of confidence in Colby. You know, the key, I think, to trying to beat the Yankees is keeping them in the ballpark. If you don't keep them in the ballpark, you got no chance. If you keep them in the ballpark I'm not saying you can't win ball games by keeping them in the ballpark but you allow yourself a chance to beat them by keeping them in the ballpark.

That's the key to Colby, is continue to just maintain his command, get his spots keep, the ball down and we have all the confidence in the world that he can do that.

Q. When a guy like Cano is so locked in right now, what challenges does that present to you?

RON WASHINGTON: Just continue to try to make your pitches. You know, you have to be a lot smarter when there's runners on the bag when he is up there. And maybe when there's open bags, he can put them on. He's hitting everything, he's hitting breaking balls, balls down and away, hitting balls up. He's just a tremendous hitter.

You just try to continue to do the things that you think we all have weaknesses, and he has a weakness. We just have to make sure we stay there. But if you don't, good hitters get you, and he's a good hitter and when we left pitches out over the plate, he don't miss.

I'm not surprised, because he's one of the better hitters in baseball. So you know, we just definitely have to make sure we are very careful with runners in scoring position and their big runs out there, maybe we have to decide to let someone else beat us. But in that lineup, you're always picking poison. There's no letup.

Q. A Rod, relatively speaking, you've held him in check, have you held him well or has he missed some pitches?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, he's got a lot of walks. He's been on base a lot. He may not have been doing any damage, but he's definitely gotten a lot of walks. He's very careful up there at the plate at what he wants to hit, and he's making sure that if we don't do it, he's willing to pass it to the next guy. So you know, you can't stop Alex. All you can do is try to contain him, and that's exactly what we have done so far, contain him to the part where we have kept him from producing runs. But you know, in a minute, he can bust out. You just don't stop a good hitter like that. We are very fortunate to this point and hope we can continue that.

You know, as you say, Alex hasn't been getting off, but there are a few guys in our lineup that haven't gotten off, either. Once again, we have just got to concern ourselves with playing our game, concern ourselves with trying to execute what we feel we have to execute, and if we do that, things will take care of themselves.

Q. I guess Nelson is going to test today and see if he's going to be able to play, but given the numbers of injuries you have had to deal with this year, wide variety of injuries, how would you assess the importance of the depth you have had on this team getting to where you are now?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, the depth we have had has been the main reasons we are here besides our pitching.

And every time someone went down, someone stepped up. You know, Nelly had a little tightness yesterday, and the way the weather was yesterday, cool, I didn't take any chances.

Once he said he felt some tightness, I just got him out of the lineup, replaced him with David Murphy and David went up there and did a good job. That's what's been the backbone of our team. Everyone has been doing their job. But Nelly is fine to go tomorrow, get a workout today. It was precaution.

And that's all it is.

Q. Josh missed a lot of September, and was a little slow after getting back in the lineup. How close is he to being the Josh that so dominated the league when he was healthy this year?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, you know, the only thing he has to dominate now is the Yankees pitching staff. I think he got rhythm back, he's looking much better at the plate, and he's certainly a big presence, and he's a dangerous presence, and that's a presence we certainly need in that lineup.

And I think he's back to that part of it. But you know, what he's done for the league, that part of it is over. Now he's just got to try to dominate this Yankee pitching staff. You know, they have been pitching him very careful, and he's been fortunate enough when they have made some mistakes that he's hit them.

We have just got to see how it goes when tomorrow comes, and just take it as that.

Q. We have talked quite often this year about how loose this team is and how they can comeback and move on and come out tomorrow. You've also talked about blazing a trail for post season; do you sense the same attitude, the same approach, or do you sense anything different with this team?
RON WASHINGTON: No, I sense the same attitude, simply because we haven't done anything. That's the mindset we have to keep.

We haven't done anything. You know, if we are fortunate enough to get past this series right here and get to the World Series, we still haven't done anything, because our goal is to be in the World Series and win it. So our focus has to stay in the moment, and, you know, myself and my coaching staff, we are doing everything we can to make sure that we keep these guys in the moment.

Now, once they go between the lines, we can't control the emotions and anxiety and all that that they feel. We just hope that they can stay in the moment so that they can be aware of when the game asks them to do something, they are able to do it. That's all we can do. Once the game starts, we are at the mercy of the players oh, except for the moves I may have to make. Then they are at the mercy of me, and they have done it.

Q. This is your fourth year; why did it start this year, besides better players, did you do something in the off season to change the culture or attitude?
RON WASHINGTON: No, this is something that's been happening and building since I got here. When I got here, as I said, I'm an old school baseball guy. I believe in pitching, defense, and I believe in the execution of the fundamentals. I'm no different than any other manager; they want their players to do the same thing.

I'm just a guy that loves to stress the little things in the game of baseball, because those are the things that take care of business and the big things happen.

Those are the things we have been trying to develop the four years I've got here and I'm very fortunate to have a group of guys that believe in me, believe in my coaching staff, and through that, they begin to believe in themselves.

As I always say, things that you ask of people, especially in the game of baseball, this game is so beautiful, it will show it. And then they begin to know that maybe you're right about what you're seeing, and you know, that's what's happened here. We preached a certain style. We preached a certain style, and the things that we ask them to do, you go out there and you play the game, and then you can figure it out and say, wow, we lost a ballgame because we didn't do this little thing.

And those are some of the things sometimes that get lost and those are the types of things that we like to keep in the forefront so that they can understand that we are not interested in you looking at results. We are more interested in execution and the results happen. So that's something we develop as far as the culture goes here.

Q. But why did it take four years?
RON WASHINGTON: Because I'm no miracle worker. Everyone takes time to develop and understand what's right and what's wrong. If it was that easy, I think everybody would be able to go out there and create something. But it don't happen like that. It's a process. It's a mindset. Especially when in Texas, when you know, pounding the baseball was the forefront here. We tried to change styles as far as our pitchers learning how to pitch, our defense learning how to become a better defensive team; us understanding how to run the base paths, understanding when the situation says just move someone, understanding when you can get runs without even getting a base hit, just make an out.

It takes time to do that. You just can't turn that around just because you say it. It's a process.

Q. Do you convey all your philosophies to the players or is there anyone who understands your philosophies and attitude and conveys to other players?
RON WASHINGTON: You know, that's what a team and an organization is about. You set standards that you would like to be reached. You set expectations, and you hold people accountable for it. And accountability not only starts with me, and then it flows through my coaching staff and into the players; it starts at the top.

So we all had to expect to do something, and then we had to go out there and do the grunt work to make sure that those expectations are met. In the end, though, it all falls on the players. It all falls on the leadership in that clubhouse, making sure that when things don't get done, that everyone is aware of it. Because if it's just me and my coaching staff constantly making them aware of it, sometimes that can get lost.

I was a baseball player, too. I played in the big leagues. It meant more when it came from the guys that were on the field, you know, doing the things that it takes to win ballgames, more than it takes for the coaching staff or the front office. I have guys in that clubhouse that are veterans and they make sure that they police their own clubhouse.

You know, my coaching staff is the closest to the players, and whatever I feel like I need to convey, I convey to my coaches. They get it done through the players and if there is anything I need to convey to the players, I would definitely personally talk to them. Again as a manager, I try to stay out of the way of that and let them play baseball, and make sure the things that I feel need to be corrected is known through my coaching staff. I will go to the players directly if I have to, but as I said I try, I try to stay out of the way of that.

Q. What about the old baseball superstitions, is there anything before the games or during the games that you have always done?
RON WASHINGTON: I just stay under control and do what I do every day. I come in, sit down and put out the lineup. I check with my coaches to find out what the mood is because they are more closer to the players. I try to find out if there's anything that I feel like I need to say to them, and if not, you know, I walk the clubhouse, I watch them hit. I go in and watch them play cards. And mostly, I just stay to myself until it's time to go on the field for BP and then I go out there and I get involved. I'm a working manager. I throw my BP, I hit my fungos. I talk to my players. Most of the time, it's just loose situation about maybe something that they have done that day. It's not mainly about baseball because sometimes you can get too flooded with talking about the game.

They understand where we are and what we have to do. And I just try to lead by example, and I have a lot of wisdom, and I impart that wisdom when I have to, but I don't make it an every day thing if I don't have to. I do what I have to do when I have to do it. Other than that, I let my players be who they are, because they know the stage that we are on and they know what we are trying to do.