Dale Sveum pregame interview
Manager talks about his pitching rotation for the next two games
Dale, you've been on the staff for several years now, and you saw the team go from rebuilding to playoffs. Could you talk about that progress, and other than the obvious answer of more talent, just how you saw it coming together and if you got there sooner than you thought you would?
DALE SVEUM: I don't think we got here sooner than I thought. That was one of the reasons, when the opportunity arose to come back to Milwaukee, I felt within the next few years we had a chance with the core of young players we had and obviously the development of them.
And they obviously developed pretty well to finish with 90 wins and there's still some development left to do, no doubt about it, with some of the young players. But the one thing they figured out how to do in the last three years is win ball games. Win one run ball games, do the things you had to do to stay in ball games and win those close ball games. And I think we did that as well as anybody in the baseball winning the one run ball games this year.
You obviously play with a lot of confidence with CC on the mound, understandably. Do you have to guard against the team regarding him as sort of a magic pill out there and not bearing down as much as they might need to to not win the ball game?
DALE SVEUM: I don't think we have to worry about that. I mean it's the playoffs. And whether it's -- who is on the mound, CC or anybody else, these guys know what they have to do when they go out on the field. Guarding against relaxing because one of the best pitchers in baseball is on the mound is something that I don't even have to think about.
These guys know what they have to do. They're professionals. They're grown men and they go out no matter who is on the mound and do the best they can.
Charlie Manuel talked about the effect that an indoor stadium can have in a big game, talked about playing at the Kingdome for at a game and playing in Minnesota in big games, and he thought that that could be a factor, a big factor for you guys. Do you see that as being an advantage for you guys and a disadvantage for the Phillies?
DALE SVEUM: I don't know. Whenever you're playing at home is a advantage. You get to hit last. You have your home crowd. But as far as the dome, when you're on the road, it's hard to win. I mean, it's just the way it is. We were lucky enough to be one game over .500. But there's only, I think, three or four teams in all of baseball over .500. I think even the Red Sox were under .500 on the road, as well as the two years I was there, we were under .500 for two seasons when we were there.
It's just a difficult sport to win on the road. For some reason, we wish we knew all those answers, but it's a very difficult sport to win on the road.
With the crowd noise and like in terms of it being louder than it would be in an outdoor stadium?
DALE SVEUM: Yeah, it's definitely -- if the weather's cold, which it's supposed to be, I think, when we get back and the roof is closed, that place will be electric obviously. So it's a fun place to play. There will be 44,000 people there obviously waving their white towels and it will be louder than, obviously, an outdoor stadium.
Could you talk about the thought process of having Dave Bush as the starter in Game 3?
DALE SVEUM: Bush is, besides CC, over the last two or three months, since the All Star break, Bush has been our second best pitcher. He's really thrown the heck out of the ball for quite a while now and kept us in every ball game he's pitched in. And really done a great job.
He's pitching with a lot of confidence. And it wasn't a very difficult decision to put him in the three spot.
Did you get a sense after yesterday that a few guys were a little bit jittery, nervous because it was the first postseason game now today? Do you get any different vibe out of the clubhouse or anything going into Game 2?
DALE SVEUM: I didn't get any vibes that they were jittery or anything. Like I said before, they just got done with seven playoff games. It was do or die for the last seven games. And they pulled it out and won six of the seven games. And yesterday, jittery or not, I don't care who was out there swinging off Cole Hamels, it was going to be a tough day for the best offense in all of baseball to hit him yesterday.
Back to Dave, when he had the rough start and he had to go down, what were some of the things that you were looking for him to do to get himself righted and to this point?
DALE SVEUM: Who are you talking about?
DALE SVEUM: I wasn't looking for him to do anything to get righted. He's been righted for two plus months now. I think by the numbers wise, he's been one of the top five pitchers in baseball over that period.
Not when he went down, remember he went down, what was he needing to work on to get to where he is now?
DALE SVEUM: Oh, I gotcha. He just worked on getting command of his fastball more. That's all it was with him. He was just leaving a lot of balls in the middle of the plate, and worked on a sinker a little bit, and he got that going. I think that's a big key to his success, is throwing his sinker, moving it in and out is the biggest thing with him is probably his sinker and having command of his curveball.
CC continues to pitch on three days' rest. Do you think it's worth looking into to whether or not pitchers could do it and go back to the way it was years ago, or is it just one guy doing something amazing?
DALE SVEUM: Well, I think it would probably be a tough sell to ever go back to the way it used to be, just for the fact that how much money these guys make and the injuries that have occurred over the years now. But, yeah, it's something to look at, because for the fact of the matter is back then they didn't seem to have the injuries.
But is it going to happen? I would say it will never happen. We're just witnessing something really special from a very gifted man.
You've talked often about Dave Bush having a rubber arm, but really he's been so versatile for this team. Just talk about how valuable it is to have a guy who is willing to go back and forth from the starting rotation to the bullpen, kind of has always done what you guys have asked of him all season long.
DALE SVEUM: Dave Bush is one of the most professional, hard working guys you'll ever be around. He fortunately does have a rubber arm where he's never sore or anything like that, so he can bounce back. He can be used in the bullpen, especially in these kind of games, where if he starts Game 3, he's the type of guy that will be available for Game 4. He's just one of them guys no matter what happens, especially to be available for Game 5. And throughout the year we've been in situations where, hey, can you go out in the bullpen maybe on a side day because our bullpen was beat up, and he was like, yeah, no problem.
He's just one of the ultimate professionals that will do anything to help his team win.
When Jeff Suppan was signed a couple years ago he was signed for this very purpose because he had so much post season success when he was with St. Louis but he's been hit hard lately. Do you have any reluctance to use him in the series against Philadelphia?
DALE SVEUM: Reluctance, I don't know. We set up our rotation who is doing the best and throwing the ball the best at that time. And Gallardo went out there yesterday with stuff, threw the ball good. Hit a little roadblock there but came out throwing very well.
Obviously we have CC tonight and Bush who, like I said, has been one of the top pitchers numbers wise in the game over the last two months. It's got nothing to do with that. It's just how we line our best pitchers up at a certain time.
Obviously you're in the playoffs hopefully to get to the World Series and win the thing. But do you also view this as an opportunity to start building a bit of a playoff legacy in Milwaukee, just like other teams that have been around a long time, obviously the Yankees and Red Sox have as well, are you thinking in those terms too?
DALE SVEUM: I think you have to as an organization, as a manager and as players. You don't want to be a one hit wonder and get to the playoffs and find yourself out of it the very next year. Obviously it's a work in progress all the time, especially when you're a small market team that might not have the funds to keep guys around sometimes.
So it's the general manager's and my job to find players to fill holes and to get you back to the playoffs the following year.
If Sabathia were under contract to be with your club next year, would you be using him like this?
DALE SVEUM: Yeah, right now, no doubt about it. I don't think there's anybody that wouldn't have used him like this. I mean, you'd be crazy not to. Our backs were against the wall and he was all for it. And the bottom line is it's still his decision. And he's been fine with it and when your backs are against the wall and you have a guy like that that can do it, you've got to go for it. And that's what we did. And it got us to this point. And I don't think there's anybody else in baseball that wouldn't have done the same thing in our starting rotation problem.
Considering Rickie Weeks' struggles both in the field and at the plate, how much playing time do you foresee him having the rest of this series and beyond should the Brewers get to the NLCS and/or the World Series?
DALE SVEUM: We had one little hiccup yesterday and Rickie has done a good job down the stretch defensively, and, yeah, everybody would like to have swung the bats better. Nobody's really torn the cover off the ball. Prince went through a few weeks of being really hot, so to sit there and single out Rickie Weeks for something -- but he's going to play against left handers and nothing's going to change that way.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.