Padres manager Bruce Bochy on Saturday's game

Padres manager Bruce Bochy on Saturday's game

Bruce Bochy talks about the Padres matchup with the Cardinals on Saturday.

There was some talk in the clubhouse about not extending the strike zone for hitters in this situation. Is that an instinct you want to fight? Is it anything that you're going to talk about?

Bruce Bochy: No, we're not going to hopefully change anything. I mean, you know, like I said earlier, we created some opportunities there. We just didn't quite cash in. I don't think you change your approach up there as a hitter or really as a team. It's pretty simple now: we need to win a ballgame. What's happened we have to put behind us. It's a cliche, but right now our focus is on tomorrow's game, it's all we can think about, and go from there. But as far as changing anything, no, I wouldn't want the guys to change their approach up there because actually I think we've been swinging it okay. Sure, we've been missing a big hit, and we're not putting a lot of runs on the board, but we're getting our chances.

Lineup changes for tomorrow?

Bruce Bochy: Roberts will be up there, Klesko will be out there. We'll have fairly close to our opening-game lineup back out there.

Do you know how you're going to hit them?

Bruce Bochy: No. I have an idea, but I'll put it up later.

It's been '98 since you've had a home playoff game. New ballpark. How much anticipation do you have to see that atmosphere?

Bruce Bochy: You know what, this is what we've been looking for with this new ballpark. Coming into the new ballpark, we wanted to contend. We came close last year. Now we're in post-season. That was the plan all along. We're excited to have a post-season game here tomorrow night in this new ballpark. It's a great venue. We're excited about having a game here. Should be very, very exciting. We know basically we're down two games. We need to win ball games. Putting that aside, this is what we were hoping for. Now it's happened. It's going to be great to see a post-season game in Petco.

Can you discuss the late start time for tomorrow and also on Sunday when the national public isn't really going to be interested.

Bruce Bochy: We're not concerned with times. I know it was talked about in St. Louis, the 12:00 game, the 3:00 game. You know, we're excited to be here. Wouldn't matter what time we would play. We're not concerned about the 8:00 game tomorrow night. In fact, I think the players prefer a night game, to be honest. Normally on Sunday you play an early game. As far as the public or the national media, I know there's football and other games and things like that. Our focus is trying to win a ballgame.

Obviously nobody wants to be down 0-2. How much comfort is there with Woody Williams on the mound for Game 3 in this situation?

Bruce Bochy: Well, you know, probably just like the Cardinals, we think we have depth in our rotation. Woody, he's been in this position before. He's an experienced guy that knows what he's doing out there. He's not going to be rattled by anything. This is a guy that's helped stabilize our rotation. I know he's been good for the young guys. I know he's excited about pitching in a post-season game. We're glad to have him hitting the mound for us tomorrow.

Back to the playoff thing. How much can a team feed off of a home crowd like '84?

Bruce Bochy: I think your home crowd, your 10th man, as they say, does a lot for a ballclub. I mean, St. Louis, they had tremendous support there. It's done a lot for us in the past. We've seen what they can do for us. '84, '98, we have tremendous fans here. Had some fans come out here last night to welcome us back and support us. We're very thankful. We're excited to be in our home ballpark. You always self-motivate, but you do feed off your fans. You get energy from them. That's just the nature of the game I think for every home team. That's another reason why we're excited to be here in Petco

Mark Loretta was talking earlier about maybe trying to manufacture the first run just to get a run on the board. Is that something you're conscious of, interested in doing?

Bruce Bochy: Well, we'd like to, sure, however we can do it. It still has to take somebody coming through, whether it's a productive out or a key base hit. Mark is part of that, just like the rest of the lineup. However we can get a run across the board, we want to do it. It's not like we haven't been trying to do that. It still comes down to executing, you know, hitting the ball where they aren't. For example, we know where runners are going, Mark smokes a ball there, it turns into a double play. You're always trying to figure out how to get runs across the board, just like they are.

What did you see in Ben Johnson for him to go from a late-season call-up to a guy you wanted around in the post-season?

Bruce Bochy: You know, a lot's been said about Ben. He had two at-bats last game. The ball he lost there, he said it was a tough outfield to play. Even Larry Walker said it. You know, you're going to be nervous, but he's on this roster and he's going to play. There's young kids playing in the playoffs. McCann hit a three-run Homer off Clemens, he's 21 years old. I don't think you take a lot into two at-bats. I mean, hopefully this thing continues to go further and Ben will be used. I think we can look at one or two at-bats and put too much stock into it. Probably every player, they should be a little nervous or have that adrenaline going. If you don't, then something's wrong. I'm sure Ben felt it. The key is to channel it.

What was it that you liked leading up to that point to make you decide you wanted him?

Bruce Bochy: Well, I think he's done a good job for us. He was a real shot in the arm when we brought him up. He's done some damage with the bat, with extra base hits. He's played a nice outfield. He's a good athlete. He's a guy that plays both sides of the ball well. The job that he did when we brought him up I think was the reason why we did want him on this roster. It gives us more flexibility against left-handed pitching.

On the off chance this could be Trevor Hoffman's last game with the Padres, are you going to make a special effort to get him in tomorrow?

Bruce Bochy: Well, again, we're going to be locked in trying to win a ballgame. I'm not really thinking about that. I hate to think that Trevor Hoffman would not be in a San Diego uniform. That's what I know. When you think of Trevor, you think of San Diego. Hopefully we get to use him and it's the right situation. He hasn't pitched in this series. There is a good chance he will pitch tomorrow, not just if we need him, but he hasn't pitched in a while, so there's a good chance he will be out there.

How frustrating is it to you knowing your team can play so much better than it has played?

Bruce Bochy: Well, I think everybody is a little frustrated because we made some mistakes, we know it. Against a good ballclub, it's probably going to come back to hurt you. It did against the Cardinals. We gave them some extra outs there. Didn't quite cash in on a couple real nice opportunities. To beat this club, you have to play your best ball. We don't think we've done that. One thing I'll say is they've been playing great. They've been crisp. They've executed. Their pitching's been solid. They've done a great job over there. For us to beat who I think is the class of the National League, you have to play your best ball.

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