I know you don't like to talk about
yourself that often, but can you talk about your
feelings on being chosen to represent the team
going to Japan, the All-Stars? Can you talk
KEN MACHA: I think that'll be fun, just my
four years over there playing. There's a lot of
people that I haven't seen for a while; Good to be
going back there.
But really, probably the highlight of my
playing career was over there, and going back
there will be special for me. It's nice that Major
League Baseball chose me to go over there and
represent us over there. It's going to be fun.
You guys took off in August when
Esteban started pitching really well, too. How
big a part of that was Loaiza? And also, how
big a concern was it that first month when
nothing was going right for him?
KEN MACHA: So you want me just to
focus on Esteban then (laughter)? Well, to judge
what he was doing in April and May is unfair. You
know, he had a problem with his -- actually it was
his left shoulder, and it wasn't freeing him up to be
able to throw the ball when he came. So we pulled
him out of the rotation, put him on the DL.
The duration of the DL was probably
lengthy. He went through a rehabilitation similar to
what you would do in a spring training situation, a
couple times on the side, doing his long toss. We
had the fitness coach in there, you know, giving
him a pretty good workout as far as lifting the
weights and all that kind of stuff. I give Esteban
credit. He was there on time. He did everything to
the letter and to the tee.
We got him some simulated games and
some rehab starts, and he started throwing the ball
like he was capable of. I had mentioned before
that talking to Don Cooper, the pitching coach of
the White Sox, while Esteban was out throwing a
simulated game one day in Chicago, and Cooper
told me that this guy really likes to compete.
Those are the kind of guys you want on your side,
I know some fierce competitors I've been
around in this game and coached or managed, and
those guys are the guys that step forward when
everything is on the line. That's the kind of guy
you want out there.
He could have easily just gone through the
motions, but he wants to compete. He's a
competitor, and he's showing that by the
performance he had in the last two months of the
What do you need to see out of your
double play combination to win this series?
KEN MACHA: Oh, my goodness. That
question was asked before. I really haven't seen
D'Angelo play that much, so it would be unfair for
me to judge one way or the other to know what
we're going to get out of him. I know Scutaro is
going to make the plays.
One nice thing, D'Angelo has been up
here for a month with Ron Washington who just
does a tremendous job with our infielders. You
want to see a guy that has passion for the game,
it's Ron Washington. He doesn't care who you are,
he takes you out there. If you're just a September
call-up he takes you out there and you get the full
Monty. He's been through that, and I have
confidence that D'Angelo will do fine, and hopefully
it's no problem.
Knowing how good the Tigers are,
do you find it strange that there had to be a
press conference in New York today to
basically say Joe Torre still has his job?
KEN MACHA: No matter what job you
have, expectations are placed for your team. The
true reality or the stark reality is you have to go out
on the field and play the game. The Detroit Tigers
proved to everybody what they did during the
regular season, got off to a tremendous start, led
by a wide margin and were able to overcome a
little bit of a shaky September. But they got
healthy, and Jim Leyland did a tremendous job of
getting them the focus.
The talent that they have in that club can
be documented. Verlander is going to go out there
and he's going to throw high 90s; Kenny Rogers
has been a very fine pitcher for a long time.
Bonderman has come into his own. Todd Jones is
a bona fide closer.
I mean, the setup guys have done great.
Robertson has pitched well this year, okay? We
have our hands full tonight. I don't like some of the
match-ups that we have with some of our players.
They send out five strong starting pitchers;
they've got a strong bullpen. For the people who
are baseball people and observe that, they know
how strong their team is, and I'm sure Joe Torre
was well aware of what he was up against when he
was playing the Tigers. I know I am, too.
So when you go out there and you play a
short series and you get that pitching locked in,
that's what happens. I've got a lot of respect for
Joe. I'm glad he's back. He's in a tough situation
over there. The expectations are out of this world
every year, so I'm glad Joe is going to be back.
He's a gentleman and a class guy, and baseball
Have you named your game's three
and four starters in stone, and what went into
KEN MACHA: Well, Harden is going to
pitch Game Three. We specifically limited the
number of pitches he threw yesterday for that
We sent Curt Young down there to monitor
what was going on. Billy Owens went down there,
also. They feel good about how the ball was
coming out of his hand. We are, I think, 9-0 in his
starts this season.
Pushing Dan Haren back a day is a tough
decision, and he has pitched a lot of big ball
games for us and pitched very well. But we just
feel at this particular time that Rich is going to be
the guy in that spot.
Over the past few years you've
expressed some envy about the way the
Angels' bullpen could shorten the game to six
innings. Do you feel like you guys have almost
reached that point where you get six good out
of your starter and you feel pretty good the rest
of the way?
KEN MACHA: You know, it's a little
different. We've got a little different bullpen than
the Angels do. They've got some power guys out
there that they bring in. Justin Duchscherer was a
huge influence on what happened the last series,
pitching the four innings.
We've got some guys to get right-handers
out. We've got some guys to get left-handers out.
It's kind of a mix and match, but yeah, I've got a lot
of confidence in those guys out there. I don't think
there's been too many bullpens in the major
leagues that have seven different pitchers that
have gotten saves this year. I don't think there's
Those guys realize they could be in the
game at any time, and they have been, all of them.
It's nice to have Blanton out there. He gives us
length; Saarloos gives us length. Gaudin has
come in and got some saves. Joe Kennedy has
got some saves. He didn't get to pitch in the last
series, but I guarantee he's going to be in there
We've got a lot of guys out there that can
give us quality innings and confidence in all of
them. That should just -- having seven guys out
there having gotten saves should dictate some of
You talked a minute ago about the
expectations that Joe Torre has in New York.
You guys and the Twins especially have been
the epitome of the lower budget teams that
have been reasonably successful. What are
the expectations on you, and which way do you
think is a better way to go?
KEN MACHA: It doesn't necessarily mean
just because you have a payroll or what city you're
in that the expectations aren't there. The people
that I work for and I answer to, they expect us to go
out there and compete and compete well.
We have expectations here, also, as do
the Twins, okay? The similarity between the two
organizations is that we bring young guys up here
and we develop them, and we've developed young
pitchers, and we kind of do it a little bit under the
radar because we don't have the star power or the
bling that the other clubs do.
Really if you look at it, I always kid people
when I go home and I say, Who's your favorite
player on the A's? And they've got to think a lot
about that. We brought Frank in this year, and of
course that increased the expectations here. I was
very happy when we clinched the division, so we
reached one of the expectations.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.