I'm pleased to report that Pat Gillick does not have a Bucket List. I know this because an intrepid reporter from MLB.com asked him this. And then another reporter followed up with another question about Gillick's Bucket List, or lack thereof. This is what happens when 10 to 15 media members surround a general manager in a desperate search for pre-game notes.
For the record, Gillick said he isn't thinking about his decision to retire. There has been some speculation recently that the long-time GM is re-thinking his decision to step down at the end of the season. It still sounds like Gillick won't be the Phils GM next season -- check out Paul Hagen's interview with Phils president David Montgomery earlier this week for the details -- but he did admit that he probably wouldn't be sitting on a rocking chair watching the boats from his house in Seattle. Montgomery told me earlier this season there is a chance Gillick could remain with the club in some sort of consulting role. Whatever the case, it isn't on Gillick's mind.
"I'm not really thinking about that right now," Gillick said.
It isn't clear why the Phillies aren't officially announcing righthander Joe Blanton as their Game Four starter. The Brewers are going with veteran righty Jeff Suppan, who had a rough September, and they have said as much. But manager Charlie Manuel declined to name a starter when he met with the media today.
It's probably just superstition. Manuel has pounded the "one game at a time" mantra all week, and this is probably just sticking with it.
"We'll make our decision after the game tonight," Manuel said. "Right now, we're concentrating on winning this game."
A few other reporters and I caught up with Blanton during batting practice, and he sounds pretty sure he'll be pitching tomorrow. He hasn't thrown since Friday, when he allowed four runs - one earned - in six innings against the Washington Nationals. But Blanton said he didn't think the layoff will affect him.
One of our "Three Things to Watch" earlier today was the situation at third base, where Greg Dobbs is 6-for-13 with two home runs liftime off of today's starter, Dave Bush. Manuel elected to go with Pedro Feliz at third, as he usually does with Jamie Moyer on the mound. Feliz is a better defender, and Moyer is a ground ball pitcher, and the Brewers are loaded with right-handed bats.
Feliz has also hit two home runs in his career off Bush (he is 3-for-12 liftetime with five RBI).
"Milwaukeee has got a lot of right-handed hitters. I wanted to keep Feliz in the game on them," Manuel said. "But Dobbs will be available to hit."
Jimmy Rollins met the media in the interview room today. He had some interesting things to say, as usually is the case with the reigning MVP.
On Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley being 1-for-17 in the playoffs thus far: You take the two lefties, "Chase and Ryan, and the big lefty in (C.C. Sabathia), in the words of my brother, everybody knew they weren't going to get a hit except for them two (laughter). It'll hold true. CC is throwing the ball at 94 miles an hour and he has a slider-cut or whatever he calls it, and it breaks twice. If you're a left-handed hitter and he's throwing 96 in and he throws a slider that starts at your hip and ends up in the other batter's box, it's going to be a tough day for you. So you have to rely on the other guys.
"Hopefully today is a new day for them. We're definitely going to need them. You can almost say they're overdue. That's how I like to look at it. Ryan isn't going to stay silent for long, and Chase, he finds a way. Pat, if he finds a rhythm, he can hold it for a while. So they're going to get four to five at-bats today to try to make things happen. Hopefully there are guys on in front of them, and they get a pitch to hit. If not, then they'll just have to do it on their own.
On Joe Blanton and his relationship with Brett Myers: "Blanton is a competitor. That's something right before we got him, we got to see him in Oakland. He pretty much just blanked us. When he first came over, I think he was trying to prove that he could play here, the type of player that he was. He didn't really get off to a great start, but lately he's kind of settled in. Brett Myers, of all people, have kind of taken him under his wing. I know they have a good relationship.
"He's been throwing the ball well. He's been throwing that phantom ball, like he throws a fastball at 88, 89 miles per hour, and you find yourself swinging over or swinging through it. Then he has a good changeup and a good slider.
He's been throwing that well. His last outing he was throwing it at the hitter's front hip, coming right back over the plate, and they throw their hands up and it's a strike. That's what he does, he pounds the zone, he tries to work ahead, gets ahead often and try to put a hitter on the defensive."
On how Myers has managed to take Blanton under his wing: "I don't know, but he's done it. He sits right in front of him on the airplane. They're always talking. Sometimes Blanton looks over at us like, does this guy ever stop? But he doesn't move, so he must like it."