Cole and Charlie Speak

Here is some of what Cole Hamels and Charlie Manuel had to say in the postgame news conference following today's 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 1 of the National League division series at Citizens Bank Park:

QUESTION. Cole, given the stakes, was that the best pitching performance of your young career?
COLE HAMELS: Yes and no. Just where we were I knew the importance of the game, and it's something where because of last year, I learned what it really takes in trying to be -- kind of mellow out, not have that sort of excitement where you can't really control everything. And that was something where just going out there and relaxing and just being able to pitch and throw strikes. I think with the type of team that Milwaukee brings, they're very aggressive but also very good. And so I just had to really establish the first pitch strike just so I can get ahead of them and slow them down. And that's what I was able to do and have success at it.

Q. Charlie, can you talk about Brad Lidge, and can you also take us through the decision to pitch to Prince Fielder?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Basically, Brad, what happened, he got ahead of (Ray) Durham, and then felt like he tried to sneak a fastball by him. Durham got a hit. And after that he threw some pitches and got ahead of the other hitters but seemed like he walked right back into an even count or he got behind. And he got in a position where he had to throw the ball over the plate. And what happened on Fielder was, the reason we decided to pitch to him, he can tie the game up. He's not the winning run. And any time that you go and put the winning run on base in our ballpark here, especially with their lineup, like they're fifth and sixth hole hitters can hit the ball out, . He can tie it up, but he can't win it for them there. And I also liked one of the big things about Lidge, I say it all the time, his talent prevails at times. And it has most of the year. He can strike people out. That's one of his big pluses. That's what a big closer is good at. He can get in jams but at the same time he can wiggle out because he can strike people out.

Q. Charlie, any thought with as well as Cole is pitching and the rhythm he was in to just let him finish up the game?
CHARLIE MANUEL: It crossed my mind, and I looked at it, what did he have 101, 102 pitches? He pitched a lot this year. We've got that guy down there. That's why he's standing down there for. That's his job, too. And he's been perfect. I mean, but also another thing, too, is the top of their order is all right-handed, and Lidge is -- what he gets is right-handers out at about .170 clip. So he kind of had the inning, like when it started. Of course they pinch hit Durham, but at the same time the inning was pretty much set up for him.

Q. Cole, to follow up on that, did you want to pitch the 9th inning?
COLE HAMELS: No, the last time I did that I gave up a two-run home run to Fielder. (Laughter). No, I have all the confidence in the world in Lidge. I knew it was something where I knew if I could get through the 8th, I knew Lidge could seal the deal. That's something where I wanted to get him a save and I know he wanted to get me a win, and we were able to do that.

Q. Charlie, are you concerned about Brad Lidge in the sense that last Saturday's game he had kind of an adventurous inning in the Nationals and tonight he had a 35-pitch outing? Are you concerned about his endurance at this point?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I get concerned but at the same time so far this year a lot of times when he'll have one of those outings, or two of them, and he's gotten through and all of a sudden like his next couple will be really good. His talent prevails. He's a strikeout pitcher, and he stays there and gets it done. One of these days, yeah, he'll lose a game, probably. But at the same time he might go a long time before he does. Just a matter of we'll see.

Q. Cole, after what happened last year, did you think psychologically about how important it was to win this first game?
COLE HAMELS: You know, I had the understanding of what it is when you do win the first game, the momentum that it, I guess, causes and especially at home. It's just the excitement level and just the feeling that you can get.
And so going into today, I tried to be as relaxed as I possibly could. Yet, I still wanted to go out there and win just because I knew what it would do for our team. And I think that's something where, from the very first pitch in the 1st inning, I gave that confidence in our players. When we scored those runs, I think they did have the confidence I wasn't going to allow any more runs. That's something where it's good to have that and the team is still able to battle through. But I think tonight definitely I think we'll think about it a little more because even though we won the first one we still have to go out there and win the next couple. Hopefully you ride out, I guess, the emotions and everything that we have especially still being at home.