I think our defense has been pretty good all year long. You have some ups and downs. Any time you get the great pitching we’re getting, it’s automatically good defense. Guys hitting their spots, you get in the right position. You’ve got the advance scouts who put us in the right spot. Josh Hamilton the other day in Texas — I was playing him the other way and most guys play him to pull. You hit the spot. James Loney, same thing last night. It makes it easier. Our outfielders work together, we work in tandem. If you watch the games, whenever I move to the pull side, everybody moves, everybody shifts. Maybe I go to the pull side and leave the right fielder on the line because the hitter is a guy who doesn’t really go into the gap in right center.
I have little hand signals, little movements to communicate with the guys. If I want a guy to get into the gap, I point to them and point to the gap. If I want to move them a little bit, I put my hand down a little. If I don’t want them to move but I want them to know, “Hey, I’m moving, so you’re going to have to help me out to my right or left,” I’ll point to myself and show them where I am. It’s little movements that people never pay attention to. You never really see us until the ball gets out there.
We’re doing a good job infield, outfield. It all starts with our pitcher and our catcher. Geo is calling a great game. Last night, you never say just a starter threw a shutout, you also say a catcher threw a shutout, too. He’s calling the pitches. That right there improves our defense.
Last year, they wanted Yoshi [Nakazawa] to be the bat boy, and I know he’s undefeated. I don’t know how many wins he had but I know he’s undefeated. We begged him today. He saw that we were in need so he did it. We always need a lttle luck on our side. It seems like he brought it. I think he has a new job — massage/bat boy/everything else.
It’s just great to get a win, great to get good pitching and get timely hitting and have something go our way. The Pirates, they played great. Defensively, they had four web gems in the game. If we keep playing like this, like I’ve said over and over again, we’re going to be fine and start winning series and we’re going to take off and catch up to whoever’s in first in the Central.
We haven’t put it together yet. This team, on paper, is a very good team but that goes all away once the season starts. We have to start playing better. It just hasn’t come together where you’ve got pitching, defense, timely hitting for a whole series, back to back series, over and over again. When we’re home, we’re doing well. On the road, we’ve just lost it. We have to figure out a way to get back on track and quick.
Home runs — gosh, when the wind’s blowing out of here, it can happen very easily, especially with these guys and this team. Everybody with the pop they have — Soriano, me, Derrek Lee, even Theriot can get it up in the air and it’s going out. Once we get our swings, it’s going to be a lot of fun this summer when the wind’s blowing out.
That Reynolds’ homer in the fifth Saturday — I had no clue where it was. That was one of those where I was trying to jump as high as possible to see if I could get a glove on it. By the time I was on the ground, I saw the ball fall. I wasn’t sure if it went over or bounced off. I was going to play it through regardless. I’m still going to play it through even if I know it’s a home run. I’m still going to fire it in. They have instant replay now, but you never know.
As far as our offense, the hits are coming. They’re coming. You can see everyone starting to get comfortable. I’ve heard about the Cubs in April and the Cubs from May on. Hopefully that’s a trend that continues from May all the way through the playoffs. I know everybody was worried, everybody was wondering, what Rudy was doing. Rudy said from Day One, it takes time. I knew that. When I worked with him, it took me about a year to really understand and get my swing going. You can see it — you can see everybody getting better.
You can see it in Fukudome, you can see it in Theriot. You see guys are a little different. Even with Geo. It’s all going to come out. Once we have our one through eight hitting, with the pitching we’ve been getting, it’ll be a lot of wins for us.