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10/15/05 12:20 AM ET

Ozzie Guillen postgame interview

Manager discusses Garland's effort, confidence in staff

How important was that first inning in setting the tone for the ballgame tonight?

OZZIE GUILLEN: It was great. I think that (John) Lackey is one of the best pitchers they have over there, no disrespect to the rest of the guys.

I think the first inning set the tone. We don't know how (Jon) Garland is going to show up because he's been laid off for so many days, I was concerned, I was not worried, but I was concerned to see how he did. But then when we scored the first inning and the dugout started getting happy, every time we score first early in the game, we seem like we play better baseball.

You know, the first inning set the tone, so we just played the game we always play.

Game after game against Boston and now in this series you're getting tremendous starting pitching every single time out. Did you envision this happening? I know you have a lot of confidence in your pitching staff.

GUILLEN: You know, we just played like that all year long, counting on our pitching staff and clutch hitting. I think in the offseason we tried to build the best pitching staff we can, and Kenny (Williams) did. Kenny did a tremendous job with the pitching staff. I know we have a lot of comfort that they're not going to throw complete games for three days in a row, three starters in a row, and all of a sudden they did, and I expect that from them. I expect that from them because I know what they can do on the mound. But facing Boston and the Angels is pretty good hitting ballclubs. I never thought they were going to go the distance. I think (Jose) Contreras set the tone and the two playoffs going and throwing the ball the way he did. Pitching and hitting and playing good changes, and I think that's what happened right now.

Do you feel pretty good about your rest theory with Jon Garland?

GUILLEN: Well, a lot of people, no excuse, a lot of people make a lot of excuses in this game when they fail or when they have success. A lot of times when they fail they have excuses. Early in the season this kid threw the ball unbelievably well for three months, he was rested. He showed people today, he was throwing strikes, and I think one of the best games he pitched he pitched real well this year, and I think that's the best I've seen him throw all year long.

Ozzie, all year long people have been wondering if Jon Garland was for real. Do you think he's finally got that off his back now, that people are finally going to believe this is the real Jon Garland?

GUILLEN: You know, last year we took a lot of heat in Chicago because they always say how long are we going to stay with this kid? How much opportunity are we going to give him? Before I got the job, Jon never had the opportunity to go more than six, seven innings. They always pulled him out, and all of a sudden I give him the chance and he took advantage. I think this kid's arm is there. This kid gives 200 innings every year, he never misses a start. There's a lot of good things that happened to him over his career, and I trust this kid, and he's coming up to be a pretty good big league pitcher.

But it's not only about trust, it's about knowing he's going to be there, and he did. He took advantage of that, and he'll be with us right now.

Mike (Scioscia) was just talking about the play where (Darin) Erstad was thrown out at third (Tadahito) Iguchi had to make the perfect throw and did make the perfect throw. Can you talk about your aggression and their defense?

GUILLEN: Especially Iguchi, we play pretty good defense all year long, Iguchi play solid and just keeping at second base. Always if you're a runner you don't want to be the third out at third base. He thought he was going to make it, and everything went perfect for us.

I think (Jermaine) Dye threw a great ball to Iguchi and he threw a ball to Joe (Crede), and everything went good for us on this particular play.

A couple times over the past couple weeks you had to go to Garland and said "You have to wait your turn." How did he handle that?

GUILLEN: Like a pro. I mean, it's not easy when you tell your players the decision you have to make for the playoffs is hard because those guys play 162 games for you and help you to get what you get, and all of a sudden you've got to make the decision. Making the decision is not easy.

On the other hand we didn't know we were going to sweep Boston. That's another thing. I think this thing he handled real well. He went to the media the right way, real professional. You know, you don't lay one of your best pitchers all year long out of the playoffs, and unfortunately we had to do that. After that we had to work.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.