Lou Piniella Q&A

Cubs manager Lou Piniella addresses the media following the Cubs' season-ending 5-1 loss to Arizona in the Best-of-Five National League Division Series on Saturday at Wrigley Field.

Lou, it seemed the tone was set early with Hill throwing a lot of pitches and giving up the home run in the first inning.

LOU PINIELLA: Yeah, that game from the first inning on seemed like they took control of it. Leadoff home run. We had a lot of opportunities, but look, I want to congratulate the Arizona team. They played really well. They have a good ball club with good pitching, and I wish them well in their endeavors in this next round. They really played well, and they should feel good about what they did. We're disappointed, but at the same time, I'm really proud of our players. We got off to a slow start this year, put together a good run, culminated in getting in the postseason. This is just the start, fellas. We're going to get better. This is just a start. It is disappointing, but, you know, no matter how far you go up the ladder in baseball you don't win a World Series, you're going to find disappointment somewhere along the way.

Around this uncharacteristic plate discipline tonight for Aramis, could you tell us about his series?

PINIELLA: He struggled with the series, but we didn't do much offensively. What did we score, six runs in the three games? Hard to win that way. I talked about when this series started that we had to hit their pitchers. To me, that was the key. And for all practical purposes, we didn't do as good a job as we could have or should have. We had numerous opportunities tonight. Numerous. And I don't know how many double plays we hit into, but quite a few. We just didn't get the big hit when we needed it. What can I say?

Lou, would you talk about the role of Jose Valverde in the series, and would you agree with the assessment --

PINIELLA: I'll tell you what, you want to talk about their team? Start talking about their shortstop, what a job he did. The Drew kid. He made some great plays, hit some home runs. What did he hit over .500 in this playoff? Pretty impressive. And their closer, he's good. He's good, he really is. I mean, he gets the ball and I think he basically threw nothing about fastballs. But they're located well and they're probably hard to pick up. He's had success, I can see why.

Lou, it always hurts to lose obviously. Is there any extra frustration when the team didn't play as well as they are capable of playing?

PINIELLA: Well, when you don't score runs and you leave a lot of people on, it looks lackluster, but it wasn't. These guys gave effort, they really did. They wanted to get it done. They caught us for three games, but we just didn't swing the bats. Our starting pitching outside of the Zambrano game wasn't really good. So look, just tip your hats to them and wish them well. I'm talking about the Arizona team. We'll regroup. We made some nice strides this year with this team and we'll do some things over the winter with this team and we'll be right back this spring to get better and better. That's the way I look at it.

Did this series kind of remind you of some of the stretches that you guys had during the season where it just wasn't offensively happening for you?

PINIELLA: Well, we've had some spells this summer where we've had a week or 10 days where it was hard scoring runs, and then we've had the other kind. They just caught us cold. But, again, let's give their pitching credit, too. Our team tried. We just didn't get it done, and that's really the end of the story. But I'm proud of our guys, I really am. I told them that. I told them to have a nice, safe winter and we'll reconvene next spring and take this thing further, and that's really the bottom line. The people here in Chicago, I've enjoyed working with you all. Have a wonderful winter, OK? You're good people. Thanks.

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