Q. How is Ryan Howard?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Our trainers, they took him back in the training room. A doctor will come and see him. He twisted his ankle or tore up his ankle. I don't know how bad it is yet.

Q. What's running through your mind right now, disbelief, shock?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Actually I don't know what to say. I just got through talking to our team, and basically when I look at it, we played 162 games, and definitely we had the best record in baseball. I like our team, like I said. I know that we're capable of going farther in the playoffs and things like that. Our goal was to get to the World Series. It's been that way for two years now.

And as I looked at the season, actually the season was a hell of a lot of fun. I mean, everything about it, our fans coming to see us play, everything, us winning the game, our pitching was good. And we get in a series like this and we just didn't get it done. But I look back, got to give the Cardinals some credit, of course, and the guy on the mound tonight and for the series. They played better than we did. Bottom line was they played better and they beat us. I feel very empty. I feel like that we've had support from our fans, and it's kind of hard. I don't really know what to say.

Q. This is the second straight year that the playoffs has kind of ended with the offense not doing a whole lot in the post season. Can you win with the lineup as it is right now? Or is it just too unfortunate kind of slumps in Octobers in consecutive years?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think what you see is when I look at our team, we've got a lot of talent on our team, of course. And we won 104 games or something with our team, 102 games, I'm sorry. But at the same time and we won the most games in baseball. That just goes to show you, especially in a long run how we can do. But when you hit against teams that are playing better baseball than you and things like that and especially in the playoffs or series, then you get beat. And I kind of think that's what's happened to us in the last couple years. But at the same time, I think we're every bit as good or better than the teams we've been playing overall if you look at it.

The Cardinals are a good team, though. They've got a real good hitting club. And their starting pitching in this series was very good, and their bullpen did a better job and they were more consistent than they was during the season. They've got talent in their bullpen and they're consistent, but overall they outplayed us.

Q. What do you think the problem was with Polly and Chooch? They really seemed to struggle in the series.

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think basically when you see some guys that like when they go a little bad Polly is hurting a little bit, but he's able to play. But at the same time, when you see guys when they start going bad, like sometimes four, five, six games, whatever, that's very common during the season. And what happens, they get it's very open, open to see like in the playoffs or something.

Q. You said the other night that you thought some of your guys were maybe pressing a little bit too much with the bat. Did you see that again tonight?

CHARLIE MANUEL: You know what I saw tonight actually? I saw Carpenter pitch a good game. I saw Carpenter throw breaking balls, change ups, and fastballs. And I saw him move the ball around, and he pitched a real good game. You know, the game, we can sit here tonight and talk about the game and how it plays out and everything.

Ibanez skies the ball up, I think it's got a chance, but he didn't hit it quite far enough. Utley jumped on it. He hit the ball pretty good there in the ninth inning, guy ran it down at the track. Rollins hits a ball up the middle after the catcher on a Gload strikes out and we put a runner in and Rollins hits a ball up the middle off of a pitcher's leg or something or his hands and they threw him out at first, and things just we never could get nothing going, and things just didn't but at the same time, we didn't do enough to get anything going. That's kind of how I look at it. He pitched good.

Q. I know it always hurts to lose, but given the expectations of this team and how it played out and when it played out, does this feel any different than any of the others or are they all the same when it ends?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I feel you know what, I think this one might hurt more it'll hurt probably more when I sit down and really start thinking about it. And what this one this is the most pitching that I ever had depth wise, like in a starting rotation, and our pitching definitely did a good job for us this year. Once we got Hunter Pence, I felt like our offense definitely picked up, and this is this is a good ballclub, and we're definitely capable of winning. But I'm sure there's other teams that say the same thing. And how I feel probably a week from now, I can really tell you the truth how I feel. Right now I've got some anger, I've got some ... I don't know, and I just feel very empty.

Q. Two tactical questions: One, was the Utley steal a straight steal, not a hit and run or anything that was blown? And did Ryan (Howard) have a green light on the 3 and 0 from you or was that his decision?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Ryan Howard? Ryan Howard has a green light most all the time. I can take it off and give him a take sign. But at the same time, when we're losing 1 0 or something like that, he's swinging if he gets a good ball to hit. But obviously he has to get a good ball that you can hammer.

Q. First inning was Doc (Halladay) too amped up? Was he tight? What was your take on it?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Yeah, it looked like he came out and he kind of went right at Furcal, and like Furcal jumped his fastball. Actually that turned out to be the big hit of the game, really, as it turned out. I don't know what to say. He was great. When he got in a jam early and he pitched out of it, that just goes to show you how good he really is. I mean, he it was a super ballgame. It was two great pitchers, but at the same time, I would expect us to score some runs. I'm sure our guys feel the same way. I mean, they definitely I'll tell you something, we definitely put a whole lot into this season.

Q. Did you get a good look at Furcal coming around second? And if the cutoff man is hit there, do you think you have a play at third?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't know. I saw the play it would have been close. He's a good runner. I saw I know exactly what you're talking about. It would have been a close play.

Q. You talked about Polanco struggling. Did you think about pinch hitting for him in the eighth?

CHARLIE MANUEL: If you go look, he's got good numbers against him, and we needed some guys somebody to get on, you know. I kind of had in mind a 1 0 ballgame. I thought if he got on, we'd run for him and bunt Chooch and we might have a chance to tie the game up. That was my thinking. But no, he had good numbers against him.