October 12, 2019
St. Louis, Missouri – pregame 2
Q. Congratulations. Can you just take us through what the last couple days have been like, how the time line kind of developed and if you want to share the baby’s name and everything.
DANIEL HUDSON: Yeah, baby’s name is Millie. M-I-L-L-I-E. She’s doing great, mom’s doing great. Thank you, everybody, for nice words and gestures the last 24, 36 hours, it’s been awesome.
Yeah, we, obviously her due date was originally the 14th. Once we kind of had an idea of a playoff schedule if we got past the Wild Card round who we were going to play, obviously Game 5 if we got to it in Los Angeles it was a little more convenient for me to get home. So we tried to schedule an induction for the 10th, which was yesterday. Just kind of made sense to go in between. If we were able to advance, obviously the 14th and my first two kids came a little bit later than their due date, so if you push it back a couple days you’re looking at maybe Game 6, Game 7 of a championship series. I figure Game 1 is a little bit better miss than an elimination game.
So that’s the way we tried to plan it. Obviously things changed. Thursday morning we were trying to see if we could get in early for the induction and the way it works, people that are doing natural birth come first, so we couldn’t get a bed until yesterday afternoon, yesterday evening. So that’s kind of the time line and that’s how it went. It’s just the way — you try to plan something and everything goes crazy, so.
Q. What was your conversation like with Davey and your wife, just the decision you made. It’s a big decision?
DANIEL HUDSON: Yeah, absolutely. My wife’s, she’s a rock star, she’s been around obviously the game just as long as I have. She knows kind of what’s going on. Obviously we didn’t exactly plan to have a baby in the middle of the playoffs, but like you said, you plan something and stuff goes crazy.
So everybody within the Nationals organization was completely 100 percent on board with our plan, and really thank Mike and Davey for being understanding, and all the guys as well. I got lots of outpours of love and great messages I got yesterday. It was really, really nice to get those and really appreciate all the support.
Q. How much did you follow along with the game, if at all, and how grateful were you that Anibal went out and did what he did?
DANIEL HUDSON: Yeah, it was awesome. It was really fun to watch. Obviously I got to watch from the postpartum room with mom and baby. So missed the beginning of the game, wasn’t exactly, didn’t know he had a no-hitter until midway through, so when they, one of the announcers said it. So it was really cool to see Anibal go out like that and dominate, man, it was a lot of fun to watch.
Q. What was your itinerary like today and what kind of state are you in physically and mentally to pitch tonight?
DANIEL HUDSON: Mentally there. Physically, I’m a little tired. But not a lot of sleep the last few nights. I had a 7 a.m. flight out of Los Angeles on Thursday morning, had a 6 a.m. flight out of Phoenix this morning, got in at 11. So a little bit tired, but we’ll get through it. Just go out there and try to get a win.
Q. You go through this couple days of something that’s mostly private, and in the meantime there’s this, what grows this national discussion about priorities and values and what you should be doing or whatever. Were you aware of this conversation?
DANIEL HUDSON: I’m not on social media anymore. I got rid of it a couple years ago. It’s just something, a decision I made to try to focus myself one more positive stuff in my life. Obviously it’s great tool. We were made aware of a lot of stuff that was going on, obviously, watching the game it was hard to ignore. I mean, I went, I was just telling somebody, I went from not having a job on March 21st to this huge national conversation on family values going into the playoffs, like, hey, life comes at you fast, man, like I don’t know how that happened and how I became the face for whatever conversation was going on.
Everybody’s got their opinions, man, and I really value my family and my family time. And like I said, the support I got from this organization, and most people, obviously, we were made aware of a lot of negative comments, but everybody’s got their opinions and everybody’s got their own priorities. And this organization was a hundred percent on board with what my priorities are and I’m really appreciative of that.
Q. Physically today how will you handle it preparing for a game and any different than normal?
DANIEL HUDSON: I’ll try to make it as normal as possible. Obviously, having a baby two days ago and a lot on my mind with that, obviously. Everybody’s doing great, physically with my family, and there’s no issues with mom or baby right now and we’re really lucky and fortunate to be in that situation and I’m just going to go out there and help the guys win. That’s really all I can do.
Q. Just curious, we had a little girl about a year ago and I’ve got a million pictures, how many pictures have you taken so far of your little girl?
DANIEL HUDSON: A lot man, yeah. We had a photographer come in yesterday. Obviously, I have two older girls as well, so this is my third girl. My oldest is 5, my middle one is 3. So needless to say my oldest was pretty excited to meet her new baby sister yesterday. So to be able to have that experience with my family and be there for the whole thing was everything I could have imagined. Obviously, it is my third kid. And top-3 things in my life 1A, 1B and 1C are — was being there fore the birth of all three of my daughters.
So like I said, organization was awesome for me, to let me be a part of that, it was great.
Q. Congratulations. You’ve been apart of a lot of teams. What is it about this team that maybe is different or special? And do you believe in karma? I mean, your manager goes down your center fielder goes down, people step up.
DANIEL HUDSON: Yeah, I mean, it’s a very resilient group. How many times everybody talks about the record that they started off with and all the wins that were accrued after that and best team in baseball for however long. And it just shows the amount of fight, like you said, and in all these guys and I think it goes to, it’s a testament of a lot of those guys. And they have been around the game for a long time, they know exactly what needs to be done, there’s no panic ever. Obviously, going down early against the Dodgers and then against the Brewers, you just see the fight in these guys and they, everybody wants to just kind of pass the baton and keep the ball rolling for everybody else.
Q. Having gone through it before as you did, I’m sure you know, like, what it would have been like to miss it. Could you imagine what it would have been like to miss it and how that, like, if you had come here out of a sense of duty, your mind would have been on back home. Did you think about the alternative?
DANIEL HUDSON: Not really. I don’t know, I knew I was going to go no matter what. It’s kind of — I didn’t realize that, I didn’t know that this was a new thing to have a playoff paternity leave list. I had no idea. I was, like, I can’t be the only person to have a baby in the middle of the postseason. And for it to blow up like it did, man, it’s kind of crazy. But I didn’t really give much thought about not going. My family is top priority for me. I heard somebody say one time baseball’s what I do, it’s not who I am. And kind of once you have kids or once I had kids it really resonated with me. So to be able to be a part of that was awesome. And like I said, I can’t thank the Nationals organization enough for being understanding.
Q. I know you went with Millie this time around, but Anibala Sean be in the mix should you have any more children?
DANIEL HUDSON: I don’t —
Yeah, that, Davey, that was a funny message he sent me last night. Yeah, we were actually undecided on a name at that point. We didn’t actually figure out a name until we went to bed last night. We kind of finally decided on Millie and, yeah, my wife got a good kick out of that, that was pretty funny.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
October 12, 2019
St. Louis, Missouri – pregame 2
Q. Can you describe what you see from Paul DeJong here for maybe even the last several weeks or the last month and the challenge batting 8th might present for a guy who is searching for it a bit?
MIKE SHILDT: That’s a good question. You know me, I’m optimistic by nature. I love Paul’s at-bats in Game 5, very under control, really short. The ball he hit off Freed to right, that was a really good sign for Paul waste ways one to left. Staying in the zone. That’s who Paul is. So he’s chased a little bit more, but that’s, when Paul’s right that’s who he is.
As far as hitting 8th that’s a very fair question. I think he’s more than capable, he’s done it. It’s a tough spot to hit, but I think it’s a spot that he can do some damage in that spot as well. So I’m comfortable that Paul can contribute there. Obviously that’s a place we have him so we like the construction of it. But I do understand that. It’s just the good news about that is we have a lengthy lineup and so if Paul is hitting 8th or us that’s saying a lot, a guy that hit 30 home runs.
Q. How pleased were you with your base running attack yesterday with the stolen bases for Wong and for Arozarena and how much of an impact do you think it’s going to make on the rest of the series?
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, we’re going to be intentional in taking what we see and being good about it. We’re not going to run for the sake of running. But I really applaud those guys, and of course the staff did their part to help prep them for what they were going to see. But credit the players. We had three base runners and got three total bases between a couple bags and a forced error. So felt really good about the guys understanding what they were looking at and not trying to force it, but being ready to go when the opportunity presented itself.
Q. There was a couple really hard hit balls last night, one by Ozuna, one by Rendon. I know they both went to the deepest part of the park and it’s a little colder last night, but did you think either one of those was out off the bat? And as sort of a follow-up, if you knew that the ball was carrying maybe a little bit less in the postseason than it was in the regular season would that impact your considerations of how might start defensively or offensively?
MIKE SHILDT: Good question. I thought Ozuna got his ball, based on the sound, based on the swing. But clearly it didn’t get out. And you kind of realized then we were dealing with an evening where the ball wasn’t going to carry as much. I guess — I don’t guess, our front office analytical group is saying the ball’s not traveling at about a four-and-a-half foot difference. So I don’t know how that impacts what you do as far as your matchups or more inclined to throw a fly ball guy, I mean four-and-a-half feet is not overly significant, maybe gives us an opportunity to rob someone of a homer a little bit more. But I don’t think it really impacts how you make decisions. I don’t think it’s that much of a disparity in that to determine if you’re going to throw a guy a certain way or play a guy a certain way.
Q. Dexter Fowler’s been a guy who is taken some good at-bats this postseason. He’s hitting the ball really hard a few times and doesn’t really have a whole lot to show for it. What’s been your message to him at the top just to keep him keeping on?
MIKE SHILDT: The message is keep going, also the ultimate message is you’re in a spot where we have confidence in you, you’re still our lead off guy. The one thing, and people that cover us year round know this about me, is I don’t know what the sample size looks like as far as what it is, but if you’re playing in a 5-game series, I mean first of all, Dex had a big walk and a big double in our Game 5 against Atlanta, and it was a big part of that victory, and has been a big part of what we’re doing. But if you look up and you realize 20 at-bats and you go, okay, and I do, I’m not blind to the fact that we’re in a sprint mode right now, it’s not more of a marathon type situation. But just look at it a little more holistically and you say, okay, is he taking good at-bats to your point, is he getting pitches to hit, he’s doing all these things. And that’s ultimately all you can ask hitters to do. If you felt like he was chasing a lot or his timing was off or he was searching or feeling, you would be more inclined to maybe do something differently, but don’t feel like that’s the case. That’s not the case. Not necessary to make a change for the sake of making a change because I think that can elicit a little bit of panic. But we’ll always evaluate all the guys and how they’re competing and evaluate from there.
Q. The analytics department says it’s traveling four-and-a-half feet like shorter than compared to the regular season? And did they offer any particular like any reasons why they think that’s happening, just weather or what?
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, I mean there’s probably all kind of different theories behind that that I won’t really get into. Just the fact of the matter, it could be any number of things. And again, small sample size. What we do with it is, it’s more of a fact than it is a bit of a tidbit than it is anything we’re going to really ultimately act upon. I don’t know whether it’s just our games or in total in postseason baseball or what have you. It’s not a big enough number or sample size for me to do anything about.
Q. When you guys were in Mexico you got peppered with questions about Giovanny Gallegos. And there were some question marks about what his role could be or if he would even be on the team. What was the key for him to go from there to what he became for you guys this year?
MIKE SHILDT: Well, that was just Gio getting his feet wet. And we didn’t have a lot of history with Gio, he came over in the trade with Voit and came up into last September for us and didn’t get a lot of opportunity.
And went to spring training and one of my evaluations that could have been better in spring training was allowing him to stay in camp a little bit longer. We got to that point in spring training where the innings were starting to build up for our starters and we wanted to get some of the relievers a little bit more work that we knew about. So we sent him out to get him ready for his season.
And then we got him up and then in Mexico it was pretty much one of the first times we got an opportunity to really have Gio with us and evaluate him. And the first evaluation with him is the fact that this guys’s just going to pitch regardless of circumstance. After that, the evaluation is he’s got two-plus pitches with his fastball and his breaking ball, and he’s got what’s turned out to be two really good metrics on his side, high strike out and low walk.
I can’t say we’re not here without Gio, but he’s been a huge piece of the reason we’re in this postseason because he’s done a great job for us.
Q. Given the way Jose Martinez was swinging the bat, if this is the regular season, is this the kind of day you might be starting him? You’re looking for your best defense now and you got these guys that brought you here, but he’s one of your better players, he’s not getting much time.
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, the thing is with Jose, we’ve have had this conversation, the good thing about our team is we have a good team, we have depth. So there’s a lot of great choices. It is important to have somebody like Jose be able to come up and take a good at-bat off the bench and be able to not always pick the ideal spot, but have a spot where we can get him in there that we feel good about.
We do need to always continue to look at things in a big picture. Obviously, offense is a big part of the game. We also, one of the reasons we have gotten here is our defense and what that looks like as well. So I don’t know that Jose would be in there today necessarily. This guy’s tougher on righties, but he’s always going to get consideration to play and he still will and has. And he just hasn’t been able to get in the field a whole lot since he had his shoulder injury into the wall. And so we feel like he’s in a good place to help us the best we can today.
Q. Last night and today we heard you point out what the lineup had done in those elimination games, whether in the last series or even in the regular season late. I’m just curious how those performances help you, help support your confidence in the lineup maybe in early in a series. Do you factor in, obviously you factor in body of work, but also to what the guys do when their backs are against the wall in an elimination game, does that factor into the lineup more so than, say, a game early in the series?
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, I mean, listen, I don’t want to minimize any game that we play. Every game’s important, clearly now. The thing about the lineup though is that I think we need to be, or at least I’m mindful of, I can’t dictate how mindful you are, but we’re in playoff baseball, so do appreciate the fact that one of the reasons these teams are in the playoffs is pitching’s really good. Runs are going to be at a premium regardless of lineups. They have got a nice lineup too and we held them to two runs yesterday. It was a 2-0 game. So fact of the matter is you’re going to have some low scoring games.
Again, I’ll defend, rightfully, and if we make a change it will be because we think something needs to be changed. But I just don’t like to get overly knee-jerk to — and you know we looked at it, but we like our lineup and this lineup is capable and this is a similar lineup that beat Scherzer a couple weeks ago. So we’ll ride with it.
Q. I think that was maybe what you were saying at the end, is what the lineup has come through and done in those some of those big games, even more encouragement to —
MIKE SHILDT: Absolutely.
Q. — to let it ride.
MIKE SHILDT: Absolutely. Because we’re talking about we got here for a reason. A big part of the reason we got here is because of the lineup that we have been able to get out there. We have also been able to, and you know it, we, I, haven’t been concerned about making a change. We’ve made changes, we’ve made adjustments, there’s been tough conversations with guys that have accepted those changes like complete professionals with a team-first mentality. But this is a group that we feel good about that is more than capable, to your point, that’s really done a great job in big moments of taking great at-bats. We got a lot of experience in this lineup and a lot of talent in this lineup.
So the guy pitched a really good baseball game last night, we had a good plan, we got fastballs that we wanted and weren’t able to do a whole lot with them and they were able to squeak a couple runs across and that was the difference in the gauge.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports