“They have a bunch of different ways to hurt you. They have speed, they have guys that are really aggressive, they have guys that aren’t. I mean, it’s just a good mix. You have to have a unique game plan for every single guy, and you have to be able to adjust quickly, because they do, as well.” –Justin Verlander

October 12, 2019

Justin Verlander

Houston, Texas – pregame 1

Q. You made your first playoff start against the Yankees in 2006. What do you remember about that day? And are there any starts you’ve made against them in postseason that stand out above any others?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: That one stands out. I remember the rain situation, with kind of having the game delayed after I was out there warming up, and they were nowhere to be found. I remember going out there the day before the start, and this was old Yankee Stadium, and standing on the mound, because I had never pitched there, standing on the mound and just kind of taking it all in, which was honestly a pretty cool experience.

And then, I mean, I remember Johnny Damon hitting a three-run homer off of me. I remember kind of running out of gas. At that point in the year, my rookie year, I was running on fumes. I gave it everything I had. And I remember I was winning the ball game, which was important winning one in Yankee Stadium.

Q. Just to piggyback off that question, knowing what you know now in 2019, what would you tell the Verlander of 2006 about pitching in the postseason?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Good question. I mean, I think to be aggressive, trust your stuff. You know, honestly there’s nothing I could have really told myself that year. I mean, I really didn’t have anything left in the tank. I’d kind of given everything I had.

I guess the thing I would tell myself then is this isn’t your only shot and keep your head up.

Q. The Yankees have so many different weapons offensively. What sticks out the most to you when you look at their lineup 1 through 9?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I think the power, 1 through 9 is prodigious, and we all know that. They have a bunch of different ways to hurt you. They have speed, they have guys that are really aggressive, they have guys that aren’t. I mean, it’s just a good mix. You have to have a unique game plan for every single guy, and you have to be able to adjust quickly, because they do, as well.

Q. How cool is this for you at the stage of your career, being in this position again, eight wins away from winning it all, four wins away from going to the World Series, and here you are pitching in Game 2?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Very cool. Very happy to be here.

Q. You’ve been outspoken before about the changes to the ball this year and there’s some data that shows it was the reverse direction in the postseason. Have you noticed that at all? Have you talked to the guys at all?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I haven’t. I haven’t personally noticed it. I haven’t really talked to guys about it, especially because when all those reports came back, it was right before Game 5, and I didn’t want the hitters to be talking about that; they had other things on their mind.

I think MLB just came out with a report they haven’t changed, right? I guess we’ve got to believe that, right? I don’t know. Who knows?

Like I said, I said this before, I mean, I think that the players should be involved if the ball is going to change. Who knows if they are or are not. But at the end of the day we are all using the same baseball when we step on the field. As long as it’s an even playing field at this point in the game, that’s all we can ask for.

Q. You talked about the Yankee lineup. You faced a lot of them before, and a lot of good ones. Have you noticed a particular difference? You may not have faced everybody, but LeMahieu and Encarnacion seem to be adding something different to that lineup. Have you noticed anything about the depth of that lineup, and those two specifically?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Yes, specifically I think LeMahieu has just been incredible for them. He’s somebody that gets on base at an incredible clip. He hit right around .330 this year and just does so many things so well. And when you can have a lineup behind him with a lot of guys that hit a lot of homers, if he’s on base that much, it just creates that much more damage.

Q. Just as a fan of baseball, if Major League Baseball is able to get to the point where they are able to consciously put specifications on the ball that control how far it flies and that kind of thing, it’s going to have to be a discussion what kind of game do we want to see. Just as a fan, and I know you come at this as a pitcher, but do you have a brand of baseball that you like to see?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I mean, yeah, I don’t think — I think the ball incredibly dictates the game that’s being played on the field that fans witness. I think this year is a great example of this. Stolen base opportunities were down, moving the guy over. All the risks that you would take, unnecessary risks you would view now to have a baserunner get out on a base path, trying to go from first to third, trying to stretch a single to a double they slowly work their way out of the game this season, those small victories that you see throughout the course of a ball game. Because every single batter in the lineup can go deep the next pitch.

When you’re playing in a game where there’s more extra base hits than there were singles, why would you risk that? I understand that.

So for me personally, I would kind of like — I would like to see some of that small ball come back into play. I don’t want to call it small ball, that’s the wrong terminology. Everybody thinks of small ball they think of bunting. I think of the little things; taking the extra bases, using athleticism as a team to get extra runs.

You look at the course of an inning, we’re almost like playing an ADD version of baseball right now, where it’s these huge elation moments, Home run, home run, yeah, yeah. And then you’re just kind of sitting there waiting for the next moment with a bunch of strikeouts in between. If you’re not a fan of strikeouts, then what are you watching?

You think of getting a guy on first base, the next guy hitting ball to right field, that guy going from first to third, that’s a great moment to cheer. The next guy hitting a sac fly, that’s another good moment to cheer.

There’s so many different ways to love this baseball game that I think have kind of fallen by the wayside a little bit, and rightfully so.

Q. Over the course of your career how much do you think the role of the pitching coach has changed and how much more are you coached to prepare now than maybe you were five years ago or six years ago?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I think it’s changed a lot. I think you have to be willing to change with the times. You have to be willing to adapt. And you have to be able to embrace some analytics and the numbers. There’s so much data out there now, not just when it comes to scouting, but when it comes to pitching mechanics and tracking the body and how it’s moving and release points and all of this different stuff. You kind of have to be able to blend it all and at the same time remember the pitching side of it.

We’re not robots. The best pitching coaches I think are able to take the new wave and combine it with the old. I think that’s the best recipe for success.

Q. You’ve become a thorn in the Yankees side during your postseason career. Is there anything about pitching against them that causes you to elevate your performance?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No. No. I don’t think so. I’d like to say yes but I think I just have put together some good performances in the past.

Q. Just to piggyback off of the pitching coach question, with Zack Greinke coming over on the trade deadline what have you learned from him and vice versa, what do you think he’s learned from you since coming to Houston?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: You’d have to ask him what he learned from me. I think for me — the second he got here I wanted to study how he prepares himself, how he does his scouting reports, what he does in between starts, really everything. And there’s remarkably a lot of similarities is kind of what we’ve learned through our tenure in baseball. But also he looked at some different things that could help me in my scouting reports and I would think vice versa.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

“I think the other big factor about tonight was our defense. I think they made some really solid plays and that led to the W tonight.” –Masahiro Tanaka

October 12, 2019

Masahiro Tanaka

Houston, Texas – postgame 1

New York – 7, Houston – 0

Q. 67 pitches over six innings, what was the key to being so efficient?
MASAHIRO TANAKA: Just going into the game with a plan, obviously having a plan going into the game and really focusing on each pitch, executing your pitches, that’s kind of where it all comes down to. I think the other big factor about tonight was our defense. I think they made some really solid plays and that led to the W tonight.

Q. What was the plan?
MASAHIRO TANAKA: I can’t say that, sorry.

Q. Aaron said he considered sending you back out for the 7th. What would you think about coming out after 68 pitches?
MASAHIRO TANAKA: At this point in time I don’t think you really consider the number of pitches that much. For me it wasn’t much of a surprise being pulled out after the sixth inning.

Q. 1.32 career ERA for your postseason seven starts, you’ve never allowed more than two runs in any of those starts. I know you’re all about the team, but do you have an appreciation for what you’ve been doing for a few years in October?
MASAHIRO TANAKA: Yeah, obviously the number’s there and I guess I’m flattered. But the happiest thing for me is us being able to get the W. And knowing that you went out there and you gave everything you had, that’s the feeling that you’re looking for. And so that’s kind of where I’m at with that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“I mean, I just go to the home plate believing what I can do. And each opportunity I got I just believe in myself and I just like to help and be confident.” — Gleyber Torres, who had five RBIs in Game 1 of ALCS.

October 13, 2019

Gleyber Torres

Houston, Texas – postgame 1

New York – 7, Houston – 0

Q. (Question in Spanish.)
GLEYBER TORRES: (Answer in Spanish.)

Q. What do you think has been the key to your success so far this postseason and what does it mean to you to help your team so much in the playoffs?
GLEYBER TORRES: The key is just I got to — I get really good plan to go to home plate. I mean, how I can feel comfortable because I got really good guys behind me, like LV, and Gary, Stanton, those guys.

I mean, I just go to the home plate believing what I can do. And each opportunity I got I just believe in myself and I just like to help and be confident.

Q. Are you surprised at what you’ve been able to do at such a young age?
GLEYBER TORRES: I mean, not really. During my career in the minor league I prepared really well myself for every situation last year. I take all the experience and now I just put all the experience in my game. Prepare really well to be here and help my team. So now I got opportunity. I just be patient and just go to the ballpark, play hard, and try to win all the games.

Q. After having such a great game tonight how do you get yourself mentally prepared to play against Verlander tomorrow?
GLEYBER TORRES: Tonight’s play already, we won, we celebration, but we focus on tomorrow. I mean I know Verlander pitches pretty well. Always when he faced Yankees he pitched super good. So, I mean, the same for tomorrow, try to attack early, try to make some runs and try to win games. We’ve got a really good team. We believe in what we can do so we compete tomorrow.

Q. How did you feel being in a different spot in the lineup, being up in the order today, do you think that helped you or how do you think it worked out?
GLEYBER TORRES: I mean during last year and this year I hit every position. Really I think I feel comfortable. Is so great to play with the Yankees and I get the opportunity to play every day. So for me I’m just being focused, each position I just try to help and make some opportunities to me and try to help my team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

Stat of the game: Frederik Gauthier, 7-for-7 (100 percent) on faceoffs, five in the defensive zone.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (3-2-1 – 7 Points) 5

DETROIT RED WINGS (3-2-0 – 6 Points) 2

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2019

 123OTFINAL
TORONTO1135
DETROIT1012

GAME SUMMARY         |           EVENT SUMMARY        |           FACEOFF SUMMARY


ON THE SCORESHEET

  • Nick Shore put the Maple Leafs on the board at 9:57 of the first period and later had the secondary assist on Muzzin’s third period goal. Shore’s goal was his first goal and point as a Maple Leaf. Tonight’s game is his sixth career multi-point game.
  • Ilya Mikheyev scored the second Toronto goal of the night at 19:30 of the second period and later had the lone assist on Kerfoot’s third period goal. Mikheyev has two goals and three assists through the first six games of his NHL career. Tonight’s game is his second multi-point performance of the season.
  • Alex Kerfoot scored the third Maple Leafs goal of the game at 9:11 of the third period. Kerfoot has four points (2-2-4) over his last four games.
  • Jake Muzzin scored the fourth Toronto goal of the game at 13:34 of the third period. Muzzin’s goal is his first goal and third point of the season. He had five goals in 30 games with the Maple Leafs in 2018-19.
  • Trevor Moore scored the fifth Maple Leafs goal of the night into an empty net at 17:47 of the third period. Moore has three goals through the first six games of the season.
  • Dmytro Timashov registered the lone assist on Shore’s first period goal and later had the primary assist on Muzzin’s third period goal. Timashov has three assists in three games played this season. Tonight’s game is his first career multi-point and multi-assist game.
  • Kasperi Kapanen had the lone assist on Mikheyev’s second period goal. Kapanen has assists (2) in two consecutive games.
  • John Tavares had the lone assist on Moore’s empty net goal in the third period. Tavares has points (1-1-2) in two consecutive games.
  • Frederik Andersen stopped 25 shots to earn the victory. He is 8-0-1 in his career vs. Detroit.

SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
TORONTO13 (11)11 (11)17 (14)41 (36)
DETROIT9 (6)8 (6)10 (10)27 (22)
      

SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
TORONTO22 (19)26 (26)26 (22)74 (67)
DETROIT15 (11)16 (12)15 (15)46 (38)

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

  • The Maple Leafs are 2-0-0 on the road this season.
  • Toronto’s all-time record is 291-281-93-5 in 670 games against the Red Wings and 117-173-46-2 in 338 games played in Detroit.
  • Toronto is 3-1-1 against the Eastern Conference this season and 2-1-1 against the Atlantic Division.

MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS

Shots6 (Johnsson)
Shot Attempts(Johnsson)
Faceoff Wins(Tavares)
Faceoff Win Percentage100% (Gauthier – 7 won, 0 lost)
Hits(Moore, Timashov)
Blocked Shots(Ceci, Muzzin, Rielly)
Takeaways(Marner, Mikheyev, Tavares)
TOI24:53 (Rielly)
Power Play TOI3:22 (Matthews)
Shorthanded TOI1:30 (Ceci, Rielly)
Shifts31 (Muzzin)
5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage72.0% (Gauthier – 18 for, 7 against)
  

RECORD WHEN…

  • The Maple Leafs were 1-for-1 on the penalty kill and 0-for-3 on the power play tonight. Toronto is 2-1-0 when not allowing a power play goal this season and 1-1-0 when not scoring a power play goal.
  • Toronto is 2-2-1 when their opponent scores the first goal of the game.
  • The Maple Leafs are 1-1-0 when tied after one period and 3-0-1 when leading after two periods.
  • Toronto is 2-1-0 when outshooting their opponent.
  • The Maple Leafs are 1-0-1 in Saturday games.

OF NOTE…

  • Toronto forwards Frederik Gauthier and Dmytro Timashov were the lone Maple Leafs to not start a 5-on-5 shift in the offensive zone.
  • Cody Ceci was on the ice for a team-high 27 Toronto shot attempts-for at 5-on-5. Ceci finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 57.5 percent (27 for, 20 against).
  • Frederik Gauthier was 5-for-5 (100%) in the faceoff circle when taking defensive zone draws.
  • Auston Matthews won 67 percent (4 won, 2 lost) of his faceoffs when matched up with Detroit centre Jacob de la Rose.
  • Nick Shore was 4-for-5 (80%) in the faceoff circle when matched up with Detroit centre Dylan Larkin.

UPCOMING GAMES:

  • Tuesday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. vs. Minnesota Wild (TSN4, FAN 590)
  • Wednesday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. at Washington Capitals (Sportsnet, TSN 1050)
  • Saturday, October 19, 7:00 p.m. vs. Boston Bruins (Sportsnet, FAN 590)
  • Monday, October 21, 7:00 p.m. vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (Sportsnet Ontario, FAN 590)
  • Tuesday, October 22, 7:00 p.m. at Boston Bruins (TSN4, TSN 1050)

“This is my first NHL season in another country, another mentality, new system for me. I’m excited and I’m very happy every day when I come to the practice rink or Scotiabank [Arena] for the game, I’m just very happy.” –Ilya Mikheyev (1 goal, 1 assist)

MAPLE LEAFS 5, RED WINGS 2

WHAT THE LEAFS SAID:
HEAD COACH MIKE BABCOCK

On the play of the third and fourth lines tonight:

Well, they were good. I started [Gauthier] and Shore – whatever line you want to call it – in the D-zone every time and they seemed to win the draw and play in the offensive zone, so that was a good line for us. I think [Kerfoot’s] line with [Moore] and Mikheyev is getting better each and every game and they’ve been good in lots of games for us, so that was positive.

On if he could have used his fourth line the same way last season:

No. [Gauthier] is another year in the League, Shoresy is a right-hand faceoff guy and we didn’t have that. They’re just not in the same situation we were in a year ago. I thought [Timashov] had a heck of a game. He was fast, he was strong, he was physical. The goals and that stuff were bonus, but I thought he played real well.

On Timashov’s progress as the result of his time with the Marlies:

Obviously, it’s a real good league and it’s hard to be good in that league. Some guys that are good in that league don’t – it doesn’t transfer to the National Hockey League. The guys who can skate and process information, it normally transfers, and, in his case, it looks like it is.

On the team’s work ethic after the loss to Tampa Bay:

We talked about a lot about that – how hard can we work? We thought our work ethic was really good in camp, really good at the start, liked it all the way through. We didn’t like it last game but, to me, that’s got to be our calling card. If we go to work, our talent will show and you’ve got to outwork the other team. That’s the bottom line. I like our consistency and our patience in our game. Even when they scored, we didn’t get off track, we just played the next shift.

On being able to consistently trust the fourth line:

That’s what we were hoping for and trying to do. Against good players – Larkin’s line was out there and we knew they were coming, we just put them out there. You don’t know what’s going to happen. We were down 1-0 at that point and you don’t know what’s going to happen, but if the guys can do it, obviously it’s a huge deal for you. It makes you a way better hockey club and way deeper and then you can play [Tavares] and [Matthews] out in the offensive zone all the time, which is easier on them.

FREDERIK ANDERSEN (25 SAVES)

On the team fighting back after Detroit scored first:

Of course, when they strike first early on it’s a good thing we could keep going. That wasn’t the start we were looking for. Just shake it off and keep going and get back to playing our hockey.

On the team’s third and fourth lines spending a lot of time in the offensive zone:

I think we were able to sustain some good shifts down there, some good, heavy shifts, and wear their D down a little bit. I thought we did a good job of shooting the puck and getting the puck back once we did. I think the more time like that we can put wear and tear on their lines and keep them in. Especially in the second period, I thought we did a good job of that.

FREDERIK GAUTHIER (100% FACEOFF WIN PERCENTAGE)

On the play of his line tonight:

I think with the game we had last game we just tried to come out strong and have a good first period and it went well. I think chemistry worked well, getting a goal early is always nice and getting the legs under you. Then, obviously, the draws went well for me and [Shore] so we got to start with the puck which is better than chasing it all night.

On if he thought tonight was one of his better games as a Leaf:

I think we played well, I was good on the draw today and the wingers were helping.

ILYA MIKHEYEV (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On if Kapanen’s flip pass was a set play:

I saw [Kapanen] did a flip pass and I knew to just keep moving and I see the puck before me.

On if he was surprised Howard came out of the net:

I think the goalie thought it was a 50-50 and I have a chance and I did it.

On if he’s happy with the start to his NHL career:

I don’t think about this. I just work This is my first NHL season in another country, another mentality, new system for me. I’m excited and I’m very happy every day when I come to the practice rink or Scotiabank [Arena] for the game, I’m just very happy.

JAKE MUZZIN (1 GOAL)

On if he thought the team responded after last week’s results:

Yeah, obviously, we weren’t happy with the results we had last week. It just came down to working harder. I thought we came out tonight with the right attitude and we had a good start. I know they got one early, but I thought we did most of the work in the first period, we did a good job. We focused on our start and went form there and I think we did a good job for a full 60 there tonight.

On the patience shown from Timashov to set up his goal:

That’s exactly what he had – patience. Either he hits the one-timer there or looks for another play. My momentum kept me going to the net and he found me backdoor and I was lucky to get some wood on it and put it in. We’ll take it.

NICK SHORE (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)

On Timashov setting the for their tone tonight:

It was great, on that first one he did a lot of the work, got in there and got in on the forecheck. We’re at our best when we can turn pucks over behind there net. He played a great game and made it easy on us.

On scoring his first of the season:

Certainly it’s always good to see the puck go in the net but, at the same time, I think it was big for our team. We’re coming off a couple games where we didn’t play how we wanted to so we just wanted to get off to a good start.