“These guys need to understand the focus on the here and now and do the little things. That’s what’s got us here. And we’ve got to continue to do that.” — DAVE MARTINEZ.

October 24, 2019

Dave Martinez

Washington, D.C. – Workout Day

Q. So as you know, there have been a lot of managers before you here, this team has had a lot of trouble in October. Now you’re coming home as the manager of the team that’s finally here and gets to bring the World Series to Nationals Park. What does that mean to you, and has that hit you, and what do you think, from your perspective, that’s allowed you to be the guy that’s able to do that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I truly believe, first and foremost, I have to thank this organization for giving me the opportunity to actually be here. And it’s been exciting. This year, as you know, has been — had our downs. But we’re upbeat right now, playing really well.

But for me what allows me to be me is the guys in that clubhouse, really. They pulled together all year. Like I said, we had some adversity, but it built character and they believe what we’re doing is the right thing and they’re playing really well, and they’re all excited.

Q. Do you have a Game 4 starter definitively?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yes, I do. It’s Corbin.

Q. With AnIbal pitching, what kind of flexibility has that given you in terms of Patrick in the bullpen, maybe flipping those guys?
DAVE MARTINEZ: It’s been huge. And like I said, everybody talks about our big three, but AnIbal has pitched unbelievable since he came off the aisle all year long. He gives us a chance to win ball games every outing.

Game 3, to me, is no — it wasn’t a hard decision for me to say that he’s going to be our Game 3 starter. As we all know, he pitched Game 1 for us and came up huge. He’s up to it.

Like I said before, he’s got great command of all his pitches, which is a lot. Hopefully he goes out and keeps us in the ball game and we have a chance to win again.

Q. During the ALCS Zack Greinke was subject to a lot of abuse from the New York fans, so much so police were called and a couple of fans were ejected. Any concern that Greinke, who has that social disorder, is going to face a lot of hostility from the Nats fans?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I don’t know what the Nats fans are going to be like. I know they’re going to be loud. I know it’s going to be exciting here. They waited for a long time for this opportunity.

I can’t control that kind of stuff. We know that they’re going to be loud.

Q. How do you think coming back here to National League rules and playing three days in a row impacts your bullpen, your lineup with no DH, that sort of thing?
DAVE MARTINEZ: You know, obviously we’ve been a National League team so we understand what we need to do. I don’t think it really impacts our bullpen the way that they’ve been used.

So for us, it’s just, and for me and the coaching staff, we prepare like another game here in the National League with the pitcher, so we have enough guys that can pinch-hit, we have enough guys in the bullpen. We’ll see how the game goes and work the game out accordingly.

Q. As you know, last winter you guys talked with Bryce Harper when he was a free agent then he went elsewhere. You didn’t need to go outside to replace him; you had three guys ready to go in the outfield. How much easier did that make the waiting last winter and then his ultimate departure?
DAVE MARTINEZ: For me, Bryce chose to go elsewhere. But the guys we’ve had, we knew that we had the right guys to be able to step in and do the job, we really did. I mean, a healthy Adam Eaton, as you all know, you can see what he can do. We have a young center fielder in Victor Robles that’s had an opportunity to play every day this year, and has done well. And a 20-year-old that’s going to be 21 here in a day or two that’s been unbelievable.

So coming into Spring Training, we knew if these guys were healthy, they were going to be very productive.

Q. Have you figured out a birthday present yet?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I hope he gets me a birthday present.

Q. For those of us who weren’t in Houston, what was the moment like for Zimmerman in Game 1 when he hit the home run, and do you think he has another moment up his sleeve for the home fans here?
DAVE MARTINEZ: It was an incredible moment. Just imagine, we’re in Houston, we’re down, they play really well at home. We’re down 2-0. Gerrit Cole is on the mound and all of a sudden two outs and here comes Zimm and hits a bomb. I mean, literally got into one.

To be the first guy who we all consider is the captain and who’s waited a lot of years to be in this spot, this moment, for him to obviously hit that first home run for us and get us going, you should have seen our dugout. It was electric when he did that. And I’ll admit that I got teary-eyed for him.

It was an unbelievable feeling. We sat there and we had a moment together where he goes, That was incredible. And I said, Well, don’t stop now, you know, keep going. He’s swinging the bat well. He said, Oh, no, this is going to be a lot of fun. I know he was excited.

Q. At the end of the NLCS, have you had any chance to go around town, any interaction with fans, what’s that been like, have you had a chance to kind of get a sense what it means to people in the city here?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, it’s been unbelievable, it really has. As you know, I travel by scooter everywhere around. And now — before I used to wear my hat and nobody really — and now wherever I stop — as a matter of fact, sometimes people just come up and smack me on the back, Nice going, nice going, Davey. I’m like, Hey. So it’s always, Hello, great job.

But it’s been overwhelming. The fans have bought in and it’s been great. And I know apparently yesterday almost 15,000 people here watching us play. I can’t wait until tomorrow. This place — I said it before, this place gets really loud and it’s electric. So I know the boys are excited to play.

Q. I know that winners are not going to be announced for a while. Can you talk about Juan Soto and Victor Robles as Gold Glove finalists.
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, I truly believe they should win it. I told you this before, I looked at the numbers and I know Soto has played a lot better out there. When I looked at his numbers, I thought, Man, he has a really legitimate chance to win.

Kudos to them. Those two guys work unbelievably hard every day out there. And Bob Henley deserves a lot of credit for going out there and taking them out every day and making sure they get their work in.

Q. You mentioned An�bal’s resurgence after he came off the IO. What was it you saw him change or refine that allowed him to go on this run that he’s on?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We talked a lot about his mechanics, staying in his legs a little bit, being more exact, more conviction with his pitches, and staying down in the zone. But more using his legs a little bit better. And he’s been really good.

And I think it’s actually helped him. Because he’s had some hamstring issues, as we al know, and it’s kind of helped his hamstring a little bit.

Q. I know you go with the “1-0 every day” mentality. How much of a challenge is it here in the next day or two to keep this from becoming — in the city it will be you’re up 2-0, people are going to expect you to finish this off. How do you keep that from seeping in and make sure that the next couple of days are all business and not looking ahead to what could happen in the next couple of days?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We talked about this yesterday about complacency. I don’t think our guys would ever do that, but we said, Hey, we’ve still got a lot of baseball left. We’ve just got to focus on today and go home, rest and get ready to play and go 1-0 again. That’s been the message all year. We don’t try to get ahead of ourselves.

These guys need to understand the focus on the here and now and do the little things. That’s what’s got us here. And we’ve got to continue to do that.

Q. Is there anything that you and the coaches have instilled — talked yesterday about this a little bit, in the two-strike and two-out approach for the guys at the plate. Any changes in that approach throughout the course of the season?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We talked about that a lot early on in the season how — and I truly believe, and I said this yesterday, I’m not a fan of strikeouts. And I don’t like it. We talked about it and I wanted these guys to understand that putting the ball in play with two strikes, regardless if you get a hit or not is huge because anything can happen. The only thing that happens when you strike out is you put your head down, you walk to the dugout and put your bat in the bat rack. That doesn’t do anybody good.

We talk about how to become a better teammate. That’s part of it. Put the ball in play, make things happen, and as you know, we did that yesterday really well.

Q. A lot has been made this postseason about your bullpen. But do you think it benefits you guys how much of their bullpen you saw, especially yesterday?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, it definitely helps when you can get — see their bullpen. This way you know in a long series like that you know who you’re going to face, if you face them again, and what they have.

But I’m going to say something about our bullpen. Our bullpen has been criticized, but guess what, we’re in the World Series with our bullpen. A lot of those guys have stepped up. I’ve asked them to do things that they weren’t be comfortable doing, and they did it. We put guys in situations early where we knew the back end of the bullpen, we asked them to pitch the eighth and ninth inning. That’s not easy. And they did it. And at this point they’ve learned.

And whenever I give them an opportunity to pitch, for the most part now they get big outs for us. And they’re ready to take the ball whenever I ask them to.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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