“I feel like the intensity grows as we get deeper into October, just the intent and the uncertainty — the intent and certainty on the approaches and on the focus on the pitches just continues to just raise across the board. And so you have to deal with that. You have to respond to that.” — GERRIT COLE.

October 26, 2019

Gerrit Cole

Washington, D.C. – pregame 4

Q. I guess you’ve heard other pitchers, maybe you’ve been asked this before, you’re pitching against them for a second after a few days, is that any kind of big deal adjusting to them and them adjusting to you?
GERRIT COLE: No, there are always challenges that are involved in that. This being the largest stage that we can get on, certainly with the opponent being so well prepared, anticipate having to respond to some things tomorrow and hopefully we respond well.

Q. A similar version of that question, what impressed you most about their lineup top to bottom in facing them?
GERRIT COLE: I mean, they won some two-strike counts. They battled. I mean, I feel like I’ve said this a few times since we’ve been to the postseason, our opponents have not taken a pitch off.

But I feel like the intensity grows as we get deeper into October, just the intent and the uncertainty — the intent and certainty on the approaches and on the focus on the pitches just continues to just raise across the board. And so you have to deal with that. You have to respond to that.

Q. We’ve seen it in your starts like when you know it’s your last inning where you sort of empty your tank a little bit when you know you’re not going to come back out. Is there an element to that where last start of the season, you know it’s the last time you take the ball, you do some of that, that maybe you wouldn’t do normally?
GERRIT COLE: Yeah, I mean, I just — I hope I go home with nothing left in the tank. So whether it’s tomorrow is the last time I pitch or I get the opportunity to pitch another time after that, I just hope I’m just absolutely dog tired by the time I get home.

Q. You have talked in the past about your good relationship with Martin Maldonado, your good work relationship. Can you talk a little bit about how that level of confidence was built?
GERRIT COLE: I mean, I just think Maldy, specifically the weapons that he has behind the dish in terms of just how athletic he is blocking the ball and how he can throw runners out. I really think he can complement anybody’s game, but specifically he can complement my game.

I think just our catching core in general, we just have such a high level of communication, Robinson and Maldy do just a fantastic job. Maldy has had a little bit more experience with me dating back to 2018, which never hurts.

He’s just a pleasure to play with. He performs at a high level. He prepares at a high level. He’s a true professional. He’s one of the elite catchers in the game, especially defensively. And he’s just a really good human. So I just enjoy being around him.

Q. Both in Game 1 and against the Yankees in the CS, you kind of had some ill-timed walks. When you look back at those two starts, have you found any parallels about why your command has slipped a little bit in certain situations?
GERRIT COLE: Yeah, on the specific walk the last game I just kind of went to the stuff a little bit. I went to a pitch I just really didn’t have good command of on the day one too many times. And then counted on Kurt being a little aggressive, 3-2, and wasn’t able to just put pressure on me. I wanted to put pressure at the top of the zone, and I missed above the zone.

The in regards to the Yankee start, there were some scenarios where I just wasn’t quite certain with challenging over the plate. And if you’re not giving a quality delivery on the way there, you can always hit the “eject” button and move on to the next guy. And I did that a few times, I just didn’t want to flirt with fire. We were in the Bronx and we had a lead but it’s quick to get that team back in. And I just felt like, hey, maybe live to die another day a couple of times because we still were able to bring some good pitches out when we needed to.

Q. After your first start against the Nats, Juan Soto said he knew he should just sit on fastball after experiencing batting against you in Spring Training. Do you remember him batting against you in Spring Training and do you buy that?
GERRIT COLE: Well, I remember him hitting against me in Spring Training. And I would expect him to be looking for a fastball after the first at-bat.

Q. Your teammates with a couple of guys won Cy Youngs, and now you’re going opposite who has won a few tomorrow. Now that we’re into the series I wonder what your views are of the pitching talent in the series, and what it says that the pitching got this far in a season where we saw so many home runs?
GERRIT COLE: Yeah, I think it’s been tremendous. I’ve had a fun time watching the series unfold so far. I thought — it’s never fun when you’re on the losing side of it. The tenacity shown in the first game is something to be admired for sure. Strasburg, as well, in the last inning there on the ropes, needed to make some big pitches. Saw some emotion out of him. Watching him for a long time, on a personal level that was pretty cool to see. It was pretty disappointing for our team. But on a pitcher-to-pitcher level that was impressive.

And then I just think it’s ironic that AnIbal, Scherzer and JV are in the same World Series as they were when they were on the Tigers. So it’s kind of like the old dogs showing back up in the bright lights. AnIbal is always creative, always forward thinking, front door cutters, back door super changeups, curveball, spitball, I don’t know what he throws, but he throws everything.

Always fascinating to watch something like that. And then opposing Zack who has a little bit more of a traditional arsenal compared to AnIbal but equally as creative. I’ve taken a lot of pleasure in watching the guys work this series for sure.

Q. (No microphone.)
GERRIT COLE: I guess it makes me appreciate it just more because I don’t get to see it very often.

Q. Your answer to the empty the tank question suggested that you thought about maybe pitching Game 7 in relief. Do you have a memory or some vision of other starter that did that that you could see yourself playing that role in the script?
GERRIT COLE: Nothing really comes to mind. I guess what — the reason why I said that was because of the experience that this club had in the previous World Series and how JV mentioned that he had to be ready for a Game 7 and so did Dallas. And ultimately — and I think they both got hot in that game. And ultimately Charlie proved to be the one that we rode to the finish line.

So you just never know. You’re always just so inspired to get in the game and try to contribute any way you can. You just want to be prepared for a situation like that. I would just rather anticipate having my card called as opposed to not, so especially when you’re on this stage. This is a blast.

Q. The Nationals don’t strike out a ton relative to the rest of the League. I wonder, does that stand out to you when you study them and does it have an impact on how you approach this lineup compared to others?
GERRIT COLE: Well, I wouldn’t expect the worst strikeout team to be in the World Series, you know what I’m saying? So I expect them to be good and they are really good.

They’re also a National League club. Playing in the National League for a while, like it is a little bit different style of hitting, especially navigating the bottom half of the order, trying to work around the pitcher.

So I think both of those things kind of lead you to the point where it’s like you may not be facing a team that has a propensity to strikeout 13 or 14 times a game.

But as far as your game plan, like my game plan isn’t to go in and strike out 13 to 14 guys a game. My game plan is just to try to execute the pitches. And if I execute them at a high level and I pick the right ones at the right times, my stuff allows me to get swing and miss. If you’re a team that doesn’t do that then maybe you just swing and miss less.

It doesn’t really affect my approach about how I need to go about executing my pitches or how I need to go about picking what sequences I go with. Once the ball is out of my hand it’s kind of out of my control whether they strike out or not. But I’m looking to get as many outs as I can. And I’m looking to put the ball in position to give me the best opportunity to get it out.

Q. Any thoughts that this could be your last start as a member of the Astros? And what’s it like to be on a team that’s made the World Series two or three times?
GERRIT COLE: No.

It’s been a blast since I’ve been here. I wasn’t on the team in ’17 and I’m not thinking about anything past the next few days.

Q. I asked Max this earlier, because tomorrow it will be NL rules and you’ll have to bat at least once. Is that something that you enjoy facing off against a fellow starting pitcher when you’re pitching to him or he’s pitching to you? And the second part of the question is do you feel at any kind of disadvantage because you didn’t have a lot of reps as an AL pitcher?
GERRIT COLE: I think the second part of your question is pretty understood. Just in general, when American League teams come into National League parks, there’s an inherent disadvantage unless you trade for Zack Greinke, and then maybe you have a little bit of an edge there.

In regards to hitting against Max Scherzer, I think I fall in line with pretty much everyone else that it’s probably not the most enjoyable experience of all time (laughter).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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“If you’re too aggressive or you’re too — you make too many decisions very soon then you could run out of pitching, and I don’t think anybody wants to see a position player pitch in the World Series.” — AJ HINCH.

October 26, 2019

AJ Hinch

Washington, D.C. – pregame 4

Q. We’ve seen when Urquidy has pitched his change-up has been key for him. That pitch specifically, how crucial is it and how have you seen it develop?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, it’s a big pitch for him and it’s a big pitch for a lot of pitchers. When you can control rhythm and timing and disrupt it for the hitter, it’s all the better. And especially if you haven’t seen a guy, our hope is that a lot of these guys they haven’t seen him. And that front-to-back game that you can play with the change-up is really critical. He’s got a good arm. His velocity has been on the higher side while he’s been with us recently. And that ability to slow the game down with an off-speed pitch, we see it effective across the board in the playoffs. The different type of weapon that can be.

He can control it for a strike, he can get some chases out of it. Guys don’t generally center it up. We’re hoping for much of the same moving forward.

Q. Urquidy had basically two separate stints for you during the regular season. How did he evolve between those two stints?
AJ HINCH: He went down — it’s ironic because when he got called up, we asked him to debut at Coors Field. That’s kind of an unfair assignment. And he handled that well emotionally. We didn’t know if he was going to be a spot starter. We wanted to get him up there for a couple starts, but we weren’t sure it going to be long-term, was he going to stay in a rotation. And then he showed flashes of yes, he was going to be that guy and then some struggles that no, he wasn’t.

When we sent him back down, it was really just sort of a gap in time where we needed to work on a few things. The strike throwing, we needed him to continue to evolve with that. He got beat up little bit, and had one blowup game in Triple-A that was unlike him. He had a lot of homers and a lot of hits. And maybe took our advice to be in the strike zone a little bit too much.

Then when he came back, I noticed that that didn’t really change him. That didn’t shy him away from the strike zone, it didn’t derail his confidence. He was able to handle the moment.

So I think he’s learned a lot being around our pitching staff, our pitching program. It’s like one of those things, he pitches up to the level when he comes to the big leagues and he can be creative and he can throw different pitches.

But emotionally he’s evolved to being a very, very confident, very calm, very poised pitcher. And I noticed that during the Division Series in Tampa. We asked him to do something he had rarely done; come out of the bullpen, middle of an inning, kind of the high stakes of postseason baseball, and he was up for the challenge.

And then go to the Yankees game, which he was huge. I was going into the game maybe using him, maybe not using him. Ended up using him as the bridge in the middle of the game. And despite the pressure and the atmosphere at Minute Maid and the Yankees being the team across the way, he continued to stay poised, continued to get swing and misses.

Q. In a game where you’re expecting to use several pitchers, how much does that increase the decision making and reduce the margin of error, especially on a stage like this one?
AJ HINCH: Well, I go into every postseason game sort of expecting to use a lot. I know we’re lucky to have JV and Cole specifically, who kind of get me to realize these guys can get to seven or eight innings. That’s rare, though.

And so I’m not sure it’s too dissimilar today. I would love for Urquidy to go five, six innings, whatever he can do. And maybe we don’t have to use as many pitchers.

I think the game in itself, I’m still going to trust myself to read the game. I’m still going to utilize as many guys as we need to. The fear of using so many predetermined pitchers is going to be the back end of the game.

We had this the last bullpen game we had — and I don’t even know if I want to call this a bullpen game because Urquidy is a starter. But the last bullpen game we had the Yankees tied the game up in the last inning and we stared down at the bullpen and I got two pitchers, both relievers; one was Rondon, a veteran pitcher who’s generally a one-inning pitcher, and Abreu, who’s had nine or ten career innings in the big leagues.

If you’re too aggressive or you’re too — you make too many decisions very soon then you could run out of pitching, and I don’t think anybody wants to see a position player pitch in the World Series.

Q. How do you determine when it’s right to go with the starter, a really good starter, on three days’ rest and maybe get a compromised version of him versus letting him pitch on regular rest? You did it with Verlander and that didn’t really work out. Some teams do, some don’t.
AJ HINCH: That’s tough because the minute you decide to go a guy on three days’ rest, you get bombarded with information on how it’s a bad idea. Just over time it has not proven to be an effective philosophy.

Now, I say that, saying my first ever playoff game I ever managed was Dallas Keuchel on three days’ rest. And he was exceptional getting through six innings at Yankee Stadium, and we beat the Yankees.

And we know the stories, the Bumgarners and Randy Johnsons and historic performances that came on short rest, that it’s possible. But you have to know your personnel. You have to know where you’re at in the series, you have to know what your backup plan is.

Specifically for the Verlander decision in the DS, Gerrit Cole as a backup plan in Game 5 was not the worse-case scenario for us. We had a positive fallback option. When I used JV on short rest in 2017 in Boston, in the series against them, we had Dallas Keuchel as a backup plan.

What’s different is once you start that in a seven-game series you can’t stop. In reference to Gerrit Cole today, if we started Gerrit Cole today, then what are you going to do tomorrow in a Game 5? It’s easy, let’s start JV. Now I’ve got two back-to-back three-day starts, and then we have a day off, which everybody assumes recharges everybody’s battery to full. I’m going to tell you it does not; it’s just one day. Now you have a Game 6.

So the series length often dictates whether or not you feel comfortable putting a guy on three days’ rest.

I like the idea when it works. I hate it when it doesn’t. And I don’t get to know on the front end.

Q. Some thoughts on going with Jake today?
AJ HINCH: Marisnick? Jake is an impact defender, he’s got some base running skills that we can utilize hitting in front of the pitcher. He’s got a little bit of history with Corbin, having done pretty well with him.

I love his energy. In this ballpark, watching for a game, you should see all the action that’s in the outfield. We talked about it with Alvarez versus Reddick yesterday. Reddick makes a great defensive play down the right field line, gets a base hit. All the plays that Soto and Brantley had to deal with in a tricky left field.

Having Jake in the center kind of realigns our outfield to being very, very strong up the middle. George goes to right, I’ll have Brantley in left.

Obviously if we can take the lead today, that would be our optimal defense out there with Jake in center field anyway, as I showed when I put him in the game at the end of the game yesterday.

Q. Is there any way that Verlander would be an option in the bullpen tonight?
AJ HINCH: No, Justin won’t pitch unless we go extra innings, and then all bets are off.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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“One of my favourite things to do on the bench is always talk about base running with all the guys. I personally hold myself just as accountable as all the other position players, that if I make a mistake on the bases, it’s inexcusable, just like I feel it’s inexcusable for them to make mistakes on the base paths.” –MAX SCHERZER.

October 26, 2019

Max Scherzer

Washington, D.C. – pregame 4

Q. Back in the day, and it was a long time ago, starting pitcher would go Games 1, 4, and 7. Is that past? Will it ever happen again and why not?
MAX SCHERZER: If I remember correctly, didn’t Corey Kluber do that? So I guess it’s still possible.

Q. It seems like the questioning when it comes to facing the same team twice within a series, it always seems to suggest that the advantage goes to the hitters for seeing the pitcher again. What have you personally learned about how to adjust seeing a team multiple times within a series?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, I mean, it’s just going to be a challenge. I think the only advantage of this is that I don’t face the Houston Astros that much. In the National League that kind of happens a little bit more once you start getting ten at-bats then I think that kind of equals out and maybe a hitter gets a little bit more advance because they understand what you’re going to do to them.

I still feel that I could execute better and give their hitters just a little bit different look even though they did get to see me pitch against them and what it looks like.

No matter what, it’s always going to be a battle.

Q. Davey just sort of said Kurt’s status is up in the air right now. Can you describe his importance for what you do, preparation-wise in sort of the run you’ve gone on?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, I mean, we’ve worked really well together, just being in sync of what pitch to throw and even in big situations. But I’ve also worked with Yan this year several times. Even when Zuke was down there in September, there was a handful of games where I was throwing to Yan.

And so we do have a rapport with each other, we do understand what’s going on. And Yan is very astute to the game of being able to watch what’s going on and how I sequence guys and what we want to do. He’s catching tonight so he’s going to be able to see whatever is going on, get his feet wet.

I feel comfortable throwing to Yan, as well.

Q. Obviously they’re so good at laying off pitches off the plate. After your last start you said you couldn’t afford taking a chance of leaving something over the plate. Facing them again, can you stick with that or at some point do you have to figure out a way to throw more effective strikes over the plate and hope for the best?
MAX SCHERZER: The game will dictate that. The scoreboard will dictate.

That. You’ve got to just get into the flow of the game, and understand where everything’s at, where you’re at in the lineup, who’s up, score of the game, inning, pitch count, you name it. That all just goes into the same thing. You just have to have your instincts out there and work with the catcher and just figure out what you want to do.

Q. Obviously it’s very clear how a starter can set a tone for a team on the day he pitches. I wonder how you’ve learned through the years to set a tone on the days you don’t pitch for the team, and whether or not it’s possible for a starter who we all know leads the rotation, to cut across the aisle and lead the clubhouse?
MAX SCHERZER: I think it’s just having fun and setting the tone that you’re accountable for everything you do in between your starts, as well. Grinding just as hard as you possibly can to put yourself in position to be able to go out there and when it is your day, to pitch as well as you can. But in order to pitch as well as you can, it takes the other four days to be able to do that.

And just being on the bench, being in the game, locked into every situation. One of my favorite things to do on the bench is always talk about base running with all the guys. I personally hold myself just as accountable as all the other position players, that if I make a mistake on the bases, it’s inexcusable, just like I feel it’s inexcusable for them to make mistakes on the base paths.

So for me, I’m always trying to read different situations, how would you run the bases in this situation. And actually, really, Dozier is really my favorite guy to talk to about that. He’s come up with some different scenarios where I never even thought about where you can take an extra base.

So that’s what makes it fun being on the bench with those guys.

Q. When you guys went out and got Patrick Corbin, were you thinking he was a guy this team was going to pursue, and what have you learned about him as a pitcher that makes him so effective?
MAX SCHERZER: Well, yeah, obviously talking to our front office after the season of the areas they wanted to address, obviously they wanted to address starting pitcher. I didn’t know which facet, where they were going to go after. And obviously the reports were coming out that we were in heavy pursuit of Patrick.

What I’ve learned about him as a pitcher, he just has a really, really, really good feel for teasing the zone with his sinker and his slider. You can be looking for either and his slider is just so — just watching it for this whole year, it’s just very, very deceptive. And he knows how to locate it and throw it kind of different ways that makes you chase it, that you just think that it’s a fastball and then you’re just swinging at something that’s a slider.

So he does a really good job of controlling the edges of the plate, whether it’s a lefty or righty, and that’s what makes him so difficult to hit against.

Q. Are you still at all managing the issues that kept you on the IL during the season or do you feel like it’s completely flushed?
MAX SCHERZER: The back issues?

Q. Yes.
MAX SCHERZER: The back issues are fine. All those back issues I have to really address in the offseason of how I’m going to train and everything. So I’ve been dreaming up different things I might be doing this December and January to really address that.

Q. It’s going to be you and Gerrit Cole round 2 tomorrow but this time with NL rules. I wonder if you think it is a benefit that the AL pitcher, Cole, in this case, coming in, didn’t really bat much this year. I know he batted in Pittsburgh. Does that sort of present you a benefit at all because it’s your home turf, and is that something you kind of enjoy at all pitching to a fellow starting pitcher?
MAX SCHERZER: The fact that he played in the NL for quite a while, so he understands the preparation it takes to be an NL pitcher. But pitching in the AL a bunch, the NL pitcher does have a slight advantage. But then again, we are pretty crappy hitters (laughter). So I don’t think it’s that big of an advantage.

Q. He has a couple of home runs.
MAX SCHERZER: That’s pretty good.

Q. (No microphone.)
MAX SCHERZER: It’s just a competitive part of the game. When you get in the box you want to contribute offensively, whether it’s getting a bunt down or moving a runner or just trying to find a way to get on base.

I love the hitting aspect of the game. I love that I get to hit. It adds to what I have to do in between starts, changes in my mind what I have to physically do to be ready to be able to go out there to not only pitch but also be able to hit and run the bases. You have to be ready for that. And so you have to physically train for that.

Q. At this point in your career with all the experience you’ve had in postseason baseball, what is the balance between the mental and the physical preparation at this time of year? Do you do anything less physically than you would do normally between starts to keep your legs fresh or do you want to just stay as sharp as possible?
MAX SCHERZER: It’s a delicate balance. Really, you’ve got to let your body talk to you, let your body tell you what you need to do. Some days you need to be able to run more, some days lift more. Your body is going to tell you what you need to do. So you’ve just got to be in tune with where you’re at.

Every year is a little different. Especially now here I am 35 years old, it’s a little different than I felt at 25 years old.

For me it is what it is. You’ve just got — there’s still times where I’m lifting just as heavy, if not heavier, than I did earlier in my career, but there might be days I might not run as much. For me it’s about knowing what my program is, knowing what I have to physically do to get ready and just come up with a plan each and every day.

Q. I was hoping if you can please talk about what Dave Martinez has meant to you guys this year to get to this point, especially his positivity, sometimes that mantra about 1-0 gets a little…
MAX SCHERZER: 1-0, I think goes back, I think that’s everybody. It’s something that he lives and dies by.

But Davey and our coaching staff, I think they all deserve so much credit. And so with Davey spearheading this and understanding — pushing all the right buttons and finding ways to get creative and being a real good communicator with everything to be able to handle the pitching staff, the hitters, the bullpen, and being in constant communication with them.

So for me, my relationship with him is really unique in the fact that — I won’t say I have a lot of say, but that he listens to different things that I bring to him and different ideas of how I want to almost kind of manage myself so that when we get in different situations in tight ball games that he’s not shocked by whatever decision that we both make.

Q. Who knows what’s going to happen tonight but this is the only chance we have to visit with you. Have you thought at all about the scenario that, I may have a chance to get the start in the clinching game for the World Series at home?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, you’re human. But, no, because I played enough baseball in this game and anything can happen. So at this point in time you literally just live and breathe each and every day. At this point in time it’s just one day at a time. You really — that’s a cliche, but man, is that so true that for us — for me, it’s just coming here and watching Game 4, watching to see what happens and just react to that. And then when it’s Game 5 just, hey, stay in the moment, understand what you’re doing, feel the game flow, use your instincts and just pitch.

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“We left a lot of runners stranded yesterday. We need to be aggressive, but aggressive in the strike zone. We chased a lot of balls outside the strike zone yesterday. And I don’t mind our guys being aggressive, but I want them to be aggressive in the strike zone today.” — DAVE MARTINEZ.

October 26, 2019

Dave Martinez

Washington, D.C. – pregame 4

Q. How is Kurt doing and what’s his availability like?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He had an MRI this afternoon and I wait on the doctor to see what the results were. He says he feels okay. But until we see those results, we’ll know more after.

Q. What kind of balance do you have to make with the World Series of deciding to keep him on the roster or not? How fine a line is that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: That’s something we’re going to talk about with him and the doctor and Paul Lessard and see where we’re at. Obviously we need a backup catcher. If he’s not going to be able to play for a few days, we’re going to have to do something else.

Q. What adjustments are you guys planning on making from yesterday’s game to today’s game to try to take home and make the series 3-1?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We need to — we left a lot of runners stranded yesterday. We need to be aggressive, but aggressive in the strike zone. We chased a lot of balls outside the strike zone yesterday. And I don’t mind our guys being aggressive, but I want them to be aggressive in the strike zone today.

We were one or two big hits away from blowing that game open, so hopefully we get those today.

Q. With Max last time, they obviously are disciplined in laying off stuff that doesn’t end up being a strike. Does he have to let his stuff play in the zone a little bit more because they’re pretty good at laying off stuff?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, when we talked about this coming into the series, that they don’t chase. So we’ve got to attack the strike zone, we really do, and let them make good pitches. They’re going to swing, as well. If the ball is over the plate, they’ll swing. But we’ve got to stay in the strike zone, especially early in the count, and get ahead.

Q. Back to Kurt, if you get to a point tonight and you have to decide something and there’s a question of maybe he’s available tomorrow but you’re not entirely sure, would you be willing to go into a game tonight not knowing that or do you need to know by tonight that he is good to go?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, that’s going to be, like I said, I want a definitive today. I mean, we have to. So if we deem that he can’t be ready for a couple of days then we’re going to have to do something. If he’s just borderline — but we’ll see.

The last I spoke to him, he doesn’t feel as bad as he did yesterday. So that’s a good sign. But until I actually hear from the doctor and Paul and see what the results were, I can’t say at this point how long he’s going to be out.

Q. What is the biggest challenge of facing Urquidy today in a possible bullpen game?
DAVE MARTINEZ: One, we haven’t seen him. This is the first time we’re going to see him. And when you face a guy for the first time, like I said, I like for our guys to be aggressive. We’ve got a bunch of aggressive hitters, but we’ve got to get the ball in the strike zone and we’ve got to see pitches.

I think we want to get off early. I tell these guys all the time, Hey, scoring first in these big games like this, it’s important. But let’s get the ball in the strike zone, let them work a little bit, and we’ll go from there and see how he does.

Q. You don’t want to lose any of these games but last night you didn’t have to use your A bullpen. And you did get some good innings from guys that hadn’t pitched in a while. Is there kind of a double good part to that in that you’ve got Doo and Hudson fresh and you learned something about Ross and those other guys?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Absolutely. Those guys came in, we talked about this last night. They did a great job, they really did, from Rodney to Ross, all of them. They all came in and did. The fact we didn’t have to use Doo or Huddie, even though we were prepared to, they’re fresh today.

But I liked what Joe did. And Rodney has had two really good appearances for us. I like him. And even Suero came in and threw the ball really well.

We’re in a good position. My concern, obviously, is Pat, hopefully Pat could keep us in the game and go deep in the game, and our bullpen will be ready to go.

Q. Last night with a guy that lives at the bottom of the zone and for a team like Houston that doesn’t chase a lot, how do you work the umpires in a situation like that knowing you have to have the bottom of the zone for a guy like S�nchez to be effective and maybe for Corbin tonight?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, for me, S�nchie did a really good job of actually staying in the moment. Some of those calls he thought were questionable, but he didn’t let them affect him. So he pitched well.

But sometimes you need those pitches. He knows that. But he pitched through it, and I thought he did really well and I thought he handled himself really well.

Q. When you guys got Corbin you already had two aces and obviously you stepped out to get another one. What was the importance of doing that? What was like the thought process behind extending yourselves to get a guy like that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, one, he was left-handed and that helped a lot. But to get a guy like — he’s put together some pretty good years in the past. To bring another guy there that we did our due diligence and our background on what kind of person he was and what he meant to his organization, Arizona, and he fit.

But that being said he’s been everything as advertised. He’s been unbelievable. He competes every day. He wants to go in. All he wants to do is win. He’s kind of a quiet guy, another one of those guys that don’t really have much of a heartbeat until he’s out on the mound and then he gets fired up.

Man, he’s done unbelievable for us this year and he’s continued throughout the postseason. Here’s a guy I asked to pitch out of the bullpen, with no questions asked said, I’ll do whatever it takes for the team. That’s who he is.

Q. When you guys are potentially going to face five, six different arms in a bullpen-type game, do you have to guard against giving too much information to hitters, in terms of scouting reports or do you mostly go with the starter and let them look at the relievers themselves? How do you approach that from a pregame preparation standpoint?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, we’ve got to recognize the guy we’re facing first and, like I said, try to score early on him and then go from there.

For the most part we faced these guys already in the first three games, so I think they know what to expect. So we’ve just got to go out there and work good at-bats. And we typically are good about doing that. We’ve just got to go out there and, like I said, play our game.

Q. Max is going to get to navigate this lineup again tomorrow, obviously that was a pretty good cat-and-mouse game the first time around. What do you expect from the mental approach and cerebral side of Max that going into this might work out pretty well for him?
DAVE MARTINEZ: After the first game, he’s already sat down and kind of mapped out his game plan for his next game. So as you know Max, he’s all in. He’s got a plan. Hopefully Suzuki can catch him. If not, then Gomes does a great job with him as well, and he’s caught it before. They’ll have a plan going into tomorrow.

Q. Last night down 4-1 the fans are basically out of the game. All of a sudden you bring power off the bench and everybody standing and cheering and doing the shark thing. Were those things you thought about when you thought about who was your first pinch-hitter?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Honestly this particular time, no. I really wanted him to get on base (laughter).

It’s awesome, you know? What’s funny is that as everything was going, we were in the moment, I look in the other dugout and I can see those guys over there laughing. And everybody is doing — I was waiting to catch one guy in their dugout trying to do the Parra shark. I didn’t see it, though.

Q. Last night was a rather lengthy nine-inning game. Is there anything you think should or could be done about having four-hour games like that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: You know what, we’re in the World Series. I mean — I know a lot of it has to do with TV, commercials, and things of that nature. We’ve got a three-minute in between — three-minute in between innings time. So it is what it is.

Unfortunately, I said this before, I can’t drink caffeine anymore, but a couple cups of coffee would have done wonders for me during the game yesterday.

Q. You guys had trouble at times early in this season with bullpen games. Does being in a series like this, seeing the relievers, does that change the dynamics for you, when you think about preparing for this?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah. Like I said, we’ve seen these guys for the most part for three games now. Getting a chance to actually see them and face them, it helps a lot.

So I’m assuming today we’ll be a little better off knowing what to expect when these guys come in.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

WORLD SERIES GAME 4: LINEUPS. “(Kurt Suzuki) had an MRI this afternoon and I wait on the doctor to see what the results were. He says he feels okay. But until we see those results, we’ll know more after.” — DAVE MARTINEZ.

” I’m living the dream. I know this is a big opportunity for me. It’s a big year for me. And I’m going to do my best every outing and enjoy the time.” –JOSE URQUIDY.

October 25, 2019

Jose Urquidy

Washington, D.C. – postgame 3

Houston 4, Washington 1

Q. When did you learn that you were going to start tomorrow’s game?
JOSE URQUIDY: Just right now the manager told me that I’m going to have the ball tomorrow.

Q. After this game, the game ending?
JOSE URQUIDY: Yes.

Q. AJ said there’s not really going to be a set plan. You’re going to be a starter. What’s it mean to you, your rookie year, to take the mound as a starter in the World Series?
JOSE URQUIDY: Obviously very happy. Very few Mexicans have had this opportunity and for me to be in this position I’m obviously very happy about that and will try to take advantage of it as much as possible.

Q. What have you learned about the Nationals lineup watching them these first three games?
JOSE URQUIDY: They are very good hitters. They attack very good the zone. I will try to do my best with all my stuff pitch by pitch.

Q. Now that you’re starting the game what’s your mindset going into tomorrow for Game 4 of the World Series?
JOSE URQUIDY: I’m going to be focused about what I’m going to learned in these two games about what I was going to throw. And I’m ready to compete tomorrow.

Q. When you think back to where your year started and you were in Big League Spring Training and here you are now about to start in the World Series, can you describe what you think about the season you’ve put together this year?
JOSE URQUIDY: I’m living the dream. I know this is a big opportunity for me. It’s a big year for me. And I’m going to do my best every outing and enjoy the time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

LEAFS PREGAME NOTES: “Mitch Marner is tied for fourth among NHLers in assists (11) and is tied for sixth among NHL skaters in power play points (2-4-6). His eight primary assists are tied for the fourth-most in the NHL. He ranks second in the NHL in takeaways (16).”

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (6-4-2 – 14 Points) vs.

MONTREAL CANADIENS (4-4-2 – 10 Points)

OCTOBER 26, 2019 ▪ 7:00 PM EST

BELL CENTRE (MONTREAL, QC) ▪
TV: SPORTSNET/HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA ▪

RADIO: TSN 1050

MAPLE LEAFS HISTORY versus MONTREAL

ALL-TIME RECORD:300-341-88-16 (745 Games)
ALL-TIME ON THE ROAD:110-213-43-6 (372 Games)
2019-20:0-0-1
LAST FIVE:3-0-2
LAST 10:7-0-3

MAPLE LEAFS CAREER LEADERS versus MONTREAL

GAMES PLAYED:Jason Spezza (64), John Tavares (34), Cody Ceci (25), Morgan Rielly (25)
GOALS:Jason Spezza (32), John Tavares (13), Auston Matthews (12)
ASSISTS:Jason Spezza (37), John Tavares (16), Mitch Marner (11), Morgan Rielly (11)
POINTS:Jason Spezza (69), John Tavares (29), Auston Matthews (16)
PENALTY MINUTES:Jason Spezza (35), John Tavares (18), Frederik Gauthier (15)

MAPLE LEAFS – CANADIENS TEAM STATS

 TORONTOMONTREAL
GOALS FOR (Rank):44 (2nd)35 (t-7th)
GOALS AGAINST (Rank):       39 (t-28th)33 (19th)
POWER PLAY [%] (Rank):8/37 [21.6%] (12th)9/36 [25.0%] (t-7th)
PENALTY KILL [%] (Rank):31/39 [79.5%] (t-17th)23/34 [67.6%] (30th)
SHOTS (Rank):393 (t-2nd)340 (12th)
5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPTS FOR (Rank):526 (1st)404 (13th)
5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT % (Rank):53.3% (5th)53.4% (4th)
FACEOFF % (Rank):52.9% (5th)47.0% (27th)

MAPLE LEAFS – CANADIENS NOTES

FIRST MATCHUP BETWEEN CLUBS:Dec. 26, 1917 (Toronto Arenas 7, Montreal 5)
ALL-TIME RECORD:300-341-88-16 (745 Games)
ALL-TIME RECORD AT HOME:190-128-45-10 (373 Games)
ALL-TIME RECORD ON THE ROAD:110-213-43-6 (372 Games)
LAST WIN VS. OPPONENT ON THE ROAD:Feb. 9, 2019 (Toronto 4, Montreal 3 OT)

MAPLE LEAFS MILESTONES vs. CANADIENS

Tyson Barrie200th career NHL game (Nov. 14, 2017 (COL) at MTL)
Zach Hyman100th NHL point (Feb. 23, 2019 vs. MTL)
Andreas JohnssonFirst career NHL goal (March 17, 2018 vs. MTL)
Alex KerfootFirst goal as a Maple Leaf (Oct. 5, 2019 vs. MTL)
Martin MarincinFirst game as a Maple Leaf (Oct. 7, 2015 vs. MTL)
Mitch Marner200th career NHL point (Feb. 23, 2019 vs. MTL)
Morgan Rielly200th career NHL game (Jan. 23, 2016 vs. MTL)
Jason Spezza1,000th career NHL game (Oct. 30, 2018 at MTL)
John TavaresFirst game as a Maple Leaf (Oct. 3, 2018 vs. MTL)
First goal as a Maple Leaf (Oct. 3, 2018 vs. MTL)

MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS

CATEGORYLEADER
GOALS(Matthews)
ASSISTS11 (Marner)
POINTS14 (Marner)
POWER PLAY POINTS(Marner)
SHORTHANDED POINTS(Kapanen)
PIMs12 (Johnsson)
SHOTS49 (Matthews)
FACEOFF WIN%59.7% (Shore)
5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT %62.5% (Petan)
BLOCKED SHOTS25 (Ceci)
TAKEAWAYS16 (Marner)
HITS26 (Moore)
TOI PER GAME25:06 (Rielly)
PP TOI PER GAME3:08 (Rielly)
SH TOI PER GAME3:24 (Ceci)

MAPLE LEAFS NOTABLES

–      Frederik Andersen has made 12 career appearances against Montreal and has posted a 7-3-2 record with a 2.57 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. 

–      Tyson Barrie is one of two NHL skaters (Jake Muzzin) to have been on the ice for over 200 shot attempts for at 5-on-5 (211). His 30 shots on goal are tied for the 11th-most among NHL defencemen.

–      Cody Ceci is tied for ninth in the NHL in blocked shots (25). He is fifth among NHL skaters in shorthanded time on ice (40:44).

–      Frederik Gauthier has started 6.3 percent of his 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone, which is the second-lowest mark among NHL centres who have appeared in multiple games behind teammate Nick Shore.

–      Michael Hutchinson has made 93 saves at even-strength this season, which is the fourth-most among goaltenders who have appeared in four or fewer games. 

–      Andreas Johnsson has five points (3-2-5) in six career games against Montreal, which is his highest point total against a single opponent.

–      Kasperi Kapanen is one of three NHL right wingers (Rickard Rakell, Reilly Smith) to have recorded multiple shorthanded points this season. He is the only NHL right winger to have multiple shorthanded goals.  

–      Alex Kerfoot has four points (2-2-4) in five career games against Montreal. The Maple Leafs have a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 54.0 percent when leading with Kerfoot on the ice, which is the highest percentage among Toronto centres who have appeared in each game this season.  

–      Mitch Marner is tied for fourth among NHLers in assists (11) and is tied for sixth among NHL skaters in power play points (2-4-6). His eight primary assists are tied for the fourth-most in the NHL. He ranks second in the NHL in takeaways (16).

–      Auston Matthews is tied for second in the NHL in goals (9) and is tied for the NHL lead in even-strength goals (7) through 12 games in 2019-20. He is tied for second among NHL skaters in shots on goal (49). He has won 58.6 percent (65 won, 46 lost) of his even-strength faceoffs.

–      Ilya Mikheyev is tied for second in points among rookie skaters (4-5-9). He leads all rookies in shorthanded ice time (30:24) and shots on goal (30).

–      Trevor Moore leads NHL rookies in hits (26) and is tied for seventh among NHL rookies in takeaways (6). He is one of four rookies with over 20 shots on goal (21).

–      Jake Muzzin is averaging 30.2 shifts per game, which is the highest average among all NHL skaters. He has been on the ice for the most 5-on-5 shot attempts-for among all NHL skaters (229).    

–      William Nylander has taken his shots from an average distance of 23.6 feet from goal, which is the ninth-closest mark among NHL skaters who have recorded at least 25 shots on goal (27). 

–      Morgan Rielly is tied for second among NHL defencemen in points (3-9-12). His 25:06 time on ice per game average is the eighth-highest mark in the NHL He is tied for second in the NHL in shifts per game (29.9).

–      Nick Shore has the fourth-highest defensive zone faceoff win percentage (60.9% – 39 won, 25 lost) among NHL skaters who have won at least 30 defensive zone draws.

CURRENT POINT STREAKS

William NylanderHas points (1-2-3) in three consecutive games.

RECENT MILESTONES

Frederik Andersen200th game as a Maple Leaf (Oct 21 vs. CBJ)
Kevin GravelFirst game as a Maple Leaf (Oct. 22 at BOS)
Dmytro TimashovFirst career NHL goal (Oct. 19 vs. BOS)

UPCOMING MILESTONES

Tyson BarrieFour games from 500 NHL games played.
Michael HutchinsonFour wins from 50 career NHL wins.
Auston MatthewsThree assists from 100 career NHL assists.

INJURY REPORT

Travis Dermott (Shoulder)On injured reserve.
Zach Hyman (Knee)On injured reserve.
John Tavares (Finger)Sustained broken finger on Oct. 16 at WSH.
 Man Games Lost: 28

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

None 

“(Suzuki) felt something when he went to block that ball in his hip flexor. We don’t know the severity of it yet. We’ll know more tomorrow. But it is his right hip flexor. His strength was good but we’ll see. I don’t know if he’s going to get an MRI, I haven’t talked to Paul yet or not about it. But we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.” –DAVE MARTINEZ.

October 25, 2019

Dave Martinez

Washington, D.C. – postgame 3

Houston 4, Washington 1

Q. You guys are so good with runners in scoring position, tonight 0-10. Did you see anything common in those at-bats?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Tonight we were a little bit aggressive outside the strike zone. We took balls I thought we should hit, uncharacteristic of what we’ve been doing. Greinke got out of some jams, got opportunities early. We couldn’t capitalize.

So let’s get some rest and come back tomorrow and do it again.

Q. Can you take us through your thinking in the fourth inning, you had a chance to hit for Sanchez with Robles on third. Did you think seriously that early in the game?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I seriously thought about it, yeah. But you know what, I like the way Sanchez was pitching, he’s only had 60 pitches. I thought the way things were going, like I said, we put the ball in play, just couldn’t put the ball in play with runners in scoring position.

I thought 2-1 the game was still fairly close. Like I say, I liked the way Sanchez was pitching at that point.

Q. Rendon and Soto both made some outs on the first pitch, guys in scoring position. Was that to be aggressive against Greinke or did something just present itself?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Like I said, we want to be aggressive in the strike zone. That’s our goal. Get ready to hit, especially guys in scoring position. It just didn’t happen tonight.

Q. When you were thinking about the bullpen coming into today, was there actually a realistic chance you might have gone to Max Scherzer and how close would it have to be for you to go with Hudson and Doolittle?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We got Hudson up a couple of times. We may get within two, I’d probably keep the game right there with Huddie or Doo or something.

But I’m really proud of the way the bullpen came out today and pitched. Joe was outstanding, Suero was really good. These guys came in and got some — Rodney came in and got out of a jam for us. They pitched well.

Q. There’s been a lot of happiness and hoopla around town surrounding this game. Sometimes on opening day teams don’t play quite like they usually do. Did you have a sense that your team was caught up in the day today?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I truly believe — we had opportunities today. We’ve been doing really well, driving in runs with men in scoring position; it just didn’t happen today. So we’ll come back tomorrow.

I will say this, though, the fans were awesome. I mean, it was electric. The boys in the dugout, they were fired up, they were. I’ll relay a message to the fans: Bring it again tomorrow. It was great. I loved it.

Q. The Astros stole four bases tonight, they weren’t just relying on the home run to score, they were hitting doubles. They were a little more aggressive compared to Game 2. Did you see a slightly different team, maybe the team you expected to see in the series tonight?
DAVE MARTINEZ: If I had to pick one weakness from Anibal, it’s hold the runners on. And we knew that. We tried different things. But he gets so focused on getting hitters out that sometimes he gets a little long.

So we knew that coming in and we knew they were going to try to steal some bases; they did that tonight. We just have to be aware.

Q. Obviously you won the first two games. How much easier would this series be if you didn’t have to get through Jose Altuve?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He’s pretty good. He’s one of the best. I love the way he plays the game, I really do. He goes in there, he’s going to battle. I thought we made pretty good pitches against him today, and he just hits. But that’s why he’s one of the best hitters in the game.

Q. How is Kurt and what’s your concern level with him?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He felt something when he went to block that ball in his hip flexor. We don’t know the severity of it yet. We’ll know more tomorrow. But it is his right hip flexor.

His strength was good but we’ll see. I don’t know if he’s going to get an MRI, I haven’t talked to Paul yet or not about it. But we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.

Q. Juan Soto has had a pretty incredible postseason so far. What have you seen from him just this postseason and what have you seen from him today?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He’s been really good. I just hope he hits at the age of 21. (Laughter.)

Q. They used a lot of relievers tonight that they’re probably going to have to use again tomorrow. Were you surprised at all how aggressive AJ was with the bullpen given how important this game was to them?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, this game, they’re trying to win a game. Those guys, hey, look, I’ve said this before, every game, you play to win every game. So they did that tonight. That bullpen knows what they’re playing for. Those guys will be rested and they’ll be ready to go tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“Every World Series game is a bullpen game, mostly, at some point, it feels like it. Jose Urquidy will start, and he can go as long as he’s good. I don’t have necessarily a predetermined plan on how many innings, how many pitches. Like I said, it’s Game 4 of the World Series. All things are being considered. Jose gets the ball.” — AJ HINCH

October 25, 2019

AJ Hinch

Washington, D.C. – postgame 3

Houston 4, Washington 1

Q. What did you see from your team tonight? You mentioned last night if you can win Game 3 the story starts to change, we can write different things. It seemed a much more aggressive team with the stolen bases. It wasn’t just home runs, it was doubles, Altuve kind of got you started and everyone else followed.
AJ HINCH: We just had a nice team win. We did a lot of things well tonight. It was hard. This is a really good team. So you have to earn everything you have against them and take opportunities when they present themselves. And I think our guys came into the game in a great mindset. I said that before that.

And then I think we just went out and played. I thought our at-bats were good. I thought some of our outs were really good I think in terms of the quality at-bat.

And then our pitching was phenomenal. I think Zack being able to get through traffic quite a bit. Josh James coming in, getting a big punch-out of Zimmerman was huge. Will Harris going one plus getting through a tough part of the lineup. And then Osuna closing it out. Joe Smith had a good inning. I mean, everybody had traffic, both sides, where we were all over the base paths on both sides. The at-bats we hadn’t won in our favor in Houston, we did a little bit better in those at-bats.

Q. In the fifth inning there after Cabrera’s double. Like you said, Greinke had wiggled out of a lot of jams, but what was it about the James-Zimmerman matchup you liked?
AJ HINCH: A couple things. One, I had a little bit of regret that I didn’t go get him for Cabrera because of the history they’d had. Zack had made really, really good pitches that inning, including, in my mindset, was the previous at-bat with Cabrera made really good pitches.

Sometimes you have to factor in previous history, sometimes you don’t. But when he lost Cabrera, the near miss, that ball staying in the ballpark was big at us. Reddick going and getting that ball was big.

Zimmerman had had pretty good at-bats up to that point. Long at-bat walk. Hung with three, four, five breaking balls, the first at-bat got the base hit. I mean, it’s Ryan Zimmerman in this ballpark. I’m well aware it’s his ballpark, it feels like.

And that moment felt like power and a new look was going to be what we needed. Josh James came in and did his job.

Q. You guys held Soto in check tonight. Is that indicative of a different approach?
AJ HINCH: We’re pretty good, too. We’re going to try to adapt to him. And I think our pitchers did a good job of mixing. We didn’t stay in one area, we didn’t get him out the same way twice, really.

He was very aggressive early, like a lot of their guys were on secondary pitches. As the game went on we had to adapt the game plan based on their aggressiveness on all of our secondary pitches. Seemed like every curveball Zack Greinke threw they were taking a swing at it. And so we started to pound them a little bit later in the game.

So I think it was more of an endgame cat-and-mouse approach on trying to keep him from getting the same look twice.

Q. Considering the stretches in the postseason where you’ve looked to get a runner on base, how far do you think you could have gotten were it not for Jose Altuve being so consistent this postseason?
AJ HINCH: Like how far tonight? We’re in Game 4 of the World Series now, so I think that’s pretty far.

We’re going to need everybody. Jose has been fantastic this postseason. And today was very much a catalyst for us. He doesn’t have to carry it with him too far. So it can be somebody different. Tomorrow might be George, Alex Bregman. We’ll go home tonight wanting somebody to intentionally walk in front of him again. He’ll carry that with him. Michael Brantley has had better at-bats. I think Chirinos is breaking out tonight with a great swing for a homer.

Jose is the heart and soul of what we do. I think it was his night tonight to be the catalyst, and maybe it’s somebody different tomorrow.

Q. Tomorrow’s Game 4, will it be a bullpen game, and will Urquidy go first?
AJ HINCH: Every World Series game is a bullpen game, mostly, at some point, it feels like it.

Jose Urquidy will start, and he can go as long as he’s good. I don’t have necessarily a predetermined plan on how many innings, how many pitches.

Like I said, it’s Game 4 of the World Series. All things are being considered. Jose gets the ball.

Q. Could you just talk a little bit about the job that Joe Smith and Will Harris have done throughout the playoffs for you guys. Because they both went over 20 pitches tonight, are they going to be limited tomorrow?
AJ HINCH: No, they’ll be available. This is all hands on deck every day. They are tremendous pitchers, they’re trustworthy, they throw strikes. They’re different looks, which I really think — we don’t talk a ton about in the industry as much as we probably should. Even tonight, as an example, you go from Greinke to Josh James throwing a hundred to then Will Harris came in with the power breaking ball, and then all of a sudden the Sidewinder comes in, and then Osuna comes in back throwing 98 again. That’s how we’re built.

But you need everybody to be good at what they do best. Will Harris in specific has been sort of my security blanket the entire season counting five years back. This is a guy who hasn’t been underappreciated, but probably has not gotten the recognition, except the one year he got to be an All-Star.

Joe Smith coming back from injury, that was a success in its own right. And now he’s pitched his way into the seventh and eighth inning leverage roles, where if you match them up correctly, even when you give him the lefties he’s creative and he’s calm. And I thought his emergence at the end of the season into this postseason giving him a different look has been incredible for us.

Q. Given that you did go more of a straight bullpen game last round, what went into your decision to go Urquidy tomorrow?
AJ HINCH: A couple things. The lineup, it’s not just a one-size-fits-all strategy when you’re facing different teams. These guys offer something a little different than the previous decisions we’ve made when you just look at the balance they have at the top of their order. With Turner, to Eaton, to Rendon, to Soto. You take the first four hitters, when you think about starting a game, and if you’re going to go bullpen, you better have somebody that’s pretty good at a little bit of everything. Those are four distinctly different guys.

As opposed to the Yankee series, they were all right-handed, it was a nice matchup for Brad Peacock.

The other side of it is when you get into the National League game, I can’t be quite as quick with the pitching given that you have to always be aware of where the at-bats are coming. There are probably some relievers that hope I do so they get an at-bat in the World Series, but certainly I don’t want to see it.

Q. As you were saying, a lot of traffic for Greinke, but on the whole when you came into this game, were you pretty confident that whatever the atmosphere, that he would be able to handle it and possibly wiggle out of some tough — he did get out of a lot of big outs.
AJ HINCH: He does that on a regular start day in August where he’s — he toys with the strike zone. He never really concedes. He’s not afraid to throw secondary pitches. He would rather pitch carefully to you than necessarily throw a ball right down the middle. I saw that throughout.

As far as the atmosphere goes, this guy doesn’t scare off. This is not somebody that I have any fear whatsoever is not going to be able to handle the stage or the magnitude. This guy has been really good for a really long time.

I understand the numbers historically or how he’s maybe not finished seasons as well as he started them. But he was in great spirits, clear thinking, doing everything that he wanted. He had a little bit of doubt at the end of his outing on what pitch to go to. We talked about that on the mound before he even exited on the Cabrera pitch at the very end of his outing.

Coming into this game it was important for us to get a good start, and we did. He didn’t like it after it almost went out of the ballpark.

Q. You mentioned tonight was a catalyst for you guys. Can you just sort of expand on that and how that affects your mindset going into tomorrow?
AJ HINCH: I don’t know that it affects our mindset as much as it kind of reestablishes us in this series. When they come into our ballpark and beat Gerrit and Justin, that’s a big punch. They threw a big punch at the beginning of this series.

Now, we’ve got enough experience and enough feel about how series go that we knew we win today, get a little mojo back on our side, get a little bit of momentum, start to swing the bats a little bit better, we’re not afraid of playing in any venue. This is a great atmosphere. The fans here were incredible and just alive like you would expect in the World Series. And our players thrive on that, too.

Mindset-wise, I think we’re going to be really good at taking it — that old clich�, one game at a time, we’ve been good at it. But a win was huge for us tonight to sort of reenergize the fact that this series is clearly not over.

Q. Do you think that both teams have a pretty good feel that this is going to be a long, difficult grinding kind of series?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, I never really thought any other way, and I don’t think they would allow themselves to go down the path to think that this is just going to be a series where we would lay down after losing a couple of games.

I think this World Series, these are two really, really talented teams, really good teams, really driven teams. It takes four wins, and no one has got it yet.

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