October 29, 2019
Houston, Texas – pregame 6
Q. If there’s a Game 7 tomorrow will Max Scherzer be your starter?
DAVE MARTINEZ: As of right now, yes. I think he talked to some of you guys already. He gave you thumbs up, didn’t he?
Q. He said he’s good.
DAVE MARTINEZ: He’s good. He threw, he felt good. We’ll see what transpires between now and tonight. But he says he feels good. So, yeah, as of right now he’ll definitely start Game 7.
Q. How much does that change how you may deploy starters like Anibal and Patrick out of the bullpen tonight?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I’ve talked to them all and they’re all ready to pitch tonight if need be.
Q. You say Max is available to start the game. Do you have a sense of how far you could push him? Is this a full Max start or potentially something less than that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: If Max tells me tonight that he’s good then Max will pitch until his neck decides he can’t pitch anymore. I can’t see myself telling Max, you’re only going to go 75 pitches. He’s going to want to go out there and go as long as he can.
Q. Any scenario in which you could use him tonight?
DAVE MARTINEZ: No, that’s — I feel that will be pushing it. Like I said, he threw flat ground today after not being able to move his neck or trap for two days. I just wanted him to get through these next couple of hours and see how he feels.
Q. What’s been the process for Max since Sunday, since he had the injection? What other things has he done to feel better? Did he feel better immediately? What did he do yesterday? Did he fly with you guys? And what has he done today prior to throwing?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He couldn’t do anything for 24 hours. He definitely flew with us. We put him in a neck brace. We sat him up in first class, so he had a lot of room (laughter). So he woke up today, wanted to throw. Came out and threw flat ground. He let it air out and he said he felt good. Right now, like I said, we’re at the point now where let’s see how he feels in the next couple of hours. I just left him. I think he was doing a crossword puzzle right now and getting ready to do some treatment.
Q. Sunday he mentioned the possibility of long-term damage, which was a consideration when you’re going through the whole thing, and he couldn’t raise his arm. Where is the organization and him with that concept as it relates to throwing until his neck tells him he can’t?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Like I said, we’ll — if you know Max like I know Max, everything is — he’s got to look at the whole big picture. He feels good today. And that’s all I know. So we’ll see, and we’ll determine how he feels come tomorrow.
Q. You saw him throwing off of flat ground and airing it out. How do you know or do you know if you get the same Max Scherzer that you normally do coming off of this injury in Game 7?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Today he looked normal. Just like any other day he throws flat ground. He looked really good. Hoping, like I said, hoping he progresses from here to tomorrow. My guess is he comes out tomorrow and he’s going to get prepared like he prepares any other game and he’s ready to go and you’re going to see Max be Max.
Q. With these two teams has been scoring first been more important than even it is normally? And if so, why?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, absolutely. We preach scoring first all year long. But when you’re playing in these types of games I think it’s important that you get off to a good start and you want to score early. You want to put the pressure on the other team right from the first inning. Our focus today again is to get on base, create havoc and try to score right away.
You see these pitchers as the game gets going these pitchers are really good. As the game gets going they seem to get better and better. And they start getting in that rhythm. We want to kind of disrupt that early.
Q. With the situation that your team is in tonight and as well as he’s pitched all season long, how comforting is it for you to have Stephen start Game 6?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He’s been one of the best all year long. It feels good knowing that he’s going out there to start Game 6 for us and he’s going to give us whatever he can and keep us in the ball game.
Q. How is Kurt doing? Is he available at all tonight? Would you expect him to possibly be available tomorrow if you guys are going to play to start?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, Kurt is doing better. He came in yesterday, got treatment, worked out, did some running. And he felt better than he did the day before. If we are need him today, pinch-hit-wise or even to catch he’s available. Barring nothing happens come tomorrow, you know, I’m going to talk to him in the morning and see how he’s feeling and if he’s up to it, yeah, he’ll catch Game 7, catch Max.
Q. With the experience that you’ve had here last week winning a couple of games here, does that help at all with nerves going into tonight?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I think it helps our players knowing that they got a chance to play here for a couple of days. They know the environment. They know the field. And I think that definitely helps them out a lot.
Q. Is there anything about the Astros that has surprised you the first five games that maybe you didn’t see in the scouting report or didn’t expect?
DAVE MARTINEZ: No, they’re really good. We knew that coming in. You don’t win over a hundred games and not be as good as they are. But they’re a good team. Run by a good manager. Have a lot of respect for them.
And up to this point it’s been a fun season. I told the boys, we’re down 1-0 in a two out of three series. We’ve been here before. So let’s just focus on today. Win today. And then win the series.
Q. How crucial has your team’s defense been to your success this season?
DAVE MARTINEZ: They’ve been unbelievable, especially when we got healthier early in the year. I don’t remember if you guys remember, we had no Anthony and no Trea for quite a bit. And when they came back those guys solidify that side of our infield. But our defense, we’ve been playing well.
Look, we’ve been playing well. We’ve just got to score. I tell them, it’s not about scoring a whole lot of runs, it’s about scoring one more than the other guy, and that’s what we’ve got to focus on.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports