October 29, 2019
Houston, Texas – postgame 6
Washington 7, Houston 2
Q. You guys went through this in 2017 at Dodger Stadium, Game 7. How do you get your team ready or do you —
AJ HINCH: If I need to get this team ready, then you don’t know our team. We’ve been through this before, and this series continues and goes on to a Game 7. I don’t know that there’s a lot of explanation or any fancy quote you’ve got to give you guys or them.
We have a great opportunity tomorrow to play a home game, Game 7 of the World Series. Maybe not how we drew it up in terms of how we got there, but it doesn’t take away the opportunity we have to win the World Series.
Q. Would you prefer that Alex Bregman not carry his bat past first base?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, he shouldn’t carry the bat past first base. Soto shouldn’t carry it to first base, either.
Q. Will Gerrit Cole be available tomorrow out of the bullpen?
AJ HINCH: We’ll talk about it tomorrow.
Q. Thoughts on the play involving Trea Turner in the seventh inning?
AJ HINCH: I don’t really understand it yet. I think we’re going to all get an explanation, from what I understand Joe is going to come in here.
It took a really long time for nothing to happen. I knew the rule, what he called, an interference. I haven’t spent a lot of time on the play. I knew they were very upset about it. It’s not a reviewable call. You can’t protest it. You can’t really do anything, and yet they go to the headset.
Sounds like that’s what they wanted and for whatever reason they couldn’t get ahold of people. But we should let MLB handle it.
That’s one of the many plays tonight that led to the game. But it wasn’t the reason we lost the game or anything like that. I’m as confused as everybody is, because there was no reason to have the delay from my seat.
Q. From your seat what did you see of Strasburg?
AJ HINCH: I saw an incredible pitcher. He was really good. And as I said before the game, he has an uncanny ability to slow the game down when he’s under any duress. We didn’t put a lot of stress on him. But the times that we did in the 5th and in the lead-off single in the 6th, he kind of backs it down a little bit, throws the secondary pitches for strikes, he locates pitches. He didn’t make a lot of mistakes.
I thought he — credit to him bouncing back from the first inning. It was almost like just exactly how the last game went where they score, we score, and all of a sudden he settled in and was very dominant. He’s got a slow heartbeat out there.
Q. Just to follow up on that. Did you see that he did anything differently after that first inning?
AJ HINCH: We didn’t win the big at-bats. When he walked the two guys and we had a couple of guys on base, he got out of that. We got the lead-off single in the 6th and then a couple of fielders choices very quickly and he got out of that.
So, again, I haven’t seen him a lot over the course of my career but I saw him pretty good tonight and that was impressive.
Q. I know he pitched really well tonight, were your guys pressing at all?
AJ HINCH: No, not at all. I don’t think anybody was pressing. We got beat by the home run and they hit the ball out of the ballpark on multiple times and we ran into Strasburg. That’s pretty much the explanation tonight.
Q. You mentioned the several situations where he kind of got out of it. What did you see two on with one out and he punches out Altuve on three strikes?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, that inning it just looked like he did what he usually does, which is try to get into the count, and then once he gets a strike he evacuates the strike zone and relies on the chase. Threw a couple of good change-ups to Altuve. Altuve is trying to elevate the ball and get the ball to the outfield, sac fly is good there, contact to the middle of the field is good there, he fouled it off, I think he swung and missed. And then he threw the chase breaking ball and got a swing and miss.
His breaking ball is really good. He has command of it. When he wants to throw it for a strike 2-0 he does, when he wants to throw it for a ball with two strikes he does. We got a little bit outside of the strike zone that inning. And then Brantley hits the bullet and Turner makes the play. We quickly could have been different had we had a little better luck.
Q. What do you make of the home-field advantage?
AJ HINCH: Doesn’t look like there is one right now, but I hope there’s one tomorrow. We’re waiting until the last game to have it on our side.
We worked really hard to get home-field and we’re happy to play at home. We have no problem playing at home. This place will be rocking tomorrow. We’ve won a ton of games in this ballpark. This series has been very weird.
If I had told you the series was going to be 3-3 going to a Game 7, I don’t think there’s a person in the building that would have assumed that all road teams were going to win. We’ve just got to make sure that last one is not the same.
Q. It seemed after one of the half innings you went and talked to the umpires. Was that about the delay? During the delay, there was so much concentration on what Washington was doing during the delay, were you saying, Why are you allowing this during the delay?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, by the time all the chaos ended, they kind of controlled the arguments from the very beginning of the play to the in between then Davey gets ejected. There was a lot going on. We’re not going to delay the game anymore for me to get my explanation until the next half inning.
When I did that, both Gary and Sam went over to talk to Joe, who was sitting on the on-deck circle in the first couple of rows.
At that point is when I was told there was either confusion or they wanted to check on the protest versus a — I didn’t know what they were doing. And then the explanation for me was they couldn’t get ahold of people. They were like 10 feet away from me. If they would have just told me, I’d have walked over there and told them they’re right here.
Q. (Question about Joe Torre.)
AJ HINCH: I believe so, but he’ll have to explain it. I haven’t gotten a full explanation on the field. I didn’t like the delay. The delay is not the reason that Anthony Rendon hit a homer. He’s a very talented hitter.
The half explanation I’ve gotten so far was there was some lack of communication between the umpires and MLB on a play that really had no reason to have a discussion about it in my book.
Q. On Verlander, how do you think he got into the game? Do you think he was tiring in that 5th inning?
AJ HINCH: I thought he ran out of gas at the end. And he had a lot of hard innings, they got a couple of baserunners on virtually every inning except for the 2nd. He had to work through 18, 19-plus pitches, 20 pitches, high-stress pitches. So it was an easy decision for me. I thought he left it all out on the field.
Getting into the game, it kind of felt like a National League game in an American League ballpark. They get an infield single, Turner is as fast as they come, they bunt him over, Rendon gets a two-strike hit. You look up and they had got one on the board relatively quickly.
Credit to them for putting together an inning with a little bit of small ball. But at that point of the game we have just got to move on to the next inning.
Q. The delay wasn’t why Rendon hit the home run, but could Will Harris have been out of sync a little bit? You brought him in and then he had to stand around a while.
AJ HINCH: Obviously that’s an easy go-to. I don’t know the answer. I don’t think we’ll know. It didn’t look like it on the Eaton pitch because he got the quick pop-up. And then all of a sudden Rendon hits the homer.
I’m not going to sit up here and blame any of that. It’s an unusual delay. It was, in my book, an unnecessary delay. But in reality, you’re just out there competing. I know Will won’t say if it was or if it wasn’t, he’s just going to move on to the next day.
Q. How frustrating was it not getting Scherzer in the game after he went to the bullpen?
AJ HINCH: I don’t control whether Scherzer pitches. If they want to pitch him they would have pitched him. I’m not that frustrated about it. We’re going to have to deal with him tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports