October 30, 2019
Houston, Texas – postgame 7
Washington 6, Houston 2
Q. You took the lead against Max but so many hard-hit balls went right to gloves. Was there any feeling of frustration at that point, that maybe you had squandered something there?
AJ HINCH: We don’t have time in Game 7 of the World Series to be frustrated. I think — I said this a number of times this series, you just give yourself as many opportunities as you can. If you give yourself enough you’re going to find your way out of it a little bit.
I thought when Carlos hit the ball down the line that was like that exhale moment where you’re, Man, we finally got one. But it clearly wasn’t enough.
You give yourself enough — especially with a guy like Max who’s given everything he can on the mound. We left multiple base runners on every inning it felt like. I don’t know.
It never got frustrating because you don’t have time. You can’t allow yourself to get caught up in that. But we were pretty upbeat obviously until the latter third of the game.
Q. Can you talk about Zack’s performance and what he gave you today?
AJ HINCH: He was incredible. Absolutely incredible. I thought he came into the game and got through the first, and that was good. I think he did everything we could have asked for and more. He executed pitches. He was in complete control of the game. He made very few mistakes. At the end, the home run to walk was really the only threat. He fielded his position incredibly well. He controlled contact.
It’s just a super performance by him.
Q. Would you have left Zack in if he had gotten Soto out and not walked him?
AJ HINCH: I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know. I didn’t leave him in. But I’m not sure what I would have done. There’s no real what-ifs and things like that.
Q. We saw Gerrit up and tossing a couple of times in the bullpen. Was he available tonight?
AJ HINCH: Obviously, yeah. He’s not throwing a bullpen.
Q. I guess what made you go with the guys you went with as opposed to him?
AJ HINCH: I wasn’t going to pitch him unless we were going to win the World Series and have a lead. He was going to help us win. He was available, and I felt it was a game that he was going to come in had we tied it or taken the lead. He was going to close the game in the 9th after I brought Osuna in had we kept the lead.
Q. The bullpen seemed a little bit weak tonight. Do you have —
AJ HINCH: It wasn’t weak. I’d change your word in whatever you’re going to do.
Q. Sorry. Do you have any prospects you were looking at for pitching?
AJ HINCH: Prospects?
Q. Prospects you’re looking at for recruiting the farm system.
AJ HINCH: We’ll see. I’m not sure. We’ll get into that in the offseason.
Q. Just wanted to get a little bit more clarity on why you decided to take Greinke out so early. Was it the Rendon home run?
AJ HINCH: I’m not sure it was early. It was in the 7th inning and he was getting up into the 80s. We asked him to do more today than he had done, and pitched deeper into the game more than he had done in the entire month of October. I wanted to take him out — a bat or two early rather than a bat or two late.
Kendrick and Cabrera was where I had really focused on Will Harris at that point. Will has been tremendous for us. I knew I had Osuna, I knew I had Gerrit if need be. Will coming in to spin the breaking ball, he got the swing and miss, then he hit a ball off the foul pole in the right field and off they go.
It’s a decision I’ll have to live with. I’ll think about it. And I don’t know what would have happened had I left him in. But that was kind of where I targeted based on where the game was going and what we had available to us.
Q. You guys have been so good in this ballpark the whole season, for years, really. How hard is it to believe that you were not able to win a home game in the World Series?
AJ HINCH: It’s easy to me. I just lived it. It’s not that hard for me. I just lived it.
The Nats are really good. Congratulations to them. Rizz and Davey and the coaching staff, the players. This is about the Nationals. So this isn’t about not performing at home or anything that we didn’t do. I come away incredibly impressed by the team that we played and got beat by.
Q. Just in terms of Gerrit Cole, he’s a pending free agent, just looking back on the two years that you were with him, what will you remember the most about him and how kind of sad is tonight for you in regards to that?
AJ HINCH: You know, I think it’s hard to kind of fast-forward. Seasons end really fast. I don’t care if you get all the way to the 7th game of the World Series. It’s all of a sudden, boom, it’s over.
I’ve got a group of heartbroken men in there that did everything they could to try to bring a World Series championship to this city. And we fell one win shy.
I’m not sure I’ve had the time to really think about it other than Gerrit is one of my favorite players I’ve ever been around. The way — his dominance, how he prepares, how he cares. Wanting to do anything tonight. With all that was on the line, he and I had an incredible conversation about what he was willing to do to win the World Series. And that means a lot to me, it means a lot to this team, and he’s meant a lot to this franchise.
Q. Obviously not the outcome that you wanted, but what can you say to the fans that came here and gave you all the energy they could?
AJ HINCH: Our fans were incredible, all the way to the end they were trying to give us a little shot in the arm there as we fell behind and stay with it. This has turned into an incredible place to play, to manage, to come to a game, to be around the ballpark here. I think the fans did everything that we could ask and more. They were incredible throughout this entire postseason of us trying to bring a championship to them.
Q. You talked a lot about Will this series, what he means to you and how well he’s pitched. How hard was it to watch him go through that and sit in the dugout, obviously a lot going through his head at that point?
AJ HINCH: I’ll try to find some time to spend with him. Because I hate that for him and for us that his last feeling this season is about as low as you can feel coming out of Game 7 of the World Series.
He’s answered the bell so many times, he’s gotten us out of so many jams. He’s been a go-to guy. He’s a stand-up guy. He’s somebody that you can certainly be proud. If you ever want to wear his jersey, you ever want to collect his baseball card, you ever want to go somewhere where he’s doing something good in the community, then you’re absolutely on the right track.
Q. You guys had moments this season, even in Nationals Park, where men on base, runners in scoring position was a huge strength. Here tonight again it was an issue. Is there anything recurring you saw or facing that Nats pitching staff?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, a little bit of everything. There were times — it’s hard, I don’t want to give you the standard answer, but there’s times where it was chasing out of the zone, there was times where we hit the ball really hard. There were times where they beat us. There’s times where we could have been trying to do too much. Across the gamut of reasons.
But it’s just our reality. That’s how it was. You go through stretches like that during the season and it kind of gets looked past. But you go through it in the World Series… Now, I would rather have the opportunity and fail than never have anybody on base, and we’re talking about pure dominance by their pitching staff. You’ve got to keep trying to give yourself opportunities. It doesn’t feel good when you leave all those guys on base.
That was a big difference in the World Series.
Q. Obviously only at the end of the season one team is really happy, the one that wins it all. Can you talk about, I know it just ended, just this season and the fact you fell short, but what it meant?
AJ HINCH: Let’s be honest, there’s 28 other teams that would love to have our misery today. We play to get here. We play to have an opportunity to win it all. And I just told our team, it’s hard to put into words and remember all the good that happened because right now we feel as bad as you can possibly feel.
I’m proud of these guys. I’m proud of the season. It’s impossible to call a season in which you reach Game 7 of the World Series and have the lead going into the 7th inning as not good. It was an incredible season for us.
It feels really bad. This is going to sting for a really long time, and it should. But when everything, the dust settles, we’ll be very proud of the season we had, albeit one win short.
Q. I wanted to ask your thoughts on Max Scherzer pitching in stressful moments.
AJ HINCH: We put a lot of heat on him. We made him work. He had almost 20 pitches an inning. We had guys on base. We hit the ball hard. We didn’t chase that much. There was a lot of good that we — almost similar to how we were in Game 1 against him where we just made him earn every out that he got.
I’ve always been impressed by Max Scherzer from the day that I first met him back when we were both in Arizona. Congratulations to him on being a World Series Champion.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports