TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (2-1-1 – 5 Points)

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (2-2-1 – 5 Points)


1 2 3 OT FINAL

TAMPA BAY 4 1 2 – 7

TORONTO 3 0 0 – 3

Brayden Point scored two goals in first game back from hip surgery


  • Andreas Johnsson put the Maple Leafs on the board with a power play goal at 4:19 of the first period. Johnsson’s goal is his first of the season. He finished the 2018-19 season in a tie for third among rookie goal scorers (20).
  • John Tavares scored the second Toronto goal of the night at 7:46 of the first period. Tavares’ goal is his first of the 2019-20 season. He established a new career-high for goals in 2018-19 (47).
  • Auston Matthews registered the primary assist on Johnsson’s first period goal and later scored the third Maple Leafs goal of the game at 17:56 of the first period. Matthews’ assist is his first of the season after establishing a new career-high for assists last season (36). He has three multi-point performances through the first five games of 2019-20.
  • Mitch Marner had the secondary assist on Johnsson’s first period goal. Marner leads the Maple Leafs in power play points (1-3-4). – Justin Holl recorded the primary assist on Tavares’ first period goal. Holl’s point is his first of the 2019-20 season. He has four points (2-2-4) in 16 career NHL games.
  • Kasperi Kapanen picked up the secondary assist on Tavares’ first period goal. Kapanen had 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) in 78 games last season.
  • Jake Muzzin notched the primary assist on Matthews’ first period goal. He has two assists through the first five games of the season.
  • William Nylander had the secondary assist on Matthews’ first period goal. Nylander has points (2-35) in five consecutive games.
  • Frederik Andersen stopped 21 shots in the loss.
  • Michael Hutchinson made five saves in relief of Andersen.
    SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)
    1st 2nd 3rd OT TOTAL
  • TAMPA BAY 14 (7) 10 (10) 9 (9) – 33 (26)
  • TORONTO 13 (10) 11 (11) 4 (3) – 28 (24)
    SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)
  • 1st 2nd 3rd OT TOTAL
  • TAMPA BAY 30 (16) 12 (12) 19 (19) – 61 (47)
  • TORONTO 19 (16) 26 (26) 13 (11) – 58 (53)


  • The Maple Leafs are 1-2-1 at home this season.
  • – Toronto’s all-time record is 54-35-2-7 in 98 games against the Lightning and 28-18-1-3 in 50 games played in Toronto.
  • Toronto is 2-1-1 against the Eastern Conference this season and 1-1-1 against the Atlantic Division.
  • – Tonight’s attendance was 19,387.
    Shots 6 (Matthews)
    Shot Attempts 10 (Matthews)
    Faceoff Wins 7 (Tavares)
    Faceoff Win Percentage 100% (Moore – 1 won, 0 lost)
    Hits 3 (Muzzin)
    Blocked Shots 4 (Moore)
    Takeaways 2 (Moore)
    TOI 23:42 (Muzzin)
    Power Play TOI 2:22 (Matthews)
    Shorthanded TOI 3:42 (Ceci)
    Shifts 30 (Muzzin)
    5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage 65.5% (Matthews – 19 for, 10 against)


  • The Maple Leafs were 1-for-3 on the penalty kill and 1-for-2 on the power play tonight. Toronto is 0-10 when allowing multiple power play goals this season and 1-1-1 when scoring one power play goal.
  • – Toronto is 1-2-1 when their opponent scores the first goal of the game. – The Maple Leafs are 1-1-0 when trailing after one period and 0-1-0 when trailing after two periods. 7
  • – Toronto is 0-1-1 when outshot by their opponent. – The Maple Leafs are 0-1-0 in Thursday games.


  • Toronto’s line of Alexander Kerfoot, Ilya Mikheyev and Trevor Moore were the lone Maple Leafs to not start a 5-on-5 shift in the offensive zone.
  • – Auston Matthews was 3-for-3 (100%) in the faceoff circle when matched up with Tampa Bay centre Anthony Cirelli.
  • Jake Muzzin was on the ice for a team-high 21 Toronto shot attempts-for at 5-on-5. Muzzin finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 46.7 percent (21 for, 24 against).
  • Saturday, October 12, 7:00 p.m. at Detroit Red Wings (Sportsnet, TSN 1050)
  • – Tuesday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. vs. Minnesota Wild (TSN4, FAN 590)
  • – Wednesday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. at Washington Capitals (Sportsnet, TSN 1050)
  • – Saturday, October 19, 7:00 p.m. vs. Boston Bruins (Sportsnet, FAN 590) – Monday, October 21, 7:00 p.m. vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (Sportsnet Ontario, FAN 590)

“Essentially what I’ve said in that statement is the long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression, and certainly freedom of expression by members of the NBA community. And in this case Daryl Morey, as the general manager of the Houston Rockets, enjoys that right as one of our employees.” — Adam Silver.


October 8, 2019

Adam Silver

ADAM SILVER: Thank you, all, for being here. First of all, I’d like to thank the Houston Rockets and the NBA champion Toronto Raptors for making the trip here to Tokyo. Their entire organizations have come. They’ve had the opportunity to spend about four days in the market already, and overall they’ll have been here for close to a week. I know we’re often asked about preseason versus regular-season games, but one thing I love about coming here in the preseason is that it gives our teams an opportunity to experience the community, in addition to playing two games, having a fan night and also getting a taste of the town. They have many of their family members with them, and so they really get to experience Japan.

I’d also like to thank Mickey Mikitani and Rakuten for being our hosts and for their tremendous coverage of the NBA. One quick story about Mickey Mikitani. I met him a few years ago, and he told me that he had grown up as a huge basketball fan here in Japan and wondered why there had been such a gap since we had had NBA games here in market. I said, well, all we needed was a great partner like Rakuten and we would be back.

And sure enough, Mickey stepped up. In addition to having a terrific broadcasting and e-commerce relationship with Rakuten, he has agreed to host these games. So personally I’m very thankful to Mickey. I’m sorry that there’s been such a long gap, essentially 16 years since we last played here, but we’re back.

We have the Olympics here next summer. Just a reminder it won’t just be 5-on-5 basketball in the Olympics, but for the first time in the Olympics and here in Tokyo, there will be a 3-on-3 basketball competition as well which will take place outdoors, be lively with music, more along the lines of beach volleyball. We very much are seeing an enormous amount of basketball played in this market.

I’d also like to congratulate the B.League on their success. This is their third season now. They’re doing a fantastic job growing the game here in market. I think all of the basketball community benefits from such a strong league here.

And lastly, of course this is a historic time for Japan in the NBA, and that’s because Rui Hachimura has now joined our league, the first-ever Japanese player as a first-round pick. He’ll be playing for the Washington Wizards. I believe that is a turning point for basketball in Japan. I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with Rui back in the States. He is a fantastic young man, as I’ve said before. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, just that there’s an entire country watching him with huge expectations, but I think he’s up to it.

And with that, I’m happy to answer any of your questions.

Q. It will be the first time in 16 years that an NBA game will be held in Japan. Can you talk about the meaning of this game being held in Japan?
ADAM SILVER: It has great meaning to be back here. As I said earlier, it’s unfortunate there was such a long gap, but I feel we’re back here, two feet on the ground. We have two fantastic teams. It’s fortunate that it worked out that you have the NBA champion here and a very exciting Houston Rockets team. Our experience has been that when a team is in the market, especially for several days, that on one hand, people get to experience, for those lucky enough to be in the arena, an NBA game up and close and in person, but also because of the tremendous media coverage around these games, we also find it helps to excite the market and create larger interest around the NBA.

I think it also coincides with a new product being issued by Rakuten, in essence an app called NBA Rakuten, on which all our games will be available this coming season.

We recognize we still have more work to do here in growing the sport. But as I said, with the success of the B.League, together with Rui and the NBA and the enormous amount of coverage from Rakuten, we’re going to see very substantial gains in interest this season.

Q. Are there ongoing talks or close-to-finalized talks about the NBA returning to Japan in the near future for upcoming games, preseason or regular season?
ADAM SILVER: There are ongoing talks about us returning here. I think the greatest likelihood is that we won’t play preseason games in Japan next season, only because we will be here with the Olympics. And when I say “we,” I don’t necessarily mean the USA team, who of course will be here, but for example in the World Cup of Basketball that just took place in China, we had 102 current or former players participating. So there will be a huge NBA presence here next summer, and I think then we’ll focus on bringing games back in the following preseason.

Q. What’s your expectation of Japanese basketball right now?
ADAM SILVER: Again, my expectation is that that league will continue to grow in conjunction with the NBA. The NBA working together with our federation, FIBA, works as a tradition very closely with local leagues. We see our mission not just to grow NBA basketball but the sport of basketball. There could be no greater complement than a well-run local league, and that’s what we have here in Japan. And so we have a strong relationship between our offices. We are very supportive of their junior programs, which we know are critically important to build the game and ensuring that young boys and girls have access to first-rate coaching and facilities.

I’d just say that we see a real path to growth here. I think I’ll add, having watched this over many years now, that the Olympics act as a true stimulus when they come to the market. Basketball is such a mainstay of the Summer Olympics, and that also serves to create a lot of excitement around the game.

Q. Just as you walked in, the NBA released a statement about the Daryl Morey-China row. Can you tell us any more about why it appears you’ve backed the Houston Rockets’ GM ahead of escalating the controversy with China?
ADAM SILVER: As some of you may know, I issued a statement shortly before this press conference because I thought there was a lot of misunderstanding out there about our position. I thought we had been somewhat straightforward, but I can understand, given translations and given interpretations in different parts of the world, why there might have been some confusion.

Essentially what I’ve said in that statement is the long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression, and certainly freedom of expression by members of the NBA community. And in this case Daryl Morey, as the general manager of the Houston Rockets, enjoys that right as one of our employees.

What I also tried to suggest is I understand that there are consequences from that exercise of, in essence, his freedom of speech. We will have to live with those consequences. It’s my hope that for our Chinese fans and our partners in China, they will see those remarks in the context of now a three-decade, if not longer, relationship, and that we’ve done, in partnership with the Chinese Basketball Association, the Department of Education and many different businesses in China, I feel an enormous amount to build the sport, to work in communities, to focus on healthy lifestyles. That’s where we find ourselves, but that as a league, we are not willing to compromise those values.

Again, I’m sympathetic to our interests here and to our partners who are upset. I don’t think it’s inconsistent on one hand to be sympathetic to them and at the same time stand by our principles.

Q. Just to follow up on the China situation, so there’s some news that I think the state broadcaster will not be airing some exhibition games, and Tencent has said it will temporarily not broadcast Houston Rockets games. What is the league doing to deal with that situation?
ADAM SILVER: Part of the reason I issued the statement I did is because this afternoon, CCTV announced that because of my remarks supporting Daryl Morey’s freedom of expression, not the substance of his statement but his freedom of expression, they were no longer going to air the Lakers-Nets preseason games that are scheduled for later this week. Again, it’s not something we expected to happen. I think it’s unfortunate. But if that’s the consequences of us adhering to our values, we still feel it’s critically important we adhere to those values.

My plan all along has been to travel to Shanghai tomorrow, and I plan to attend the Lakers-Nets game Thursday night. It’s my hope that when I’m in Shanghai, I can meet with the appropriate officials and discuss where we stand, and again, put those remarks from Daryl Morey and my remarks in an appropriate context of a many-decades-long relationship and see if we can find mutual respect for each other’s political systems and beliefs.

But I’m a realist as well, and I recognize that this issue may not die down so quickly.

Q. As you know, your regional office in Hong Kong has been there almost 30 years and you have 60 employees. The current corporate culture of companies like Cathay Pacific where Beijing has insisted that any employees who have posted anything favorable toward the protestors has to be fired or replaced. I’m just wondering, in line with everything you’ve said, will you extend that to protect your employees’ freedom of speech in Hong Kong, which is really ground zero for this whole debate?
ADAM SILVER: We will protect our employees’ freedom of speech.

Q. Have you communicated with Yao Ming at all or somebody at the Chinese Basketball Association? And what kind of a distraction is this for you guys with your season just about to kick off?
ADAM SILVER: Our office has communicated directly with Yao Ming. As I said, he and I have been close friends since he joined this league. He’s extremely upset. I think part of what goes with freedom of speech, as I’ve said before, is not only on one hand Daryl Morey expressing his point of view, but Joe Tsai in return expressing his view, and Yao Ming as well. There’s no question that Daryl’s tweet has hit what I would describe as a third-rail issue in China. I think Yao is extremely unsettled. I’m not sure he quite accepts sort of how we are operating our business right now, and again, I accept that we have a difference of opinion.

I also think that as part of our core values, tolerance is one of those as well. I think tolerance for differing societies’ approaches, tolerance for differing points of view and the ability to listen. Certainly I don’t come here, either as the commissioner of the NBA or as an American, to tell others how they should run their governments.

I think, though, at the end of the day, I am an American, and there are these values that are deeply rooted in the DNA of the NBA, and that includes freedom of expression for our employees. I’m hoping that together Yao Ming and I can find an accommodation. But he is extremely hot at the moment, and I understand it.

Q. Do you have any additional plan to cancel or change any events related to China or in China?
ADAM SILVER: We have no plans to cancel any other events, but one of our NBA Cares events that was scheduled in Shanghai has been canceled. Incidentally, we are still going to go forward with the community outreach. In this community center we made a commitment for new computers and new facilities, so we of course will still provide them. What has been canceled is more of a ceremonial event. And again, I accept that. But so far, no other events have been canceled. It is our hope that no other events will be canceled, and as I said, that we can work with our longtime partners and find an accommodation, recognizing we have true differences.

Q. Right now there are several Chinese teams that are playing against NBA teams in the preseason, but do you see in the future a B.League team competing against an NBA team in the preseason?
ADAM SILVER: We’d love to see a B.League team competing in the preseason. That has become a regular feature of NBA preseason competition in the United States, and that is teams from other countries and other leagues traveling to play our teams. That is something we will look into doing going forward.

Q. Two very short questions. Firstly, can you confirm that you have no intention to apologize for the issue that you’re now facing with China? And secondly, I appreciate that freedom of speech and expression is very important to you, but would you like people connected with the NBA to be a little bit more careful before they tweet or before they say anything?
ADAM SILVER: To answer your second question, of course I would like people who are associated with the NBA to be sensitive about other people’s cultures. I think saying that by no means suggests that we’re going to regulate their speech. But I think that is appropriate, as a business that operates globally, I think we always have an eye on being sensitive to local mores, local customs. But again, that’s not prescriptive. That’s just a general sense. And I try to be sensitive to other cultures as I travel.

Your first question?

Q. Can you confirm you have no intention of apologizing?
ADAM SILVER: I want to be clear, and I think there’s been some confusion around this. We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression. I regret, again, having communicated directly with many friends in China, that so many people are upset, including millions and millions of our fans. At the end of the day, we come with basketball as an opportunity to sell dreams, sell hopes, to increasingly focus on physical fitness, mental health. To the extent that we are causing disruption in people’s lives and that we are causing disharmony, that’s something I regret.

As I said earlier, I don’t think it’s inconsistent to both be apologetic that that was the outcome of that speech but at the same time support Daryl’s right to his freedom of expression and Joe Tsai’s right to respond.

I would just say, I believe it’s more of a human reaction, as someone who’s been coming to China regularly since 2004. I think I’ve attended virtually every preseason game that we’ve ever conducted in any city in China. As I said, we have great business partners, many friends, including Yao Ming. And to the extent that we are upsetting people, I regret that.

But as I said, I think one of the things that comes with freedom of expression often is very difficult conversations. In any society, that comes with that sort of engagement. I think nobody ever suggested that when somebody exercises those rights that it means that people are going to say, aha, now I agree, or that everything will be friendly. And if anything, very much an unintended consequence, but I think what we’re seeing as a result of Daryl’s tweet and Joe Tsai’s response, I can tell you, at least speaking for the United States, that there’s I think far more understanding of the complexity of the issues in Hong Kong than there was heretofore. Sports often serves that purpose, that takes people who might not otherwise pay attention to issues in society, and sports shines a light on them. So that’s where we are.

Q. I imagine you talked to Daryl Morey about the tweet. Can you share part of the discussion, what was talked about, what you said to him and what he said to you?
ADAM SILVER: You know, in the NBA we practice something called commissioner privilege (laughter). And so I would only say, yes, Daryl and I have talked. But I don’t think it’s appropriate to share the back and forth.

Q. It seems like the app with Rakuten and the platform for showing the NBA games through that app is the main focus right now of your partnership with them or making new inroads into Japan. But do you have any more specific plans beyond that?
ADAM SILVER: Our plans beyond that involve technology. Having spent a fair amount of time with Mickey Mikitani over the years and used that Rakuten platform, they have some of the best technology for producing games that we see anywhere in the world, including the United States. What we’re hoping to do with Mickey — he, I think, uniquely understands the opportunity that comes with a brand like the NBA. Of course it’s about top-notch basketball, but it’s also about entertainment, it’s about music, it’s about fashion. So what we’re trying to do with Rakuten is build the NBA brand into a lifestyle brand and to capture casual sports fans who may not have grown up necessarily playing basketball or caring about basketball and using sort of that broader platform to draw people in to what I’d call an NBA lifestyle. That’s something we’re very focused on with Rakuten.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

BLUES 3, MAPLE LEAFS 2 “We’ve just got to keep grinding away and keep getting better.”-Mike Babcock.


On tonight’s game:

I thought it was a good game. They’ve got a real good team, I think we’ve got a good team. I thought there wasn’t much to pick, I thought we had real good chances. In the end, though, good teams find a way to win. The game is right there on the line going into the third period and they found a way to get one and we didn’t. We had good chances but didn’t. They made a play, they got a nice little pick there and then one seam where we had five guys inside, we should have had it sorted out, but we didn’t. In the end, that’s what good teams do. You get a swagger about you; you know you’re going to win and you find a way to win.

On what he’s learned about the team after four games in six nights:

I liked us every night except the night on the back-to-back there – the 3-in-4, I didn’t think we were very good. We have a chance to get a lot better, obviously. I liked [Sandin] tonight. That’s the first time he’s kind of – I don’t know how many minutes he played, but I thought he was impressive. I didn’t think he got rattled, I thought he was good, so that’s positive. I think Kerfoot is getting better. We’ve just got to keep grinding away and keep getting better.

On Nylander’s performance tonight:

That was his best, by far. He had the puck, he got the puck, he got it back, he made things happen. I thought it was his most competitive game this year. It’d be one we’d like to see, obviously, on a regular basis. He has all the ability. He had turn-backs, he won pucks, he was on the puck, he was strong. I thought he was very effective tonight.

On the play of the fourth line tonight:

Obviously, our third line was our best line two nights ago and then this line was alright tonight. We’ll have a look at it here tomorrow and kind of see. We’ve rotated back and forth now for four games. Are we going to do it for two more or is this now, you know, the National Hockey League and the best guys play?

On if the Tavares line needs to continue to adjust without Hyman:

Hyman’s good, eh? We’ve just got to figure it out over time because we need them to be dominant, as you know. Everyone’s just got to figure it out and keep working and grinding.


On tonight’s performance:

Tonight I thought we played pretty good. I think we had good moments in the game and, unfortunately, it didn’t go our way.

On what he saw on Pietrangelo’s game-winner:

He kind of snuck down pretty far out of my field of vision and obviously got a shot just over the pad that snuck underneath my arm. Unfortunately, that’s it.


On tonight’s game:

I think we played pretty well. We were able to create a lot of chances. I think we played pretty solid without the puck too so we just have to take the positives and build off that.

On his goal in the second period:

I just got the puck from Ceci who made a great pass and just cut it and had an open net and put it in there. It was nothing more than that.

On facing the defending champions:

I think it was a tight game and a good measurement for us to see how we match up against a team like that.

On how he thinks they played against St. Louis:

I think we played pretty well actually but, in the end, we have to bury our chances and keep the puck out of our own net. But, I think it was a pretty good game.

On the team forcing turnovers off the forecheck:

We’re hungry, we’re skating. That’s how we want to play.


On St. Louis as an opponent:

They’re the champs, they’re a very patient team. They play a very disciplined game. I thought we did too, for the most part. I thought when it got away from us maybe we didn’t get pucks deep as much as we need to. For the most part we hung with them all night and a bounce here or there could have been a different story tonight.

On if there are positives to come from tonight’s game:

I think so. It’s disappointing to lose that, it’s one of we’d like to have won here at home against that team. We’re going to learn from the games that we’ve lost and look at them. There’s things to build off of, for sure. There were times when we really controlled play out there tonight and if we can bottle that we can become a better team.


On if that was the type of game they expected from the defending champions:

Yeah, absolutely. they obviously did it last year and have shown they know how to win. They’re a patient team and I think, overall, we did a pretty good job ourselves, we just didn’t make enough plays in the third and they had the one that resulted in the victory for them.

On what he liked from his team tonight:

I liked our start and the way we came out, we were tracked the puck and getting in on the forecheck. We had some good shifts in the offensive zone, protecting well and moving our feet and getting second and third opportunities. Those gave us good stretches of puck possession and offensive zone time. They’re a big team, especially on the back end. We’ve just got to continue to be a little more consistent in getting to the middle of the ice and to the front of the net.

“Every important game I would have pitched in would have been either not in Calgary, not even in Canada, usually in another country — Pan Am’s in Mexico, games in Cuba, all that kind of stuff.” – Mike Soroka.


October 5, 2019

Mike Soroka

St. Louis, Missouri – Workout Day

THE MODERATOR: We’ll start with questions for Mike Soroka.

Q. Mike, what goes into you having such a terrific road ERA? Not that your home ERA stinks, because it doesn’t, but you’ve been almost a run lower than anyone else in the league?
MIKE SOROKA: I’m not too sure about that honestly. It’s something that we wanted to figure out because we wanted to duplicate those results at home. Part of it might be the preparation that goes into it, being in a hotel, being in an unfamiliar place.

It could be just luck of it as well. Could be had some good games, brought that down. It all goes into it. I can’t really put anything on it specifically.

Q. How about your youth when you did a lot of traveling with the Canadian teams and so forth? Everything was a road game there, wasn’t it?
MIKE SOROKA: Definitely. Every important game I would have pitched in would have been either not in Calgary, not even in Canada, usually in another country — Pan Am’s in Mexico, games in Cuba, all that kind of stuff.

I think maybe I just got used to being in unfamiliar places and that’s when I found I loved to play.

Q. I was talking to somebody today about what makes you more advanced from a maturity standpoint than most other 22-year-old and he talked about the time you spent with Reitsma and Quantrill. How much did they prepare you to just be an advanced pitcher and maybe even just for life in the big leagues?
MIKE SOROKA: Probably more than I even know. I would say I was very lucky to have gotten to hit that learning curve when I was 15, 16, 17 years old, to the point where they made things very obvious to me that weren’t so obvious to regular 16-, 17-year-olds in high school.

Having the mentality that any pitch in any count, when you’re 16 pitching against professional baseball hitters, you know, is really something that we’re still trying to work towards. And that’s not a new subject any more.

It’s things like that that really pushed me ahead, and I have them to thank for it and many more, just being able to go out there and have fun with it, and like I said, learn things earlier.

Q. You saw these guys twice this season. What stands out most to you about this lineup you’ll see tomorrow night?
MIKE SOROKA: They’re strong. Everybody knows that. They’ve got some guys that have done some damage for a lot of years. Talking to Dallas and Mike about how they navigated the lineup and picking your spots to which battles you want to get into and where you don’t want to get hurt.

Little things like that that you’ve really got to pay attention to with this lineup. And then having faced them twice this year, we’ll be able to go back and look at previous pitches, previous at-bats that we want to improve on and basically make a plan.

Q. How concerned were you with that shoulder inflammation you had at the end of the last season? I think it kept you from starting the season out on the roster, too, am I right there about that? You were slow at spring training, right?
MIKE SOROKA: It was actually a separate incident in spring training. But that one’s a little more of other things involved, could have been the weight room as well. But, no, last year obviously it was very concerning because the stigma around shoulder injuries in baseball is not great to understand that shoulders are tricky because there’s so many muscles and there’s so many different things contributing to that.

One thing that I did was kind of dive into it with all the medical staff. Our entire training staff was very open to educating me. I wanted to know as much as possible about that injury and about shoulders in general.

I got to learn a lot through them and then through Eric Cressey as well. Kind of go out and seek the best of the best and got a chance to learn a lot about pitching mechanics and about the anatomy of the shoulder has helped me know where I need to be to stay healthy and hopefully do it year in, year out.

Q. What’s it been like watching Max make this transition to the bullpen, high-leverage spots? How much have you enjoyed seeing his success out of the pen?
MIKE SOROKA: It’s fun, just to watch where Max was in 2016 when we were in Rome and that switch that he makes when he goes to the bullpen, and doesn’t have to worry about saving anything in the tank. He’s as aggressive as it gets.

The stuff that he can show out of the bullpen, we saw last year and this year. I mean, to me it’s as good as it gets. Nobody throws that hard with that curveball on command like he can. And it’s just really fun to watch him go out there and know that he’s going to dominate.

And he’s been huge for us and I know he’s looking forward to helping out in whatever capacity that will be.

Q. Do you envy at all how hard Buehler and Flaherty throw with their hard stuff, or are you quite happy with what you have anyway?
MIKE SOROKA: Like I said, those guys have electricity that not too many do have, especially Walker. Getting to see him a little bit in the same draft class and kind of seeing that arm. And he stands out next to 99 percent of the pitchers.

I do like to consider myself a harder thrower when I want to be, maybe not that hard, but little things like that that you can take from everybody and what makes him successful. But you also kind of have to dive into yourself and look at what makes yourself successful.

I think that’s what we’re doing more than anything is being able to look at how I want to execute my game plan going forward and knowing that whatever happens beyond that I’m doing what I can to be at my best.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“I actually don’t get too caught up on being good in the postseason and all that. Come to think about it, I think it’s still a small sample.” — Masahiro Tanaka


October 5, 2019

Masahiro Tanaka

New York, New York – postgame 2

Yankees – 8, Twins – 2

Q. Against a lineup like that that is as potent as it is and sits on fastballs like that, what is it about your off-speed stuff that was able to throw off their timing tonight?
MASAHIRO TANAKA: Yeah, I think the off-speed stuff, slider and splitter, I think they were both pretty consistent throughout the game, which helped me, made me successful in the game, obviously. I wish the fastball was a little bit better, you know, tried to use that a little bit, but I feel like I was able to use that enough so both the off-speed stuff were working.

Q. From your perspective during that third inning watching the offense go and then leading to Didi’s grand slam, what’s the emotion like as you’re watching that long inning?
MASAHIRO TANAKA: Obviously, it’s big for the team, getting that type of offense in. Obviously, it’s big for the pitchers, as well. Particularly, we were talking about starting pitchers. I think pitchers are a little bit, they’re a different animal in a way. You still have to go out there, and you still have to shut down the opponent. So you can’t really be there going up and down because the offense — like today, like the offense got us some runs. So, yeah, that’s kind of what I was going through during that time.

Q. During that long third inning, do you do anything special as you’re sitting on the bench to stay loose? Especially on a cool night like tonight?
MASAHIRO TANAKA: Yeah, you obviously try to stay warm, keep the arm loose. You play catch down there underneath the dugout. But I gave up a run after I came in after that long inning, so I feel like I need to do a better job of keeping myself warm and game ready. This is something I need to take when I go out there in a similar type of situation.

Q. And at what point did you know that the slider/splitter were going to be on for you tonight? Whether it was the bullpen or first inning or whatever.
MASAHIRO TANAKA: I think it was in the second inning. The first inning, I don’t think it was as good, but I think it was the second inning that I felt that it was going to be good.

Q. Why do you think your results get even better in the postseason? And what does it mean to you personally that you’re gaining a reputation as a big game pitcher at this time of year?
MASAHIRO TANAKA: I actually don’t get too caught up on being good in the postseason and all that. Come to think about it, I think it’s still a small sample. My thing is just go out there and be the best that you can be, compete, and, yeah, just be the best that you can be.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sport

“One thing I feel good about is our guys know that we can turn it around.” – Rocco Baldelli


October 5, 2019

Rocco Baldelli

New York, New York – postgame 2

Yankees – 8, Twins – 2

Yankees lead 2-0.

Q. Rocco, how frustrating is it that Duffey had three consecutive batters down 0-2 in that inning and couldn’t get the finishing pitch?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Well, I could talk about Duff for a while. Duff has been a guy that’s gotten us out of those types of jams all year long, and he’s the guy that we turn to in those situations because he’s been so good. His execution as a whole, I thought was okay. In those particular late in the count type situations, probably wasn’t as good as it normally is, but, again, we’re going to go to Duffey in those types of spots consistently. We’re going to continue going to him.

It’s almost regardless of who he’s facing. It’s almost regardless of anything. That’s how confident we are in his ability to go get them.

Related to that, because he threw yesterday, he wasn’t going to be available to throw probably a ton today, without getting too specific. So getting him in there and trying to get through that jam probably would have been it for him regardless.

Q. It might seem odd, but given the circumstances in that third, did you consider Sergio or Taylor instead of Tyler just to try and get out of that jam?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Well, the thing is, if we’re going to win that game and we’re in that type of situation, we’re going to have to use all of those guys, all of our late inning relievers. We’re going to have to throw — we were going to have to probably stretch all of them in some way, and that’s okay. We’ve done that before, and we’ll do it again.

As far as that spot right there, whoever we bring in to finish out that inning, and it would have taken a lot of effort to get through that inning, we would have needed all of those other pitchers that we’re kind of referencing here to keep pitching. It wouldn’t have been enough to just get three outs in that spot and just kind of end your night. Probably would have needed four outs, five outs, maybe six outs from some of those guys.

That would have been a spot to bring someone in, let them work through that situation and get them out of there and then maybe give a May or one of those other guys a clean inning to work with and hope that they can even go beyond that inning.

Q. Rocco, another night with eight walks. You had a walk in seven of the eight innings. Is there a common thread with the pitching staff with how they’re approaching Yankee lineup that is resulting in all these walks?
ROCCO BALDELLI: You know, I don’t think it’s approach as much as it’s probably just execution out on the mound. Again, our pitchers have done a pretty good job this year, kind of in an unsung type of way. Our hitters get a lot of the recognition, and rightfully so, but that being said, our pitchers have been pretty good with their strike throwing. Except for a few aberrations, there’s really nothing that I can really — anything I can point to or any reason for it.

I think we just have to locate better, and we just have to execute better. We just have to go out there and throw better pitches. There’s no finger pointing. We just have to throw the ball in the strike zone and make — and throw good quality strikes.

Q. Rocco, you guys came into the series pretty confident just in what you guys have done all year. But what as a whole do you have to do to turn this around?
ROCCO BALDELLI: One thing I feel good about is our guys know that we can turn it around. We’ve had a few spurts this year, like every team over a long season, where you’re not playing as well as you want, and our guys simply carry on with their routine, with the way they show up to the field, with everything that they do, with everything that they say. We haven’t really had very many mood changes as a group. It’s been pretty consistent every day through the good, through the bad.

I’d expect more of the same. I don’t think becoming reactionary in any way — staff-wise, roster-wise — is going to help us where we want to be. I think relying on who we are is going to get us where we want to be.

Q. How tough is it for you to leave in an 0-2 hole without having used Rogers or some of your other leverage guys in those situations that you might have wanted?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Yeah, and that is something that’s frustrating, but something that you may not be able to help. It’s really a situation where, when you’re looking at your high leverage relievers, guys that you know you want to get in the game and spots where you have a chance to win, sometimes the games just don’t play out that way. Again, these playoff games are different than a typical, regular season game. We saw many times over the course of the year where Rog didn’t get in the game for four, five, six days.

We would obviously force that issue more so. You can look and say what if about, say, yesterday’s game where we’re in a tied game going into the fifth inning or going into the bottom of the fifth and giving yourself the chance to say, what if you brought these guys in then? Because that’s really our only chance — that would have been our only chance to really use them.

But I don’t really look at it like that. I don’t really hold ourselves to that. I think we’ve kind of gone about our business one way the entire year. We’re going to trust that we can get to those spots where we can use the Rogers and the Romos and the Mays and the Duffeys and use them in the proper spots. It is — you would love to have them in the game. It just hasn’t played out that way.

Q. Without knowing exactly what your relievers normally do to get ready for a game, did Duffey get up right around the time of that mound visit? And was that enough time for him that he would typically need to get ready?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Yeah, Duff’s pretty good about getting ready. He gets ready quick. Every guy is a little different. He’s a guy that we don’t have to give him several batters to get ready, and there are other guys that you would want to give that time to. He is an extraordinarily low maintenance relief pitcher and a very good one at that. He gets ready quick. He’s ready to go. He bounces back pretty well.

He’s been extraordinary for us. One thing related to him, I feel bad that — I would love to give him a clean inning and go out there and let him go to work, show everyone what he can do because he’s been awesome. We go to him in those spots because he’s so good. You bring him in with the bases loaded. You bring him in with two people on because we believe in him. That’s why we do it.

Q. Obviously, hindsight here, but is there any regret at all not using Jake today instead of Randy? And on the second side of things, what did you think of Randy today in terms of how he pitched?
ROCCO BALDELLI: So, not at all as far as any sort of regret. Both were going to pitch. Both were most likely going to be starting a game in this series regardless of anything else, so no. We made a choice, and just because things don’t work out doesn’t mean that we don’t talk about them, doesn’t mean that we don’t discuss amongst ourselves, but as far as regret, certainly not.

I thought Dob threw the ball pretty well. I talked with Mitch, as well, about what it looked like from behind the plate. He said his stuff looked good. He threw the ball well. A few pitches leaked out, caught probably a little bit too much of the plate, but he competed well.

These are situations where in the regular season you might let him just keep pitching and see what he can do, see if he can get a ground ball. He’s done that several times where he’s been in spots that were tough spots, and he finds a way to pitch through it. He finds a way to get it done. But with today’s situation being in this sort of game, we decided to go to our higher leverage relievers and go in that direction.

Again, I thought he threw the ball well.

Q. What kind of message do you send your team going home down 0-2?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Well, the message that really — our guys really understand, they don’t always need to hear it all the time. They hear it occasionally — is that we handle our business and do what we do in a very particular way, and we’ve done it our way all year long, from the first day we showed up to Spring Training until now, and we’re not going to change that for anyone. We’re not going to change that because we’re down 0-2 in a playoff series or for any other reason.

We rely on ourselves. We pick ourselves up. We’ve done a great job with that all year long. Any sort of stretch where things aren’t going well, that’s fine. We’re going to deal with that, and we’re going to be perfectly okay, and we’re going to come out fighting and ready to go.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“I was out there for a bit and was pretty tired. I just blocked that shot and, honestly, I didn’t even think I was going to hit him, but just kind of threw my stick that way and hit him so I guess you get a penalty shot for that. I take full responsibility of my actions and they tied it up so, obviously, I feel bad about it.” – Kasperi Kapanen


On if he saw indications that the team would give up its third period lead:

I didn’t think we skated very good all night, to be honest with you. Right from the start to the finish, I thought – we were obviously in a good spot, we weren’t real crisp. The way I look at it is we had three games in four nights and we knew going in this was going to be a grind. We got five out of six points. I thought it was a huge goal, the guys executed real good there with Mitch [Marner] going behind his back to [Barrie] there to get us the goal to equalize. It’s disappointing because you were up, for sure. On the other side of that is it’s a lot of hockey right out of the gate. It’s not like you’re in the middle of November or something like that. I thought we looked like we had no gas – I thought the Kerfoot line looked like they had some, but other than that I didn’t think we had lots.

On Kapanen triggering a penalty shot by throwing his stick:

I’ve never seen that play by anybody ever. I’m sure he feels bad and he’d like to have it back, but you can’t get it back. So, we’ve all got to learn from it. The lessons are important during the year and we got one.

On if he talks to Kapanen about the error on the bench or after the game:

I’ll talk to him, but I’m not talking to him now. He’s going to have enough people telling him. He’ll probably get the message pretty good, I’d imagine.

On Hutchinson’s performance:

Actually, I felt bad for Hutch because, to me, we hung him out to dry and I thought Hutch had done a good enough job. When we were up early he had made some real good saves. They were skating by us and he made some good saves. It’s unfortunate you come in as the backup in a big game and you’re in a good spot and it doesn’t go the way you want. You want a game you can build on and feel better, but that’s part of pro sports too. It’s not supposed to be easy. Dig in, you’ve got a good day off, enjoy your family and get ready for the next one.

On if he’s learned anything about the team through three games:

I’ve liked our team – not tonight – but even at the end of exhibition I’ve liked our team. I think we’ve got a good team, I think we play pretty hard, I think we can put a lot of pressure on the opposition. I didn’t think we did that tonight, but I didn’t think we had the same kind of juice we normally have for whatever reason. In the end, it showed.

On if he’ll continue rotating the lineup next game:

I’m going back to whatever I’m doing.

On what has allowed the Kerfoot line to have success:

Kerf – I think he’s a good player. He’s got some grease to him, he enjoys it, he’s smart, he’s competitive, he seems to be feeling good and understanding how to play. Lots of our game tonight wasn’t as organized as you’d like it to be. I think Mikheyev is a really good player. I don’t think he – I put him out there killing the penalty there in overtime and I didn’t know for sure if he understood what I was telling him, but he did it anyway and looked good doing it. That’s good, he’s getting better every day. And [Moore] is a good, young kid that’s working hard. I thought he had a real good forecheck tonight to turn that puck over that allowed Kerf to score. I didn’t think Mooresy was as good last night, but he was real good tonight.


On the overtime penalty kill effort:

I felt good in net. It was an unfortunate break, but I think [Tavares] probably saved a goal taking that penalty. That’s a really good penalty to take. When he sacrificed for that, you want to bail him out and give us a chance to win it killing off that penalty. It was nice we got the kill on that one and it was just unfortunate we couldn’t get one past him.

On what he was thinking about prior to the penalty shot:

Nothing really. I didn’t know it was a penalty shot for throwing your stick, I thought it was just a penalty. It seemed like it took forever for them to set that up so about 30 seconds in I realized it was a penalty shot. He just came down and was able to get it over my pad. It’s unfortunate I wasn’t able to make that save and bail the team out.

On playing in Toronto on a Saturday night against Montreal:

It was a lot of fun. It was one of those games you look forward to and that was my first time playing against Price. That was a little bit of extra incentive. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get the two points, but I thought the guys battled so hard. The second game of back-to-backs – even giving up that fifth goal and coming back and tying it up with the extra attacker was huge for us. We don’t quit and our skill really came through.


On what was going through his mind when taking the penalty in the third period:

Not much, I was out there for a bit and was pretty tired. I just blocked that shot and, honestly, I didn’t even think I was going to hit him, but just kind of threw my stick that way and hit him so I guess you get a penalty shot for that. I take full responsibility of my actions and they tied it up so, obviously, I feel bad about it.

On if anyone talked to him about it:

Nothing really, I know everybody knows it’s a big mistake on my part and if I knew that rule existed or if I thought I was actually going to hit his stick I wouldn’t have done that but, like I said, I take full responsibility.


On the play of his line tonight:

I thought [Trevor Moore] was buzzing. He was disrupting plays all over the ice and making plays with the puck. He kind of created both of our line’s goals tonight. Both of those guys are so strong on pucks and their details are good. They’re fun to play with.

On if he’s developed chemistry with Moore and Ilya Mikheyev quickly:

It’s been, like, three games so it’s going to take a while. I think there’s still things that we can clean up on but, like I said, they’re good players and their details are so good that it’s easy to play with them.

On his third period interference penalty:

I think that’s careless on my part. That’s a cross-check and it’s going to get called most of the time. I’ve had two of those now so I should probably stop doing it.


On tonight’s third period breakdown:

I think obviously we’re back-to-back, it’s no secret we were probably going to be fatigued but we can’t let that get in the way, making bone-headed mistakes and costing us opportunities at the other end that they’re capitalizing on. It’s definitely something we can learn from but it’s something we’ve run into in the past. I think it’s just on us to make sure no matter how tired we are we’re making good decisions and taking care of the puck and playing in their zone, not ours.

On how bad Kapanen felt after the play that led to the penalty shot:

You’ll have to ask him, I’m sure he doesn’t feel great but we’re going to win as a team and lose as a team and you’re going to make mistakes.

On what changed after they got up 4-1:

Mentally we just weren’t there. We were making mistakes and they capitalized on them.


On if playing in the second leg of a back-to-back played a factor in the third period:

I don’t think so. We started off pretty good in the third. Obviously, got a big goal to extend the lead and then we just made some mistakes and they gained some momentum and let them back in it. They found some more energy and more life than we did. We responded and got it to overtime. We had our opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize.

On Kapanen’s penalty in the third period:

He made a reactionary move and I don’t think realized what the consequences were. It’s a mistake and I know he’ll bounce back from it. We’re there for him, it happens, and we had our opportunities after that.

Jeff Petry’s penalty shot goal in the third period is the first penalty shot goal conceded by Toronto since Feb. 14, 2017 (Jason Chimera, New York Islanders).

MONTREAL CANADIENS (1-0-1 – 3 Points) 6 . TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (2-0-1 – 5 Points) 5 (SO)


1 2 3 OT SO FINAL MONTREAL 1 0 4 0 1 6 TORONTO 2 1 2 0 0 5



  • Auston Matthews put the Maple Leafs on the board with a goal at 5:57 of the first period and later scored Toronto’s fifth goal of the night at 18:45 of the third period. Matthews has goals (5) in three consecutive games to open the season. His 12 career goals against Montreal ties his highest goal total against a single opponent (Ottawa).
  • Alex Kerfoot scored Toronto’s second goal of the night at 15:54 of the first period and later picked up the secondary assist on Trevor Moore’s second period goal before adding a secondary assist on William Nylander’s third period goal. Kerfoot’s goal is his first goal as a Maple Leaf. Tonight’s game is his first multi-point game of the season. Kerfoot had 11 multi-point games in 2018-19. Tonight’s three-point performance ties his career-high for points in a game.
  • Trevor Moore had the lone assist on Kerfoot’s first period goal and later scored the third Maple Leafs goal of the night at 1:29 of the second period. Tonight’s game is Moore’s second career multi-point game (Previous: March 4, 2019 at CGY).
  • William Nylander scored Toronto’s fourth goal of the game on the power play at 5:16 of the second period. Nylander has points (1-2-3) in three consecutive games to begin the season. He has 24 points (8-16-24) in 24 career games during the month of October.
  • Morgan Rielly registered the primary assist on Matthews’ first period goal. Rielly has assists (5) in three consecutive games to open the season. He leads all NHL defencemen in assists.
  • Cody Ceci collected the secondary assist on Matthews’ first period goal. Ceci has points (1-1-2) in two consecutive games. – Ilya Mikheyev registered the primary assist on Moore’s second period goal. Mikheyev has registered all three of his points (1-2-3) on home ice this season.
  • Tyson Barrie registered the primary assist on Nylander’s third period goal and later had the lone assist on Matthews’ third period goal. Barrie has two multi-assist performances through three games to begin the season.
  • Mitch Marner had the secondary assist on Matthews’ third period goal. Marner has assists (3) and points (2-3-5) in three consecutive games.
  • Michael Hutchinson stopped 37 shots between regulation and overtime.
  • Auston Matthews: Stopped (2019-20: 0/1)
  • – Mitch Marner: Stopped (2019-20: 0/1)
  • – John Tavares: Missed (2019-20: 0/1)
  • – Michael Hutchinson: 1/2 (2019-20: 1/2)
    SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)
    1st 2nd 3rd OT TOTAL
  • MONTREAL 11 (10) 10 (10) 12 (11) 9 (0) 42 (31)
  • TORONTO 12 (9) 12 (8) 9 (5) 4 (0) 37 (22)
  • SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets) 1st 2nd 3rd OT TOTAL MONTREAL 22 (20) 19 (19) 24 (19) 12 (0) 77 (58) TORONTO 23 (15) 23 (15) 17 (12) 5 (0) 68 (42)


  • The Maple Leafs are 1-0-1 at home this season.
  • – Toronto’s all-time record is 300-341-88-16 in 745 games against the Canadiens and 190-128-45-10 in 373 games played in Toronto.
  • – Toronto is 2-0-1 against the Eastern Conference this season and 1-0-1 against the Atlantic Division.
  • – Tonight’s attendance was 19,547.
    Shots 5 (Marner)
    Shot Attempts 8 (Marner)
    Faceoff Wins 12 (Tavares)
    Faceoff Win Percentage 75% (Shore – 9 won, 3 lost)
    Hits 4 (Muzzin)
    Blocked Shots 6 (Ceci)
    Takeaways 3 (Rielly)
    TOI 27:08 (Muzzin)
    Power Play TOI 5:09 (Rielly)
    Shorthanded TOI 3:21 (Muzzin)
    Shifts 32 (Barrie, Rielly)
    5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage 65.0% (Moore – 13 for, 7 against)


  • The Maple Leafs were 2-for-3 on the penalty kill and 1-for-5 on the power play tonight. Toronto is 1-01 when allowing one power play goal this season and 1-0-1 when scoring one power play goal.
  • – Toronto is 1-0-1 when allowing the first goal of the game.
  • – The Maple Leafs are 1-0-1 when leading after one period and 2-0-1 when leading after two periods.
  • – Toronto is 0-0-1 when outshot by their opponent.
  • – The Maple Leafs are 0-0-1 in Saturday games.
    OF NOTE…
  • Jeff Petry’s penalty shot goal in the third period is the first penalty shot goal conceded by Toronto since February 14, 2017 (Jason Chimera, New York Islanders).
  • – Martin Marincin and Rasmus Sandin were the lone Maple Leafs to not start a 5-on-5 shift in the offensive zone.
  • – Jake Muzzin was on the ice for a team-high 18 Toronto shot attempts-for at 5-on-5. Muzzin finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 40.91 percent (18 for, 26 against). – Nick Shore won 88 percent (7 won, 1 lost) of his defensive zone faceoffs tonight.
  • Monday, October 7, 7:00 p.m. vs. St. Louis Blues (TSN4, TSN 1050)
  • – Thursday, October 10, 7:00 p.m. vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (Sportsnet Ontario, FAN 590)
  • – Saturday, October 12, 7:00 p.m. at Detroit Red Wings (Sportsnet, TSN 1050)
  • – Tuesday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. vs. Minnesota Wild (TSN4, FAN 590)
  • – Wednesday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. at Washington Capitals (Sportsnet, TSN 1050)

“He’s about as unique a story as you’re going to find, and in a way, probably that whole story and everything that goes along with it is probably what’s made him who he is and what’s allowed him to take this journey and find his way to the big leagues. He’s been great. It’s been fun to watch him.” -Rocco Baldelli on Twins’ Game 2 starter Randy Dobnak.


October 5, 2019

Rocco Baldelli

New York, New York – pregame 2

Q. Rocco, do you have a firm plan on when Berrios will pitch next, or is it contingent on what happens the next couple of games?
ROCCO BALDELLI: We don’t. No firm plan right now. We’ll play today, play today out, and treat it kind of one day at a time after that and then kind of probably plan for a few different scenarios, but definitely nothing yet.

Q. Rocco, with your starter today, Randy, he’s had an interesting last week to ten days since he started last. So what’s been his routine? How is he staying sharp for what is going to be the biggest start of his life?
ROCCO BALDELLI: So Randy doesn’t complicate things. He’ll talk about everything that he’s going to do before today’s game, which is probably just sit around and do very little and treat it as a regular outing. We wouldn’t want him to change a thing. This is — there’s a lot going on here. We’ve got the playoff game. We have media sessions. We have all kinds of stuff. This is a guy that he shuts all that stuff out really well, and he’s going to probably do nothing different from any other outing that he’s ever had.

He’s treated his starts even earlier this year almost in a funny fashion. He just walks out there kind of later than anybody else and throws a few pitches and gets loose pretty quick and takes the mound, and he’s thrown the ball very, very well. He’s about as unique a story as you’re going to find, and in a way, probably that whole story and everything that goes along with it is probably what’s made him who he is and what’s allowed him to take this journey and find his way to the big leagues. He’s been great. It’s been fun to watch him.

Q. Rocco, when you’re facing a team that you know is going to likely go to its bullpen relatively early and match up aggressively, does that affect the way you construct your lineup, or are you just still — I mean, I know you have a bench, too, but are you still just basically making a lineup regarding the starting pitcher?
ROCCO BALDELLI: One strength I think that we have is that we are able to put a pretty balanced lineup out there. It’s something that we’ve gone with for most of the year. You do get to go away from that a little bit in September if you want because you have so many different options to turn to over the course of a game, but in a scenario where you’re in this type of situation, I think it’s helpful. It allows us, especially with our switch hitters, to balance things out. You don’t get into many runs where you end up with several left-handed, right-handed hitters back to back.

So this is the way we’ve operated all year. It’s worked very well for us. I think it’s forced pitchers to change their approach and what they’re trying to do on a batter to batter basis, and I think it’s something we’re going to continue to roll with.

Q. Rocco, after playing all but just a handful of games in left field this year, you have Eddie in right field for this series. What were the factors that went into that decision, and would you expect that to be the case at Target Field, as well?
ROCCO BALDELLI: It may change. We bounced Eddie back and forth a reasonable amount. Eddie is also — he also has some history going back, playing some right field earlier in his career. I believe he also did in the WBC. He’s very comfortable playing anywhere. He’s been very open about being willing to play pretty much anywhere on the field. Also, Cave, Marwin, these are guys that are very comfortable. I like having these guys as interchangeable pieces that are able to do some different things.

I think Rosy’s arm plays well, too, in right field, but Marwin has a great — I mean, Marwin can throw really as well, too. There probably wasn’t one reason for it. There probably wasn’t even two. Just factoring in the big picture and all of these smaller factors, we decided to go with him in right. It definitely does not come down to one or two things.

Q. Rocco, did you have to check with Arraez this morning to make sure his ankle was okay before putting him in the lineup, or were you pretty comfortable after last night’s game that he’d be good to go today?
ROCCO BALDELLI: We always check with our guys, especially the guys that are coming off something, but we were pretty confident with the way he came out of the game that he was fine. It’s easy to talk — he’s coming off this injury, and the ball certainly found him many times yesterday. He was involved in a lot of different plays. I thought he actually ran well. You can certainly see in a very minor way that it’s certainly not as a point where he’s at an absolute 100 percent. He could go out there, and you’re not going to see any sign of it, but I think he’s fully capable of playing.

He actually ran, speed-wise, well. I think I saw Doe’s tweet — do it, Doe. Was it you? I thought it was you — sitting at home last night that he actually ran down the line pretty well, verified it. He came back pretty good. But, he was fine. The plays in the field. Those are plays that I think he makes tonight, he probably makes 95 percent of the time. We probably should have turned the double play anyway regardless.

And I think he had good at-bats. That’s also something he’s done from beginning to end, and we would anticipate to see that from him again. He looks fine swinging the bat.

Q. Rocco, you mentioned Randy’s story. When did that first hit your radar? What do you remember hearing first about him?
ROCCO BALDELLI: We’ll get — periodically, through the year, you start hearing about guys in the system, guys that are throwing the ball well. Dob’s name started to come up. You know, sinker, slider, real sinker, real slider, commands it well, competes well over the course of an outing, and that’s really where it was for a little while.

We’re playing throughout May — well, through the middle of the year, really. Then you look up, and he’s pitching himself into a place where you’re talking about him, and that’s — in and of itself, that’s an accomplishment. Then as the season continued to move on, we were talking about options initially for our bullpen, for who knows what. Spot starts, bullpen, but guys that can come in and help us. He put himself in a spot where he was going to be a big leaguer and we were going to use him.

We’ve used him in different ways since he’s shown up. Would we have expected, when he arrived, that he’d be pitching Game 2 at Yankee Stadium in the playoffs? I don’t know. If anyone was thinking that, I would love to meet that person and have a chat with him. He’s earned all of this. He’s throwing the ball exceptionally well. Every time we hand him the ball, he gives us a chance to get through that outing or gives us a chance to win if he’s starting.

I feel good about handing him the ball today. I’m excited to watch him go out there and do what he’s been doing. He’s been phenomenal.

Q. Rocco, how much has the grind, the workload of this managing job compared to what you thought going into it? And how much do you think it’s changed from when you were a rookie playing for Lou?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Wow, we could probably talk for a while about that. Those are — I like talking about the players and everything that they’re doing. I’ll try to keep it short, though.

The role is definitely different than anything I’ve ever experienced. The one really cool part about the role — not really part of your question, but I figured I’d add it in — is you get to watch other people succeed around you and reach their goals and do great things, and to be a part of it, as the manager of the team, is very, very fulfilling. It’s probably the best part of the job. And every day we get to see that.

And we’ve seen a lot of guys go out there — not just the players. I’m talking staff. I’m talking everybody that’s involved here. We have a wonderful group. We support each other very well. It’s something that I personally take pride in, the way that we conduct our business. But those are the moments for me. The wins and losses matter, and they’re great, and that’s what we’re here for. We want to win a World Series. On top of all of that, though, the important part is the people and creating that environment that allows people to succeed. Again, that’s what makes me feel good.

It’s probably different than 2003 and walking in and working with Lou, and I learned a lot from Lou. He was always very, very good to me and very supportive of me, and I thank him for that very much. I think the environment, the people, everything about what’s going on at the big league level is probably different than it was at that time. That’s probably for a different day and a different place to really talk about and get into.

Q. Rocco, the home runs have obviously been a big part of what you guys have done this year and part of the offense last night. Also, Polanco stole a base, which has been pretty uncommon for you guys, and it looked like C.J. was trying to execute a hit and run on the one where he kind of threw the bat out. I’m just curious with the way your lineup is constructed and sort of the game, the way that it’s played now. What does the calculus look like for those small ball kind of moves, especially this time of year?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I think it totally depends on your personnel, what they do, what they’re capable of, their skill set, and then how the particular game is playing out. There have been a few times this year where we’ve looked to move a runner or steal a base and things like that. For the most part, we will swing the bat, and we’re going to give our guys an opportunity to impact the ball. I think that gives us the best shot to win, looking at our players and what they can do.

But, again, a lot of these particular scenarios where you might end up playing some sort of small ball, they’re there, but I think they have to play out in a very particular — the game has to play out in a very particular way where we’ll see them with the guys that we have.

We have some pretty talented — you talk about Polanco, he can do a lot of different things. If you do need something late in the game, he can do pretty much anything. He’s capable. He’ll lay a bunt down for a hit. He’ll move a runner. He can steal a base. He can move, he can do some things. We can see it, but it’s going to have to be with a particular group of players in a certain spot in the game.

Q. Rocco, when you look at the bullpen last night, how concerning was it, and what is one — is it a matter of guys just got to throw more strikes? What do you take from last night?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Well, for one, we talked about this in here already, our bullpen’s been great. Our bullpen has carried us throughout this year. We’ve given our group small leads many times, and they’ve brought us to victory. We’re going to continue to rely on those guys. I’m not concerned with our group at all. It really just comes down to executing pitches. Again, when you throw the ball fine, when you throw the ball just okay, that’s probably not good enough against a good offense. You’re going to have to do a little bit better than that. But I have complete faith in all of our guys from the very top to the bottom of our bullpen that they can do that.

We won’t get into every single guy that we brought in. Every situation is different. Every guy we brought in responded a little bit differently. We’re going to go back to these same guys again and hopefully some of the other guys that actually didn’t get in the game last night.

Q. Rocco, why Dobnak in this game and not Jake? And how much was experience, especially with the importance now of this game in considering deciding not to go with the guy who has pitched in this stadium before?
ROCCO BALDELLI: We certainly discussed it a lot. I think this stadium is a pretty unique venue. We talk about the energy of being in a playoff atmosphere here, that’s one thing. It’s also a stadium where you probably want to keep the ball down as best you can. Dobnak hasn’t pitched in the big leagues for long, but he keeps the ball down and on the ground probably as well as almost any pitcher in the big leagues, I think. So that’s definitely a factor.

We’re going to have Jake coming back regardless at home. I think we were all very comfortable with that decision. I think the pitchers themselves were comfortable with it too. I feel good about throwing Dobnak out there. I don’t think of this game as any different than any game that we’ve played. I don’t think, even in the five-game series, that there’s any added emphasis on today’s game. Every game is important. It doesn’t change the importance based on what happened in the previous game until you’re down to the last game and both teams know that they have to win that game, it’s not going to change the way that we’re really going to operate with our personnel.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Yankees have won 11 consecutive postseason games vs. Minnesota (since 10/6/04), their longest postseason winning streak ever vs. a single opponent.




STARTING TIME: 7:09 p.m. TIME OF GAME: 4:15 GAME TIME TEMPERATURE: 58 degrees PAID ATTENDANCE: 49,233 (Sellout #1)

WINNING PITCHER: Tommy Kahnle (1-0)

PITCH COUNTS (Total Pitches/Strikes): LOSING PITCHER: Zack Littell (0-1)

Yankees: James Paxton (86/50) SAVE: None Twins: José Berríos (88/54) HOME RUNS


YANKEES – DJ LeMahieu (#1 / 6th / solo / 1 out / first pitch / Stashak / NYY 6 – MIN 4) Jorge Polanco (#1 / 1st / solo / 1 out / 1-1 / Paxton / MIN 1 – NYY 0) Brett Gardner (#2 /6th / solo / 2 out / 0-1 / Stashak / NYY 7

TWINS – Nelson Cruz (#17 / 3rd / solo / 2 out / first pitch / Paxton / MIN 2 – NYY 0) Miguel Sanó (#1 /6th / solo / 0 out / 0-2 / Kahnle / MIN 4 – NYY 5)


• The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five ALDS…are 9-2 in their last 11 postseason openers (since 2005).

• Have won 11 consecutive postseason games vs. Minnesota (since 10/6/04), their longest postseason winning streak ever vs. a single opponent…are 14-2 all-time in postseason games against the Twins (7-2 at home, 7-0 on the road)…are 16-2 against the Twins at Yankee Stadium since 2015, including the postseason.

• Trailed, 2-0, in the middle of the third inning…tied for fourth in the Majors in the regular season with 43 comeback wins (second in the AL to Oakland-44).

• At 4 hours, 15 minutes, was the second-longest nine-inning postseason game in Yankees history, behind 2004 ALCS G3 at Boston (4:20).

• Yankees batters scored 10R in a postseason game for the first time since 2011 ALDS G4 at Detroit (10-1 win)…set a club postseason record with 3SB in the seventh inning (incl. 2SB by PR/LF Cameron Maybin).

• 1B DJ LeMahieu (3-for-5, 2R, 1 double, 1HR, 4RBI) hit a solo HR in the sixth, his first career postseason HR and RBI…added a bases-clearing double in the seventh…led the Majors in BA with RISP in 2019 (.389)…his 3H matched his total from his first five career postseason games (3-for-20, 2 doubles, 0R, 0RBI w/ Colorado)

. • Is the second player in Yankees history to record 4RBI in his first postseason game with the club, joining Bobby Abreu (4RBI in 2006 ALDS G1 vs. Detroit)…is the first player to record 3H in his first postseason game with the Yankees since Jason Giambi (3-for-4 with 1HR, 3RBI in 2002 ALDS G1 vs. Anaheim)…is the first Yankee with at least 3H and 4RBI in a postseason game since Robinson Canó (3-for-5, 1R, 2 doubles, 1HR, 6RBI) in 2011 ALDS G1 vs. Detroit.

• Is the fourth Yankees leadoff hitter to collect 4RBI in a postseason game, joining Johnny Damon (4RBI in 2007 ALDS G3 vs. Cleveland), Hank Bauer (4RBI in 1958 World Series G3 vs. Milwaukee-NL) and Frankie Crosetti (1938 World Series G4 vs. Chicago-NL).

• CF Brett Gardner (1-for-4, 2R, 1HR, 1RBI) hit a solo HR in the sixth…was his second career postseason HR (also a solo HR in the 2017 AL Wild Card Game vs. Minnesota)…hit third for the second time in his postseason career (2018 ALDS G1 at Boston)…tied for the AL lead with 9HR in September.

• 2B Gleyber Torres (1-for-3, 1R, 1 double, 2RBI, 1BB, 1SB) hit a go-ahead two-run double in the fifth inning.

• RF Aaron Judge (1-for-3, 2R, 2BB) reached base three times…raised his career postseason OBP to .381.

• DH Edwin Encarnación (2-for-5, 1R, 2 doubles, 1RBI) doubled in his first two at-bats…had been 1-for-21 (.048) in his previous seven postseason games (since 2016 ALCS G5 vs. Cleveland w/ Toronto).

• LF Giancarlo Stanton (0-for-1) drew 3BB…had 1BB in 22PA last postseason.

• LHP James Paxton (4.2IP, 5H, 3ER, 1BB, 8K, 2HR) made his postseason debut and took a no-decision.

• Is the fourth pitcher in Yankees history to record at least 8K in his postseason debut, joining Dave Righetti (10K in 1981 ALDS G2), Red Ruffing (10K in 1932 World Series G1) and Lefty Gomez (8K in 1932 World Series G2).

• RHP Tommy Kahnle (0.2IP, 1H, 1ER, 1BB, 1K, 1HR) earned his first career postseason win.

• Yankees relievers allowed just 1ER on 2H over 4.1IP (5BB, 5K).


• The Twins fell to the Yankees in ALDS Game 1…have lost their last 14 playoff games, the longest losing streak by any team in postseason history (broke a tie with Boston-13G from 10/25/86-10/6/95)…of those 14 Twins losses, 11 have come against the Yankees, including each of the last eight.

• This series marks the Twins’ second postseason appearance in the past three seasons (also 2017 AL Wild Card Game) after missing the playoffs in their previous six seasons (2011-16)…marks the Twins’ 13th postseason overall since the franchise moved to Minnesota.

• Fell to 2-14 all time in postseason games vs. the Yankees…have lost 11 straight postseason games against the Yankees (dating back to 2004 ALDS Game 2), Minnesota’s longest losing streak against a single team in postseason history…have lost all five completed postseason series played against the Yankees: 2017 Wild Card (0-1), 2010 ALDS (0-3), 2009 ALDS (0-3), 2004 ALDS (1-3) and 2003 ALDS (1-3)

. • Are now 25-41 (.379) all time in the postseason.

• Twins batters hit 3HR tonight, their most ever in a postseason game.

• Have been held to 4R-or-fewer in each of their last 11 postseason games (since 10/3/06), tied for the third-longest such streak in modern postseason history (since 1903)…trails only the Brooklyn Dodgers’ 18-game streak from 10/09/1916-10/1/47 and the Oakland Athletics’ 12-game streak from 10/17/74-10/6/88.

• RHP José Berríos (4.0IP, 4H, 3R/1ER, 3BB, 6K) made his career postseason start and did not record a decision…marked his second career postseason appearance (also a relief appearance in the 2017 AL Wild Card Game).

• In four career appearance vs. the Yankees (both regular season and postseason), is 1-3 with a 5.57 ERA (21.0IP, 13ER).

• SS Jorge Polanco (2-for-3, 1R, 1HR, 2RBI, 2BB) reached base four times…hit his first career postseason home run in the first inning and an RBI double in fifth…hit a career-high 22HR during the regular season

• DH Nelson Cruz (1-for-3, 1R, 1HR, 1RBI, 2BB) hit a solo HR in the third inning, his 17th career postseason home run and his sixth career home run in the division series.

• His 17 career postseason home runs are the second-most among active players, trailing only Albert Pujols (19HR)…is hitting .371 (13-for-35) with 6R, 1 double, 3HR and 8RBI in his last nine postseason games…in 13 career division series games, has hit .320 (16-for-50) with 11R, 2 doubles, 6HR and 9RBI.

• 3B Miguel Sanó (1-for-4, 1R, 1HR, 1RBI) made his postseason debut and hit a solo HR in the sixth, becoming the eighth Twins batter to homer in his postseason debut since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961…was the first to so since Eddie Rosario and Brian Dozier both did it in the 2017 AL Wild Card Game.

• LF Marwin Gonzalez (2-for-4, 1 double) has hit in each of his last five postseason games and in 10 of his last 11…is hitting .350 (16-for-44) with 4R, 5 doubles, 2HR and 9RBI in his last 11 postseason games.


Game Date Opponent Probable Pitchers (2019 Regular Season Stats) / Results Time (ET) TV Game

1 Fri., Oct. 4 vs. Minnesota YANKEES 10, Minnesota 4

Game 2 Sat., Oct. 5 vs. Minnesota RHP Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45) vs. RHP Randy Dobnak (2-1, 1.59) 5:07 p.m. FS1

Game 3 Mon., Oct. 7 at Minnesota RHP Luis Severino (1-1, 1.50) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (15-7, 3.51) 7:37 or 8:40 p.m. FS1

Game 4* Tues., Oct. 8 at Minnesota TBA vs. TBA 8:07 p.m. FS1

Game 5* Thurs., Oct. 10 vs. Minnesota TBA vs. TBA 5:07 or 7:07 p.m. FS1 * – if necessary

“We had some good swings. We had our moments. Just by chance, there was no one on base when we popped a few balls over the fence.” Rocco Baldelli


October 5, 2019

Rocco Baldelli

New York, New York – postgame 1

Yankees – 10, Twins -4

Q. Could you talk about the Game 2 plans at this point?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Pitching-wise? Dobnak is going to start for us tomorrow. And I can announce Odo is going to start Game 3, as well. Again, I wanted to make sure we got through tonight and we were set to name these guys anyway. So that’s what our plan was originally, too.

Q. (No microphone)?
ROCCO BALDELLI: A fine line. It was not an obvious move in any way. I think in this ballpark, the guy that throws the ball, keeps it on the ground pretty well was a good guy to look to. Dob’s been throwing the ball great for us, so I thought it made sense.

Q. Do you expect a lot of the games in this series to go like tonight and the difference will be with the home runs, who hits them when runners are on base, and there will be a lot of strikeouts? Just the timing of the home runs with the offense will be the key?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I would expect it to be a decent part of it. When you step out on the field and watch our team, the Yankees, there’s a lot of big strong guys out there. I would expect at least a few balls to be hit over the fence at some point. We had some good swings. We had our moments. Just by chance, there was no one on base when we popped a few balls over the fence.

But, again, that’s probably going to be at least part of the story line on a regular basis this series.

Q. Rocco, how much did those extra outs in the third inning that the defense kind of gave them affect the way you had to manage Jose?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Overall, I thought Jose threw the ball pretty well. I think he pitched with his fastball pretty well. His breaking ball kind of came and went, but I think he was able to work through a few situations and do it pretty well.

We didn’t make all the plays behind him. It did make it tough. We had to get some extra outs. We had to throw a lot more pitches. So he did have to work because of it and probably shortened the outing a little bit, which caused us to have to go to the pen and have to cover some more innings. So it’s all related.

But overall, again, I think he competed well, kept us in the game, and certainly gave us a chance. Having to pitch through those instances that you mentioned, I think he did it reasonably well.

Q. Zack had a lot of problems with his control. Stashak centered a couple of pitches. They’re rookies that are new to this. How much of that would you attribute to a big stage and their first time on it?
ROCCO BALDELLI: There’s no way to know that. These are guys we have leaned on heavily throughout the year. We’re going to continue to lean on them heavily. We’re going to see them back out there and throwing in important situations. Because of the way the game played out, one or both of those guys was going to end up in this game pitching in probably an important spot at some point.

We tried to grab those outs early from Littell in the fifth, and it played out the way it played out. But our guys are resilient. Our guys have had outings here and there over the course of the year that didn’t go as planned, and they come right back, and they’re ready to go.

Q. Rocco, you’re well aware of how patient and methodical the Yankees can be, but does seeing it happen on the stage in a playoff game difficult to prepare for experience-wise?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I mean, it looks like the same Yankee team that we’ve played against a handful of times already this year. They have a good offense, so they’re a team that you know is going to have good at-bats. You know that they’re going to generally lay off pitches out of the zone, and they’re impactful. You know what, I think they resemble our team a lot, too.

Tonight overall, they played well and got the win, but our team, as a whole — I mentioned our bullpen guys a few minutes ago, but our team as a whole has bounced back exceptionally well all year long. Regardless of what happens, the TVs will be on in the clubhouse, the music will be playing on low to medium volume, and guys will be just getting changed and getting ready for tomorrow.

Q. How did Arraez come out of the game? And did you think his ankle kept him from either making a good throw to first base or from getting to that pop-up in right field?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I don’t think so. I mean, we saw him make all the plays yesterday. We worked him out pretty good yesterday. If he had a regular week of work, would he be making a better throw on the double play? Who knows. There’s really no way to know that.

I’m going to bet on him every time being ready, making those plays. I think on the pop-up, it was kind of an odd play. I’m not sure if there was a visual issue or just missed straight out — you know, a play that he probably makes more times than not. He comes right back, puts a good swing on the ball, and gives us a chance to do something on the other side of the ball.

So I thought he was fine, and I really wasn’t worried about the injury issues at all. He came out of the game well.

Q. Rocco, in your bullpen with some of your leverage guys — I’m thinking of Romo and Rogers in particular — you’ve saved them through the season for late leads. Now, is there a point in the series where that might change, either due to results or process?
ROCCO BALDELLI: It could. We don’t generally commit to anything early, but I think there’s a chance that we end up running some of our guys that have pitched very late in the game. We could run them out there, probably still reasonably late in the game, but maybe push them up a little bit. Again, with the five innings we’re going to cover out of the bullpen tonight, we could have seen — we could have ended up seeing something like that. So that is definitely possible.

Tomorrow, after not throwing today, maybe it’s even more likely that they get out there for more extended outings.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“Ten runs. I think it was so difficult on them, and we were able to break through in a couple of big spots.” -AARON BOONE



October 5, 2019

Aaron Boone

New York, New York – postgame 1

Yankees – 10, Twins – 4

Q. Aaron, just walk us through some of the bullpen decisions, specifically going to Britton in the seventh, and then was Happ, was that a by-product to D.J.’s double?
AARON BOONE: Yeah. We were prepared to be aggressive there, and we were prepared to try to split up the seventh, eighth, and ninth with Britton and Chappy in that spot, but once we got the lead leverage, we decided to go with J.A. there for an inning. It was good to see him get in the game like that where, obviously, a different role for him, and I thought threw the ball really well.

Q. And not sticking with Green longer? That was a matchup thing or —
AARON BOONE: A little bit in that we felt like we could split it up the seventh, eighth, and ninth and kind of wanted Greeny’s potential length for tomorrow, as well. So, yeah, a couple factors leaking into that.

Q. Obviously, you’ve watched Torres hit a lot over the last two years, but I wonder if there’s a level of appreciation, bases loaded, down 0-2, to a guy who’s pretty tough on right handers, in that situation for what kind of at-bat he had there.
AARON BOONE: It was — I mean, you nailed it. A big time at-bat against a guy that was really tough on righties. To work himself back into that count, I think the 3-2 pitch that he kind of three-quarter swing spoiled to keep surviving and then finally got a pitch he could do something with and smoked it. It was a huge at-bat, obviously, in that game. We’re kind of looking for that kind of hit. We created some pretty good traffic to that point, and that hit, I think, really, really got us rolling from there.

But it was a big time at-bat and a tough spot against a tough matchup.

Q. Take us through the thought process a little of the decision to leave Paxton in for Polanco. I’m sure there were pros and cons there and why you came out the way you did to leave him in.
AARON BOONE: We just — I felt good about him going through Polanco, and Polanco had a great night, but we’ll keep him on that side preferably. He had a great night and a great at-bat against him, but I felt like Pax was pretty strong to that point, and had Otta, obviously, ready for Cruz. But I felt good about the matchup there.

Q. When you started the inning, might you have used Ottavino for that batter had Paxton looked differently? I assume you watched him closely. You had Ottavino up at the beginning of the inning —
AARON BOONE: Yeah, he was just getting ready. It was more for Cruz.

Q. LeMahieu drops the pop-up. You probably didn’t expect to see that. What’s going through your mind when you see that?
AARON BOONE: Weird things can happen sometimes in the playoffs. You’ve got kind of a windy night, cold, one of those where maybe he thought Gleyber was going to come over, so I don’t think he was real committed at it. Then it skips off, and then we end up turning the huge double play, obviously, to get out of that inning.

Then D.J. goes and says enough and finishes off an impressive night.

Q. You’ve talked about wanting to be aggressive with the bullpen, but I think at one point there you had two of your high leverage guys get two outs, face five batters. You’ve still got a bunch of outs to cover. Did going through some of this last year make you more comfortable to sort of get in that position? Because it could also go the other way there if you don’t expend a lead where you have to cover some innings with some of your best guys.

AARON BOONE: I just think there were some spots that I felt good about certain guys in, and the other good thing about tonight is I feel like all of our guys are back in play for tomorrow, and we’re not pushing them necessarily.

So I just felt like there were certain times in the game that matchups we wanted to try to slam the door, and fortunately, the offense was able to add on to allow us to change things up a little bit and keep Britt to an inning. So it just kind of unfolded that way for us.

Q. (No microphone)?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, it obviously felt like that was a big point of the game, wanted Otta for Cruz. Cruz worked a really good at-bat on him. I thought Otto threw the ball well. If he gets out of that inning, then Kahnle has a clean one there for the sixth with everyone behind him. They made it tough and had some good at-bats, so we had to get Greeny in the mix obviously, but still felt like we were covered.

Q. Even before Torres’ hit, you had guys lay off some pretty tough breaking stuff. Is that kind of in the scouting report against them? And Torres, is that emblematic of his slow heartbeat when you guys talk about him up in that spot?
AARON BOONE: That’s controlling the strike zone, and that’s, I think, what allowed us to win the game tonight. We won a lot of 3-2 counts tonight. I thought the guys by and large, up and down the lineup, really made it tough on their pitchers because they stayed in the strike zone. When you do that, you’re able to have a night like tonight where you throw up — we got ten, right? Ten runs. I think it was so difficult on them, and we were able to break through in a couple of big spots.

Q. Just how concerning, if at all, was Stanton’s defense in left field today?
AARON BOONE: Not at all. I mean, the ball he dove for, I thought he moved really well on it, laid out, didn’t quite get it. Yeah, I’m not concerned at all.

Q. Does Aaron sometimes forget he’s 6’7″ out there in right field with the defense he was playing out there? He made some aggressive plays and a big one, too, with the line drive in the corner there.
AARON BOONE: Yeah, huge. He’s so good out there. Obviously, two great plays where he lays out for balls. You see the other things he does so well just fundamentally sound, just getting behind balls to get himself into position to make throws. And then on the offensive side, I felt every at-bat he had tonight he was all over everything. Just what might get lost in that ten-run game is the two big defensive plays that he made out in right.

Q. Are you ever going to get over him hitting the deck like that, Aaron? I know you feel great about the play, but afterwards is there a little bit of a worry to it?
AARON BOONE: I stepped up on the top step, but I felt like I saw it pretty well and kept it on the chest. I felt like we were okay with that one.

Q. How was J.A. Happ coming out of the bullpen, and could we see him start this series?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, I thought he was really good. I thought he threw the ball well. Lost Kepler, where Kepler worked a tough at-bat off him, but I thought he threw the ball great. It was good to get him out there because I really think J.A. Happ is going to play a big role for us if we’re going to go deep in this playoffs, and it could be in so many different roles. It could be in a high leverage situation for short. It could be a matchup situation. It could be starting a game. It could be in a lot of different roles, and the fact that he was ready for that tonight and came in and picked us up was big.

Q. We always talk about Gleyber’s approach at the plate, but what is it about his personality and his mental game that allows him at 22 to thrive in these kinds of situations?
AARON BOONE: He’s smart, and he’s confident, and that’s a really good combination when you’re talented. But I think those are the two biggest things. He’s shown an ability to make adjustments, to understand what teams and pitchers are doing to him, and he has a lot of confidence in his ability and came up big tonight again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports