“Yeah, my last at-bat was the first time I actually saw the ball the whole way. The shadows were extremely difficult. You saw Kolten Wong have two check swings and barrelled both of them up. You just saw some really bad swings and bad counts. But that’s what you have to deal with when you have a 3 o’clock game. It’s kind of unfortunate, you have a playoff game, a really big important game, and you have to deal with that. When you easily could have another time slot and not have to deal with it.” –Adam Eaton.

October 12, 2019

Max Scherzer

Adam Eaton

St. Louis, Missouri – postgame 2

Nationals 3, Cardinals 1

Q. Wanted to ask, it’s homecoming weekend at Mizzou. What’s this win mean to be back in St. Louis area on homecoming weekend?
MAX SCHERZER: I don’t know. I’m playing for the other 24 guys in the clubhouse. We really want to win here. So that’s what’s going to happen, we’re going to compete and win.

Q. Is there any thought to the potential history you’re making or is it just all about winning that game?
MAX SCHERZER: Just throwing up zeros. It’s a 1-0 game, mistakes are, it’s razor thin out there, you can’t give — I’m really thinking don’t give up a solo shot. Just trying to work with Zuk and just navigate through this lineup. Just stay in the moment, stay with Zuk and just keep your mind what we need to do. And he did a great job of sequencing them and we did a good job of just executing pitches.

Q. Max, first, just how did you feel, the whole kinetic chain or whatever you want to call it? And also you and Anibal six years ago took back-to-back no-hitters into the 6th in the postseason, never been done before. Now you both took them into the 6th and 8th. Can you talk about how unusual that is, if you talked about it, anything?
MAX SCHERZER: I know when Sanchie gets locked in, he’s nasty. He can just absolutely do anything with the baseball. He’s such a treat to watch. The way he can change speeds and execute pitches, it’s a treat to really watch and get to pitch with him. For me, I’m just in the moment. I’m not trying to do anything great, I’m just trying to stick within my game and just work with Zuk.

Q. What’s your vantage point on that single and in that spot, are you kind of okay with him not taking the risk there and diving for it given what the alternative could have been?
MAX SCHERZER: It’s 1-0. We can’t afford to get a runner in scoring position. That’s just the way the game is being played at that point. Just keep him at first and go to work.

Q. Adam, in your at-bat there with the double did you expect them to go to Miller? Were you surprised to see Wainwright stay in? And can you just walk us through what you were trying to do there and how the at-bat played out?
ADAM EATON: You know, you’re going to have to keep locked in on who is on the mound at the time. I didn’t even try to look out into the bullpen to see who is warming up because now you’re trying to think managerial when you should be just focused on hitting. So I walked to the plate facing Wainwright and him and Yadi were kind of confusing me all day in that at-bat and keeping me really, really off balance. And in that sense 3-2, kind of knew he was going to go to the breaking ball, more so than any other pitch — or any other at-bat that I’ve had. And I knew he had to throw it for a strike so it kind of gave me an opportunity to sit on it and got it and hit it where they weren’t.

Q. You also mentioned what they were doing to you in earlier at-bats at the game. What did you take from those into that final at-bat?
ADAM EATON: Yeah, everything I was thinking, they did the opposite. So I was thinking 3-2 should be a heater here and I’m like, well, that’s the opposite, so I should George Costaza it and just go ahead and said breaking ball and that’s what happened and George was right and I happened to be right.

Q. We have heard a few guys talk about how the shadows affected hitting in this game and pitching. Was that last at-bat, the one that you had the big hit on, was it easier because of the light?
ADAM EATON: Yeah, my last at-bat was the first time I actually saw the ball the whole way. The shadows were extremely difficult. You saw Kolten Wong have two check swings and barrelled both of them up. You just saw some really bad swings and bad counts. But that’s what you have to deal with when you have a 3 o’clock game. It’s kind of unfortunate, you have a playoff game, a really big important game, and you have to deal with that. When you easily could have another time slot and not have to deal with it. But going into the game we had an understanding that that was going to be a huge affect and Mike hit that big homer and we had all the confidence, one run could win this game with the shadows. But like you said, as the game went on you were able to see much better.

Q. Max, you mentioned that you’re so locked into the postseason, Dave said before the game with the start we had to the season we have been in playoff mode for two, three months now. What’s this ride for both of you, what’s this ride been like when you’re just on this in this zone and on this run?
MAX SCHERZER: It’s fun. This team’s got a lot of personality and a lot of grit to it. And we got really 25 guys, no matter who it is, when their number gets called they’re going to lay it all on the line for each other. It’s such a treat to be in the clubhouse like this and have, to know that that’s the type of baseball we’re playing and right now it just seems like anybody who gets their number called is going to do something big. Somebody might make a mistake and then come back and do something big for the team. This is really, it’s not just one guy carrying this team or two guys, it’s really just a collective of everybody out there doing their job.

Q. How enjoyable was the dugout dance after you came out?
ADAM EATON: You look forward to that, come on.

MAX SCHERZER: They always dance for solo shots and this and that, but what happens when there’s a two-run shot? You guys don’t dance. So, you know, there’s a that — I think two runs is worth more than a solo shot, so they never dance for a two-run, so I’m always the guy —

ADAM EATON: Not a two-run shot, a two-run double. We dance for solo shots and he’s always like, oh, a solo shot’s not a big deal and then we hit a two-run double and we don’t dance because no one hit a home run that — I’m sorry, I kind of cut you off, but that’s clarification.

MAX SCHERZER: No, that’s what’s going on there.

Q. Will you monitor your arm on a daily basis leading up to if you have another start in this series to see if you can come out of the pen?
MAX SCHERZER: I doubt it. My arm was kind of gassed coming into today, I knew I didn’t have like 120 pitches, knew I only had really a hundred. My arm actually felt better around the 4th inning once it kind of loosened up and freed up. And once I got to that hundred pitch count, the only thing that was going to keep me in the game was that I found my arm slot, but with the lefties coming up, we had Doolittle, my spot in the order was coming up and a chance to get out of there with a hundred pitches and kind of recover at this point in time, that’s why it all made sense to go to Doolittle in that situation.

Q. Can you speak to what it’s like to play behind Anibal last night, Max today and then know you’re going home have Stephen and Patrick, just what kind of confidence that breeds in a clubhouse dugout?
ADAM EATON: We have done it all year. Nothing’s really changed. Stay on your toes because you might not get a ball for seven innings and then all of a sudden you might get one. I’ve been blessed to play behind some really, really good pitchers and you just enjoy the masterpiece that they’re painting, realistically. You admire it and it’s just, it’s fun to play behind really good pitchers, guys that want to go out there and compete like the four guys that we have. So just enjoy the ride, be ready when that one ball might be hit to you, it might make the difference, and score a run for them.

Q. You had a ball in the outfield that looked like it was hard to track, Michael had one he didn’t track. In addition to not seeing the ball hitting was it a tough day to play the outfield?
ADAM EATON: Yeah, no, it definitely was. Oddly enough, when the sun went down it got super dark and when you can’t hear the bat, the ball hit the bat, with the noise, it make it’s extremely difficult. I froze on mine big time and was able to have a little bit of make up speed and catch it. Mikey did the exact same thing. When the ball’s hit you kind of freeze and if you can’t quite see it as well, the depth perception is a little funky, it makes for an interesting play. But we both have to make those plays, but like I said just difficult, really all day the lighting was just constantly changing and really challenged us.

Q. I wanted to ask both guys, I know you play them one at a time, but can you say anything about going home to Nationals Park and to your home crowd up 2-0 and what that will be like?
ADAM EATON: I’m excited. Our park has been absolutely legit when it comes to the fan base and them coming out and supporting us. And helping start the wave type deal, with the emotion and just getting it on our side right away. So I think we’re both really excited to go home, play in a familiar park where people are cheering for you instead of against you. So I’m excited.

MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, I mean the atmosphere in the playoffs at Nationals Park has been incredible. They come out and they go nuts from the first pitch. So I have a feeling it’s even going to be more crazy given what we have done and really our first postseason win as an organization, I think that means a lot to everybody in DC, so it should be a fun time.

Q. Curious, from a pitcher’s perspective what did you see from Wainwright today, because you guys had a pretty memorable battle today.
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, I mean he goes out there and competes as well as anybody in this league. He knows how to execute pitches and he works with Yadi so well and he’s got just the curve ball that just never gets there and it breaks so much. And they really know how to move the ball around together and be in sync. I mean that, you knew he was going to go out there and throw up zeros. We got lucky in the first pitch of an inning and Mikey was able to get a homer, but I mean he bore down and continued to throw up zeros and execute pitches and the margin for error was just, there wasn’t any margin for error.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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tech 129

“For us it was important to have as many right-handed weapons (pitchers) and give them different looks over a seven-game series, to have a lot of options that way.” — AJ Hinch.

October 12, 2019

AJ Hinch

Houston, Texas – pregame 1

Q. Even though the Yankees are predominantly right-handed, what are the challenges of you not having a left-handed pitcher on your pitching staff for this series?
AJ HINCH: I know it sticks out a little bit when you look at a lineup card, but in reality I think it’s important to have the most weapons you can against the majority of their hitters. Obviously I know Gardner and Didi and with Hicks — Hicks creates his own challenges being a switch-hitter.

For us it was important to have as many right-handed weapons and give them different looks over a seven-game series, to have a lot of options that way.

We’ve had some rosters we’ve had a lot of — some lefties and sometimes we haven’t in my five years here. But we had a lot of — the majority of the season, if not all the season, was done without a lefty in the bullpen, from the bullpen side.

Now, telling Wade Miley he’s not on the roster was tough. He’s had a tremendous year for us, and he was on the Division Series roster and he’s worked his tail off to try to get the feel back for his pitches. And he provided a lot of insurance and length for us in the first round.

That was much tougher than it is for me to worry about how we get through their lineup with no lefty.

Q. What did you think of your team’s offense during the Division Series? And how credit do the Rays pitchers deserve for extending it?
AJ HINCH: I think when you get to this time of the year to expect the blowup games and these monstrous offensive games is really tough. You’re not getting too many looks at too many guys. And the Rays did a good job of utilizing all of their good pitching in random order and different ways and matchups. With the exception of Charlie’s game, Charlie Morton’s game, it was all hands on deck for them for the four other games.

Give a lot of credit to them. And it wasn’t just about the number of pitchers they were bringing in; it was the elite stuff that they were throwing up there.

That being said we came through at the right time. We had some big, explosive — there were some guys that swung the bat very well in that series. But part of how our roster is built is to have any given guy at any given day have the good day that carries us in that particular game.

We may see much of the same. Obviously we want Jose to play just as well as he did, Yordan had a nice series. This might be the game that Michael Brantley, as we saw in Game 5, came up big, or Robinson Chirinos has done quite well or Yuli can get hot. We all get hot together and this is going to be an explosive offense, but this is still a really good pitching staff we’re going to have to go against.

Q. To what extent do you feel having Yuli and D�az has helped Yordan make the transition to the big leagues?
AJ HINCH: That’s a good point. I think in general across the board our position players have done a really good job of welcoming Yordan on to our team and giving him as many resources as you can. When you have a couple of countrymen that have relatable experiences and backgrounds similar to one another — I mean Yuli himself, being an idol in Cuba and across international baseball, I see it when we go to different teams. Any Cuban player is on an opposing team, they cherish their time with Yuli, and their reaction to him is so respectful.

When Yordan has an icon like that to come up and relate to, and with Diaz. At one time I think we had five or six Cubans on this team. And that is a comforting feeling for a player who is acclimating to the U.S., acclimating to the big leagues, and getting a lot thrown at him at a level which he’d never been before, so I think it was huge.

Q. Is there any tangible reasons for the home-road splits this year?
AJ HINCH: For Tanaka or for us?

Q. For your team.
AJ HINCH: I don’t know. I’ve sat in this chair and been asked by our media in ’15 or ’16, and we couldn’t win a game at home it felt like and we were crushing it on the road. There’s other years where you play really well at home and you struggle on the road. I look at other teams across the board, I’ve seen what teams do.

I think for us, this has turned into a really good home-field advantage. It’s turned into a place that we’re comfortable hitting. We have guys that hit the ball hard, and you get rewarded in this ballpark. We don’t strikeout, this can be an offensive ballpark when you put the ball in play with all the different configurations in the outfield and it can play a little bit fast.

Maybe it’s just a collection of a lot of different things. We love playing at home. We’ve had great experiences here, we’ve clinched divisions here, we’ve had the most epic Game 5 in World Series history. Add all that up and we just love playing at home.

But we did fight for home-field advantage all the way to the end, we played our guys all the way through to the end for this particular opportunity to have a Game 5 in the Division Series at our place, to open up the ALCS here. If we happen to advance to the World Series, we have the home-field advantage. I’ll play that up a ton that our home field is a big difference maker because of how we’ve played this year.

Q. There was a report Thursday that the balls might not be going as far in the postseason, and then the Cardinals dame out today and pretty much said point-blank that they didn’t think. Your thought if you noticed anything about the balls.
AJ HINCH: I don’t know. I noticed it a little bit more because elite teams are playing elite teams. And there games played in shadows, there are games played at different parts of the day, the travel, the matchups. We just faced Blake Snell out of the bullpen twice. You don’t do that during the season.

I think a lot of it has to do with the type of matchups that go on during playoff baseball when you’re trying to win. You’re exploiting weaknesses in hitters. Maybe you’re even able to exploit it a little bit more.

I’m sure there are a couple of balls across the way, across these games, that, Man, that looked like that should leave compared to the season. But the conspiracy of the ball, I’m so far away from caring about that. I want to try to win games.

And I appreciate the explosion of offense during the regular season. I hope every ball the Yankees hit is deflated and we get to catch it at the warning track. I don’t have a lot of time to spend on the difference in the ball.

Q. When the teams worked out yesterday it was unusually cold in your place, despite the fact that the roof was closed. Based on your experience how could that play?
AJ HINCH: You know, the roof — and when it’s chilly in there it impacts guys. I watched the game last night in St. Louis, it was really cold, and I saw more bunts out of those two teams than I ever saw in a game nowadays.

Maybe it changes style of play a little bit, the ball traveling. It will be warmed up a little bit when 45, 50,000 Astros fans get in here and start yelling at the Yankees. I don’t think it will play a ton.

When you get to October you start playing back in cold weather again, similar to how you do during the season. We get back here for later in the series, if we come back and have more games here in Houston, it will probably be 95. If you’ve been to Houston, you know it will change overnight.

Q. When I saw you guys during the regular season coming through Chicago playing the White Sox, you may have been joking, but I could have sworn you said you were going to order an intentional walk the last day of the season just to get the zero out of there. Of course you didn’t do that. Is there any scenario that exists at this point where you would order an intentional walk?
AJ HINCH: Of course. No, absolutely will. And I joked about walking Mike Trout at the end of the year. We finished in Anaheim with a four-game series, and I didn’t think I was going to escape four games without walking him and then he got hurt. So I switched to David Fletcher, and I threatened that I was going to walk him because he killed us all year.

I believe in the intentional walk. I believe there’s a place for it. I didn’t do it. I’ve gotten a ton of questions about it. And I even joked the last day of the season with our local media, stay tuned, I’ll probably do my first one of the year in the playoffs. There’s absolutely a place for it. And if I feel like the matchup is right and I feel like that it benefits our opportunity to win and doesn’t put us in jeopardy of giving them a better chance to score, then it’s a play that needs to be used.

I watched the other games, I don’t criticize these guys for managing their own team and intentionally walking all these guys, but it’s just not a play that I frequent.

Q. You kind of referenced the bullpen matchups a little bit. How much more sophisticated has that gotten as far as information that’s available to you as a manager?
AJ HINCH: I don’t think it’s just information, I think it’s the acceptance and the application of actually doing it.

I see the Yankees carry 13 pitchers, that will tell you right there that they’re willing to mix and match and use their pitching creatively, at least have the resources there to do a lot. Managing against Kevin Cash and the Rays last series, we knew that was going to be the case.

So there’s great acceptance to do it nowadays and there’s been some effectiveness. We saw firsthand in ’17, Boston did a great job last season and they won the World Series. When they do that and teams have success, it becomes very accepted.

The challenge is once you start that you kind of can’t stop. You can’t just go to the bullpen. You run out of pitching eventually. You have to have the right matchup and you have to have a lot of guys that have good days in order to do that.

But the information provided and where you think you can exploit teams and matching guys up perfectly is the chess match in the pitcher-hitter stuff. When it works you look brilliant; when it doesn’t then you overthought the game or overmanaged the game and ran your pitching into the ground.

But it’s part of today’s game that everybody has in their back pocket if they want to deploy it. And we may do that. You look at certain games and I’ve done that and then certain games I’ve sat in my chair and watched Gerrit Cole throw 118 pitches. You’ve got to manage the game effectively either way.

Q. What has Roberto Osuna meant? What will he mean to this club going forward?
AJ HINCH: He means a ton. When you have a closer with elite stuff and a calm demeanor and the ability to close out games. He didn’t sneak up on all those saves during the season. He was remarkably consistent.

This time of year when closers give up a baserunner, you get questioned a lot on whether or not they’re going to be able to handle October. I trust him. I believe in him. I think he’s got tremendous weapons and a demeanor and the pitchability to handle the ninth inning, the eighth inning, or seventh inning, or whenever I call down there. I’m glad he got the last game the other day in Game 5 because he had a rough stint earlier in the series. But he’s our guy. He’s going to get some big outs this series.

Q. Given the advances in technology and scouting and analytics, how much has coaching pitchers and managing a pitcher changed in the last couple of years?
AJ HINCH: It’s changed a little bit. First off supplying information comes from a lot of different ways. I think our front office and our pitching department, Strom and Josh Miller spend a ton of time with these pitchers, first off breaking down what they do well and then applying that to a game plan on how you’re facing these hitters.

The in-game coaching is a little bit different. You’re not going to go out to Zack Greinke today in the fourth or fifth inning and make a visit and tell him that his spin rate is down or up. You’re not going to utilize much — with him you can probably do it, with 99 percent of pitchers you can’t.

So I think the application of the game planning and how you go into a series knowing where you’re going to exploit hitters or where your best weapons are, there’s great knowledge that’s been deployed to these players more so than ever before. Once you get out on the field we want our guys to compete. They’re not analysts out there on the mound. We’re not generating a lot of computer reports trying to overcomplicate the game. We prepare them much better today than I ever remember.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“Kind of settled on 13 pitchers probably a day or two ago, a pretty strong consensus that we wanted to go that way. And then yeah, felt like — and then obviously that led to some difficult decisions to fill out the position player side.” — Aaron Boone.

October 12, 2019

Aaron Boone

Houston, Texas – pregame 1

Q. Obviously the roster is a little different, the additions of CC Sabathia and Aaron Hicks. What went into those decisions?
AARON BOONE: CC obviously threw his side a few days ago and thought he looked really good. I thought he was sharp. I thought he was able to really finish his pitches and then the bounceback the next day. I just felt like physically he was sound to go, and feel like there’s a role for him in this series, and maybe a couple different ways we saw the value there.

Kind of settled on 13 pitchers probably a day or two ago, a pretty strong consensus that we wanted to go that way. And then yeah, felt like — and then obviously that led to some difficult decisions to fill out the position player side.

Q. Moving Gleyber up to 3 and Didi down to 9, what went into those decisions?
AARON BOONE: Just felt like I liked that against Greinke lining it up that way, obviously keeping a little bit of separation between our two lefties and not stacking them too close together. Because Gardy moved down there, just splitting Didi, and I think you guys have seen kind of how much I like our nine spot, that’s a guy to turn things over.

And because of our health right now, feel really good about the depth obviously of our lineup.

Q. Do you still see CC as more of a matchup guy than a length guy?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, I could see both, honestly. I think the biggest thing we’ll find out is how he’s able to bounce back.

I feel good about where he’s at right now. I feel good about his ability to get up, get loose quickly. I think the biggest thing now moving forward, does he bounce back. So we’ll see. But I can see a couple of different roles for him.

Q. Do you look at Hicks totally off the bench this whole series or could you see him moving into the starting lineup?
AARON BOONE: It’s a little bit of unknown. I could see that role evolving. A lot can change over the course of a series.

And there’s a little unknown with Aaron, obviously. He’s obviously a very good player, an impact player. And he’s healthy and sound and worked hard to get back to this point to put himself in that conversation. The big unknown is he just hasn’t played any games for a while. Obviously on the bench right now. We’ll see what role he plays in that. But certainly it can be a long series and would not be surprised if he’s in there at some point.

Q. He’s not going to pitch until Game 3, but you spoke very well of Gerrit Cole yesterday. I just wanted to follow up. This 18-hour run that he’s on hasn’t been done in-season since 1912. He’s got 350 strikeouts, almost 700 swings and misses. Excellent stuff. Do you think that Cole right now, presently, in his present form is like the best pitcher maybe we’ve seen in 20 years, just the way he’s pitching right now?
AARON BOONE: He’s probably got to regress to the mean a little bit, so hopefully that happens this series. He’s tough and in a great groove, obviously. Our job is to try and figure out a way to beat him and we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Q. Last night I got a chance to witness Reggie Jackson talking to Aaron Judge about giving him some batting tips, I think. How good is it to have a Hall of Famer around your ball club like that?
AARON BOONE: Huge. Reggie, man, has been through so much in this game. Obviously playing in New York, playing when he did and winning championships here. There’s just so much wisdom that he offers guys all the time, life wisdom, baseball, it’s still very much in his blood. He’s around us quite a bit during the season. So he’s always offering up I think words of advice for not only our guys in the Big Leagues but he goes down in the Minor Leagues, too, and touches guys down there and is very involved in our organization and we’re lucky to have him.

Q. We saw the report earlier this week that the balls aren’t going as far in the playoffs. And the Cardinals today said their analytics were very specific on how much shorter they were going. I wondered if you noticed anything or did you sense anything different?
AARON BOONE: No, other than when you said that I hadn’t heard anything. So I’m going to ask our guys what we’ve got. There may be a couple of balls in Minnesota that seemed like maybe they could have gone a little further, whether that’s the cooler weather, those kind of things, I don’t know. I’m just hearing about this now. I don’t know what to make of that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“I went from not having a job on March 21st to this huge national conversation on family values going into the playoffs, like, hey, life comes at you fast, man, like I don’t know how that happened and how I became the face for whatever conversation was going on.” — Daniel Hudson.

October 12, 2019

Daniel Hudson

St. Louis, Missouri – pregame 2

Q. Congratulations. Can you just take us through what the last couple days have been like, how the time line kind of developed and if you want to share the baby’s name and everything.
DANIEL HUDSON: Yeah, baby’s name is Millie. M-I-L-L-I-E. She’s doing great, mom’s doing great. Thank you, everybody, for nice words and gestures the last 24, 36 hours, it’s been awesome.

Yeah, we, obviously her due date was originally the 14th. Once we kind of had an idea of a playoff schedule if we got past the Wild Card round who we were going to play, obviously Game 5 if we got to it in Los Angeles it was a little more convenient for me to get home. So we tried to schedule an induction for the 10th, which was yesterday. Just kind of made sense to go in between. If we were able to advance, obviously the 14th and my first two kids came a little bit later than their due date, so if you push it back a couple days you’re looking at maybe Game 6, Game 7 of a championship series. I figure Game 1 is a little bit better miss than an elimination game.

So that’s the way we tried to plan it. Obviously things changed. Thursday morning we were trying to see if we could get in early for the induction and the way it works, people that are doing natural birth come first, so we couldn’t get a bed until yesterday afternoon, yesterday evening. So that’s kind of the time line and that’s how it went. It’s just the way — you try to plan something and everything goes crazy, so.

Q. What was your conversation like with Davey and your wife, just the decision you made. It’s a big decision?
DANIEL HUDSON: Yeah, absolutely. My wife’s, she’s a rock star, she’s been around obviously the game just as long as I have. She knows kind of what’s going on. Obviously we didn’t exactly plan to have a baby in the middle of the playoffs, but like you said, you plan something and stuff goes crazy.

So everybody within the Nationals organization was completely 100 percent on board with our plan, and really thank Mike and Davey for being understanding, and all the guys as well. I got lots of outpours of love and great messages I got yesterday. It was really, really nice to get those and really appreciate all the support.

Q. How much did you follow along with the game, if at all, and how grateful were you that Anibal went out and did what he did?
DANIEL HUDSON: Yeah, it was awesome. It was really fun to watch. Obviously I got to watch from the postpartum room with mom and baby. So missed the beginning of the game, wasn’t exactly, didn’t know he had a no-hitter until midway through, so when they, one of the announcers said it. So it was really cool to see Anibal go out like that and dominate, man, it was a lot of fun to watch.

Q. What was your itinerary like today and what kind of state are you in physically and mentally to pitch tonight?
DANIEL HUDSON: Mentally there. Physically, I’m a little tired. But not a lot of sleep the last few nights. I had a 7 a.m. flight out of Los Angeles on Thursday morning, had a 6 a.m. flight out of Phoenix this morning, got in at 11. So a little bit tired, but we’ll get through it. Just go out there and try to get a win.

Q. You go through this couple days of something that’s mostly private, and in the meantime there’s this, what grows this national discussion about priorities and values and what you should be doing or whatever. Were you aware of this conversation?
DANIEL HUDSON: I’m not on social media anymore. I got rid of it a couple years ago. It’s just something, a decision I made to try to focus myself one more positive stuff in my life. Obviously it’s great tool. We were made aware of a lot of stuff that was going on, obviously, watching the game it was hard to ignore. I mean, I went, I was just telling somebody, I went from not having a job on March 21st to this huge national conversation on family values going into the playoffs, like, hey, life comes at you fast, man, like I don’t know how that happened and how I became the face for whatever conversation was going on.

Everybody’s got their opinions, man, and I really value my family and my family time. And like I said, the support I got from this organization, and most people, obviously, we were made aware of a lot of negative comments, but everybody’s got their opinions and everybody’s got their own priorities. And this organization was a hundred percent on board with what my priorities are and I’m really appreciative of that.

Q. Physically today how will you handle it preparing for a game and any different than normal?
DANIEL HUDSON: I’ll try to make it as normal as possible. Obviously, having a baby two days ago and a lot on my mind with that, obviously. Everybody’s doing great, physically with my family, and there’s no issues with mom or baby right now and we’re really lucky and fortunate to be in that situation and I’m just going to go out there and help the guys win. That’s really all I can do.

Q. Just curious, we had a little girl about a year ago and I’ve got a million pictures, how many pictures have you taken so far of your little girl?
DANIEL HUDSON: A lot man, yeah. We had a photographer come in yesterday. Obviously, I have two older girls as well, so this is my third girl. My oldest is 5, my middle one is 3. So needless to say my oldest was pretty excited to meet her new baby sister yesterday. So to be able to have that experience with my family and be there for the whole thing was everything I could have imagined. Obviously, it is my third kid. And top-3 things in my life 1A, 1B and 1C are — was being there fore the birth of all three of my daughters.

So like I said, organization was awesome for me, to let me be a part of that, it was great.

Q. Congratulations. You’ve been apart of a lot of teams. What is it about this team that maybe is different or special? And do you believe in karma? I mean, your manager goes down your center fielder goes down, people step up.
DANIEL HUDSON: Yeah, I mean, it’s a very resilient group. How many times everybody talks about the record that they started off with and all the wins that were accrued after that and best team in baseball for however long. And it just shows the amount of fight, like you said, and in all these guys and I think it goes to, it’s a testament of a lot of those guys. And they have been around the game for a long time, they know exactly what needs to be done, there’s no panic ever. Obviously, going down early against the Dodgers and then against the Brewers, you just see the fight in these guys and they, everybody wants to just kind of pass the baton and keep the ball rolling for everybody else.

Q. Having gone through it before as you did, I’m sure you know, like, what it would have been like to miss it. Could you imagine what it would have been like to miss it and how that, like, if you had come here out of a sense of duty, your mind would have been on back home. Did you think about the alternative?
DANIEL HUDSON: Not really. I don’t know, I knew I was going to go no matter what. It’s kind of — I didn’t realize that, I didn’t know that this was a new thing to have a playoff paternity leave list. I had no idea. I was, like, I can’t be the only person to have a baby in the middle of the postseason. And for it to blow up like it did, man, it’s kind of crazy. But I didn’t really give much thought about not going. My family is top priority for me. I heard somebody say one time baseball’s what I do, it’s not who I am. And kind of once you have kids or once I had kids it really resonated with me. So to be able to be a part of that was awesome. And like I said, I can’t thank the Nationals organization enough for being understanding.

Q. I know you went with Millie this time around, but Anibala Sean be in the mix should you have any more children?
DANIEL HUDSON: I don’t —

(Laughter.)

Yeah, that, Davey, that was a funny message he sent me last night. Yeah, we were actually undecided on a name at that point. We didn’t actually figure out a name until we went to bed last night. We kind of finally decided on Millie and, yeah, my wife got a good kick out of that, that was pretty funny.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“We like our lineup and this lineup is capable and this is a similar lineup that beat Scherzer a couple weeks ago. So we’ll ride with it.” Mike Shildt.

October 12, 2019

Mike Shildt

St. Louis, Missouri – pregame 2

Q. Can you describe what you see from Paul DeJong here for maybe even the last several weeks or the last month and the challenge batting 8th might present for a guy who is searching for it a bit?
MIKE SHILDT: That’s a good question. You know me, I’m optimistic by nature. I love Paul’s at-bats in Game 5, very under control, really short. The ball he hit off Freed to right, that was a really good sign for Paul waste ways one to left. Staying in the zone. That’s who Paul is. So he’s chased a little bit more, but that’s, when Paul’s right that’s who he is.

As far as hitting 8th that’s a very fair question. I think he’s more than capable, he’s done it. It’s a tough spot to hit, but I think it’s a spot that he can do some damage in that spot as well. So I’m comfortable that Paul can contribute there. Obviously that’s a place we have him so we like the construction of it. But I do understand that. It’s just the good news about that is we have a lengthy lineup and so if Paul is hitting 8th or us that’s saying a lot, a guy that hit 30 home runs.

Q. How pleased were you with your base running attack yesterday with the stolen bases for Wong and for Arozarena and how much of an impact do you think it’s going to make on the rest of the series?
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, we’re going to be intentional in taking what we see and being good about it. We’re not going to run for the sake of running. But I really applaud those guys, and of course the staff did their part to help prep them for what they were going to see. But credit the players. We had three base runners and got three total bases between a couple bags and a forced error. So felt really good about the guys understanding what they were looking at and not trying to force it, but being ready to go when the opportunity presented itself.

Q. There was a couple really hard hit balls last night, one by Ozuna, one by Rendon. I know they both went to the deepest part of the park and it’s a little colder last night, but did you think either one of those was out off the bat? And as sort of a follow-up, if you knew that the ball was carrying maybe a little bit less in the postseason than it was in the regular season would that impact your considerations of how might start defensively or offensively?
MIKE SHILDT: Good question. I thought Ozuna got his ball, based on the sound, based on the swing. But clearly it didn’t get out. And you kind of realized then we were dealing with an evening where the ball wasn’t going to carry as much. I guess — I don’t guess, our front office analytical group is saying the ball’s not traveling at about a four-and-a-half foot difference. So I don’t know how that impacts what you do as far as your matchups or more inclined to throw a fly ball guy, I mean four-and-a-half feet is not overly significant, maybe gives us an opportunity to rob someone of a homer a little bit more. But I don’t think it really impacts how you make decisions. I don’t think it’s that much of a disparity in that to determine if you’re going to throw a guy a certain way or play a guy a certain way.

Q. Dexter Fowler’s been a guy who is taken some good at-bats this postseason. He’s hitting the ball really hard a few times and doesn’t really have a whole lot to show for it. What’s been your message to him at the top just to keep him keeping on?
MIKE SHILDT: The message is keep going, also the ultimate message is you’re in a spot where we have confidence in you, you’re still our lead off guy. The one thing, and people that cover us year round know this about me, is I don’t know what the sample size looks like as far as what it is, but if you’re playing in a 5-game series, I mean first of all, Dex had a big walk and a big double in our Game 5 against Atlanta, and it was a big part of that victory, and has been a big part of what we’re doing. But if you look up and you realize 20 at-bats and you go, okay, and I do, I’m not blind to the fact that we’re in a sprint mode right now, it’s not more of a marathon type situation. But just look at it a little more holistically and you say, okay, is he taking good at-bats to your point, is he getting pitches to hit, he’s doing all these things. And that’s ultimately all you can ask hitters to do. If you felt like he was chasing a lot or his timing was off or he was searching or feeling, you would be more inclined to maybe do something differently, but don’t feel like that’s the case. That’s not the case. Not necessary to make a change for the sake of making a change because I think that can elicit a little bit of panic. But we’ll always evaluate all the guys and how they’re competing and evaluate from there.

Q. The analytics department says it’s traveling four-and-a-half feet like shorter than compared to the regular season? And did they offer any particular like any reasons why they think that’s happening, just weather or what?
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, I mean there’s probably all kind of different theories behind that that I won’t really get into. Just the fact of the matter, it could be any number of things. And again, small sample size. What we do with it is, it’s more of a fact than it is a bit of a tidbit than it is anything we’re going to really ultimately act upon. I don’t know whether it’s just our games or in total in postseason baseball or what have you. It’s not a big enough number or sample size for me to do anything about.

Q. When you guys were in Mexico you got peppered with questions about Giovanny Gallegos. And there were some question marks about what his role could be or if he would even be on the team. What was the key for him to go from there to what he became for you guys this year?
MIKE SHILDT: Well, that was just Gio getting his feet wet. And we didn’t have a lot of history with Gio, he came over in the trade with Voit and came up into last September for us and didn’t get a lot of opportunity.

And went to spring training and one of my evaluations that could have been better in spring training was allowing him to stay in camp a little bit longer. We got to that point in spring training where the innings were starting to build up for our starters and we wanted to get some of the relievers a little bit more work that we knew about. So we sent him out to get him ready for his season.

And then we got him up and then in Mexico it was pretty much one of the first times we got an opportunity to really have Gio with us and evaluate him. And the first evaluation with him is the fact that this guys’s just going to pitch regardless of circumstance. After that, the evaluation is he’s got two-plus pitches with his fastball and his breaking ball, and he’s got what’s turned out to be two really good metrics on his side, high strike out and low walk.

I can’t say we’re not here without Gio, but he’s been a huge piece of the reason we’re in this postseason because he’s done a great job for us.

Q. Given the way Jose Martinez was swinging the bat, if this is the regular season, is this the kind of day you might be starting him? You’re looking for your best defense now and you got these guys that brought you here, but he’s one of your better players, he’s not getting much time.
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, the thing is with Jose, we’ve have had this conversation, the good thing about our team is we have a good team, we have depth. So there’s a lot of great choices. It is important to have somebody like Jose be able to come up and take a good at-bat off the bench and be able to not always pick the ideal spot, but have a spot where we can get him in there that we feel good about.

We do need to always continue to look at things in a big picture. Obviously, offense is a big part of the game. We also, one of the reasons we have gotten here is our defense and what that looks like as well. So I don’t know that Jose would be in there today necessarily. This guy’s tougher on righties, but he’s always going to get consideration to play and he still will and has. And he just hasn’t been able to get in the field a whole lot since he had his shoulder injury into the wall. And so we feel like he’s in a good place to help us the best we can today.

Q. Last night and today we heard you point out what the lineup had done in those elimination games, whether in the last series or even in the regular season late. I’m just curious how those performances help you, help support your confidence in the lineup maybe in early in a series. Do you factor in, obviously you factor in body of work, but also to what the guys do when their backs are against the wall in an elimination game, does that factor into the lineup more so than, say, a game early in the series?
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, I mean, listen, I don’t want to minimize any game that we play. Every game’s important, clearly now. The thing about the lineup though is that I think we need to be, or at least I’m mindful of, I can’t dictate how mindful you are, but we’re in playoff baseball, so do appreciate the fact that one of the reasons these teams are in the playoffs is pitching’s really good. Runs are going to be at a premium regardless of lineups. They have got a nice lineup too and we held them to two runs yesterday. It was a 2-0 game. So fact of the matter is you’re going to have some low scoring games.

Again, I’ll defend, rightfully, and if we make a change it will be because we think something needs to be changed. But I just don’t like to get overly knee-jerk to — and you know we looked at it, but we like our lineup and this lineup is capable and this is a similar lineup that beat Scherzer a couple weeks ago. So we’ll ride with it.

Q. I think that was maybe what you were saying at the end, is what the lineup has come through and done in those some of those big games, even more encouragement to —
MIKE SHILDT: Absolutely.

Q. — to let it ride.
MIKE SHILDT: Absolutely. Because we’re talking about we got here for a reason. A big part of the reason we got here is because of the lineup that we have been able to get out there. We have also been able to, and you know it, we, I, haven’t been concerned about making a change. We’ve made changes, we’ve made adjustments, there’s been tough conversations with guys that have accepted those changes like complete professionals with a team-first mentality. But this is a group that we feel good about that is more than capable, to your point, that’s really done a great job in big moments of taking great at-bats. We got a lot of experience in this lineup and a lot of talent in this lineup.

So the guy pitched a really good baseball game last night, we had a good plan, we got fastballs that we wanted and weren’t able to do a whole lot with them and they were able to squeak a couple runs across and that was the difference in the gauge.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“I didn’t realize we were the oldest team in baseball, to be honest with you. But these guys are professionals, they’re veterans, they get it, they’re playing really well right now. But the days off makes it a lot easier to keep them in there.” — Dave Martinez.

October 12, 2019

Dave Martinez

St. Louis, Missouri – pregame 2

Q. With the youth movement in the game today how cool is it to lead the oldest team by average age in baseball and also how helpful is it to have these built-in off days for guys like Zim and Howie to play every day?
DAVE MARTINEZ: It’s huge. I didn’t realize we were the oldest team in baseball, to be honest with you. But these guys are professionals, they’re veterans, they get it, they’re playing really well right now. But the days off makes it a lot easier to keep them in there.

Q. You started Zim three days — or three times in a row now against right-handed pitchers above guys like Asdrubal, what sort of led to that decision?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He’s swinging the bat well, he’s playing good. I’ve always said this, for me, he’s one of our best, well he is our best defensive first baseman, as we saw yesterday by the play he made. And when he’s healthy, he’s swinging the bat, he’s playing really well, he’s running well, he’s a guy. So I like him in the lineup.

Q. You guys haven’t attempted a stolen base yet in the postseason. That was obviously a big part of your game during the regular season. Is that just a byproduct of maybe who you faced, you faced a lot of lefties with Los Angeles, or is there anything else going on that it hasn’t felt worth the risk?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We had those lefties that hold runners on well. Yesterday the starter held runners on well and you also have Yadier who throws the ball well. So we want to steal bases but we want to be smart about it. We just don’t want to run into outs.

Q. Zim kind of just keeps his emotions kind of even-keeled, in check for the most part. But have you gotten a sense of kind of what this run means to him to be healthy and contributing and playing as much as he has?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, for me, obviously he’s waited a long time to be in this position. And he’s been — people don’t see his emotions, I see his emotions a lot in the clubhouse. He’s fired up, he’s excited, he wants to play, he’s ready to play. I’ve asked him to do different a role when he came back and he accepted it. And he just wants to be a part of it. And like I said, he’s playing really well right now and hitting the ball really well.

Q. I don’t think anybody asked you yesterday, would you have let An�bal go nine? And how much were you sweating that whole debate, do I let this guy finish a postseason no-hitter?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Well, if you watched our bullpen we had Rainey up in the 7th, and then we got Doo up. So, but, yeah I was going to let him try to finish. I mean, if he gets Martinez out, he was going to go. So we were basically batter to batter at that point. I think maybe that was his fifth or sixth time all year that he went over a hundred pitches, so I definitely had some concern.

Q. A little hidden thing last night is that because he went so deep, you only had to use Doo. How does that set up your bullpen for tonight and really the rest of the series because you’ve got so much rest?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, it was huge. Today we get Huddie back. I haven’t talked to Doo yet, but I’m assuming, I think he only threw like 18 pitches yesterday, four outs, which was huge too. So I’m assuming he’s going to be good to go, especially with the day off tomorrow. But bullpen’s fresh and ready to go.

Q. Yesterday you mentioned when talking about Daniel that family comes first. How did your playing career and having a family while you played maybe inform that opinion?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I never missed any of my kids births. I think that’s important. I told them that. Because, hey, believe it or not, he was, he wanted to be with the team, and I told him I think that it’s important that you’re with your wife, it’s a big moment in your family, I know you have other kids, but it’s huge. You got to be supportive and we get it, I understand, and hopefully the baby cooperates and which she didn’t, little stubborn little thing. But he’s here today and I told him that his teammates will pick him up and we’ll be okay. I actually, I told him, I texted him last night and I said, hey, I got a name for your little girl, and in Anibala Sean Hudson.

(Laughter.)

Q. When Doolittle came off the IL he wasn’t really Doolittle for awhile. Do you remember when he kind of looked like that guy to you and do you kind of think of him and Hudson, I guess, as duo closers at this point?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Dual closers, yeah. Yeah, you know what, we tried — after he came off the IL we were building him up to get to this point. I said this all year that in a perfect world he’s our closer, he’s done it, he understands it, he knows the role, he’s good at it. But we wanted to build him up. And now he’s throwing the ball about as best as I’ve seen him throw the ball pretty much all year. His fastball is good, spin rate’s good, he’s a huge spin rate guy, and he’s using other pitches very well. So with him and Huddie in the 8th and 9th and maybe in the 7th, I feel like we got a nice stopgap there.

Q. Yesterday when Marcell Ozuna batted in the second inning he hit the heck out of the ball but it did not leave the ballpark. Can you describe your emotions watching that and did you think it was gone?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, I mean when he hit it, he hit it you awfully high and awfully hard. The thing I know about this time of year is the air gets a little heavy, so I was just hoping that the air was really, really heavy after he hit the ball and it stayed in the park.

I think Gomes hit a ball really hard too and it short-hopped the wall. So I knew that the balls weren’t going to carry.

Q. Can you describe the fear factor that it is facing a hot Marcell Ozuna who is doing really well in October so far?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, he’s awesome. He’s one of those guys where he’s dangerous, especially with guys on base, so we got to be awfully careful facing him.

Q. I asked the same question to Mike about half an hour ago, but if you knew that the ball was maybe not carrying like it was in the regular season, whether it’s weather, something different with the ball, would that affect at all your decision making when it comes to lineups or maybe defensive positioning things like that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, we definitely, our outfielders played a little bit more shallow yesterday than they normally do, only because we figured the ball was not going to travel as far. The other thing, too, is that I talked to the guys about maybe, last night, if they get an opportunity to bunt for hits or whatnot, that go ahead and try it. By the way, I did not tell Juan Soto to try to bunt (smiling). He did that on his own. I scratched my head on that one, but you know what, he’s trying to play the game.

Q. You’ve talked about the value of Hudson this year. What is it like getting a reliever in the middle of a season, you also have a new pitching coach, just determining what his role is because he’s had various roles in the past?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, we, Riz traded for him, we got him, we knew he was having a pretty good year with Toronto, but we haven’t — I only saw videos of him at that point. So we had to make sure that — and he was really good, all year long he was really good with inherited runners, which we struggled at. So I think the first I put him in was with guys on base and he did really well in Arizona. So I kind of eased his way. And by having conversations with him, I asked him how much has he pitched in the 9th inning and without hesitation he says, hey, if you need me in the 7th, 8th, 9th, I’ll be ready to go. And he’s been that guy. Whenever he’s called upon, he’s ready to go and he’s a guy that throws strikes, attacks the strike zone, and he’s been very good for us.

Q. With a pitching staff that’s as competitive as yours is, internally and against the opponents, how high did Anibal set the bar last night and was there talk about reaching that level or matching it or beating it, if possible?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Well, we have Max Scherzer pitching today. As you know he’s very competitive. I just hope he comes out and pitches like Max Scherzer and doesn’t try to do too much. But I know he’s excited and I know he was excited yesterday watching Anibal, so I just want him to go out there and compete. But these guys get it. The big reason why we are here is because our four starters, they pitched well all year for us.

Q. Michael’s back in the lineup being, having a little bit of trouble, how do you balance not wanting to bring back Victor before he’s a hundred percent for sure and how do you balance wanting to give Michael a chance to step back maybe?
DAVE MARTINEZ: For me, it’s just about Victor’s health and getting him healthy. I don’t want him to come back and just play one game and get hurt. I want him to come back and play multiple games.

So Michael’s doing fine. For me, yesterday he had good at-bats, he did. He didn’t get a hit but he battled, put a ball in play with 3-2 and that’s all you can ask for. But his defense, as we all know, we don’t miss much on defense with him out there.

Q. The way you guys finished the season you certainly came in with plenty of confidence. But can you describe, I guess, the extra conviction that a team might pick up as it gets further along in a postseason run?
DAVE MARTINEZ: You know, hey, these guys, they’re playing well. I’ve said this before, for me and for those guys we have been playing playoff games since end of May. We really have. We put ourselves in a hole and we had to get out of it. These guys have been playing really well since then. So I don’t want them to change, I don’t want them to think of this as being something different. They’re having a lot of fun. The message is always the same, hey, let’s stay in the fight and go 1-0 every day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Raptors exercise Anunoby’s option

RAPTORS EXERCISE TEAM OPTION ON ANUNOBY

The Toronto Raptors announced that they have exercised the fourth-year team option on the rookie scale contract of forward OG Anunoby. He is now signed through the 2020-21 season. Per team policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Anunoby, 6-foot-8, 232 pounds, was selected by the Raptors with the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He is averaging 6.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 20.1 minutes while shooting .351 (140-for-399) from three-point range in 141 career regular-season games. He led the bench in scoring 12 times during the 2018-19 season and scored a career-high 22 points Feb. 13 vs. Washington. Anunoby was also selected to participate in the 2019 MTN DEW Rising Stars game during NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte. During the 2017-18 campaign Anunoby appeared in 74 games (62 starts), ranking seventh among rookies in field goal percentage (.471) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.371).