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October 2, 2014

Bruce Bochy

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Workout Day

Q.  Bruce, have you settled on a rotation and a roster for the series, and what the roster makeup might be in terms of pitchers you carry and whatnot?
BRUCE BOCHY:  We have not set the roster yet.  We will meet once I am done here and get the roster set.
As far as the rotation, the first three games, Peavy, Hudson and Bumgarner.  We will probably have the roster set later this evening.

Q.  12 pitchers?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Could be 12.

Q.  What has Joe Panik done to solidify second base?  What has Strickland given you since you called him up from Richmond?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Joe filled a need for this club.  Without Scutaro, we tried different guys at second base.  He was having a nice year in Fresno, and really, stepped in right away, and just started playing great baseball.
Solid all around, both sides of the ball.  He has done a great job.  Put him in the two hole, he has done a nice job in that spot there.  He is a guy that helps to keep the rallies going.  Good defender, turns a good double play.  You look at him, there isn't a tool that stands out.  He is solid all around.
He is a ballplayer.  That is what he is.  And a good one.  You know, this guy has really stepped in, I think, and at the right time, I should add.  Probably saved us.  We needed help there.
Strickland, since Hunter has come up, I mean, he has done a great job.¬† You know, especially coming up from Double‑A, the way he's handled himself on the mound.¬† He is a guy that we use at the back end of the bullpen, helping in the sixth, seventh, eighth inning.¬† He's closed a game and he has done well in any role we have thrown him at.¬† He is a big part of our bullpen now.

Q.  Last night, after the game, everybody was in a celebratory mood, but it was suggested to Bumgarner that he will only pitch once in the series.  His quote was, "Who says I am only pitching once?  You never know."  Just to clarify, you are not thinking of pitching him on short rest at any point?
BRUCE BOCHY:  That is Madison, the competitor in him.  I don't know if he even took time to look at how the games were set up.  He might have battled to pitch tomorrow, that is Madison.
No, he is going pitch the third game.  He won't have two starts.

Q.  I know you have been through a lot with the core group that has been here the last few years.  Are you even surprised a little at how calm they seem to be in situations like last night, where they went right to work and took the crowd out of the game and never let them in the game?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† You know, I am not surprised.¬† I don't know how you could be surprised with how many times they have been in that situation and I have seen how they've handled it.¬† It didn't surprise me at all.¬† I knew they would not be affected by the crowd.¬† The game itself, we have a lot of experience to draw on.¬† I do, and watching these guys, how they perform in pressure games, you know, they just ‑‑ we kid around, you know, it is in their DNA, as many times as they have done it, they find a way to play their best ball when their backs are to the wall.¬† In the do‑or‑die situation, these guys have been there so many times.
There is no reason for me to have any concern you know, maybe the crowd would affect this group.  I knew it wouldn't affect Madison, all of them, really, because they have done it too many times.

Q.  When you are in the dugout and Peavy is pitching, screaming at himself on the mound, do you ever think he is going crazy?
BRUCE BOCHY:  No.  I saw it at 20 years old.  I am used to it.  He is always been a guy that feeds off getting on himself, yelling at himself.  That is what motivates him.  That is what pushes him.  He will wake himself up.  You don't have to wake him up; he will do it to himself out there on the mound.  That is his style.  It works for him.
So, you know, I have known Jake, as I said, since he was 20 years old.  I know one thing he is not crazy.  He is as tough a competitor as you can have on the field.

Q.  Can you talk about the team you are facing tomorrow.  It will be tough competition, the lineup, and even about Strasburg, too.
BRUCE BOCHY:  They have the best record in the National League.  You know, they have such a balanced club, starting pitching, bullpen, their lineup.  You know, they have been tough on us.  Their record is what it is.  They are good, solid club, speed.  You have to play your best ball to beat them.  They really don't have a weakness.  I just think that when you have the best record in the league, you have to be considered the best in the National League.  They should feel like that.
We are very excited about being here, trust me.  It was great to wake up this morning knowing we are still playing baseball.  I've always liked Washington in October.  I used to live here, so it is good to be here.

Q.  Can you talk a bit about the success of Javier Lopez on your team and the role he may have against the Nationals' power hitters.  And how much the team would be missing Angel Pagan?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Javy, he's one of the lefties in the bullpen.  He will comes in and right a situation.  He has the experience.  We have seen what he has done for us in postseason.  It is great to have a veteran down there, a guy that when we need a big out, we have the confidence in bringing him in.
Pagan, we have talked about him so many times.  About what a different club we were without him versus with him.  Our record, we know all that.  What I am proud of, these guys haven't talked about the loss of Angel.  We wish he was here.  He is not here.  No point in talking about what we don't have.
I don't ever want my club to talk about that.  We lost some key players this year.  And in the past, they have always done a great job of focusing forward, and not dwelling on that.  It makes you really feel good about having a guy like Gregor Blanco, who can step in and lead off and play center field.  Gregor played every game in 2012 in the postseason.  Did a great job.  He's been playing some really, really good baseball.  It's nice to have the depth where we could put him out there.

Q.  Bruce, Jake Peavy was in here, talked about how it is nice to see Brandon Crawford become the player he could be in the last month and a half.  What have you seen in Brandon's development?  And does it surprise you his historic grand slam last night?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yes, Brandon, I mean, he is such a gifted shortstop.  He is a good hitter, too.  I think that he has really benefitted from some added rest that he has been given here in September.  Looking back, I probably played him too much.  He is a guy that you forget about.  He is your shortstop, throw him out there every day.  It might have caught up with him.  I made it a point to give him a break in September, let him get his legs back and catch his breath.  He has been a better player.
Next year I will try and do a better job giving him a few more breaks.  He seems to respond well to it.  If you look at the last three, four weeks he has been swinging the bat as well as anybody.
You talk about the grand slam, I was really comfortable with him up there in that situation.¬† If you look at his numbers, he has a knack for driving in runs; his RBIs are up there.¬† I felt comfortable he would find a way to get a run in.¬† Now a grand slam, I don't think you are ever expecting that.¬† When he hit it, I thought the ball was out.¬† No doubt in my mind.¬† He didn't think it was out, but right field in Pittsburgh is pretty short.¬† He throws out a good at‑bat with men on base.

Q.  You mentioned that Peavy is not crazy but emotional.  Does it make it harder with Rags to know, when he is that intense all the time, it is hard to get a sense of when you need to go out and talk to him?  What have you learned about that?  What is it like in those discussions?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† My experience with Jake all the years I have had him help when I have to go out and get him or go out and talk to him.¬† He is like the rest of the pitchers in the respect that you have to go out there sometimes and talk to him, get him the back off a bit.¬† Because he is all‑out, full throttle, too.¬† Sometimes you need to get him to tone it down, or back it off at times.
The difference between Jake now and you go back to his early years, he is more of a pitcher.  He is a bit more cerebral with how he pitches.  He is not trying to power his way through hitters.  He understands that sometimes less is more.  His history is, "I am gonna bull my way through this situation."  He is different in that respect.

Q.  Two quick ones:  Do you feel like Michael Morse is ready?  Can you reflect on your time living in the Washington area, what stands out about that period?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Morse is going to take BP today.  He's going to swing in the cage today.  If that goes well, he will get on the field.  We will make a call if we think he is ready.  He is close.  I think today will make that determination.  Hopefully all goes well today.  That is what we are waiting on before we set the roster, to be honest.
My time in Washington, my dad was stationed at the Pentagon.  We came here from Panama.  I was ten years old.  So I played little league baseball at Bailey's Crossroads.  We lived in Falls Church.  I had a paper route and moved here when I was 15.  I had a lot of friends here.  A lot of them come to the game.  Friends I played little league with.  It is good to get reunited with them.  I loved living in Virginia.
I didn't want to move.  I was going into high school.  Basketball was my sport then.  That's what I wanted to play.  My dad retired, moved down to Florida.  We moved down there.  That is when I switched to baseball.
My first Major League game was watching the Senators, we get on a bus, 10, 15 cents.  Frank Howard was my guy.  They had a center fielder, Don Lock, I was a big fan.  Paul Casanova, these guys, Ed Stroud, a guy that was really fast.  Ended up being neighbors with Mike Epstein, who was with the Senators.  We told a lot of stories, where he told me a lot of stories about the teams, back when Ted Williams was managing.

Q.  What newspaper did you deliver?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, it is not in existence anymore.  I was an Evening Star guy.  I couldn't get up early in the morning (laughter).

Q.  Brandon Belt spent a month telling us he was working on his approach.  Thought it would be okay when he came back.  Are you surprised how quickly he got back into gear?

Q.  Yes.
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† Yes.¬† He missed a lot of time.¬† We still had concern how he would come back off his concussion.¬† Sometimes it can take a little longer and sometimes it can affect your eyesight, your depth, your vision.¬† I was really encouraged, you know, about the third or fourth game when you could see he's starting to catch up with the fastball and staying back on the breaking ball.¬† It seemed like the more at‑bats we got‑‑ we got to cram in a few before this started.¬† He really came on at the right time.¬† Good news for us.
I knew he wanted to be part of this.  I will be honest, I wasn't sure how long this would take.

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