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October 4, 2014

Bruce Bochy


Q.  You let Pablo play through most games in the regular season.  You used Arias a couple of times as a replacement lately.  Is Pablo completely healthy?
BRUCE BOCHY:  He is healthy, I decided to put Joaquin out there for that last inning; you know, somewhat of a long game.  Pablo is good to go.  He is healthy.  He could finish the game.  He made the last out.  I said, you know what, I will give him a little break and get Joaquin involved here.

Q.¬† Bruce, your decision to put Strickland into that high‑pressure situation and then to leave him in after he gave up the big home run, could you talk about that.
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, the kid has done a great job since he has come up here.  I know one thing, he is not afraid, too.  We could tell that from the first time we saw him throw for us.  He has great stuff.  Somebody out there with a power fastball and he's got a good slider and split to go with it.
He didn't throw it a lot yesterday.  He probably wishes he mixed in a couple that next inning.
But I think that if you look at, you know, how our pen is going, how guys are throwing the ball, he pushed his way into that role.¬† That was a big at‑bat for us.¬† You know, in the sixth inning, we put who we thought, or I did, put who I thought was our best guy to get him out.¬† He did a great job there.
Made a couple of mistakes in the seventh, which I think those are the first runs he has given up since he has been in here.  Probably woke him up a little bit.  I don't know how much he's finishing innings and gone back out there.  My guess is that he hasn't done it a lot since his Tommy John surgery.
As far as him being available today, I will check with him.  I think he is fine.  I want to make sure before I put him out there.

Q.¬† Two‑part question:¬† Jordan Zimmermann, coming off a no‑hitter, obviously, what is the key to doing well against him?¬† And on the other side, your guy, in Tim Hudson, while the record isn't that great, the ERA is respectable.¬† What is the deal with Hudson?¬† What makes him so good in keeping you guys there and in games?
BRUCE BOCHY:  You know, as far as the key for us, facing a pitcher, I talked about this yesterday, we try to keep it simple.  You compete up there.  You try to get a good pitch to hit.  Zimmermann has great stuff.  Coming off a tremendous game.  You are facing someone like that, just like Strasburg, you look forward to competing and find a way to get a pitch to handle and don't miss it.
With our guy, Huddie, he has done a great job for us this year.  He had one little period there where his stuff, I think flattened out a little bit.  A lot of that was related to his hip.  Right hip did flare up a little bit, which is not uncommon for a pitcher of his age and innings that he has thrown.  You will have a few aches and pains that may show up during the course of the season.  We think we have that monitored.
He had to feel good about his last start in L.A.  I know we did.  That was more the Huddie that we know.  His pitches were crisp, command was better.  So hopefully that is the guy we will see today.

Q.¬† Bruce, you know, there has always been this sort of background story that closers have to be a touched in the head.¬† You had two wild ones in 2010 and 2012.¬† Casilla, personality‑wise seems different that Romo, Wilson, some of the closers out there.¬† A two‑part question:¬† One, what is it that makes Casilla a good choice to be closer?¬† And two, do you think that whole thing about that, quote, unquote, closer mentality is overblown sometimes?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† Well, the first part with Casilla, I think you have to look at his stuff, you know.¬† He has power fastball, he has plus curveball, slider, he does have a change‑up.¬† He has a good idea of what he is doing out there, too.¬† His command is pretty good.¬† That is going to work.¬† It will work if you have that mentality that a closer needs.¬† He has that.¬† He has had experience.¬† In fact, he was the closer, you know, he had a hiccup.¬† We put Romo in there and he took off.¬† So, he went back to the set‑up role.
But, you know, he made not be you know‑‑ he may not have is the personality of, you know, Wilson or Romo or some of these guys, but he has an edge to him, a little bit more than you think.¬† He is all about winning, these are things that he is always talking about.¬† He wants to do whatever it takes to help the team win.
I think that pitching in the WBC, I thought that was an important thing for him, and a great experience for him, sitting up there.  He seemed like he came back a little bit different.  He has shown that pitching.

Q.  Can you talk about the mental toughness of the team that you have, and kind of how they embraced this underdog title.  They did in 2012.  They are doing it now.  How special is what we are witnessing?  I would guess, you are not going to get this with every team that you have, coming together and being cohesive like that.
BRUCE BOCHY:  This is a group, the core group that had a lot of experience, you know, playing very important games.  They have had their backs to the wall.  That helps to build the mental toughness you are talking about.  It starts with the players.  We have had a few changes; young guys come up.  Jake Peavy, who always had that.
You know, in this game, you have to have talent.  It starts with that.  You have to have that emotional control we say, you know, performing under pressure.  That goes with the next thing, the mental toughness.  That is what helps you do that.  We have a lot of guys in there that have that.  That plays a critical role in a team's success.  Especially when you get to this part of the game, most teams have it.  Just like most closers have it.  I am lucky to have a group of guys who will give all they have when they hit the field.

Q.  I don't know if you are aware of this, you guys get a National League record for a postseason winning streak of nine.  The teams that you beat were the Big Red Machine Reds, and the Reds a few years later that swept the A's in the World Series.  Is that overwhelming to think of, that you have the longest winning streak as a National League team in the postseason?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, I didn't think about it until it was talked about last night, the streak that we have been on.  You are talking about the Big Red Machine, I was a huge fan of them.
You know, it is humbling, to have your club discussed in the same boat as the Big Red Machine.  We have had quite a few changes, too.  Our core guys are here, but you are talking that Cincinnati team, they had the same club there.
It has been a group of different guys that found a way to get it done.  The streak is great.  There is so much baseball ahead of us.  We've played one game in this series.  So, you know, these guys aren't thinking about that, as much as what they need to do today.

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