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October 12, 2014

Bruce Bochy


THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  We'll take questions for Bruce Bochy.

Q.  Bruce, Travis was talking about how helpful Gregor has been defensively helping him in the outfield.  Can you talk about how Gregor has filled in for Angel, not only this year, but in recent years.  How he helped out defensively.
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, well, it's great to have a guy like Gregor, who's so talented defensively, but also has that experience leading off.  When you lose a guy like Pagan, you need a guy to fill the shoes and those are pretty big shoes to fill.
Gregor has that experience.  He's done it before, so he's really come through at different times for us.  Not just this year, but in the past.  You know, it's pretty nice to have another leadoff hitter and a center fielder that can play defense the way Gregor does.

Q.  Boch, is there any way of quantifying how important Buster is to this team?  And looking back on it, he's really the only regular from the playoffs in 2010, in the regular line‑up.
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I guess the best way I could quantify that is I don't know where we would be without Buster, going back to 2010.  And I've said this, the good teams, your really good teams, great teams, you look behind the plate, there's probably a really good or great catcher.
I think you look at St. Louis, and their success.  Well, I think you have to give Molina a lot of credit for what he does for them.  And we say the same thing about our guy, Buster.  Because there's so much responsibility that goes with that guy behind the plate.  He's the one handling the staff, calling the game.  He's the leader, you know, on the field.
So it's‑‑we're very fortunate that we have him.  And we know it.  And we saw what life was like without him in 2011, and it wasn't a lot of fun.

Q.  Bruce, the talented Mr.Ratto figured out you are 5‑1 in the postseason, but hitting.177 with runners in scoring position.  Can you keep winning with that or does it need to turn around a little bit is this?
BRUCE BOCHY:  It probably has to turn around a little bit.  You're going to have to get some timely hits with the team we're playing right now.  It's going to be a battle with these guys.
When you're in the postseason you're probably not going to have the same numbers you have during the regular season because of the pitching you're going to see.  But still, it's going to take somebody coming through and getting that hit.
We've gotten a couple of breaks.  I think you look at Washington, that last game, the wild pitch, the walk.  Those things don't happen a lot, so we can't rely on that.  We're going to have to have somebody come through for us.

Q.  Along those same lines, in each of your postseason runs, there have been some odd things that have happened and it's led to the theory that the Giants are very lucky in the postseason, and maybe more lucky than good.  Hunter hits a ball three times or maybe there's a balk not called.  What do you think of that theory of luck?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, look, it's a beautiful thing.  You take it if it goes your way.  Just like a blooper, if they fall in, you take it.  You saw Baltimore and Kansas City, Kansas City got a couple of hits to fall in, but that usually evens out.
It's not luck when you have your pitchers go out there and throw the ball the way they're throwing, or some great defensive plays.  You know, these games are probably going to be tight ballgames.  It may take a break.  It may take a bad hop or maybe an error goes your way, but it's not luck.
When you've done it enough and maybe in a smaller sample you can say that, but going back to 2010, or '12 or this year, I can't say luck is the reason we're doing what we're doing.

Q.  The other thing about it, too, is that the nature of these runs, you have been able to pick off a guy late who has really risen to the occasion, and in '10 it was Cody Ross, two years ago Scutaro, and now you have Ishikawa in there out of nowhere making a big contribution.  Talk about how the management of the team is always adept enough to fill in these spots.
BRUCE BOCHY:  I can't say really enough how Brian Sabean has found a way to fill some holes for us that we needed.  I mean Scutaro, what a huge sign that was for us.  And we knew he was a good player, but until we got him, we didn't know how good he was, and really helped carry us through 2012.
You know, getting a Pat Burrell, we needed some help, needed another threat in the line‑up, and we took a chance on Pat.  And what a great move Brian made there.  We put him in Triple‑A and felt this guy still had some game left and brought him up and ended up being our everyday left fielder.
So many names.  Aubrey Huff, a lot of teams have given up on him.
But this year, I think you have to look at Ishikawa, but Jake Peavy.  We lost Cain to surgery and Timmy was having his issues, so we needed some help in this rotation.  And Brian found a way to get Jake over here.  Now he's been the savior.  So, you know, it doesn't happen unless you have the tools or resources, and Brian does that for us.

Q.  Bruce, what can you share about your upcoming starting pitching plans?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Jake today.  We have Huddy.  Planned on Vogelsong the following game.  So we're going to keep things in order right now.  Again, things go a little crazy, extra innings, whatever, we'll have them all on alert.  It's all hands on deck in this series.

Q.  Bruce, your left fielder has started more games in the postseason in left field than he did his whole career in the regular season.  Have you seen enough out of this guy to think that maybe that's his future?  Could he win a job as an outfielder rather than a back‑up first baseman?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I mean, that's a possibility.  I think, if anything, he certainly has done a lot for his value for a ball club.  In fact, now he has shown he can play left field.  And not just play left field, but under these circumstances.
Ishy is a very good defender at first base, so that will never be out of the picture for him.  But to have that versatility, which really came in handy with Morse.  When we lost Belt, I was able to put Morse at first base, and that's invaluable to have moveable parts on your club and have that versatility.
Good for Ishy, that he's done a nice job out there and this is going to help him in the future.

Q.  You implied yesterday that Ishikawa was going to play most of the games, if not all of the games, against at least right‑handers, well, all right‑handers.  Is there anything new with Morse?  Has he improved enough to be someone you can play out there ye, or a pinch‑hitter?
BRUCE BOCHY:  No, he is swinging the bat well.  I watched his batting practice yesterday.  He is pain‑free, he's letting it go.  He's, I'm sure, a bit rusty.  He missed a lot of playing time.  But it's an option for us.
We felt that we needed a right‑handed bat in there, I would put him in left field.  He's taken fly balls out there, he's continued to work on that part of his game.  But what's encouraging is that he feels nothing swinging the bat right now.
So right now he could be, you know, involved on a double switch.  But I plan on using him off the bench as a pinch‑hitter.

Q.  Bruce, it's often said that the toughest teams survive the longest in October.  Toughness though is not a quality that's often‑‑it's not discussed a lot in baseball.  That baseball is a tough sport.  It is a tough sport.  When you look at a player, when you're analyzing a player, what are the qualities that make a player tough?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I think when you look at a player, I mean, sure, it starts with talent.  You've got to have that.  But you have to have the mental toughness.  And mental toughness involves a lot of things.  It's being resilient, it is handling adversity that you have to deal with in this game.  The ups and downs.  They're going to happen to you, and they are going to happen.
But what's important, is how you deal with it.  The mental toughness helps you deal with the emotional control that's necessary to play this game, and that's performing under pressure.  In the postseason or even during the regular season when you need to make a pitch or make a play, or have a big at‑bat, that's what mental toughness does for the players.
And I think if you look at any of your great players, and I think that's really what separates the average player from a good player or a great player, is the mental toughness they have.
THE MODERATOR:  All right, thanks, Bruce.

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