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October 15, 2014

Bruce Bochy


THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Bruce.

Q.  When you set up your rotation for this series, I know essentially in the order it's been, was there any thought about going Vogelsong 3, Hudson 4, or was it always going to be this way?
BRUCE BOCHY:  No, it was always going to be this way, just keep them in order.  We saw no reason to switch it.  They had fallen in the same order we had in Washington.

Q.  When you get to the ballpark before a postseason game, how much time do you spend going through scenarios, if this happens, then we'll do this; and is it different in these games than it would be during the regular season in terms of preparation, mental preparation?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I think it's a little different.  We spend quite a bit of time really, to be honest.  We're here early.  I'll get the pitching coach‑‑ well, Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner, I call my pitching coaches, but I'll get them and we'll go over scenarios, where we're at.
Like tonight, for example, where Jeremy Affeldt is, he's been throwing quite a bit.  But really go through the scenarios, this happens, this guy we'll use here.  And same with the offense.
You try to go through the game and so you're not shooting from the hip when things happen.

Q.  Vogelsong has been really tough in postseason in 2012 and this year.  I wonder if you agree that all this experience he had in international baseball in Venezuela and Japan maybe helped him in his mental toughness to face these situations?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I think without question, all that experience has helped him.  You know, any time you're playing or out pitching, whether it's in the Minor Leagues, Winter ball, wherever, that's all great experience to draw on, including, I've said this in the Minor Leagues before, when these guys get in their playoffs, that's invaluable experience for these guys.
But sometimes you get a pitcher or a player that, you know, they need more time.  They need that experience, whether it's at‑bats or innings, before they really start to figure things out.  Sometimes they are rushed up here.  We've had to rush a few of our young players up here.
So sometimes you have to deal with the ups and downs because they don't quite have that same experience.
But all that helped him.  The one experience, if I could probably take back, would be the WBC.  I think he was just coming off 2012 with all the innings and the workload he carried then; then he came back and got ready for the WBC.  I think that took a little toll on him.

Q.  As focused as Madison can be on the mound, he just admitted that Buster can get into his head and say just the right thing, get under his skin sometimes.  Is that kind of an underrated skill that a catcher has to have?  And can you think of any stories from your days where you could or couldn't get to a pitcher when you really needed to say something?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, I think without question, that's underrated.
You know, whether it's the catcher, Rags, when he goes out, you have 30 seconds, maybe up to a minute, to hopefully get inside that pitcher's head and get him back on track and get him focused where you want him.  And you're dealing with 11 or 12 different personalities, and one size doesn't fit all.  So you have to treat them all a little bit different.
It's an art, really, and Buster is really good at it.  He's got a great way about him and same with Rags when he goes out there.
You go back in your time, I can't recall one specifically, but you're going out there with that thought in mind: I've got to get this guy back on track.  He's distracted and let's get him back, focused right now.

Q.  Two unrelated questions.  First of all, to what extent could you use Affeldt do you think today?  And going back to last night, what was your thought process, letting Perez swing and not having him try to bunt with two strikes?
BRUCE BOCHY:  With Jeremy, once he goes out and plays catch, I can answer that a little bit better, but my guess is, he should be good for an inning.
But you know, we like to wait till they go out and stretch and throw so they can let us know how they feel.
Second question, Perez, as far as him bunting, really once he got two strikes on him, I mean, the first two bunts, it looked like he was having a hard time even getting the bat out front.
He's not a guy that is going to hit in a lot of double plays with his speed.  So I took it off.  I just felt our chances are better now letting this kid swing.
A lot of times, you'll see me not even bunt in that situation, especially with a right‑hander and two lefties coming up.  I just wanted to try to get that winning run on second base.
And Juan, give him credit, he didn't get frustrated.  He threw out a pretty good at‑bat and got a hit.

Q.  Going through the Wild Card, the Royals are one win away and you guys are in a pretty good position.  Is there momentum you're able to gather as a Wild Card?  Does that make up for any disadvantage going in that way?
BRUCE BOCHY:  It's a good question.  I really‑‑ you know, I can't really say it does give you an advantage.  I mean, I can go back to 2010, 2012.  2010, we had to win in the last game.  We were fighting to get there to win this division, so we didn't have to do that.
In 2012, we had a cushion and still worked out okay for us.
Yeah, there's probably something about having to play that Wild Card game.  You know there's no lull in your play and there's no drop in your guard.  You're not taking time off.  So there could be something to that.
But if you're asking me which way I want it, I'd rather have things clinch a little bit earlier so you can kind of get things in order.

Q.  It's often said that the game speeds up in the later innings.  By going over those scenarios that you mentioned early on, earlier here, how much does that help slow it down maybe?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, that's why you do it.  So you're not hopefully surprised or you're caught to where you're a little indecisive.  I mean, it does come‑‑ the late innings come a lot quicker.  So you've hopefully gone through these scenarios, which we try to do, so we are prepared.
And same thing we ask our players, be prepared as a staff.  We have our meetings and hopefully we are prepared.  So when we are late in the game, we kind of know which way we want to go.

Q.  Big contributions from Perez and Ishikawa yesterday.  What can you say about guys like that shining on this big stage?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, I said earlier, Ishy has been a savior for us.  With our situation, Morse going down, we needed some help in left field.
But these kids, I'm so proud of how they have really handled themselves since they have come up in this postseason.  Panik filled a hole.  He saved us, too.  I'll go back, we lost a game but we battled back to tie that game.  Susac, he steps up there, he hasn't played in a while.  He got a base hit.  Perez got a base hit.  Duffy, great base running.
These kids have done a great job for us, and it's a credit to our development system, how hard they work them down there.  They came up prepared.
But more than that, it's just how they have kept their poise, and they are not afraid.  They want to be out there.

Q.  Could you talk a little bit about the importance of having your ace for such an important game as tomorrow, which may be crucial, either way; maybe it's the next step to the World Series.
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I don't like to talk about tomorrow because we have a game today.  It's always good to have your ace waiting in the wings or whatever.  But this is a game that we are focused on and we'll do all we can to get it and that's where our heads have to be.

Q.  Another more general Bumgarner question.  He's been great for you guys in the postseason, going back to even when he was a rookie.  How much better is he now and why do you think that is?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I think without question, he's better.  I think all these players, hopefully, are better.  In this game, you never arrive.  You never stop trying to improve as a player, and that's who he is.
I think you look at his pitches; he has a better change‑up, a better breaking ball.  I think he's commanding his fastball better.  I think he's smarter out there.
I mean, he was really good when he came up.  He did a great job for us.  But if you ask me now, sure, I think he's improved overall as a pitcher, the way he holds runners, swings the bat.  He had a good year offensively.  All these things make you a better player.

Q.  Just kind of a general question about the postseason for you and maybe how you tell your players.  Some managers in baseball, coaches in other sports, they say, Hey, you have to enjoy the moment, you don't know when you're going to get back here again.  And some say, You can't enjoy it until it's over.  Do you enjoy it while it's happening?  Do you want your players to?  Or do you say, You know what, hey, it's business now and we'll enjoy it in November?
BRUCE BOCHY:  You know, a little bit of both.  I think you have to enjoy it.  You have to understand how hard you've worked to get here, so don't ever lose that.  I mean, you've got to take in the moment, but you've also got to be in the moment and know it's business, and, you know, you're not done until you hopefully get to where you want to go.
When you have ups and downs in the postseason, I mean, you can't live and die with that, either.  After a tough loss, which we've had, you look back and you appreciate the fact that you have a chance that you are in postseason.  I think you have to try to remind yourself of that.

Q.  You didn't use Strickland yesterday and I don't think you even had him up.  Was it just give him a day?  Is he right back in there today?
BRUCE BOCHY:  No, we wanted to give him a day.  Dave and I talked about it, and he took a pen the day before.  Worked on a couple things.  I just wanted to stay away from him.  Now, I could have used him and had that game kept going, you probably would have even him up, but I was trying to give him a day.

Q.  How tricky was that wind in right field yesterday?  It seemed that on that triple that Pence‑‑ the ball ended up somewhere that Pence didn't expect.
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I think it was as tricky as we've seen all year.  Both right fielders are gifted defenders, and you know, those balls were just moving so much because of the wind.  They ended up where I don't think anybody thought they would end up in that area.  The wind really pushed them to the deep part of the park.
That's what makes our outfield so difficult.  Especially in the daytime, if you have to deal with any sun or anything, and you're looking up there and you think you've got a beat on it and the wind takes it.  I thought yesterday was the toughest wind we've had all year.

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