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October 20, 2014

Bruce Bochy


Q.  The Royals' defense has pretty much been lights out in this postseason.  Yours has been very good.  It was the difference in a couple of your wins.  Do you see that as being a big factor in the series?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I do.  Defense is a big part of the game, and they're very good defensively.  We saw them earlier in the season, and they played very well.  They caught everything we hit out there.  They're a solid club.  They wouldn't be here if they weren't.  But defense is a big part of their game, just like ours.

Q.  Last time we talked, you said it looks like the roster is going to remain the same, but you left yourself some opportunity to make a move or two.  Do you foresee any moves at this point or do you think the roster is going to remain the same?
BRUCE BOCHY:  It's going to remain the same.  We're not going to make any changes.  We're pretty well set on that.  We haven't etched it in stone, but I don't foresee any changes until tomorrow.

Q.  How are the challenges different in the World Series and the postseason, coming this far as they are during the regular season, for the manager?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I think the challenges are different in the respect that we spend a lot more time with you guys.  We have this meeting, and of course we have to meet with the networks and everything.
But as far as the game itself, you have a team that really fought so hard to get here, so you really don't want to do anything too much different.  Sure, you might manage a little different because of the sense of urgency.  The biggest challenge is sometimes you don't get to spend as much time with your club as you do during the regular season because of the demands on your time from media and other people.

Q.  Bumgarner was just in here and he was saying that he prepares for starts a little differently than most and doesn't look at video.  I was wondering, from your experience, how unconventional is he when he prepares for starts?  How unusual is it nowadays for pitchers not to look at video?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I think if you look at every starter, they all prepare a little differently.  Some are really caught into the video.  They spend a lot of time in there.  Where another guy, he doesn't want to see too much because he wants to stay with his strength, and we want our pitchers to pitch according to what their strength is.
So I don't change too much.  And that's more like Madison.  But you may have another guy that he's going to study that video, and he's probably going to change his game plan a little bit.  So we're all different.
Hitters are the same.  You may have a hitter that he's going to study the pitcher.  And then you have Pablo Sandoval, who never looks at a video.  So they're all different.

Q.  Is Morse going to DH tomorrow?  Given how big this outfield is, have you had any thought to a game in which Perez is out there and you use either Morse or Ishikawa as the DH?
BRUCE BOCHY:  We've talked about these things, but right now Morse is DHing.  He's done a pretty good job out there.  He's done a really good job.  So I don't see any changes right now with how we're going to start the game, and that's Ishi in left field.  But we know we have that option of a guy that's probably a little faster, but still we like the job that he's been doing out there defensively and the bat in the lineup.

Q.  Do you know where you'll put Morse?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I'll have the lineup tomorrow.

Q.  Madison has had a really impressive postseason résumé over the years.  Do you think some pitchers are better suited for the big moment, big stage than others or is that kind of a myth?  Because he certainly seems to be doing it year after year here.
BRUCE BOCHY:  I think some players are, not just pitchers.  I think position players have a way of elevating their game.  They heighten their focus, I guess you could say.  Madison is doing a great job of that.  He's done a great job of that since he was 20 years old.  There he was pitching in the World Series.
So this guy has a lot of experience pitching on this stage and pitching in big games.  But your good ones, sometimes I think that's what separates you.  Your average from your good ones, the good ones are the ones that are able to handle themselves and even raise their level of playing in games like this.

Q.  Do you feel like when you're scouting the Royals that you have to just pay more attention to what's going on of late because they've been so hot and they're almost seemingly a different team than they were during the course of much of the season?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I think it's important to look at the recent play of the team you're playing.  I use us as an example.  You look at the early part of the season, we were a different club.  Then as the season went, we became a different club.  We became more pitching to defense with trouble scoring runs.
So it's a long season.  Hitters get hot, pitchers get hot, and they make adjustments.  So I think it's important that you look at the recent play, and that's what we've been focusing on.

Q.  You've had Madison since he was a rookie.  He went all the way from being the not number one, like he is today.  He was behind Lincecum and all those guys.  How do you compare this Madison from that younger Madison?  Has he reached all your expectations you've put on him from day one?
BRUCE BOCHY:  He really has.  Like all players, they get better.  They work hard at trying to improve as a player.  You never arrive as a player.  That's what we try to remind these guys, so you never stop trying to improve.  Madison has done that.
I think he's more of a four‑pitch guy than he was when he first came up.¬† He's had better command with all his pitches.¬† I think he's gotten smarter as a pitcher.¬† He does the little things a little bit better ‑ hold runners, swing the bat; he's made himself a pretty good hitter.¬† I know that doesn't come into play tomorrow.
He's 25 years old, and it's pretty remarkable from the day he's come up here to where he's at now, on how he has improved in all aspects of his game.

Q.  From your vantage point as a former catcher, especially, can you give us something from behind the scenes that we don't see that allows Posey to do what he does on a consistent basis while catching, while leading this team in batting in such a prime spot in this order over and over and over?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, I think you're just looking at a great talent.  He's got the whole game.  He understands the game.  He takes a lot of pride in handling their pitching staff and he's a guy that's hitting in the heart of our order.  I think it's fair to say he takes priority in handling his staff.  We're very fortunate to have such a talented player.  Not just a talented player, but great character, and a guy that cares about the pitching staff and handling them and trying to make them better pitchers.  That's what good catchers do.
I've always said this, and I've said it in the last series, if you look at a team that's had success, I think you should look behind the plate, because those guys play such a critical role in your success.  Because every day they're handling a pitcher out there that they're trying to get a win, and they have to deal with 11, 12 different personalities.
Buster's got a great way about him.¬† Pitchers love throwing to him.¬† He's another guy that's worked on his game behind the plate.¬† When he came up we had some things to tweak with him to make him a better player, and he gets it.¬† He's made himself into, I think, an all‑around elite player. ¬†Not just a hitter, but a catcher.

Q.  Bumgarner's numbers have improved dramatically during his career in terms of dealing with the running game you just made reference to.  What specifically has he done better through the course of his career?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† Well, when he came up, he had the big leg kick and he really made a big turn there.¬† If they guessed right, you really had no chance of getting them.¬† But he's more conscious of the running game, and he knew that was probably a weakness in his game.¬† So he's gone to a quick slide step that he can use.¬† He's got a better move over there.¬† Runners on second, he's more aware of holding them.¬† He's taken it upon himself to do a better job at holding runners.¬† Being left‑handed, he sees them.¬† So I think his game awareness has really improved since he's come up here.
Again, he came up at such a young age.  This kid didn't get a lot of time in the minor leagues, so that was an area that he needed to work on, and he's taken it upon himself to do a better job.

Q.  You've got a number of players on your team who were assigned to minor league deals, and they're playing integral roles with the team right now in this playoff run.  Can you speak to that?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, you have to first of all give Brian Sabean credit.  He's the architect of this club.  When you have some needs and you need to fill some holes, he does an unbelievable job of it.  I take it you're talking about a guy like Ishikawa.  Morse went down.  Belt went down, so we had a need there.  But he has a history of it, going back to Burrell.  These guys have played a critical role in our success.
Then you look at a young kid like Duffy, who was not on the roster.¬† Here he is in Double‑A, and we needed help at second base and a guy that could come off the bench.¬† And Brian wasn't afraid to take a chance on this kid.¬† He looked at him, and he loved his make‑up and his mentality, and he's gotten some big hits for us.
It takes things like this.  Because you're going to have to deal with injuries and adversity, but it takes taking a chance, and bringing up guys, whether they have experience or not, to fill some holes in.  You've got to have the right guys, the scouts, and Brian out there looking at players who could help us.  And he's done an unbelievable job at that.

Q.  Bruce, when the Yankees were winning the World Series, Joe Torre and the Yankees were winning those World Series, it was quite an achievement.  I'm sure you had to look at that and have a lot of respect for what they were doing.  Now you have a chance to win three out of the last five.  That must feel really good, really satisfying to you, doesn't it?
BRUCE BOCHY:  It does, because you understand how difficult this is.  I was amazed at the Yankees on what they accomplished.  It's not that easy.  I mean, first of all, you've got to get there.  Then the road to get there now is a lot more difficult than it used to be.  It used to be two pennant winners going at it, and now you have to go through some playoffs, and this year we had the extra one with the playoff game.
So it's very satisfying when you get in a situation where you have a chance.  That's all we wanted at each stage, is just a chance to get to this stage.
So I'm amazed at these guys.  I've told them that, at how hard they fought to get here.  Again, it's a tough road and you're going through some good clubs.  I mean, we had to go through Washington.  We had to go through St. Louis.  They've amazed me.  You do sometimes look and go, hey, we're pretty blessed to have a group of guys that just seemed determined to get here.

Q.  You have to pinch yourself?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I think sometimes, but, again, you have to look at the talent you have, and I pinch myself from the fact that I'm given the resources, the staff and I, to have a group of guys who have that ability to get here, and that's what you're fortunate to have.  Again, it starts with Brian, ownership gives us these resources, and of course, getting back to the players; what a group of guys and character.  They found a way to do this or have a chance to maybe win the third time.

Q.¬† With Morse DHing, it kind of shortens your bench here, plus you have all your left‑handed hitters in the lineup with their right‑handed bullpen.¬† Does it mean you're going to use less guys late in the game as you utilize the bench?¬† How are you going to be using those?¬† You have Susak and the other three guys, so I'm wondering about that.¬† I'm also wondering whether or not you intend to use Lincecum, considering he hasn't pitched since September?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† Yeah, well, I think we'll see how the game goes.¬† It always dictates how you use guys.¬† I mean, with the DH, you're probably not going to use a pinch hitter like you normally would.¬† Now, we could use some guys to pinch‑run, maybe go in for defense.¬† But I don't see as many moves being made with the DH as you would in the National League with those roles.¬† So I think that's fair to say.
Now, as far as Timmy, he took a good bullpen yesterday.  So I don't know.  I can't answer that, but we need to have him ready because you don't know what's going to happen in the game.  We played 18 innings in Washington, and he's getting ready to come in the game.  He's ready to go, and he's healthy.  So all these guys, it's an old adage, all hands on deck, and he's one of them.

Q.  How do you think he's mentally handled it?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I think great.  Really been upbeat about it.  He understands.  I talked to him briefly earlier, and he's just getting ready.  That's all you can ask.  If it's the right spot, he'll be out there.

Q.  Even though you have some guys who are going for their third ring in this series.  You have a lot of guys who are here for the first time or trying for the first one.  Does that keep this fresh, even though you've been here three times in five years, that there are guys still reaching for that first one?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, I think it does.  For me, it's great to be here, but I take more joy out of seeing those guys getting here.  The Hudsons and Morses, the guys who have not been here.  That was part of our motivation when this whole thing started.  Let's find a way to give them a chance and get them to the World Series.  That's what has made this even more special, the fact that these guys are here for the first time.
It's neat to see how guys talk about it, and how excited they were when we won the pennant, and how excited they were for the players who have not been here before.

Q.  On Lincecum again, was it important or was it any factor in the decision to keep him on the roster that he's been through this with the team, he came up with the team, he's done so much for the team, and you just didn't want to make the decision not to have him on the roster during this postseason?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, sure, that's part of it.  He's done so much, including this year, so much for us.  You go back to '12, and he was a weapon in the bullpen, and he could be that this series.
We'll see how it goes.  But we just felt like we needed that extra arm and his experience.  Like I said, he took a good bullpen yesterday, and he felt good about it.  I feel bad for him, the fact that he didn't get to pitch against Washington or St. Louis, because I think a lot of Timmy.  He's been with me since I've been here.  There was never any thought of not having him on this roster.  Not just having him on the roster, but the fact that he could help us at some point.

Q.  Jeremy Affeldt got his start here in Kansas City, and he's been a big impact player for you in the postseason.  Can you just speak to how much of an impact player he's been for you in the postseason over the years?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† He's been a difference maker.¬† You go back to '10, you go back to '12.¬† I've used him in different roles.¬† He's so valuable in the fact that you can leave him out there.¬† He can give you multiple innings.¬† Pitch late in the game.¬† I needed him to get the big out there in St. Louis in the last game.¬† But he's got the experience, obviously, but he's got the stuff, the make‑up.
To have a left‑hander like this, we're lucky and that's why we signed him.¬† That's why we wanted him around for a while.¬† He's done everything that we've asked and more.

Q.  You've had remarkable continuity on your coaching staff.  Could you just talk about the value in that and how that makes your job easier.
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† Yeah, and it's great to have that continuity.¬† I have an incredible coaching staff.¬† They work hard, they work constantly to draw out the best in these players.¬† They're relentless with their work.¬† I'm fortunate to have such a great, hard‑working coaching staff.¬† I'm thankful for that.¬† I think it's a big reason why we've had this success that we've had, because of how good they are and the continuity that we've had here.

Q.  What National League team maybe comes closest comparing with the Royals and their running game?  And how different is it preparing for a team like this than when you faced?
BRUCE BOCHY:¬† Offhand I can't think of a team that reminds me of the Royals.¬† I think we're similar in the way we‑‑ both teams keep fighting and play with a lot of heart.¬† I mean, they're so balanced, and they have the speed, but then they were hitting the long ball.¬† They have great pitching, great bullpen.¬† We have tremendous respect for them.¬† We know how formidable they are, and it should be a great series.¬† But I can't think of a team that reminds me of them.
I think the way all this has come down, they remind me of us a little bit, sure.  A little different style of game, but how they've come together at the right time and how much they fight.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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