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October 10, 2015

Terry Collins

Los Angeles, California - Pregame

Q. The Dodgers sounded more or less pleased with the quality of their at-bats overall yesterday, but just kind of lamented their failed chances with runners in scoring position. We saw David come through. Is that a skill, or is there a certain -- is that more chance than anything, a guy coming through in the clutch?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, there are those that it is a skill, without question. There are guys who get paid a lot of money who drive in runs. But every team goes through situations all season long where at the end of it you're talking about your situational hitting at the end of the season, all 30 teams would say we've got to get better in our situational hitting. Even the teams that end up being the champions talk about it.

So once in a while it's a combination of quality pitching and, you know what, still, you try to grind out an at-bat, sometimes you hit the ball hard at somebody, and you still don't score. But we thought the same thing against Clayton. You get a couple guys on base and you're thinking, boy, if we can just bloop a single in here we're in good standing, but they're hard to do because the pitching is so good.

Q. What have you seen out of Conforto this season that gives you the confidence that he'll be able to translate that to the postseason?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, as I just talked to our beat guys, the only thing that changes the game here is that it says postseason in front of it. It's still play. They've still got to throw strikes, and this kid can swing the bat. He can hit. He can stinking hit. And I don't think the fact that you're playing in Dodger Stadium, even though it's the postseason, is any different. You're still facing Zack Greinke. That's a challenge for anybody.

But this guy can swing the bat, and I have all the confidence that he's going to walk up there with that short stroke and hopefully get something he can put the bat on. I mean, look at the Dodgers, they've got a rookie hitting third. So if you can hit, you can hit.

Q. The way you guys handled your starting rotation during the regular season got a lot of attention to put it mildly. But you guys saw with deGrom that he did go through a period where he was tired, and you were able to give him some rest. You gave the other guys breaks in the inning with Harvey and Syndergaard, obviously. Do you feel good about the way you handled those guys considering the way deGrom pitched last night, certainly looked rested and the way these guys can pitch moving forward?
TERRY COLLINS: As hard as it was, we feel great about it. We thought we did a -- I mean, our pitching guys did an outstanding job. Was it easy? No. Like anybody, I wanted to run our five guys out there on a consistent basis, but we couldn't do it. We were in a situation where we had to deal with workloads.

So when it came down towards the end of the season, it was hard to do. But we knew it was going to help out and it was going to work out. I think Jake, short of last night, I thought the last two starts that Noah's had after we gave him 12 days rest, indicates that a little rest helps once in a while. So we think we're in good shape, and that's no guarantee that he's going to go out and have a great night, but we kind of like where we stand.

Q. Syndergaard has a reputation for sometimes being a little anxious on the mound. From your perspective, how does that manifest itself, and you and Dan, what can you do to help that, if, in fact, that's the case?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, one of the things we try to do, I actually talked to the other guys about it today, we really think the tempo, pitching tempo is important, and that is get the ball and get on the mound. If you look at Noah's first few starts, he's pretty slow and deliberate. We try to speed him up, but sometimes they get too fast to where, hey, look, you're trying to rush through this now and you've got to slow the game down and yet keep it at a good pace so that everything around you is moving better. And I think his last couple starts he's been much better at it. There have been some games where he's rushed, and therefore made a couple mistakes and been hurt by it. But it's part of our job, the catcher's job to keep this guy in a good tempo, and we'll try to do that tonight.

Q. Justin Turner was in here a minute ago talking a little bit about his time with you, and I know that that time was good for him. What effect did he have on that team and maybe even on the franchise from the time he put in there?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, when we signed -- when we brought Justin Turner up, not a lot has been made about his first couple weeks with us. I think he drove a run in the first nine games he played. It's always nice to have Jose Reyes standing at third base it seems like every inning.

But Justin's a good baseball player. He's a baseball player, and I've never seen him play, even when I was a field coordinator when we got him from the Orioles, where he didn't have a smile on his face. He loves to play the game. No matter where you put him, he gets you a quality at-bat. He gives you quality defense. Okay, he's not a flashy, flashy guy, but he's solid baseball player. And he was not only great on the field with us, he was great in the clubhouse with us.

When we didn't resign him, certainly we wished him all the luck in the world. And now he's gotten an opportunity to be an everyday player here. And we tell every player that you're ever around, if you get an opportunity, it's now up to you to decide what you want to do with it, and he's ran with it and became a great player.

Q. With how long Mets fans have had to wait, what kind of atmosphere do you anticipate when the series goes back to New York?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, they're pretty excitable. They know the game very well. They love their Mets. They love winning. So I think when we get back there, we're going to get certainly a great response. I know that they're going to come out and support the club, and when they've done that, we've played pretty good. We've had some big series in the last couple months there where they helped keep the energy level of the team up. To I'm sure we're going to get a rousing welcome when we get back, which this team deserves it. They've played great.

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