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October 13, 2015

Jeff Banister

Toronto, Ontario - Workout Day

Q. Have you gotten a report from the medical staff about how Beltre came through the game and then also overnight?
JEFF BANISTER: I have not spoken with them about Beltre yet. They haven't reached out to me with anything, so I take that as we're all good. I'm sure that Adrian is -- I'm sure he was sore at the end of the day, but I believe that if we would have -- if he would have -- if he felt any worse, we would have heard such.

Q. What did you see from Cole in the regular season finale? Was it heightened focus? It seemed like he knew what was at stake and that's going to give him confidence to this point?
JEFF BANISTER: Yeah, bottom line is that both ballclubs are looking for the best possible start they can get from their starters. And the question being on what we saw from Cole is exactly what you alluded to, was the focus, the preparation, the ability to make adjustments in game, have the awareness to know when he needed to make adjustments and when he needed just to continue to pitch. That is -- part of that is talent, part of that is also the experience of being in these type of situations before, and I also believe that having an ultra-awareness of who you are and what you're capable of and really what you need to do as a competitor to raise the level of your game without letting the moment be too big for you.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF BANISTER: Well, I don't know that it's a trick. A lot of things I just talked about. First, you've got to have that inside of you, you've got to have that drive, that desire to be that good and to be able to want to raise your game to a certain level. I think all great competitors, they have that innate desire, that burning desire to want to be on this type of stage, so that they physically prepare, they mentally prepare, but they also pay attention to the adversities and the challenges that they have faced along the way, because without understanding your own path and what it feels like to have failures and allow yourself to feel the sting of failures, you're not building that ultimate desire bank to really want to succeed. And then you've got to have the experience of having gone through these type of situations.

Q. The common quote from your clubhouse yesterday about Cole was, in some varying form, is this is why we got him. Is that a pretty hefty label for him?
JEFF BANISTER: Yeah, I would echo that. It's why you go out and get top performers, elite competitors, so that situations exactly like this. The comforting feeling is that we got a guy on the mound that's going to go for us that has been here, has done it, and is quite capable of continuing to do it.

Q. Jeff, through four games, how would you assess your offense, especially the guys in the middle? Do you tip your cap to pitching they've been facing? How do you look at it?
JEFF BANISTER: That's -- I mean, look, short series and you're facing heightened competitive pitchers. There are some that are not going to attack the middle of the lineup, there are some that when they get to these type of scenarios, that their execution level goes up. So how I assess our offense is that in two games we scored enough runs to win. In two games, we didn't score enough runs to win. Simple as that.

Q. What, if anything, from elimination games in Pittsburgh did you maybe learn that would help you possibly set a tone, or do you think it's the players themselves that will largely set the tone for you guys?
JEFF BANISTER: Well, what I learned from being in Pittsburgh in elimination games is when you lose them, they hurt. They do. Don't want to feel that. Also, that all the things that we've talked about already is that when you get in these scenarios, you can't let the moment overwhelm you. It's still a baseball game, still got to go play a baseball game. You never lose sight of that. We talk about meeting the demands of the game and however the game presents itself to you, it starts to lay itself out right in front of you. You typically have a game plan going into the game, but the reality is game baseball, there's so many different twists, turns. You can get outplayed in one inning and lose a baseball. You can get outplayed at one at-bat and lose a baseball game. So what you need to do is stay focused. We're prepared. This ballclub, what the season did for us, it prepared us right for this moment. You think about it. Just track the history of this year. It prepared us for this moment, so we're prepared, and we've been here. We've had our backs against the wall. So I feel confident about this group of guys.

Q. Clearly guys have to experience things, but there's a few guys that were here in 2010, Elvis, Moreland, guys that kind of went through the similar situation. Is there anything that you can draw from them as a group?
JEFF BANISTER: Oh, yeah, any time you have the experience of going through and been through a playoffs scenario, been to the World Series, feel the sting of it, there's value to all of that. There's value to sharing, there's value to talking about those experiences of what might occur and what it feels like. But really, you've still got to go out and experience it yourself, still about just playing a baseball game.

Q. Just watching yesterday, what was your evaluation of Adrian?
JEFF BANISTER: I don't know how many times I can say it. Just a -- I mean, one of the most incredible human beings and athletes I've been around. How a person can will themselves continually to perform when I would say 99.9 percent of us would just absolutely crumble. Incredible. Amazing. I told him after the game, again, I just -- best I've been around.

Q. Your record when scoring first, especially on the road is quite good. How important is that, especially in an elimination game on the road, but also, how do you emphasize that without possibly creating over-anxiousness?
JEFF BANISTER: Well, I'm not going to over-emphasize the fact that we need to go out and score first. We need to go out and put together some at-bats. They did a really good job against us of us -- of us not being able to get the leadoff runner, limiting the number of times we had baserunners, which obviously anybody's offense plays better when you have a number of baserunners on but ours seems to play much better when we have runners on base and we're creating and doing certain things. So there's not a point of emphasis there. The point of emphasis is just what we talked about, being prepared and carrying that energy and showing up and ready to play.

Q. I think the only thing, only criticism of Cole, that's a small one, is he's been getting nicked a little bit early in the first couple innings. Have you been able to pinpoint why that may be?
JEFF BANISTER: No. Again, it comes down to execution of pitch, and I haven't seen that he's been anything but really good at that. I mean, he's a guy that he's ready, sometimes those things happen.

Q. What are your thoughts when you saw Stroman you're facing tomorrow? He didn't pitch a lot until the end of the season, he had been successful. What did you see in him and what did you learn about him last week?
JEFF BANISTER: I've seen Stroman in the past, but electric arm, everything moves. It's coming from a different angle that you're really not used to seeing as a hitter. This is a guy who pitches with a lot of emotion, lot of energy and he likes to work fast and there's a lot of things going on. Look, he's a tough opponent. This kid's got electric stuff.

Q. Is there much benefit facing him the second time this quick around?
JEFF BANISTER: Well, I'm sure that John's being asked the same question about our guy. So there can be an advantage because it's fresh in your mind, but still, a pitcher goes out and executes pitches and he's got electric stuff, he can be dominating.

Q. Do you like the blue Gatorade or red Gatorade?
JEFF BANISTER: You know, I haven't had an opportunity to taste either. They look so nice sitting here, but they're warm.

Q. It's probably better when it's pouring on you, right?
JEFF BANISTER: Yeah, let's experience that one.

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