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October 15, 2015

John Gibbons

Kansas City, Missouri - Workout Day

Q. John, is it easy or is it difficult to bounce back from yesterday? Incredible high, the whole country went crazy. It was the emotion, the wind, the excitement. And now you're back here preparing for a new opponent that you have to face in 24 hours. How do you take your team through that adjustment, because the sugar high has to end and you need to win on this series?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, we'll find out how we react to that. I don't see that as a problem. I think any team that clinches, they're all going through the same emotion.

It was definitely extreme yesterday. But everybody goes through that. And these guys know how to let it go. And off-day today is good, and come back out tomorrow. You never know how you're going to respond. I never thought of that maybe being a problem.

Q. Your roster for the ALCS the same as the DS or any changes coming?
JOHN GIBBONS: We don't have to announce that until tomorrow morning. It's probably going to be very close to the same. There may be a minor adjustment, we don't know yet. I'd anticipate pretty much the same.

Q. Specifically, Aaron Loup, do you expect him back?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, we do expect Loupy back.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the relationship, the rhythm between Estrada and Navarro. I can't remember when they became a battery that stuck.
JOHN GIBBONS: I can't remember exactly either, when we paired them up and they just took off. Once we did, we pretty much kept them together. I don't know what it is, but there's different combinations throughout baseball. We're trying to give Navarro some playing time, too, and once in a while that fit that purpose, too.

But sometimes guys for whatever reason they just click together, whether they're on the same page, a pitcher develops great confidence with a particular catcher. And I can't remember seeing him shake them off, to be honest with you. That is kind of what develops.

But we could put Russ with them, too, he'd be very good. There's something to that. It doesn't happen everywhere, but you see it occasionally. They're on the same page. And really what happens, too, if you get good results that's a big part of it, too. Obviously, okay, maybe this is a part of it, too.

Q. The Royals came into Rogers Centre in August, it got heated. But afterwards a lot of guys talked about that as a turning point for the team. Did you see how the team galvanized after what happened and became a much tighter group from there on in?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, I heard the talk about that, too. I don't know if that did anything. We started playing really good baseball at that time. It was kind of after the trades. That's really when we kind of took off.

It was a great four-game series and very intense. Two, at the time, they were the best team in the American League, and finished the same way.

It was, two good teams really going at it. And there was a little bit of tension, especially that last game. I don't know if that galvanized us, because we just really took off from there. But we'd been playing pretty good up until then, I think, too.

Q. Royals have one of the best base running teams. And you have one of the best catchers in terms of throwing out baserunners. How does the style of the Royals' play make for a challenge for Russell and is it hard to do it?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, the pitchers' timing definitely helps. They'll exploit you. I worked over here for a few years and that's one of the ways they beat you. They're probably the best team in baseball, at least I've seen in the American League, manufacturing runs, because most of the guys can steal bases, and if they can't, they're very good baserunners. Rusty does a very good job at first base, kind of leading that. And then they've got their weapons on the bench, with Dyson and Gore. Really, it's tough to stop those guys, I don't care how quick you are and who you've got catching.

Regardless of how quick a guy is to the plate. Russ is one of the best throwers anyway and one of the quickest throwers. I think he's been the top thrower this year in baseball for us. And Navarro has had his best year.

We feel good either way. You're not going to get them every time. You have to make sure you get the guys you're supposed to get, your extreme speed guys late in the game. Hope somebody doesn't get on base where they can pitch run for them.

Q. I'm guessing there's a couple of guys in the clubhouse who haven't forgotten what happened on August 2nd. Do you feel you need to gather some of your players around and have a conversation with them to taper those emotions?
JOHN GIBBONS: No, I don't think so at all. I'm sure everybody is aware. But I don't think that's really the focal point, to be honest with you. It happened so long ago. And right now so much is at stake. You get careless out there and you do something stupid, it could cost your team a big game. You're trying to win this thing. I don't anticipate any of that.

No, as far as getting them together, no, I think that's not the first thing we need to worry about right now.

Q. Is your rotation set?
JOHN GIBBONS: We're going to go with Estrada, Price, Stroman, Dickey. That gives them all their normal rest, Estrada will be on normal rest, and Dave threw Monday. This time of year they're all banged up. They've thrown a lot of innings, every one of them. We think it's important that they're fresh starting the series, anyway.

Q. A lot was made today about Jose's bat flip and celebrations, whether that is or should be a part of the game today. What's your view, maybe not specifically on Jose, but generally on that?
JOHN GIBBONS: I don't know how long it's been going on. But it's kind of taken over baseball now.

I think you look at all professional sports in general. Everybody celebrates more so than they used to be. And I think in our particular sport, if it's happening for your team, your guy hits a big hit, nobody minds it. If you're on the other side nobody likes it. I think it's gotten past the point, personally, I don't like it, but I think we've all kind of moved on past that.

Like I said, if it's for you, you don't mind and you turn your back. If it's against you you're probably a little more vocal, you know.

Q. You won three straight elimination games there. Is it nice to just get back to if you lose there's no tomorrow situation? Do you manage with a bit more normalcy than you have for the past few games?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, it will definitely be more normal because we played so good in those games. But it's different. But I think we've proved something to ourselves; we can play when it matters, really.

So I tip my hat to our guys. That's not easy to do against good teams. What we've got here, now we're confident and we'll see what happens.

Q. It was mentioned a second ago the celebration, the bat flip. The Royals have a bit of that in their lineup. Do you see similarities in these teams in the talent? Obviously they're very talented, but in the way they play the game, some more flamboyant aspects of the game?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, I think you could really look around all baseball, maybe except the Yankees, huh, George? But that's an honest answer. It's really taken over the game. And it's promoting the media in a lot of ways. Everybody loves it. And really, society in general, I think. It's not a conservative society much anymore, which is a shame.

But it's part of it. I don't think we need to focus on it. And people get excited, you know. People watching the game get excited.

Q. The way the teams are constructed, do you see similarities?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, yeah. Well, very talented group. We're probably built more on power, because that really fits our ballpark. They have some good power hitters in the lineup. But Dayton did a nice job here molding his team to his ballpark. It's a big ballpark. You have to have great defenders. They like that speed, because you hit balls in the gaps, doubles and triples. They really get to take in the extra base.

But a big part of their success is they flag the ball down, because a lot of teams can't, because the outfield is so big here.

We're built a little bit differently, I think a lot of it has to do with where we play and the type of guys you need. But the talent-wise, there's some really good talent on both sides. And some character, really.

Q. You mentioned the Royals covering a lot of ground in the outfield. Is one of the underappreciated things maybe about your team is how much improved you are defensively and several guys who have stepped forward to really be outstanding in that area?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, that's a big part of our turnaround, no doubt about that. Because coming to the All-Star break, middle of July, we scored a lot of runs, but we gave up a lot of runs. A lot of the big reason was we weren't catching the ball or a lot of balls dropped in the outfield we couldn't get to. We played a couple of guys in the outfield who were infielders. They did a good job, but they're not major outfielders. Then Ben Revere comes in, then Kevin Pillar has been as good as anybody in the game, he's really saved us out there. But I think the big addition out there is Revere. Jose is a good solid outfielder. And then defensively on the infield we've gotten much better.

If that doesn't change, we're probably not here.

Q. One of the points that they made when they came in here was the importance of pitching you guys inside, you're big sluggers, and sort of establishing the inside part of the plate. Can that also become a point of contention if they go in and your guys object to it, is that going to be sort of a key to maybe how the series is played, how they approach it and how you guys respond?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, I know they tried to do that that last game there in Toronto, and that kind of led to some of the -- some were inside and some were really inside.

But a lot of teams have tried that against us. We've done okay. But any pitcher to be successful has to move the ball around. It's simple as that, really. They've got power arms over here, that's really how they're built.

Really, like we were talking about the bat flip, you'll see in the game now, too, anytime a ball is inside, guys react differently than they probably used to. So that's part of it, too, you know.

Q. I'm wondering when the adrenaline subsided and you went to sleep last night, what were the last memories when you reflected on that game?
JOHN GIBBONS: Really, it was kind of a relief because we knew that -- well, we've been, look, staring at it for three games. It was kind of a relief. I fell asleep pretty quick. There was no fall asleep, waking up. I went out pretty quick. And I think, yeah, it was relief on our part. We are moving on. We had our backs against the wall. And we had three big wins.

A lot of excitement and it felt really good.

Q. Was there any consideration for Price in Game 1, and then on top of that with Estrada, just the progress? He's pitched himself into taking the ball in Game 1 for this type of series for you.
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, we definitely look at it both ways. What it came down to these guys all have a lot of innings under their belt. Let's try to get some normalcy back to them a little bit, where you're not pitching on short rest. Even though Dave threw 50 pitches the other day, but he was coming back, he was up the night before. That's wear and tear. So let's get him back on his normal, just like everybody else. And Estrada, we felt that would be the best way to go.

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