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October 18, 2015

John Gibbons

Toronto, Ontario - Workout Day

Q. Sort of a familiar refrain here, but I guess you'll be looking for Stroman again to sort of put you guys back on the right track?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, he keeps coming up in those big games for us. There's a reason for that. He's pitched so good since he came back, we all know the story, and he's here and he stepped up every time he's gone out for us. He's the perfect guy for it.

Q. It does seem fitting, all he's accomplished this year and coming back from adversity. What makes him fit in the big game for you?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, he's proved that he can do it, No. 1. I think he thrives on this kind of situation. It's definitely not an ideal spot to be in. Tomorrow is going to be a huge, huge game for us.

He's been known to rise to the occasion in a short career. He's got many years ahead of him, but what he's done and the type of games he's pitched in a short period of time he's been about perfect, so I would expect him to keep that up.

Q. After Game 2 against Texas you were kind of talking about how you were waiting for the offense to break out a little bit. Are you in a similar situation now where you're waiting for that?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, that's how we win. We've been doing that all year. In those first couple of games against Texas, they held us in check, and we broke in the games down here and scoring late to win the last game. They shut us down in the first game in Kansas City, and we scored the runs yesterday. But we were on the verge of an outburst. And Escobar made the great play in the second. And they got in the bases loaded, one out jam.

So that would have been the prime time to open that game up and it would have been a hell of a lot easier, that's for sure. But that's who we are. That's how we win, so we needed that.

Q. What challenges does Johnny Cueto present?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, he's one of the best in baseball. They focused on him in the trade deadline as one of their prime targets and they went out and got him for these type of games. He was tremendous his last outing against Houston, he clinched that for them down there. He's another one of those guys that can overpower you. When he's on, he's awful tough. So that's really the reason they acquired him.

Q. Your offense is built far more for this park than Kauffman. Is that the biggest advantage of coming home is the park, itself?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, yeah, that definitely works to our favor, no doubt about that. And really, we hit home runs. We're built for our park, we're built for our division we play in and things like that. Really, that's our trademark. If we're going to win we need to score.

Q. I know you've got bigger things on your plate right now, as you're probably aware, Canadians are going to vote tomorrow. You had a chance earlier this season to meet our current prime minister. How would you handicap his chances tomorrow (laughter)?
JOHN GIBBONS: Like ours? I don't know (laughter).

I don't get into politics.

Q. Has he got a better chance than you?
JOHN GIBBONS: If we were 2-0 I might have a comment for you.

Q. Cueto is a guy that had struggles in the summer, but he shut down the Astros in the last series. Is that the kind of adjustment you expect from someone with his track record?
JOHN GIBBONS: You expect him to be good. It's like Volquez, he's always been one of the top pitchers in baseball, and he stepped up that first night. So that's what they do. They have really good pitching, whether it's in the rotation or the bullpen. They catch the ball and they battle you.

You've got to assume and approach it like this guy is going to be on, but we need to score.

Q. You were down two in the last series. Does this feel different for you and the team?
JOHN GIBBONS: I don't know. I know there is that, but you never want to go down 0-3. The odds, the history of the game prove that.

But to be honest with you, we feel pretty good. We felt good yesterday when the game, it definitely got away from us, it's obvious. But we go back to -- after going down 0-2 to Texas, we were still a confident group. And we've got a great team, that's just the fact. They had a great team over there, I don't expect them to cave. There's a lot of baseball to be played. Tomorrow is a big, big game.

Q. Your crowd has been great for you guys leading up to the Postseason. They were great in the first round. That Game 5 took kind of an ugly turn with the beer cans and everything. What do you expect tomorrow?
JOHN GIBBONS: As far as throwing beer cans? (Laughter.)

Q. Security measures, do you think that the crowd is going to be a little more tame?
JOHN GIBBONS: They'll be into it. They always are. How can I put this to be politically correct? No, really, that's not my department, anyway.

But they've been huge for us since we really turned this thing around. And we need them. You could feel it down there in Kansas City, on their side. That matters.

They'll be behind us. I'll leave it at that.

Q. Stroman has said that he's a guy that enjoys pitching on a big stage. In your experience, is there a characteristic that separates guys that really can embrace that moment and those who can't?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, you know, I mean, there are guys, with all different personalities, are those kind of guys. Not everybody is like that, I guess I should say.

I don't know, really, I think that's his mindset. Since he was growing up as a kid the odds were against him. He'll tell you that. His father always preached to him, You're going to be the smallest guy in the room, but that doesn't mean you can't accomplish something. So I think he's always had that mentality, that personality, I've got to prove myself over and over.

So really, he's never backed down from anything. You look what he's accomplished in his career to this point. I mean, it says a lot about the kid, too, that he blows out his knee in Spring Training, goes off and finishes his degree, does his rehab and now he's back pitching in the playoffs. That shows you what kind of motivation he has, what kind of focus. Really, to pull all those things off at once, really.

And I don't know, it's one of those things, I don't know you can really pinpoint it or necessarily describe the difference in certain guys. He's got the "it" factor. It doesn't mean he's going to go out and dominate tomorrow, but you have a great feeling every time he takes the mound because he can pull off something special.

Q. Their bullpen comes with the reputation that it does, you haven't scored on them yet, but you got a few runs on Davis yesterday. What's been your impression of your team's approach against them?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, you look at, really, when they took off last year and a big part of their success was their bullpen. And their approach was always you get to at least the seventh inning, or a little bit into the sixth inning, they turn it over to their guys and the game is over.

They did that night after night after night and took them to the World Series, one game in the World Series. And then what they did the offseason, they went out and acquired a couple of different pitchers, as in Volquez, and Cueto a little bit later. So they still have this strong bullpen. Everybody thinks you catch a break when -- Madson has been so good, he really stepped into that role after being off the scene with his injury.

So they just really added to what they had. And Hochevar is back, off the Tommy John, and they've got some good left-handers out there with Duffy, some power arms. They really don't give you a break out there. That's really a big part of their success. And really, they played good all-around game of baseball.

But as far as your question about approaching those guys, they can dominate you, so it's tough to string together a lot of hits, Herrera and Davis and all those guys. So you hope the game is close enough where maybe you scratch one or two across to put you on top, I guess.

Q. Ryan shoulders a lot of blame for the loss yesterday. Have you pulled him aside and had a talk to him today?
JOHN GIBBONS: There's no reason for him to put the blame on himself. You win as a team and you lose as a team. It's one of those freak plays that you normally make, you know. But under the circumstances with the loud crowd, it was kind of in the perfect spot. It happens.

I'll be damned if he should take the blame for that game. We still had a lead and a chance to get out of it. You win as a team and you lose as a team, really. For him to think that, he's a standup guy, no doubt about it. There's nobody that cares more. But that would be an injustice on him for the blame to be stuck on him.

Q. I was wondering when you took over this team a few years ago, what was the environment like and morale like and how do you think it's changed, if at all, since then?
JOHN GIBBONS: It's changed big time. This is my second go-around. When I came back the second time there was a lot of excitement and everything. Made the trades with Florida and with the Mets. It has really turned into a new team as far as the players.

And then it was a disappointing year for all of us. And then of course we rebounded last year, played a little better but not good enough.

This year I think it came down to really Alex identified the areas that we really needed to improve on and started with Josh and Russ, that gave us all a shot in the arm. And then after about the halfway point where we were a .500 team, and we went and brought in some huge guys that really put us over the top.

So as far as, the excitement and all that was there two years ago, with those moves, but it wasn't the right team, for whatever reason.

And this year some key additions really got us going.

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