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October 21, 2015

Terry Collins

Chicago, Illinois - Pregame four

Q. The Cubs won all seven regular season games against you guys, and I know your roster has changed significantly since then, but to what extent did that get your players' attention going here into the postseason, the fact that the Cubs had won those games?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, you know, one of the hardest questions I have to answer is how the players feel. I have no idea how they feel. You've got to ask them.

But I do know that we are certainly aware the Cubs are a very good team. They are -- even though they're young, they have tremendous talent. They didn't have Schwarber when we played them either. But we couldn't get Bryant out, couldn't get Rizzo out. Great pitching by their staff, so we knew we had a big challenge ahead of us. And we just said going in we're a little different team than we were when we played them. We're going to run what we think is our best pitchers at them, three in a row, and it's paid off.

Q. I guess back at home today Tom Coughlin told the Giants reporters how impressed he's been enjoying your run, and he's texted you congratulations a couple times along the way. Do you know each other well? Give us a sense of what that meant to get the text. Have you had a chance to read it or not?
TERRY COLLINS: First of all, I don't know Tom at all. I've never met him. But I'm extremely impressed he would take the time. He's got a lot going on his plate right now to take the time. But he called me when we won the division, congratulating me. I tried to return the call, but it's like getting through to the President when you call the Giants. So didn't get through.

But I left a message that I appreciated it, and I appreciate the text. Because, again, I know he's busy, and extremely respectful, because I think a lot of him. I've watched him coach for a long time, and he kind of reminds me of me, to be honest, so I appreciate the effort.

Q. It's the initials?
TERRY COLLINS: Yeah, same initials, too.

Q. Going into this series, what did you identify about the Cubs that maybe would allow you guys to be more aggressive on the basepaths against them?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, I don't hand out scouting reports, so we just knew that their -- we saw the numbers and teams steal bases against them, so we thought we could give it a shot. Even though we don't have perhaps the speed other teams have throughout the lineup, we've got a couple guys who can run, so we're doing -- Tommy Goodwin does a great job of investigating how and why teams are being able to run. So we're trying to use a little bit of that in ourselves to see if we can set up some runs.

Q. How pleased have you been with your infield defense particularly up the middle in the postseason so far?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, if you're going to have good pitching, you better catch the baseball. And our guys have done a good job. Coming into the postseason, I think Tim's done a tremendous job, not only getting them ready to play, but the position he gets them in so we're not asking to make difficult plays all the time, where the ball's way to the right or way to their left or getting them in an area where they turn into some routine balls.

Now there are some balls getting through that maybe had we had them in regular positions, we might get to them. But I think for the most part, Tim's done a great job of getting them ready to play.

Q. What, if anything, has surprised you about your young starting pitchers? Their ability? Their consistency? Just the overall job they've done?
TERRY COLLINS: When you have young pitching with power arms, the thing that impresses you the most are the strikes. As a matter of fact, we throw too many strikes sometimes.

You look at the success of some of the great pitchers in the game, and they'll get ahead of you, and you might not see another strike the entire at-bat.

One thing about our guys, they pound the strike zone. You've seen two or three times even so far in this series, we're 0-2 and make a mistake at the plate and give up a base hit. But I'd rather have them do that than to try to do something they're not ready to do, and that's just to pitch to the corners all the time. So that's been the most impressive part for me of all of our young pitchers.

Q. You're up 3-0. Last night you all were talking about keeping the foot on the gas, treat this like every other game that you've played, but human nature's involved in this. How do you get your players to guard against that human nature seeping in, if things start to go a little wrong and say, well, if things to start to go a little wrong, we've still got tomorrow?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, again, I'm a big believer in using the veteran players for that kind of stuff. Coming from me, it's easy, because I do that with every game. But I think when the veteran guys are in there, we've already had -- as a matter of fact, I think the meeting probably just got over, but we have a meeting every day where that's pretty much every player has a say in it, in our hitters' meeting.

I think one of the things that's going to be brought up today is, look, don't look for tomorrow, let's get this over now. Let's go out there and play our game and let's go home. Hopefully, if the game goes -- if we fall behind, hey, look, let's go, let's win this game.

Again, I think we have enough power to come back. Our bullpen's well rested. If something happens, we've certainly got enough arms to keep us in the game. So we're all attentive to tonight and tonight only.

Q. When the theme of the whole season really was how are you going to keep these young arms healthy to get to this point so they can perform the way they are, I would think that you should feel, despite controversy surrounding it, pretty well vindicated by their performances that you did the right thing?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, we think we did the right thing. Again, the one thing I know about dealing with the media, everybody has their own opinion on stuff. You talk about pitchers who are commentators who disagree with the theories and all the other things about pitch counts and this and that, that's fine. Everybody is allowed to have their own say.

The only thing with us is that we have a group of people that say we've got to take care of these guys. We sat down a program that we thought was going to work, and right now it's proven that it's worked.

Now, when it's all said and done, we don't know what's going to happen next year and how they're going to feel coming out of it.

But I'm looking at guys here in the month of October, which none of these guys have ever performed in, still throwing the ball 98 miles an hour, and that tells me we did the right things leading up to this. Now we've just got to go play it out. I'm not looking for vindication. I believed in the system, what we did. Yeah, we had some controversy along the way, but it comes with the territory for me.

Q. This is the time of year when every move a manager makes is scrutinized, yet it's hard to come up with one of yours that's been second-guessed in the postseason. Just curious if that's at all gratifying for you?
TERRY COLLINS: (Laughing), well, when you've played 190 games, you've just got to realize when they work, you know, you're happy; and when they don't work, oh, well, that's the way it goes.

Last night Grandy is the leadoff hitter, we kind of knew there was going to be an offspeed pitch there, we let him run, they threw him out. Base hit, base hit. So instead of having two runs, we had one, so it didn't work. That's the nature of our game.

But I don't ever do that. I don't ever worry about stuff that I do. I will tell you, I've got good coaches and we make decisions together. I mean, there's a lot of investigation. We've got a lot of material, as you guys know today, when you decide who to hit and when to run and when to take a pitcher out, there's a lot of voices. Then you make the best educated guess you can make. Again, if it doesn't work, as I've said many times, my wife on the way home tells me it was a dumb move, and she hasn't been in baseball until five years ago. That's just, again, part of our game.

Q. Just to follow up, is that an evolution for you from when you managed earlier where you had to learn to not let those things bother you or eat you up?
TERRY COLLINS: Yeah, I took everything personal. When I first started managing, I thought I ran a good game. I thought decisions I made were educated, and when they didn't work I was mad at myself. Unfortunately, I wore my emotions on my sleeve and the players saw it and thought I was mad at them, and therefore it didn't work.

So now you make decisions, heck, I talk to players all the time. There's a lot of them that say, why did you do that last night? Why did you do this? Why did you do that? You give them your reasonings, and they say, well, it didn't work. Yeah, no kidding, you know. I saw it. I was there.

Q. With the replay, do you notice more runners getting called out now when the foot comes off the base when they're sliding?

Q. And has that changed how you have to do tagging and sliding?
TERRY COLLINS: It certainly has changed a lot. I hear people say, well, they're going to have to reteach sliding. Well, there is one of the reasons why you slide. You slide to slow down. Guys that were fast, they don't slow down very much. So some place along the line they have got to put the brakes on, and to keep them on the bag it is going to be very hard.

When you're Eric Young and you're as fast as he is, you get a chance to over- slide the bag, because they slide hard and they slide late. So if you're going to have them slide earlier to slow them down, they're going to be out. So there is that fine line.

So I think what we've got to do is somehow get him in positions to where they go more on the base instead of off to the sides of the base. So at least if they keep them on the base a little longer, you might keep something that remains in touch with the bag.

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