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October 4, 2016

Bruce Bochy

New York City, New York: Workout Day

Q. It's not like you haven't been through this before.
BRUCE BOCHY: Right, we have been through this before. We've been down this road. I like this Wild Card thing. It's created a lot of interest in the game, and certainly it's helped us a couple times now. Just, you know, the way the last week is in baseball, American League, National League. We have to fight to get here. It's good to be here. I know the guys are excited, and tomorrow we're all set to go.

Q. Having done this before, how do you balance as manager preparing for a single-game playoff with getting your team ready and thinking about how you're going to prepare for the potential of a long October?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I think you just focus on today's game. It is what it is. It's do or die. That's where you have to have your focus. There's no point in looking ahead because you've got to win tomorrow. And both teams know that. It's created a lot of interest, too, in the fact that it's a one-game deal.

Our guys have been through this before. They've had their backs to the wall many times. So you go out there and you play the game.

Now, the difference is, sure, the roster is set a little bit different because it's a one-game deal. You're not carrying as many pitchers. You may try to cover yourself with the position players with any moves that you want to make. But as far as the game itself, you want the guys to go out there and play the way they normally play, and these guys do a great job of that.

Q. You guys also had an up-and-down second half. Did it ever feel as chaotic on the inside as it looked from the outside?
BRUCE BOCHY: It was a little bit, to be honest. As good as we were the first half, we had our hiccups the second half, and they dealt with them.

What I like about what happened going through all the tough times, the adversity. They say adversity can build character, well, it did in that group, because we had to win at the end. They really came together at the right time against a very good ballclub. Two good clubs in that last homestand. We had to win five out of six to get to this point. These guys never stopped. They kept fighting.

And despite what happened, that's over now. It's a new slate. It's a new season, really. So that's behind us.

And you learn from it, but, I'll be honest, I think we all were trying to figure out what's going on here. But that's what you have to deal with during the baseball season.

Q. What Bumgarner did two years ago in the postseason, what's it about his personality that makes him so good in the playoffs and allows him to thrive in these big games?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I think like a lot of great athletes, pitchers just really are good in the moment. They're such good competitors. They don't let the game itself, the magnitude of the game bother them. I think they're good players. They're talented players. They're very good at performing under pressure, and that's what makes them so good. You see a lot of good hitters, nobody on base. They're not the same. You get guys on base and they're better hitters. I think pitchers are the same. The bigger the game, the better they are.

Q. Bruce, first of all, do you have an update on Eduardo Nunez and what the chances are he might be on the roster? Second, it seem like your lineup against righties became pretty standardized down the stretch. Can you imagine any surprises or going with what was working there?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, as far as Nuny, we're going to test him today. He's going to take some swings, go run a little bit, and we'll see where we're at. So I can answer that better tomorrow.

As far as the lineup, I haven't gotten it down yet, but as far as Belt, expect to see him in the two hole.

Q. What has the emergence of Romo meant to you managing the bullpen?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, he's done such a great job of just calming things down. You know, you get into a situation like we were in, having a hard time getting those last three outs. It just puts more pressure on him. And Romo's been through it. He's got the make-up to go out there and throw strikes, stay calm. So it's really to calm things down in that bullpen. It's allowed us to put guys in their roles.

So that's a big reason why we're here is because of what he did. He stepped up and became the closer there at the end. Really, we had two or three guys that have the stuff to do it and are capable of doing it. I just decided to go with the experienced guy, and he got it done. So he got the job there at the end.

Q. The Wild Card chase is almost a game of musical chairs. It seemed three teams for two chairs. Had you the Eastern time zone, the Central time zone. And you guys played last in the Pacific time zone. I was curious if that in a sense put more or less pressure? You kind of knew what the other guys had done before your game began, as opposed to the East Coast teams who come out and play their game and don't worry about it?
BRUCE BOCHY: I do think sometimes it can put more pressure on you if you allow it. Being on the West Coast, we know what's going on on the East Coast. That's why I kind of liked the last game where all the teams started at 12. You know why? Don't worry about what's going on. You've just got to focus on your game. Don't watch the other game. It's just a distraction. You've got to take care of business. And we kept saying that down the stretch. We had a slight lead there. It's up to us to take care of business and don't look for help.

Q. (No microphone)?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, it could be. It really depends on the make-up of your club and how they're going to handle it, I guess. They may play better knowing they have to win or having that added pressure, I guess.

Q. Posey is like the only position player left from 2010. You've had ten since 2012. Getting them going and clicking, how important is that for not only this game, but if you move on and your success throughout the postseason?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I think anytime you look at the heart of the order, those are the guys you count on, and those are the guys that you need to probably come through for you. Now, with that said, there are always those unsung heros down at the bottom of the order to get a big hit for you. But those are the guys during the season that you depend on. And in the postseason -- their experience, their ability, their talent. We're going to see good pitching here, and it's those guys that hopefully find a way to get the job done for you.

Q. History shows that the Wild Card does not favor home teams that much. Do you have a theory on why that is?
BRUCE BOCHY: No, I can't give you an answer to that. You go on the road -- I mean, the one time we played this type of game, it was loud in Pittsburgh. You'd much rather have it as your home game.

But I really think it's up to the guy on the mound. He sets the tone. Both sides, they usually dictate what happens. What happens in that game is how well your guy's pitching. But there's no reason. That's the beauty of baseball. There's no way to explain that.

Q. Just a follow-up. We're here in New York, and I know this is ancient history, but what you remember about your year as a Met?
BRUCE BOCHY: Oh, yeah, I had a great time here. I was up here about seven weeks. Got called up from Tidewater and enjoyed my time living on Long Island. I got to enjoy the city. I got to know the city a little bit. I had some great teammates here. You learn how passionate their fans are with baseball. I had a great time here.

Q. I wanted to ask you the same question I asked your two players. You went through six elimination games in 2012. Do you have any recollections of the 2014 Wild Card game and how it might have had a different feel for you emotionally or managing-wise than, say, the elimination games you had been used to playing before?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, they're similar. It's win or go home. So I do think when you're in a game like tomorrow, you really understand it's play well or your season's over. Now you get to the next series and you get a little margin of error. But once you get to that elimination game, it gets back to the same mentality. You got to go out there and win or else you're done.

So they're very similar. You go all out, all hands on deck, all those things come into play again.

Q. The Wild Card, 22 years now, it's down to the best of one. But is it a nice chance for the Mets, who have had their struggles for a while, to at least come back and play again?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I touched on that. I love it, I have to. We have a ring because of this Wild Card and have a chance now. It does allow a team like us, as good as we were in the first half, and those games were very important in the first half because it helped us get here despite our struggles in the second half.

But, again, it allows you a margin of error and gives you a chance. That's all you want. You just want a chance. Sure, you want to win your division to make life easier and not have this one-game deal.

But the fact that this is here, I've said it, it's done a lot for baseball. It did a lot for our city. Our fans were into -- this past week every game was like a playoff game. I'm sure it's the same here in New York and St. Louis and the American League. I mean, it just created so much interest in this game that it's been good for baseball. I'm very pleased that they put this in because it's helped us a lot here, four teams here this year.

Q. We were talking to Posey and talked about up-and-down and his struggling in September. And then Sunday, one swing and you're up 2-0. What kind of year has he had for you?
BRUCE BOCHY: I think overall he's had a really nice year. I mean, you look at the numbers and he's had a very good year defensively. To me, he's the Gold Glove. I said, well, he's played behind the plate. He's been banged up a little bit between his hand. He's had some other little issues, but he's gone back there and caught. So I say his body of work overall has been very good this year.

Q. What did you learn about your team in the second half of the season?
BRUCE BOCHY: Touching again on the character of these guys. It was a tough stretch. I mean, the way we lost some of these games late, I mean, those were tough to take sometimes, especially when you need to win. And you get to that point and we had a hard time getting those three outs. But just what they had to do in those last two series to get here. Really, your backs are against the wall. You can't look for help. You need to win. We faced some very good pitching, good teams, and they found a way to get it done. That's all through heart and desire to get to this point. And that's what they showed me.

Q. Who would you pick out as maybe the one or two most talented fastball hitters on your team? Just guys who aren't fazed by 98, 99-plus? And what do you think makes them so good?
BRUCE BOCHY: You know what? I don't want to pick out somebody, to be honest, because I think they're all pretty good fastball hitters. Most hitters are good fastball hitters.

But when you're facing a guy like we're facing tomorrow, it's a different fastball. I mean, these guys throw 99, 100, but you've got to be ready for it. They have good secondary pitches. But I think any of our guys, you can't play up here unless you have a fastball. At some point you better learn how to hit it or you won't be here.

Q. You talked about Syndergaard right there. What have your impressions been with the times that you've seen him? Obviously he throws really hard and has good secondary stuff. But what kind of stuff do you get from him as far as the presence he has on the mound and what kind of at-bat he has?
BRUCE BOCHY: He's one of the best young pitchers in the game. You look at his stuff, he's just grown as a pitcher, his command, everything. His secondary pitches, you saw what he did in the postseason last year.

This is a great match-up tomorrow. It really is. And I look forward to it. It's going to be an exciting game. They've got their guy going. Bum's going. I mean, this is the fun thing about postseason is you're going to get great match-ups like this.

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