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October 4, 2016

John Gibbons

Toronto, Ontario: Game Day

Q. Last year, you guys came into the postseason after a 43-18 finish and riding kind of high. Obviously, this year you had the struggles in September to endure. What are the differences to that once you get to November -- or October? Excuse me.
JOHN GIBBONS: I'm really not sure yet. I'll let you know after tonight. Who knows? I mean, it was a battle to get in. The guys hung tough. That may be the tough part. Now this is all gravy here. Hopefully, our goal is to win this whole thing.

But the format is difficult. One game, see what happens. But I think that's good for baseball because the idea is to win the division. So we'll see.

Like I said many times, we know these guys so well, they know us. There's no secrets. Everybody's faced the same hitters, same pitchers so many times. It's going to come down to who's on that night, who makes a big pitch, who might get the big hit, things like that. But we're two very, very similar teams. Both teams are power-laden teams. That's how they win. Really that's kind of what our division is.

So we'll see how it all shakes out.

Q. Can you walk us through the decision to go with Saunders at DH and Bautista in the field and Carrera in left. Just the decisions there.
JOHN GIBBONS: Just from what I've seen talking to the other coaches, we don't see much difference in either one of them out there. Josy's been a right fielder for a number of years. I actually give him the nod when he's in the field. It helps him hitting. We were forced to DH him quite a bit because of leg injuries and things like that. But there's nothing that jumps out at you. That Michael got the edge.

I think it's perfect. Josy, home field, put him out there and let him go.

Q. [ No microphone ].
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, Mikey was going to be in there one way or the other. He's always hit this team well, and hopefully he does that again tonight.

Q. Gibby, when it comes to how you handle the pitching tonight, is it a matter of going by feel, or is it, once they've seen Stroman maybe twice or three times, you want to make sure they get someone else in there? How are you going to play that out?
JOHN GIBBONS: Really see how the game is going, see what the score is, see how he's pitching. There's a lot of things. I don't think you can go in necessarily designing it one way because baseball doesn't work that way. So we'll get a feel early. Watch how he's pitching, see how he's reacting, how they're reacting to him.

The thing about baseball, you try to make the right decisions all the time. Hopefully, you make more good ones than bad ones.

Q. You mentioned that both teams obviously have tremendous power. We've seen a lot of home runs this year in baseball, a lot last year. What do you think is the reason we've seen so many home runs the last couple of years?
JOHN GIBBONS: I don't know. Somebody asked me that, I think it was last week. It's tough to pinpoint really. I can't give you an honest answer, to tell you the truth. Global warming maybe. That's my answer. Or lack of it, one or the other.

Q. You mentioned at the start this is good for baseball. What do you like about this format and the one-game Wild Card?
JOHN GIBBONS: Actually, there's a lot I don't like about it because we're playing in it, but I think it's the way it ought to be. If you don't win your division, there's two teams that get a shot at it. So you need to make it really tough to get in there. That's why everybody focuses on trying to win the division.

And the team that does get in there that represents the Wild Card, they've fared very well, you look over the last few years. We'll see. Hopefully, we're that team.

Q. John, is there one guy or one or two guys in the Baltimore lineup who you go into this game saying, we will do everything we can to not let him beat us tonight?
JOHN GIBBONS: You know what, they've got such a good hitting team, really, it's tough to pick out anybody. You look to see who's hot. As the game goes on, you look to see who's swinging the bat particularly well that night.

Normally what happens when you play teams that are strong top to bottom, there's not many holes. So you end up putting guys on and things like that, next thing you know, you get burned. Very similar to the way we approached that down in Fenway over the weekend. Top to bottom, they keep coming at you. You get some freebies on in great hitting ballparks, next thing you know, somebody pops one and that kind of thing.

There's a time and place for making a guy hit the pitch. We know that and our guys know who to approach, but I can't jump out and tell you this, hey, you can't let this guy beat you because you know the guy hitting behind those guys is pretty damn good, too.

Q. Starting early and getting a lead early is not always something that's going to lead to a win because you can always score late. With Zach Britton in that bullpen and the guys leading up to him, is it even more important to try to get to Tillman early and make sure they don't get into their bullpen with a lead?
JOHN GIBBONS: Ideally yeah, because they do have arguably the best bullpen in baseball. We've been looking at it all year, 18, 19 games, whatever we played them. That's always your thought, hey, we've got to get some runs early and at least keep those guys out of the game. There's a good chance they may be in the game regardless tonight anyway, close game, they may be down, definitely with the lead.

They're pretty tough. Some real good power right-handers, and we're a right-hand-hitting team. So it sets up nicely for those guys over there. So, yeah, a few runs early is ideal, no doubt about it.

Q. John, Stroman is always full of energy. He doesn't seem short of self-confidence. Seems to relish the big occasion. Do you have a worry that he kind of talks himself up a little bit too much on these big occasions, or can he control it?
JOHN GIBBONS: No, I don't worry about that because I've only seen him good in these big occasions. That's one of the reasons he's out there tonight. He's a very confident guy, but he'll tell you, you know, everybody his whole life has told him he can't do something because of his size. Without any confidence at all, he's not here.

But this is kind of -- we don't know how it's going to turn out, of course, but this is one of those things he thinks he's the guy that should pitch these games, and he's done it before.

Q. Could you talk about the experience that your club has and what kind of a difference that's going to make in a one-game playoff for everyone, including yourself.
JOHN GIBBONS: I think, you know, experience matters in everything, once you've been through something. But they've got a lot of experience on the other side, too. There's not a bunch of young kids over there. But even the way both teams finished, they had to take it down to the wire themselves, and we did. I think that helps.

But, yeah, if you've been there before, I think it does wonders, but really that's in every walk of life probably.

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