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October 4, 2016

Buck Showalter

Toronto, Ontario: Game Day

Q. Buck, when you put together the roster, what made you decide to go with the breakdown of the number of pitchers, the number of position players?
BUCK SHOWALTER: We're just copying Toronto. Apparently, they knew what to do.

I don't know, where do you start? There's a lot of reasons. We had to wait for a lot of things. Can't wait to see who they're starting or can't wait to see their roster and all those things. You just have to present your best foot and think about all the scenarios. Some you still might not be able to cover. There's a difference in a one-game playoff as opposed to five or seven.

I don't know. You want to ask about one in particular? We felt like all of a sudden Chris warms up and turns an ankle or some reason has an issue, you've got to have someone that can start the game. We have two of them. You have to think about extra innings. You have to think about a lot of different things. You have to think about put your batting order together against this guy versus that guy and see what your bench looks like, look at the moves you make; make sure that you don't get too left-handed where they can ambush you with Liriano or somebody. You've got to look at all the things, even the batting order you put together.

There's so many factors that go into it, and we as a coaching staff kind of look down at it, without paralyzing yourself through analysis. I mean, there's no perfect one. It's tough, though. I hate telling Worley that he's not -- we wouldn't be here without the job that he's done, and it's one game.

It took me a while to convince Gausman why he wasn't on it. I had him and Yovani. Who am I missing? Miley out there. And they all three said -- you know, which is why you like them so much. Yovani takes a long time to get loose. I know he's had three days.

As much as the total emphasis is on this game, you have to live to fight another day, too. You have to make sure you're prepared because that won't stop either. That's one of the challenges of being a Wild Card team is that you've got some challenges that the other teams don't. They earned it. Whether John or Terry or any of those guys that won their division early, they had the right to do whatever they wanted to do with their roster last week after they clinched. If we didn't like it, play better and be that divisional winner. We can't complain. Whatever lineup they run out there, they've earned the right to -- have I branched off your question enough? What else?

Q. You talked about that 9 spot being the second lead-off hitter. With Bourn there, how has he been utilized the past few weeks? It seems like he's gotten increased playing time and kind of made things happen. What were your thoughts in slotting him in there?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I believe he's hitting eighth, but down there towards the bottom and trying not to get the left-handers too close to each other. Michael gives us a weapon down there, and you hit him up, he may not feel as much freedom to run. We had a lineup with him hitting first, one hitting second, one hitting eighth, one hitting ninth. We just kind of kicked it around.

But we try to put them in a place where they can use their skills and not feel any caution about bringing what they bring. That's what I tell our guys all the time and reiterated it yesterday, go for it. You feel something, go get it. Nothing -- there's some caution about certain things, but you feel something, go for it. You want to throw that 3-2 change-up, throw it. You want to go steal that base, you feel it, do it. Don't go back to the room or the hotel and say, I wish I'd been a little more aggressive, a little more going for it, so to speak.

Q. The roof is apparently going to be open tonight.
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think the umpires determine it, don't they? Once they make a decision.

THE MODERATOR: I think the club determines it.

BUCK SHOWALTER: Initially, but then after that the umpires have it. I was told anyway.

Q. Regardless, assuming it is, how does it play differently, I guess, in your mind? How does it affect things, whether on a night like tonight?
BUCK SHOWALTER: It's the same for both teams. They're not going to open it, close it when we hit and they hit and what have you. It's like, boy, we had to play in the rain. Well, the other team did, too. We played here so much -- I can remember -- some of you all can, too. When they first opened the place, pitchers loved it. I don't know what that means. I heard one about the concrete drying or something. I was hoping the concrete was dry when they opened it.

But if you dwell on too much of that, I haven't seen enough to see -- when they square a ball up, it goes out anywhere whether the roof is opened or closed, same with our guys. It's going to be the same for both teams. So be a little cooler probably, which is good, especially after being in this room.

Q. On specific roster decisions, a reason for Worley not being there and Duensing and Mancini being there?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Let's start with the first one. The first one was we felt like we had enough length, and we felt like, if you look at some of the matchups, it might work a little bit better in our favor. You don't want to be sitting here with -- you play matchups and try to win a game in nine innings, but you've got to have some other bullets.

I can't tell you that it was easy or clear-cut, and I'm not going to try to insult your intelligence with that, but we just felt like with some of the matchups that might present itself, like we would have had probably a different roster if we hadn't been playing Toronto.

And the other was Duensing? We felt like there might be something matchup-wise there, and we also feel like he can turn some switch-hitters around. We also feel like he's been throwing the ball real well since he came off having the bone chips removed.

And the other one was Trey gives us, we think, a weapon off the bench against a left-handed hitter. You might have to make two moves to get the matchup you want. That's about it.

Q. You mentioned needing some of the starters for length in case you lose a starter early. In the case of Dylan Bundy, obviously, he's pitched in relief as well.
BUCK SHOWALTER: So has Ubaldo.

Q. Would you utilize a guy like Bundy, though, as a bridge to some of your later -- is that a possibility?
BUCK SHOWALTER: They're all in play, and they know it, too. The timing is always a challenge. In the American League game versus the National League game, a lot of moves are made for you in the National League. You know where your pitcher is hitting and what you've got to do. It's a lot more difficult this time of year in the American League because it's just pure who you think is the right guy to get somebody out. And you can make the right decision and it not work out on the field, and you're playing guys with this ability that they have.

Q. You guys obviously had the most home runs this year in baseball. What do you like about that style of game? Is that challenging to try to win in the postseason when you rely so much on home runs?
BUCK SHOWALTER: You've got to know who you are and who you're not. You can't make something happen there that's not there. Whether it's a lot of good things -- we talked about a lot. When I first came here, about who are we, you know. It wasn't, if you look back with some other things, if our skill set was a little different, we'd be doing some things differently.

But we've tried some, and we came to the conclusion that some of those things were a challenge for us, where some other things weren't. Our guys have scored enough runs to win games, and how we got to that point, I love how people try to define what small ball is. Sometimes a guy working the count and getting to 3-0 and hitting a home run at Yankee Stadium like Wieters is small ball, to work the count like that and get a hittable pitch. But people always associate it with power.

It's about scoring runs. If we get that and we have different people show up, we would play a different game. It's worked out okay.

Q. Buck, you just talked about not going back to the hotel room with any regrets.
BUCK SHOWALTER: We're not going back to the hotel room here tonight unless they've got a big leak in that roof.

Q. Not going back anywhere with any regrets. Can you just talk about or touch on the difference in mindset for your club, one-game playoff, what's on the line tonight collectively.
BUCK SHOWALTER: There's so many different things moving and so many different -- you don't have time to dwell on all the nuances. It's about a baseball game. It's nine innings or whatever amount, and our guys have worked so hard to get a chance at this, and the game's not always fair, but most times, if you're true to it, they let you up off the deck.

I know our guys deserve to get something out of this season, but so does Toronto, so do the other eight teams in it. That's why it's so fascinating for people to watch because you've got all these good things that meet, and someone's going to go away. There's only going to be one team really happy when this is all said and done. It can be emotionally really challenging. You can imagine what they're thinking, and you just try to make their path easier and try to tell them as much as you can about what's coming.

The good thing is Toronto led the American League in attendance. It's not like this is the first night they've ever had anybody here and we played them. There's obviously a different level. It was a big advantage for us against Detroit a couple years ago. Our guys have been good about trying to overcome those things. It's not the first time we've had to win -- we've won, what, nine games here. It wasn't nine. It was less than that. But ended up 9-10 with them. It was a challenge every time. I think there's a real healthy respect with the two clubs about what we both had to do to get here.

It's tough to win when you're expected to win. That's one of the most challenging things in team sports is winning when there's expectations. They call it the burden of expectations. That's why these teams that can consistently win and compete have my utmost respect because it's so hard to keep that mentality over a long season.

Q. Buck, you talked several times about --
BUCK SHOWALTER: You made it. Did you drive?

Q. From Buffalo, yeah. You talked about these two teams knowing each other pretty well. Obviously, you played 19 times, 9-10.
BUCK SHOWALTER: Seems like more than that. Add in Spring Training, and it's probably in the 20s.

Q. For a one-game playoff, is it good to have that kind of a familiarity, or would you rather it be more --
BUCK SHOWALTER: Who knows? I'm not that smart. It is what it is. Those days when the National League and American League used to play each other in the World Series and nobody had ever seen anybody, they're gone because the fans enjoy this more. And the reason we play Interleague is so that some of the things that happen the last month, last week of the season happen, and people really were tuned in to it.

So I don't know what it means. I probably will have a better answer afterwards, but there's no secrets. You're not going to put in some Omaha trick play for this, where the guy fakes the throw to first and the guy runs down in the bullpen. Great play. I love that. We thought about it. We had the guy -- I won't get off. I know you've all got time limits here.

We had this play in Spring Training. High school player, young guy was over there. Where first and third, you walk and you just run past first and keep running out to right field. He couldn't wait to show this to me. The guy is running to right field. Second baseman is chasing him. The guy is on third. Do you throw the ball to your right fielder and he walks across? He was so proud of this play. We didn't put that in.

Q. As far as the idea of the one game again versus the 162 season and the complexities in managing it, do you relish the challenge because it is so different than the big picture?

Q. Yeah.
BUCK SHOWALTER: You've got so many people -- I know in Baltimore, our fans are counting on it. It's an emotional thing for them. So it's challenging. If you try to dwell on it too much, you try to put your best foot forward. I know our guys are prepared. I know they're ready. And we'll see what the game has in store for us tonight. It won't be from lack of being ready for the right things.

So I'm just hoping -- and I'm biased. I know Toronto has got the same thing. I just would love to see our guys get back what they've put into this. But there's nine other teams like that.

Q. Buck, you mentioned the challenge of wanting to prepare for tonight but also wanting to live to fight another day. How do you balance the two of those knowing it's a one and done?
BUCK SHOWALTER: You balance completely towards this game, and then when the smoke clears -- you know, play better. If you don't want to sit in Texas and wait to see, if you'd like to be them, then play better. I'll take it compared to being at home tonight. I wouldn't be watching the game, but it sure beats the alternative.

We were the first Wild Card team -- I was telling people yesterday. We got that ugly hat to show for it. Right now I've got two sweatshirts and a hat to show for it. Hopefully get a little more to show afterwards.

Q. Several of the players yesterday, and even today, were saying that there is an advantage of playing in this Wild Card game because it's like you're playing in a Game 7, and that could have a carry-over. Do you feel the same way about that?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Ask me if we win and we get to Game 7. Potentially, potentially. I know one thing, when you have to play with the amount of pressure our guys have played with the last, seems like, whole month of September, two weeks, right down to the last game and be able to take a little breath yesterday -- they had the same issue in Toronto. Believe me, there's not a lot as far as getting tested tonight that they won't have been through.

I mean, you play in front of fans at Fenway Park and here, Yankee Stadium, I mean, you understand how to make sure the emotion part of it doesn't keep you away from staying in the process.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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