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October 5, 2016

John Farrell

Cleveland, Ohio - Workout day

Q. How do you view the Indians and what will be some of the keys in beating them?
JOHN FARRELL: You know, clearly this is a team that plays exceptionally well at home. One of the main ingredients that they've got is a running game that we'll have to control or negate to a certain extent. And I think bottom line is how our right-handed pitchers attack a lineup that can feature a number of left-handed hitters in it.

Q. Can you give us any updates in terms of your starters beyond --
JOHN FARRELL: It would be Buchholz Game 3 and E-Rod Game 4.

Q. Have you made any decisions in terms of backup catcher?
JOHN FARRELL: No, that will be announced at the appropriate time tomorrow morning.

Q. In trying to decide the roster, how do you balance the extra bench player versus the extra pitcher in the bullpen, first series like this?
JOHN FARRELL: Given the potential need, with two spots in our lineup where we've shown I think a pretty consistent approach to pinch-run, if the game situation dictates that, that will weigh heavily into if we go with a 14th position player or not. And then you look at the 5-game schedule, with an off day in between. Typically if there's no interruption with weather, you've got recovery time with relievers you may use. So just looking at rosters in the past we've typically stayed with 11 pitchers, as well. That will all shake out tomorrow morning.

Q. Tito has talked about not wanting this to be about him or his connection with Boston. But on a personal level, what is it to match up with Tito, especially on this stage?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, I think any time your team advances to this point in the season it's a special event. Large in part because of what the players have done. That will never change. How we advance or how we play in this series is going to be dependent upon our players. And I think that's where being alongside Tito and sharing some of the same values as far as the game is concerned, it should never be about the managers. It's always about the players who take the field and how they go out and execute. And in my mind that won't change.

Q. You look at Rick Porcello and you told us the other day you felt that he earned the chance to start Game 1 for you guys. What was sort of the turning point for him and really taking control of this season and making such a vast turnaround?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, there's a couple of things that went into how the rotation played out. Six weeks prior to the end of the regular season we had mapped out a rotation to have David Price pitch on the final day. We know he's best and most consistent, David Price, when he pitches on his fifth day. So that kind of stayed pat.

But as far as Rick goes, his execution has been very consistent. He's done a very good job in controlling the running game with various looks. But above and beyond all I think he's matured as a pitcher to understand where his strengths are, how he's best able to minimize damage inside of an inning. So it comes down to him executing a pretty specific game plan that has played itself out over six months.

Q. Getting back to Tito, you worked with him for quite a while. Can you share one or two things that you picked up from him that made you a better manager?
JOHN FARRELL: The one thing that he always spoke of is to be true to yourself. And what is meant by that is if you've done your work, if you've prepared to the point of decisions that are to be made, and making those decisions, if you're true to that process, true to yourself, you can live with the scrutiny, the criticism or balance it with times that are successful.

So in that light, in that being true to yourself you're always keeping in the right balance that this will always be about the players.

So there's a balance there. So to me it's about the preparation that goes into it and making sure that players know that you've got their back.

Q. Are there any positions where you might look to use defensive replacements? If so, would it be on the cornering field spots?
JOHN FARRELL: You know, at this point -- that's going to be dependent on how the game unfolds. If we match up with a pinch-hit situation at third base because of the right, left platoon that we've used there, I can't say that we wouldn't do that late in games, depending on who is at third base at the moment. But as far as over at first base, with Hanley there, who I think has done a very good job defensively, if we find ourselves, again, in a pinch-running situation that involves him, that's the only way I can see that unfolding.

Q. Earlier in the season you guys were a much better team at home than on the road. But that changed the last couple of months. What do you think it was for the team raising its level of play on the road?
JOHN FARRELL: Pitching, without question. When you look at what took place in the months of August and September, our rotation stepped forward in terms of being more consistent one through five. In the month of September our bullpen was at its best. And I think that was the benefit of maybe some less innings pitched in August. They were able to catch a little bit of a second wind. But bottom line, we pitched better in the second half and led to the record.

Q. If there's a Game 5, who will start that for you?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, we would have two options, Rick or David. And we'll see where things go from here.

Q. Orioles were obviously in a unique situation with not using Britton. Where do you stand in the strategizing of using your closer on the road?
JOHN FARRELL: I think we've demonstrated that the closer has been in nonsafe situations. That's happened on multiple occasions. Craig is well aware of that. I think going back to the West Coast trip out to Seattle -- no, I take that back, earlier in the season in Toronto, we brought him out of the bullpen on the road in a nonsafe situation. Our guys understanding of it and we've done it previously.

Q. Speaking of Kimbrel, how confident are you the walks the last few times out, how confident are you of a quickly correctable mechanical thing?
JOHN FARRELL: Pitchers have maintenance in their throwing program and in their delivery. I know two of the last three outings are really a focal point of some of the talk that goes on, but he's our closer and confident in it. He's had a couple of bullpens since the last outing, to reinforce his routine and maintenance, and we're ready to go with Craig as our closer.

Q. How differently do you manage your bullpen in the postseason versus the regular season?
JOHN FARRELL: There's in essence no tomorrow. So you may have the ability and the luxury to be a little bit quicker with some of the your decisions, not balancing recovery or rest by the group out there. So I think what we've seen over time, you get to this point in the time in the year where a lot of innings have been pitched by the starters, that's why the seventh inning becomes more of a focal point, and maybe you're a little bit more prepared to make some changes in that inning than at any other time in the regular season.

Q. A lot of fanfare with David over the weekend. Do you feel that could have been a distraction for the team, and even if it was or wasn't, do you feel that your guys and David have turned the page for the task at hand?
JOHN FARRELL: First of all, it was a great weekend. And one that was well deserved. I think our guys have handled, as we've gone through the season, the number of ceremonies that David has received.

One of the things that maybe is unique to being with David or to being in Boston, some of those distractions are kind of commonplace. And so I think our guys have done a great job in terms of balancing what might be pregame to staying focused on what's needed. And that's from the first pitch on, to be prepared as best as possible.

Q. Do you remember some of the questions maybe you had on that day about this team as you started that journey and what's been answered the most --
JOHN FARRELL: I think Johnny's first question is, Hey, are you going to get fired? Well, here we are. (Laughter).

You know, we've answered a lot of challenges along the way. We've answered a lot of questions. How our rotation was going to build, how we were going to get past Eddie who was injured in Spring Training. As you go through 162 games the beauty of the journey is the potential distractions that are thrown at you, where the schedule has you going. I think our guys have done a great job of not only being prepared, but as I talked about in New York, this is a tough group, they're smart, they care for one another, and those traits are what have allowed us to get to this point, in addition to being a very talented team.

I think we've come together with an offense that we felt good about in Spring Training, but that's certainly grown to being maybe a unique one. But I love the fact that our rotation has answered some of the potential questions about them and the way they've performed.

Q. You talked about righties getting lefties out. Does Brad Ziegler figure into that equation?
JOHN FARRELL: To a certain extent, but I think there are opportunities within it that exist. It would certainly be a matchup situation. But I think in addition to that, Drew Pomeranz's outing the other day was a definite positive for us. We were able to balance out some of the multi-inning capability on the left side in addition to that.

Q. When you compare where you were personally a year ago at this time to now, what comes to mind?
JOHN FARRELL: This question was posed the other day, and in one word, life. Different perspective, fortunate, thankful to be around so many quality people and so much advances in medicine. So there's a bond and a connection to those who have survived cancer, and I relish every moment of every day.

Q. You mentioned how critical the seventh inning is. How comfortable are you to extending Uehara more than three outs, which is something you did in 2013?
JOHN FARRELL: I think the way we're constructed right now I would love to stay away from that. Koji is so good with a clean inning. And probably would stay consistent with that at this point.

Q. What do you think, when you saw the Indians sign Mike Napoli, what did you anticipate him bringing to that club, and are you surprised with the season he's put up?
JOHN FARRELL: No, not surprised at all. One, this is a right-handed power hitter that was -- has obviously gotten back to, you know, a much more consistent approach. The things he went through in Boston physically, who's ever to say the impact and the effect that correcting that, with the ability to sleep more consistently? And I don't mean to play that lightly. That's had a major effect, I think, on staying consistent physically throughout the year.

But in terms of his everyday presence, he is a smart baseball player. He was probably one of our best baserunners, despite the foot speed, when he was with us in Boston. He's become a damn good first baseman defensively.

But his overall presence. It's the same guy every day. There was a calming influence with us. I think he sees the most pitches of anybody in baseball. That's going to have an effect on the guys around him in the lineup.

So to see the power numbers he's put up, not surprised one bit.

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