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October 6, 2016

John Gibbons

Arlington, Texas - Pregame one

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with John Gibbons.

Q. Do you have a lineup? If so, could you go through it quickly for us, please?
JOHN GIBBONS: I guess they haven't posted it yet. Travis; Donaldson; Encarnacion at first; Bautista, DH; Martin; Tulowitzki, Pillar, Upton, and Carrera.

Q. With your final roster set can you give us your thinking who was left off?
JOHN GIBBONS: We left off Pompey and Goins, Pompey is has been our base-running guy specialist. With Osuna, we think he's fine, but we also have to cover ourselves just in case. And with Liriano, the thinking is he may pitch some real important innings later in the game.

So it's not like your typical, the starter you're going to lead off. He's going to be your long guy if something happens early, he can go X amount of innings. It's more a different type role than that.

We've got to make sure we have coverage, a little bit of length there, so that costs Pompey. We'd love to have him but we couldn't afford to, I don't think, and Goins was the extra infielder.

Q. A lot of times in Postseason, managers have to go through a lot of stress figuring out how to line up the rotation in the Postseason. When you have a rotation as deep as yours does it make your job a little easier knowing really there's no wrong answer?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, I mean any team that gets to the Postseason, they've got to have some good pitching. Otherwise you don't get here.

So, yeah, we feel good about that. Really we think on any given night you can run any of them out there and feel really good about it. Some guys have had better years than others, no doubt about it. But I think that is one of our luxuries. We'll go with Estrada, Happ, Sanchez, the same way set up last weekend in Boston. Keep them rolling as much as possible.

And Estrada is one guy you don't want to give him too much rest. We saw that possibly when we went to six man, he was the only guy that might have affected a little bit. No guarantees but might have.

And so get him out there as soon as possible. He's been very good for us the last two years. Pitched really two of our big elimination games last year, and he stepped up. So get him back out there, we feel great. And of course Happ had a huge year. And Sanchez is one the guy that the concern was the innings all year, we kept backing him off. Naturally, when we give him an extra day or two, it's ideal.

Q. You mentioned Osuna earlier, is he available if needed today?
JOHN GIBBONS: Not sure. Not sure. That will be a game-time decision. If not today, there should be no limitations tomorrow, I wouldn't think. The doctors checked him out. He's feeling much better. I don't think it's a big deal, but you still have to be cautious of it. Because you never know for sure.

Q. Obviously your team's got a ton of talent but there's a focus a little bit on the personalities in this series. Tell me a little bit about what you like about the personality and sort of the makeup of your team.
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, you know, it's a different group, I will tell you that. And we've got some characters in the game. We've got some of the better players in the game, that kind of thing.

And I would say, you know, in some places anyway it's probably an entertaining team to watch. I know as far as our fans go, anyway. It's a good group. They hang together. They compete with the best of them. Are we good every night? Of course not.

In a lot of ways we're an all-or-nothing type team. When we hit home runs we're really good. There's times we don't. We hit that dry spell. But of course you never know what's going to happen in the playoffs.

But so it's a unique group, different than anything I've ever had, because there are some big personalities, some big players in the game. And a lot of guys that like the spotlight, to keep it simple, I guess.

Q. You just talked about Happ having a huge year. What do you think has enabled him to have such a big year and be so successful for you guys?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, yeah, he's had a tremendous year. You know, we had Happ two years ago. Of course, we traded him for Michael Saunders who is also with us now.

Kind of reinvented himself. He was always considered kind of a power pitcher, a lot of strikeouts, throw a lot of pitches, five innings, 100-plus pitches was nothing to him. That's just the way he worked. And made some adjustments with his arm angle, some small adjustments.

His last month that he was here and we traded him to Seattle. And then we didn't see -- we saw him one time in Seattle -- but when he went to Pittsburgh they refined some things. So I guess what I'm trying to say he's more of a finesse guy now.

He's a control guy. And he's got some power behind it, too. And he used to elevate the ball. Really, I mean that was his pitch. Now he does that when he wants to.

He keeps the ball down. He can pitch with his fastball with the best of them. That's his primary go-to pitch and still gets good hitters out with it.

And in a way he's kind of, in my opinion, he's kind of a late bloomer, because he's a different style now. And it's really working for him. And now he can go seven, eight innings, what he used to do in four and a third and five. So that really helps us.

Q. If Osuna can't go today, then what do you do with the lead in the ninth inning?
JOHN GIBBONS: Great question. You know what, not sure exactly. It's really hard to say. It might all depend on what you gotta do to get to that point.

You know, if you use certain guys to get yourself a lead going into that ninth inning, then you try to put it together the best you can, I think. But it's not ideal. But he could still be available tonight. But you're flipping the coin, I guess. We flip coins in this business a lot. Some of us do anyway.

Q. You mentioned Liriano before, what role do you envision for him in this series?
JOHN GIBBONS: I mean, I would look for him to pitch some really important innings later in the game. You know, he hasn't done that a lot. But it's one of those things, go back to he had a relief outing in New York three weeks ago, maybe.

It was kind of a lopsided game but he came and pitched two innings, dominating innings, and so that got everybody's attention. Because there was talk that he was going to go to the bullpen anyway at that time or if we got to this position.

And then the other night, two nights ago, it was a different type of game, he wasn't trying to close that lead, but he was trying to keep the game tied and he looked very, very good, under the gun.

So not a lot of experience doing that, but it's one of those things, maybe give him an opportunity and find out.

But like I said earlier, he's not one of those guys, that extra starter that's going to be your long guy, because I think he's too valuable to us. And with Benoit down and with Osuna, you need more important roles, I think.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you.

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