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October 7, 2016

Dusty Baker

Washington, DC - Pregame one

Q. What made you decide to pick Michael Taylor over Ben Revere?
DUSTY BAKER: You know, we just, we needed some balance. You know, we had predominately left-handed hitting bench and we just thought that for this series, that the things that Michael can do and bring to the table, was better for this roster.

Q. How healthy is he? I know he was kind of battling that thumb injury. How confident are you that he's --
DUSTY BAKER: We're confident. We wouldn't have put him on there if we thought he couldn't perform. So we watched him the last couple days, a trainer has been working with him big time. So, yeah, we're confident. We don't know how much he's going to play and everything depends on game situation and different things we may need that Michael can do.

Q. Can you explain the decision to keep seven relievers and what factors were weighed as you made decisions for the final spot?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, some of the factors were how many left-handers they had, like we had talked about. How many left-handers they have in the lineup is indicative of they have every left-hander in the world except one in their lineup today.

We needed the extra bodies instead of going with eight guys in the bullpen. We have some guys banged up, some guys that we may have to hit for or run for. Probably more importantly, you know, run for certain guys, that are ailing, a la Murphy and a couple of the guys.

So that's what went into our decision. And we contemplated many, many different scenarios and that's why we didn't release our roster to you earlier.

Q. Obviously Tanner will pitch for Game 2 and Gio for Game 3, how much were you debating possibly flipping those guys in the order and what ultimately made you decide to do it the way you did?
DUSTY BAKER: Well you know, we weren't debating that much. We were just kind of messing with you guys (laughter) (smiling), to tell you the truth.

You know, just we went with our two best. Even though they are predominately a left-hand hitting lineup, we just went with our two guys that were the best and Gio will go to third.

Q. I know you are very high on Reynaldo Lopez. What are your plans for him in this series? Are you going to start him or maybe relief?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, it just depends on how things go. Right now he's in long relief, but who knows. I mean, anybody might start down the line. Wherever you're plan, usually have to refocus and replan again. The games will dictate what we do and where we are in the series.

Q. I know you had joked a handful of days ago that you were considering a lot of different lineups and a lot of them ended up balled up in the trash can. What went into the decision to move Bryce up to the 2-spot and Jayson down to three?
DUSTY BAKER: Jayson is our No. 1 -- I'll start with Harp. He's had a pretty tough time against Kershaw. And so I figured if Trea gets on, then he might see some little better pitches to hit and Jayson is the guy that's had probably the most success against Kershaw. And that's why I made that decision.

I talked to Murphy and Trea -- not Trea -- Murphy and Harp and Jayson. I just talked to him out of respect, but they said, "Hey, Skip, whatever you want to do, and whatever you think that's best, that's what you do. "

I just talked to them out of respect.

Q. Given the way that Bryce has gone this season, could having him in the second spot almost help him to have a different kind of mind-set at the plate in terms of thinking of getting on base versus trying to drive it out of the park?
DUSTY BAKER: I had not thought about that, but that's a good point. The thing about it is the season is starting all over from today. What you've done up to this point really doesn't matter other than getting us to this point. But what you do forward is going to have a tremendous impact on this year.

Bryce was starting to roll right before he hurt his hand. You know, he had a good stroke going. We're hoping that he can continue that. You know, he has a good mind-set about things and he's a strong-willed young man and a very confident young man that believes he can do anything, and so do we.

Q. Do you remember the first time you saw Kershaw, and what were your initial impressions those years ago?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I don't really remember the first time I saw him. Seems like he has been around forever and he hasn't been around that long, actually. He's a guy that's one of the best and he's a quality pitcher. I don't know him as a person, but he seems like a quality guy, as well.

I watched a documentary of him in Cuba, and I heard he does some work aboard in Africa and various countries. So that says volumes for the kind of person that he may be.

I know he's tough to hit and he's tough to run on. Quite frankly, I'm hoping that the umpires, we get some baserunners and the umpires might call a balk or two on him because he kind of rolls through the set position, which they don't call, but I heard that really upsets him if they do call one. So I'm hoping that they call maybe a couple of them (smile).

Q. Will you say anything to the umpires prior about them?
DUSTY BAKER: No, but Davey will. Davey always alerts the umpires; whether they do anything about it or not but they are alerted.

Q. Belisle and Petit were two guys that have been here for the whole thing. How tough to leave them off and did you have any lingering health concerns about either as you made your decisions?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, yeah, that was tough. I mean, it's tough, even though they will be traveling with the team, and they will be helping out some younger guys. Petit had not pitched well as of late, and Belisle had not had much activities as of late.

You know, there were some health concerns a couple weeks ago with Belisle, but now he's -- I mean, you've been here with us. Now he's feeling fine, but we needed that extra spot for the extra left-hander. And again, he's going to be here with us, him and Ben and Petit and Burnett. They add a lot to the team not only playing-wise, but psychologically, you know, to the team.

So it's good to have those guys here. You know, they have been through this war before. So next series, we have the option of making other changes.

Q. Back to Kershaw. Yesterday he said, just recently he's been working in kind of a sidearm, three-quarter arm angle delivery. Have you guys seen that on tape and what's your reaction to it?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, we see it on tape. You know, he doesn't really need that really (Laughter), but he's going to incorporate that, for whatever reason. But I've seen guys make mistakes dropping down and throwing sidearm, if you're not used to doing that too much.

I remember in the '77 playoffs, Jim Lonborg dropped down on a knee, which he wasn't accustomed to doing, and he hung a breaking ball up in the zone, and I hit him out of the park. So perhaps that could -- history could repeat itself today.

Q. I know there's a lot of belief in the clubhouse and this area, the team, but nationally, you're the perceived underdog. How does it affect you and --
DUSTY BAKER: No, that doesn't bother me. I've been underdog most of my life. I have two drawings on my wall by Joe Smith. He was the Underdog artist, and actually Underdog was one of my favorite cartoon characters. So I like underdog.

I've heard in the past that this team was favored the last couple years and didn't do much, so perhaps we'll do more as the underdog than as the favorites.

Q. Some of the injuries you've had to deal with, one, Ryan Zimmerman during the course of the year, how surprised are you that when he's on the field healthy, he's not hitting the way we're used to seeing; and what can it mean to the series if he returns to the guy everybody thinks he can be?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, all year I was hoping that would happen and now it's boiled down to it's either going to happen now or it's not going to happen at all. So I believe in my heart that water seeks its own level and that Ryan still has a lot of mileage in his body and a lot of mileage in his bat.

He's actually been -- him and Ben Revere have been our tough luck guys. They talk about exit speed; he's hit the ball as hard as anybody in the League as far as the exit speed. But we needed some exit hits instead of exit speed (Laughter).

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