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October 7, 2016

John Gibbons

Arlington, Texas - Postgame two


THE MODERATOR: Questions for John Gibbons.

Q. What can you tell us about Liriano's situation?
JOHN GIBBONS: He got hit back somewhere in here. I couldn't tell you exactly where. So he's just going for some further tests. Anytime you get a head injury, you gotta get it looked at. So that's about the extent of it right now.

Q. Completely different situation you were after two last year, and you haven't even got to the AL ERA champion. Just how are you feeling about your spot?
JOHN GIBBONS: I learned something last year. You know what, you gotta win three games. They've got a great team over there. You don't lead the American League, powerhouse league, you don't luck into that. And they made a big run at us tonight. Big hit and that might be the other result.

But our young kid, Osuna, stepped up. But, hey, nothing's going to be easy. We always feel good when Sanchez takes the mound, but I know they feel good whenever they take the field, too.

Q. When you had Tulo, remember you said right off the bat he upgraded our defense the day he walked in the door, sort of, along with Pillar, sort of gave your team a completely different look, right?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, he made a huge, huge difference. Got to the point where he was taking some criticism for not hitting a lot when he first got here. But to me, of course it mattered, but it didn't because of how he really cleaned up our infield play.

He started taking away hits, getting to balls, plays you've got to make. And really changed the dynamic of our team just by doing that. And of course he was a leader on the field. So all that was beneficial.

And he made some plays -- he makes that ball in the 5-6 hole on the move with the flip down here as good as anybody -- I've never seen anybody make that many. And his throws are money.

And we don't get there last year without him. I guess I could sum it up that way.

Q. When did you find out about Devon Travis, and what's the extent of that injury?
JOHN GIBBONS: We're not sure. He came in today and his knee had locked up on him. I didn't hear any complaints about it last night.

So they gave him a shot. That didn't do the trick. So we're just going to have to go day-by-day, see how he is tomorrow. He'll get an MRI when he gets home tonight or tomorrow. We'll have a little better idea. Who knows. I don't think it's a big deal. But I think it's important to get a look at it. But that was a last-second thing.

Q. Why do you think your guys were successful against Darvish, only five hits but obviously made them count?
JOHN GIBBONS: Home runs. Home runs are always a good thing. What did we hit, four today? You know, Tulo another big game today. He had a big game yesterday. Got us on the board. It wasn't easy. We weren't getting many hits, but if you can make some home runs that makes a huge, huge difference.

Some good at-bats. Some unlikely guys, Carrera, he doesn't hit a lot of home runs. Kev can hit his share. I know one thing about Pillar, he doesn't necessarily hit a lot of them, but he hits some big ones. It gives us that extra run, and of course Eddie does that all the time. So, yeah.

Q. Bringing Osuna in in the eighth did you just feel that was the moment you needed to shut things down?
JOHN GIBBONS: Really, that wasn't ideal. Wanted him to go one inning. I talked to him before the game. He said he felt really good. And Liriano hasn't thrown a whole lot out of the pen, but the way it's set up, figured, hey, get three outs right there, we're in good shape anyway, and the -- Moreland's ball got things going and the walk and things like that then he got hit.

But brought in Osuna, hey, you got to put a stop to this, at least keep the lead, because it goes the other way and that game's over. And it was starting to go that way.

Q. Happ got the job done for you today, but wasn't necessarily at the sharpest outside looking in. But what did you see from him today?
JOHN GIBBONS: I agree. I didn't think he was as sharp as we normally see him, but you know, they battle you. They have a tough lineup to face and they battled him pretty good. They were getting a lot of hits. He's not a guy that necessarily gives up a lot of hits. That's always a red flag. He got some key -- he baled himself out of key innings, got runners on base, got some big strikeouts and got some big outs, no doubt. That game could have flipped like that. I didn't think he was as necessarily as sharp as we see the majority of the time, but I thought their offense battled it pretty good, too, though.

Q. I wanted to ask you two things. One, the last two years you have so many new players. How did you create a team out of all these new guys? And do you think grinding out a victory like this is partly from having all that Postseason experience last year and just kind of knowing what Postseason baseball is like?
JOHN GIBBONS: It helps, there's no doubt. It really, these last few weeks we've been playing a lot of games like this, of course the magnitude, some of them are pretty big just to get here. So you kind of get tested and you really get used to it. That's kind of the way it's been the last few weeks. But it's definitely gotta help.

Last year, it's kind of funny, really just came together like that. We made some big trades, some impact trades. Not just adding players, some key guys.

It was like a light switch went on. It wasn't like a gradual improvement. Just happened really overnight and we ran with it. But, of course, there were some marquee players we brought in, too.

But it all started last Spring Training with Russell Martin, who is our backbone, and Donaldson. You could see a switch in the attitude around here, some toughness, that kind of thing. Some guys that had been through the Postseason. So in Spring Training you could tell there was immediate different attitude. And then we added David Price and Tulo, LaTroy Hawkins, Mark Lowe. All we did was just add to that, the same kind of guys. So really, Ben Revere same kind of guy. We added to a good thing and we just took off like gang busters.

Q. What did you think of Donaldson's decision to come home on that play?
JOHN GIBBONS: Great play. Great play. You know what, that can be a tough read on a baserunner at third base, too. That third baseman, it's easy if a guy's playing in a little bit, but he gets kind of in no man's land, it can be a tough read. And a lot of times the third base coach will tell him, see it through, if you've got to move this way or that way. And I think he stutter-stepped, which helped.

Anytime you trade -- if you can cut a run down with an out instead of going to first base, that plays big in games like this.


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