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October 7, 2016

Dusty Baker

Washington, DC - Postgame one

Dodgers 4

Nationals 3

Q. You had plenty of opportunities to get that fourth run. How frustrating was it that you couldn't get that last run? And then the seventh inning, Daniel Murphy was on first and he was caught stealing. Was it a missed sign?
DUSTY BAKER: No, it wasn't a missed sign. Starting backwards.

Our guys have a green light, if they think a guy is slow to the plate, which Baez is. I guess the leg felt better, you know, than I imagined, because he's running pretty good on that ball. So you know, that's not what lost the game. I mean, we had plenty of opportunities to score, even before that. So that's kind of the saga of the year. You know, we didn't hit with runners in scoring position.

Max settled down after, that was a big 2-run blow by the third baseman, that was big. The curveball, the first pitch that Seager saw, he hit it out of the ballpark, and that was really how the scoring went. Both bullpens pitched well and there wasn't any scoring past the fourth, I think.

But we had opportunities. Zimm hit the ball a ton tonight. A couple balls he was flirting with the fence but just didn't get enough of it.

Q. Given Murphy's condition, and how surprised were you when you saw he took off and, in retrospect, is that a play you endorse?
DUSTY BAKER: I was surprised. But like I said, we got the stopwatch on those guys, and he's being aggressive and he thought he had a chance to steal the base. You know, we stole second and third, everybody says great play; and then when you get thrown out, they say it's not.

If you're going to run, you're going to get caught stealing, sometimes. Like I said in the past, that's why it's called stealing. And you're going to get caught sometimes.

Q. Obviously a lot of people have trouble with Kershaw, and I know you guys have been working with Espinosa in particular on shortening up. How can you help him adjust more quickly or what can he change?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, I mean, this is -- it's not the first time this has happened this year, but then Espinosa can turn around and hit the next pitch out of the ballpark. That's what's kind of frustrating when you don't know -- he was swinging at balls, you know, out of the zone, and then balls in the zone he wasn't catching up to it. His swing was long tonight.

You know, he didn't have a very good night. But then tomorrow, we got a left-hander going tomorrow, so he's back in there tomorrow.

Q. You mentioned Zimmerman earlier. How good was it to see him get those two hits, and looked like he should have had more?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it was real good. He was being aggressive. He's seeing the ball well and it's right on time. We anticipate more of that tomorrow, you know, during the game. And he just missed two home runs, one to right and one to left. And so, that's a great sign, when he's hitting the ball like that.

Q. You had Kershaw in four big jams, hit the ball all over the ballpark against him. What did you see that you were able to take advantage of? Was he missing over the plate? Did you have a good plan?
DUSTY BAKER: You know, he was very sharp early. And you know, then he wasn't sharp in the middle innings. You saw he had almost a hundred pitches in five innings, which isn't like Kershaw.

The main thing is he's bouncing a lot of his breaking balls and we stayed off his breaking ball, because most of them are balls, and when he gets that breaking ball working, you know, the strikes are so off-speed and coming out of the sky that they are hard to pick up.

You know, like I said, we had him on the ropes a couple times, and you know, the big hit just escaped us.

Q. What did you make of Pedro Severino in his first post-season action?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, he did a great job. He did a great job calling pitches. He hit a couple balls extremely hard, especially the ball to the third baseman. I mean, that caught him. I don't know if he caught it, but it caught him.

You know, Seve was Seve. He has good life. You know that he's exuberant. You know that he wants to win.

Q. Max has had such a good year, may win the Cy Young, but that's 33 home runs now. What is the pattern?
DUSTY BAKER: Like I said, they were first ball jumping early, like Seager did, so evidently everybody knows he's going to throw a lot of strikes and a lot of early strikes, because they attacked him in his last start like that.

But then as soon as he started working with his breaking ball and his changeup, you know, he was the Max that we know. But he made a mistake to a very good hitter. Like I say, he hung a curveball. You know, I mean, that guy has been a thorn in our side all year long.

Q. How good was it to see Wilson Ramos throw out that first pitch?
DUSTY BAKER: Oh, it was great. We had not seen him in a couple days and all of a sudden he showed up, and you know, we're all happy to see him and the fans are happy to see him.

You know, we were just -- he brought a lot of life to the dugout and a lot of life to the stadium. There's a lot of love in the stadium going around for Wilson. So I'm hoping that he comes back tomorrow.

Q. You had a number of rookies in there, Trea had a sacrifice fly and a walk, but he struck out three times. Any thoughts on his first game under pressure and Severino calling the game, too?
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know if the pressure got to Trea, but they were flipping him a lot of breaking balls. It was a case of, you know, a veteran, great pitcher pitching against a rookie. When you're a rookie, they can trick you, and tonight they were tricking him.

But you know, he adjusted very quickly. I don't think he's hit -- faced Kershaw before. Even guys that have faced Kershaw have had tough nights like that, too. You know, Seve did a great job. He did a great job for us.

I'm not sure about tomorrow because Lobi is feeling better, and Lobi, I think, is 3-for-3 off of Hill, so we'll probably go that way tomorrow.

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