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October 9, 2016

Dusty Baker

Washington, DC - Postgame two

Nationals - 5

Dodgers - 2

Q. Dusty, tell us what you thought on Lobaton's home run from the time it was thrown till it was in the wind.
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I didn't think -- I didn't think anybody could hit a home run out of left field today, the way that wind was blowing everything back. I mean, he had to hit it a ton.

And sounded great off the bat. Then we saw it kept going and going, and then he's trying to read the outfielders, if he has a beat on it or not; that when he stopped, looked like he -- he looked like he was going to catch it, but the ball went over the fence. That was a big home run, especially the way Rich Hill was dealing against us.

But Lobi had some success against Rich Hill in the past, and boy, that just erupted the stadium. Man, that was huge.

Q. Can you talk about the aggressive use of your bullpen going to Rzepczynski early in the fifth inning?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, they had had, what, seven hits in four innings off of Tanner, and he had gotten out of trouble a couple times with the bases loaded, and then one time with a double play.

So just kind of looked like they were on him. And you know, we had the lead. We didn't want to trade places with them, so we went to Rzepczynski.

And then from there, we went to Treinen, and both of them gave us a heck of an effort out there, not only effort, but successful effort. Then the rest of my bullpen, Perez did an outstanding job and then Melancon closed it.

Both sides were aggressively going to their bullpen, and this kind of shows you the importance of the bullpen in these playoffs; you know, bullpen and defense.

We got some timely hitting today that we didn't get the day before, and they left men out there like we did the day before. So you know, it boils down to whoever gets the timely hits, especially with two outs, such as Murphy and the rest of the guys. So it was an outstanding game.

Q. You mentioned the other day that the Dodgers' strategy against Trea Turner seemed to be to attack him with breaking balls. Were you happy and impressed with him for getting two hits off curveballs today?
DUSTY BAKER: The thing about curveballs, nobody hits a curveball down too much, unless you're just a lowball hitter. Most right-handers tend to be more on the high side than the low side and both those breaking balls that he hit were up.

I tell our guys, you know, the key to hitting is to hit low fastballs and high breaking balls. But most of us swing at high fastballs and low breaking balls. That's why we don't hit.

Q. Thinking back, have you managed any teams in the post-season that had someone like Lobaton, who had to fill in for somebody else, not the front-line star, come up like that?
DUSTY BAKER: No, not -- not in the catching position. I don't think I've ever had a front-line catcher injured like Ramos was this late in the season. I mean, that was big. Lobi is not intimidated. I heard that -- I was going to give him the lineup card, but that wasn't his first home run. I heard he hit a homer in the playoffs for Tampa Bay. He'll probably be starting against Maeda catching Gio tomorrow. Boy, just keep it coming.

Q. Just to follow that up, Lobi is really well-liked within the team. Can you give any one or two anecdotes or stories or something that tells people what he's like, because he really isn't known that well.
DUSTY BAKER: Well, Lobi is a fun-loving guy. He stays ready all the time. You know, he mocks me all the time. And you know --

Q. How?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I tell the guys to use your legs, and Lobi is like -- he'll chirp like, next week, Use your legs. Or I'll say, Keep your head down. Or I'll say, Bobby, look at me, the third base coach. I don't think he's listening, but he's a character because he's repeating everything -- he's repeating everything that I said (chuckling). He's funny.

He'll say, "Concentrate, concentrate."

And I tell him, "Concentrate."

But he's like, "Concentrate, concentrate." Lobi's fun to be around.

Q. Can you elaborate on the job Rzepczynski did for you? He got some early outs for you.
DUSTY BAKER: He did, and that was a big part of the game and a big part of the lineup. We stretched him out further than we usually do. We've only taken him a couple innings this year. You know, we stretched him out because of the time of the game that we were in, and I think he tired a bit. That's why I went and got him, you know, because usually he's throwing ground balls. He usually doesn't walk people, and I think in that one winning, he had walked two people in that inning.

And so yeah, I mean, he did a heck of a job. He was upset with himself, but you know, we were very satisfied with the job that he did for us.

Q. You watched Daniel Murphy from a distance last year and now you're watching him up close; why do you think he's able to step up?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, number one, he wants to be in that position. You know, that's where it starts. You have to want to be in that position. He has a high level of concentration, and he has a pretty good idea what he wants to do with the ball. And he knows when he's supposed to keep it off the ground. He knows when he's supposed to make contact. He also knows when he should go for the bunt, go for the homer. He has a great idea on how to play and how to hit and how to play this game.

Q. Zimm has three hits in the series now, Severino a double, Lobaton a homer. What value does it add to have the bottom of the order stepping up?
DUSTY BAKER: That's big, because you roll the order over, and the thing -- you need some untimely heros during these playoffs. You know, we're a team and we stress all the time, that, hey, man, one guy is not, you know, performing up to his level, then somebody else got to pick him up.

You know, this is how teams win. I mean, these guys, I'm proud of them to this point, how they have responded, especially with the injuries to front-line guys. I'm just hoping that some more guys step up.

Q. You guys had used five relievers today and I think they used four the other night, a couple of not too-high-scoring game. Is that kind of the normal in baseball?
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know if it's the new normal, but with the pitchers not throwing complete games very often, I mean, that is how the game has evolved. I don't think you'll see a playoff or a World Series again, you know, like the White Sox and Ozzie Guillen, where they had four starters throw four complete games. I don't think you're going to see that probably anymore.

Q. Espinosa got hit with a couple of pitches today. Is he okay and are you planning to start him?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, he's fine. I think he was amongst the league leaders in getting hit, anyway. He and Dietrich down in Miami. He stands close to the plate. He's strong as Jack Johnson, so he'll -- I'd have to pull him out of a truck tomorrow, especially going to L.A. and that's where he's from. Hopefully some of mama's home cooking and some homeboys around, his dad; respond admirably tomorrow and the next day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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