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October 11, 2016

Dusty Baker

Los Angeles, California - Pregame 4

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for being here, Dusty. First question.

Q. Did you stay up and watch the entire game till the end last night?
DUSTY BAKER: No, I couldn't, because we were still on East Coast time. So I watched it up until Bryant tied it up, and then I turned it off. Had to get my sleep.

Q. How did you get word then on what time today's game was going to start here?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, actually I woke up -- we had two scenarios. You want to know the truth, I woke up in the middle of the night, used the bathroom, looked at the ESPN and saw that the Giants had won.

Q. And in terms of letting your players know, were guys just -- how did they find out, for the guys who maybe didn't want to stay up until the wee hours?
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know how they found out, to tell you the truth, but I'm sure they did, because everybody -- you know, we were warned about two scenarios: You know, the two o'clock and the five o'clock. You know, word gets around.

Communication isn't a problem around here, so I'm sure the guys all heard about it.

Q. When did you decide on Ross, and what made you decide to go that direction?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, we decided on Joe last night. You know, we wrestled between Lopez and him, and you know, we know Joe will go shorter than Lopez, but we still have Lopez to back up.

I mean, Joe; we just decided on Joe.

Q. As a manager, what was in your mind when you saw the Dodger closer coming in to pitch in the eighth inning for maybe two innings?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, what was going through my mind is that, you know, they had to do what they had to do to keep the game close, and they had some of their heat coming up there in the ninth. And the fact that Stripling was their only pitcher left out there, and I mean, I think that it was a good play to try to keep the score at 4-3.

I mean, I've never seen -- I mean, no matter what inning it is, I've never seen Jansen get hit like that, and I'm sure he hasn't seen himself get hit like that. It didn't work, but you know, I never second guess another manager's decision.

But you know, we have an idea about what he's trying to do. If the game had gone long, then they had Stripling to go the distance. So I understood exactly what he was doing.

Q. How much can you expect out of Joe tonight, whether it be pitch count or innings-wise?
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. Just like I always tell you, I'm just looking for a performance, just give us all of what you've got, and then we'll take it from there.

One thing about Joe, if his spot's coming up and he's still strong, and depending on the score, what helps is that I don't have to hit for him, you know, because he's one of the best hitters I have. That went into our decision, too.

Q. What did you think of the decision by the Dodgers to pick Clayton Kershaw as their starter, and also first time around in Game 1, how do you think he did against your guys?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, he wasn't as sharp as I had seen him, but he's still Clayton Kershaw. He kept them in the game, whether he was sharp or not.

And you know, I mean, he's one of the best around, if not the best. When I was walking in from right field up there, I was looking, I was looking up in amazement, at 2011, I think, and 2013 and 2014. I mean, how many Cy Youngs has he won, three or four? How can you not go with him, you know.

Q. How important was it for you not to need Lopez yesterday, knowing that you tentatively want him to back up Joe today?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, that was important. Like I said, this kind of threw us all off at strategists and as a manager, to how you're going to position and use your bullpen, threw us off by having these three games in a row versus two games in a row with an off-day.

So we had to regroup and recalculate things, and I'm just glad that we have Lopez today.

Q. Just two logistical questions. Saw Strasburg throw yesterday; did you hear how that went? We haven't seen the lineup yet, and any changes today?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, Strasburg, he's supposed to throw 35 but he felt a little discomfort so we stopped him at 30, 31. He was throwing the ball pretty good; very good, actually. But we said if he felt anything, then just shut it down.

You know, the lineup today is similar to the lineup in Game 1, and that's what we'll go with.

Q. The pen has been one of the key elements for you in this series. Can you talk about Oliver Perez, what he has meant to you this year, and how important is it to have a veteran like him in your pen?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, Oliver is a guy we sought in the wintertime to shore up our bullpen. You know, he's a veteran. He's been around. He knows what he's doing. You know, he seems unfazed whether he does well or doesn't do well.

I mean, he has the ability to forget yesterday, because his career has kind of been up-and-down, and mostly up, the last few years.

Oliver is one of the leaders on this team, one of the leaders in the bullpen. The guys look up to him and joking around, you can sort of tell how guys respond to him. Yeah, Oliver has been very important to us.

Q. Discomfort for Strasburg, is that concerning, and shutting him down, what do you mean?
DUSTY BAKER: You know, just discomfort. I mean, you ever have discomfort when you write something and your hands get a little tight and then you just quit and take a little break and then go back to it tomorrow (laughing).

Especially you guys on that computer, sometimes you've got to get something wrong with your fingers, you know what I mean, so you're used to a little discomfort.

No, I'm not worried.

Q. He's going to progress with his throwing program?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, we think, yeah. See, I hate to tell you guys anything because then you're like worried to death and want me to get worried.

No, it's no thing.

Q. Also just between the cross-country turnaround and last night's weird situation, have you ever dealt with the scheduling oddities that you guys have had the last couple of days and what are your thoughts on it?
DUSTY BAKER: No, but it couldn't be helped, really, the scheduling oddities. The league, I think it made a wise decision for us not to hang around there and try to play and call the game off the way they did.

I know the league gets a lot of flak sometimes about scheduling and you know, not calling off games. But I think they did the right thing. So yeah, you just have to deal with it. Both sides have to deal with it. In this game, only the strong-willed and the strong-minded people do well and survive.

Q. What do you think of Ryan Zimmerman's play in the first three games of the series, and how important is his experience from 2012 and 2014 help your team today?
DUSTY BAKER: I'm loving what Ryan is doing. I think he's going to get even better the longer we go in the playoffs. He's feeling good about himself. He's been waiting on this moment to feel good and we've been waiting on it.

I was confident that this moment would come where everybody wanted me to kind of sit him down, but you can't get it by sitting down. You can only get it by playing. Fortunately, for us, we had enough lead where we could wait on him to this point. I think his experience is going to help big time, especially his demeanor, if nothing else, because you really can't tell when this guy's shaken. You can't tell when he's down. You really can't tell when he's happy. He's probably the most consistent-personality guy that I've been around in a while.

Q. Jayson Werth, I don't know if it's similar, but he talked about how in the biggest moments, the loud crowd, it's like a calm quiet in his head. He's so relaxed. Does that come from playing in so many post-season games or being at this point of his career? Because I guess you could say, he's risen to the occasion so far this series.
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know if it has anything to do with anything other than really how you are as a person. I mean, I know some guys that have been there 15 times and they are just as rattled as a guy that's been there the first time. I think it has a lot to do with their personality and your confidence level that you may have, and the fact that you have done it before.

I know Jayson told me something that I thought was one of the weirdest things, as you can imagine, Jayson telling you some weird stuff (laughter). But he says he enjoys hitting off closers. And I don't know anybody that enjoys hitting off closers (laughter). But he's done real well against closers.

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