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October 13, 2016

Dusty Baker

Washington, D.C. - Postgame 5

Dodgers - 4

Nationals - 3

Q. In the sixth inning, what made Bob Henley send Jayson Werth home?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, he's aggressive and there's two outs, and with the hitters we had coming up after, he feels terrible about that because it didn't work. But Toles got to the ball very quickly, got rid of it, and you know, did what he was supposed to do, hit the cut-off man.

But you know, that wasn't what lost the game, really. We had some chances with runners on third, less than two outs. That was kind of the story of the year. We didn't get them home. It's tough to take, a tough loss. You know, we got some improvements to make, and hopefully we'll be back in this same position next year.

Q. With Max at 98 pitches going into the seventh and a lefty at the plate in Pederson, did you at all consider pulling him then?

Q. What convinced you to --
DUSTY BAKER: No, I didn't think about pulling him then. I mean, we've never seen him hit the ball out in left field since we've played him.

You know, a couple years ago when they took Zimmerman out of the game, and everybody was crying about that, why they took him out of that game. And if I had taken him out -- I mean, Max said he was still good. We were hoping to get another inning out of him.

No, it's easy to say after the fact. If somebody had told me and Max that the guy was going to hit an opposite-field home run, we'd have taken him out then. But how do you take out your -- a guy in a 1-0 game. And Max is capable of going 100-some-odd pitches.

And then he felt badly, looked like Shawn Kelley hurt his Seve pretty badly on that slider that he hung to Turner, and he said he couldn't feel his fingers on his right hand, you know what I mean, so that's not a good sign. Especially with a guy that's had two Tommy Johns already.

Q. Could you talk about Heisey getting you back in this game?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I mean, that was big. I mean, that's one of Heisey's jobs, you know what I mean. And that got us right back in the game. Like I said, then we were threatening after that. You know, tie the game or take the lead. And I mean, that was a big -- that was the biggest home run of the year. We just came up short.

Q. Are you a believer at all that teams or cities have to go through some pain before they reach a goal like a championship?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it's not an overnight process. But I mean, yeah, you do have to go through some pain. It's not a very pleasant pain. I've gone through that pain a few times now.

But you know, you have to persevere. That's the story of life. You know, it's how you deal with the downtimes and how you deal with pain. And if you just keep persevering, then something will happen, something good will happen. You can't stop trying. You can't stop trying to reach your goal.

Like I said, the key word is perseverance.

Q. Were you surprised at all when you saw Clayton Kershaw warming up in the ninth inning?
DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. You know, they were doing everything they could to close that game out, including bringing Jansen in in the seventh.

You know, wish they would have brought somebody else in, but they brought in one of their other horses. And so I'd be interested to see, you know, they won the war, but see the effects of Jansen and Kershaw when they get to Chicago.

Q. All the moves that had to be made over the course of the final few innings of that game, do you feel like you had the guys you wanted in the spots you wanted, or at any point did it feel like you're just now scrambling to make sure you've got everything covered?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I mean, you know, when you're playing catch up, when you're playing from behind, you have to do things that you don't really want to do. But I had to double-switch at certain times to make sure Melancon wasn't at the plate with first and second or something. I had guys moving around, Trea, Michael Taylor, to try to stay in the game and get back in the game.

It almost worked. I mean, we had action there all the way till the last out. We just came up short.

I'm proud of my guys on how they played this year and how they played through injuries and just kept fighting and fighting, even down to the last out of this game, they fought. I have nothing but praise for the guys on this team, because they gave me and they gave the organization, they gave the city, all they had. I mean, it's tough to take, but you know, you have to be proud of what they accomplished so far.

Q. You said you packed your bags for Chicago. I'm wondering what it will be like to unpack them.
DUSTY BAKER: Well, it's not going to be very pleasant, because I'm not ready to go home. I haven't been home since February, but I would have gladly stayed a couple more weeks.

No, it's not going to be pleasant, really. I don't know when I'm leaving. I don't know when, because, you know, like I said, I'm ready to go home to my house and family, but I'm not ready to, you know, for the season to end.

Q. After a game like that, wondering if you had a chance to address the guys or what you possibly could say to them?
DUSTY BAKER: No, I'll address them when I go back in. But right now, everybody's kind of, you know, kind of numb. Everybody's probably thinking about what we all could have done to change the outcome of the game.

Yeah, I'll go in and talk to them.

Q. You have a team, a talented team, that could be there for the next couple of years. Earlier you talked about runners at third and failing to score. Any other things you would like to see improved?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, there is a few things. You know, like I had asked for health from the time we started, number one. I'd like to -- we've got to go back to the drawing board, better fundamental play, cut down on our strikeouts, cut down on our walks. Because you know, in this series, it seemed like whenever we walked somebody, they scored. Especially as a lead-off walk.

So yeah, there's always some things that you can improve on, even if we had won the championship. So like I said, we'll go back to the drawing board, put our heads together, and hold our heads up high.

Q. You mentioned earlier, hindsight is 20/20. But in that situation against Turner, where the numbers said it was better against righties this season, did you consider keeping Sammy Solis in the game?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, with Sammy, I mean, this guy was on everybody. You thought about it, but at the time, you know, we're kind of guarding Sammy, you know what I mean, because we don't want Sammy to have happen to him like what happened to Kelley.

It's easy to say. I mean, we know the stats. We know, but Kelley, he was lights-out in L.A., and he hung the slider, and he might have blown his arm out. So that's what I'm more concerned about than anything.

Q. There had been a lot of talk, even before today, about the strategy of using a closer like Henley Jansen before the ninth inning. Do you think something like what happened today could turn that into a trend?
DUSTY BAKER: We'll see how he comes out of it, you know. I know there are a lot of theories in it, but you know, when he came in, they weren't in trouble. He started out a fresh inning. But that's easy to do when you've got Kershaw behind him.

So it's not a trend, you know, that I'd like to be a part of any time.

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