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October 17, 2016

John Gibbons

Toronto, Ontario - Pregame 3, Canada

Q. Can you give us your thinking, your thought process in returning Jose Bautista to the top of the batting order?
JOHN GIBBONS: It really started a couple of days ago, evolved a little bit around Devon, him getting banged up. Because he became our guy late. And then, of course, Carrera a little bit, too.

We did it earlier in the year and it really sparked us. And I've always liked the fact that you put your top dogs up there, might be an extra at-bat, something like that. I think it's important in this lineup that we generate something at the bottom of the lineup. We put Carrera down there, he might do that, so when it does roll over to our run producers there's some guys on base. So a little bit of a combination of that.

Q. Jose mentioned yesterday he thought the umpire had not been particularly fair. I'm wondering if you agree or disagree?
JOHN GIBBONS: I didn't hear that. I didn't hear that. Don't care, either.

No, I said to some people earlier, I said, you know what, Jose is a journalist's dream or media person's dream, because he tells you what is on his mind. He always has been. But he's also a guy that steps up. He's had some controversy before. Some guys shy away from that, it's never been him. A lot of times that kind of motivates him, to be honest with you.

I don't get too involved in that because I've heard it before, but it never seems to affect him.

Q. How do you feel about, some leagues have tried computerized systems to call balls and strikes?
JOHN GIBBONS: No, I don't think -- no. Really, baseball is -- you have humans at the plate, there's going to be mistakes; I don't care if you're a player, umpire, manager or what have you. It's part of the human element. And I don't think you'd ever want to take that away, to be honest with you. That's one of the beauties of the game. Everything is almost at a certain point overanalyzed now. But that's part of the beauty of baseball, I think.

Umpires, too, they've got the toughest job on the field. Somebody is upset about something, regardless, I don't care if it's one side or the other, that's just kind of how the game works. They're never going to make anybody happy. And it's a tough job, especially nowadays with you've got your pitch trackers on the TV and you always hear different things, whether it's necessarily accurate, I don't know. But that makes it tough on those guys, too.

But they always give it their best effort. But all umpires are different, too. And there's been some guys that pitch in the series that are tough to call balls and strikes on because they have such a great arm and some pretty devastating type pitches, and it's tough for catchers to catch. There's a lot to it.

But I would never be in favor of that, I think that would be bad for the game, to be honest with you.

Q. Does it worry you at all when your players do talk about that and saying that the strike zone, do you worry about that being in guys' heads or something they're thinking too much about?
JOHN GIBBONS: No, I don't worry about it. As I said, I've heard it before. Jose, if you ask him a question, he's going to answer. Like I said, he's a writer's dream. But, no, that's part of it. That's part of it. That's kind of who we are. A lot of people don't like that, but that's really who we are, you know.

Q. But it's not something that you think is a reflection of other guys, thinking about the strike zone?
JOHN GIBBONS: No, I've never seen a negative effect from it, and I've been here a few years now. Maybe I'm missing something, but nothing jumps out at me.

Q. There are people who believe that a playoff series doesn't begin until the home team loses a game. What does being back here change?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, I know one thing, you have to -- you have to play good in your home park. That's in playoffs, during the regular season, what have you. And you're trying to hold your own on the road. We're a pretty good road team, as a matter of fact. Early on it was hit or miss, but we turned into a really good home team towards the end of the year.

Part of it, too, is having that last at-bat can make a huge difference. And anytime you play in front of your crowd that's rooting you on instead of hammering you. We talked about the umpire, these guys are human beings out there. That's a motivating thing, they feel good about that.

But you've got to win at home or really you've got no chance.

Q. You're down 0-2, will you manage a little differently than the first two games in terms of your aggressiveness with your pen, et cetera?
JOHN GIBBONS: I don't know. I've always -- really just lock in on the starter and how he's doing. And look for signs, whatever they might be or see how the game's going or what have you. Generally in our particular group this year, the starters have all been really, really good. And I've seen them all -- I think we led the league in innings pitched by starters, they proved they could do it.

It is later in the year, guys are more fatigued. But I think the adrenaline of the moment might overcome some of that. And I always think, too, if you've got better option to bring them in out of the bullpen, okay, but if you don't, let this guy or that guy have it.

But you're obviously aware that there's not a whole lot of breathing room left anymore, and you might do something earlier than you normally would. But sometimes if the starter is good, he's good. You don't necessarily do something just for the sake of doing it to say you did it. And you know your individuals that are out there pitching, what they've done in the past and what you think they can do. But there's some obvious signs when they start fatiguing, the ball starts hanging some pitches, they start getting hit around, things like that. So you're always conscious of that.

Q. Do you believe in pressure? And if so, is it all on you now?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, I mean, pressure is a real thing, no doubt about it. But there's pressure in this business from day one. You're at the top level of baseball. And that goes with expectations. We're a team that was expected to do something, so naturally there's pressure. But I view it as a good thing because people expect good things out of you. And really, I believe the tough part's getting to the postseason. There's still pressure beyond that, but this is time to enjoy it, have some fun with it and make a name. We got to the final four teams, and we think we're good enough to go on. We'll find that out.

There's pressure in every walk of life. But we all make a good living. We're not worried about our next job or what have you, necessarily, or supporting a family at the moment. That's real pressure. This is still a game, but a really important game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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