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October 6, 2017

Dusty Baker

Washington, D.C. - pregame 1

Q. What went into the decision to keep Robles on the roster and what things were you weighing in the end as you narrowed it down?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, we were weighing the need for speed, and also the need for defense, and especially if I have to, you know, run for Wieters or run for Lobaton, and we were kind of left-handed strong on the bench, yes.

Q. And what went into wanting to keep four lefties in the bullpen, specifically with Romero and Solis?
DUSTY BAKER: What went into it, we know they have quite a few lefties, and our lefties are pretty good at getting righties out. And we kept the best bullpen that we thought, you know, for this series. I mean it was a tough decision. It's always tough to leave guys off, especially guys that have helped you get here all year.

Q. Are you ready to reveal your next two starters and do you have an update on Max?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I will when I'm ready (laughter). We're going to go Gio tomorrow, and then Max will go -- slated to go Game 3.

Q. Kind of building off that, what's your understanding on the latest with Max in terms of when a bullpen will be had and how he feels to this point?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, no, he's supposed to have a bullpen, I think, today. So we'll see how he comes out.

Today he threw some, yesterday it was determined that we would be better if we waited till Game 3.

Q. With that confidence in Max that when he does pitch he can get the innings, does that factor in to make up for the bullpen whether you would consider Jackson or Cole, someone to give you innings if something went the wrong way?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, and in a five-game series, you know, you're playing two days and then you have a day off, and then two more days and then a day off, and then the last day if you need it. So if it had been a seven-game series, then we would probably do something a little different, but that's the best we could come up with in the five-game series for who we're playing.

Q. You had said you wake up in the middle of the night, thinking of lineups, write stuff down. What led you to this configuration? What do you like about Bryce second and Rendon third?
DUSTY BAKER: Bryce batting second, perhaps he'll get fastballs with Trea getting on base, which is important, and we know that Bryce isn't back 100 percent timing-wise. So you want to not have him in those key RBI situations right now. By next week or end of this five-game series, we might do something different.

But right now, Rendon, he's been swinging very well. Murph responds in the fourth spot. Zimm has responded 4 or 5, and then a couple of the key men are going to be at the bottom of the order. It depends on how Jay, Wieters and Michael Taylor -- so those guys are very, very important in the bottom of the order to turn the lineup over.

Q. Quite a few players on your team have significant Postseason experience. How do you think that's going to affect this series and moving forward?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I think that's invaluable when you have that experience, because you kind of know what to look for. I mean, this is a series where both teams have guys that have been in Postseason experience the last couple years. I think it's very valuable because you're not surprised and you're not overwhelmed. You know the importance of every game, every pitch, every play.

And so I think, you know, we don't have a real advantage over the Cubs because they have been here, you know, the last few years. But I think it is important.

Q. You've obviously used a lot of options in left field when Jayson was hurt. Do you expect to match up at all with Kendrick --
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. Just depends. The game situation will lend itself to that.

You know, a lot of those situations were due to because Jayson was hurt, and a lot of those situations were due to because Goodwin was hurt. He wouldn't have played that much -- he didn't expect to play this much, period. I think he played 116,117 games. But when he signed, you know, we didn't know how many games he would play, and a lot of it depending on injury.

We got Kendrick late because Jay was still hurt and Goody got hurt. But those guys are valuable. I tried to give them as many at-bats as I could to keep them sharp for when I call on them. You can't play everybody.

Q. Hendricks is obviously a pitcher that relies heavily on commands, and making pitches that aren't strikes look like strikes. What's the approach against a pitcher like that and maybe trying to be extra-selective or waiting on a pitch?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, a lot of it depends on the umpire that's behind the plate. You know, if the umpire is giving him low pitches or giving him pitches off the plate, then it works to his advantage and you have to expand some, which you don't want to, because that's what they want you to do. They want you to expand the zone, in or out, mostly away; throw you a changeup any time. I mean, he can pitch. He can really pitch.

So you know, you hope that he's not on and especially in the beginning, and we can get a lead early.

Q. Following up with the Hendricks combination with Contreras, Trea had the big series running against them in June. Is this the toughest combination to run off the Cubs with Hendricks pitching and Contreras catching?
DUSTY BAKER: You know, Hendricks has a great move. He's picked off more people than anybody in the League.

But he has a tendency sometime if he doesn't have a great move to be slow to the plate. And you don't run off the catcher; you run off the pitcher. And we all know that Contreras can throw. But you know, somebody's stolen off of him, you know, during the course of the year. It's not going to stop us from being aggressive.

Q. You're keeping a few guys around in case to keep them -- in case of injury, or if you go -- Blanton or Grace, or other people here?
DUSTY BAKER: Grace isn't here. He went down to Florida. Blanton is here, Jackson is here, until we go on the road. Severino is here to help us do some catching. Guys like Joe Ross, I think they need to be here, just to get the feeling and the electricity that it's going to be when he's here next year, the year after, the year after.

You know, Jackson and Blanton, I think they can stay sharp, and they have earned the right as a veteran. They have been here many, many times, to be here. And these are guys that do -- that the other guys depend on psychologically and for certain strength in certain situations.

Q. When you compare this last playoff ands and the first half of the season, how excited are you to use Madson, Doolittle and Kintzler, and how long do you see them going?
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know, they have only gone one so far. One inning, I don't think we've used them multiple innings, and hopefully we don't have to use them multiple innings.

I am excited about those guys, but I'm excited more about our starting pitching. Hopefully our starting pitching can go deep so they can only have to go one inning possibly.

Q. Just talk about your mind-set and approach here as we're just hours away from first pitch, and what message -- I know you said you don't need meetings, but what message, if any, you're going to try to convey to the team, the number one thing?
DUSTY BAKER: The number one thing is, you know, keep the pressure on. No matter what the score is, you keep the pressure on. You know, going to try to finish this thing, and above all, you've got to be positive and realize that, hey, we're amongst the last ones standing in baseball.

So you know, we're among the elite, and we want to be the elite.

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