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October 7, 2017

Dusty Baker

Washington, D.C. - pregame 2

Q. A night after you had only two hits as a lineup, how do guys convince themselves to stick to their own approach and hang in there?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, we only had two hits. That meant that your approach wasn't correct. And so we had to change our approach. First thing you want to do in a series is to find out what their opinion of you is and how they are going to attack you. And once you figure that out, then you can counterattack them.

Last night, we were, you know, more passive on fastballs early in the count than I would like to see. Because everybody talks about getting deep in the count, and all that does is just put you in a situation where you've got to hit something off a guy with control, hit something off the plate or off-speed, which he did to us last night.

We just got to change our approach some.

Q. When it's a short series, in particular, five games, what's the balance between trying to find urgency versus staying calm and relaxed and the way that you've been all year?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, there's a fine line between urgency and panic, and the thing that you never want to do, you never want to panic. You've heard me say, there's always a way out.

You know, I've been in almost all situations. I've been up two games and lost; been down two games with one to go and won. You know, you've got to win the first one, first. You've got to get back to one.

Urgency or panic certainly doesn't help the situation, you know. You have to be of the coolness of mind, but then bring desire to succeed in your heart, and then respond accordingly.

Q. Based off yesterday, the way that the Cubs handled Strasburg the third time through, will that affect your decisionmaking at all going forward with your starters, like, say, Gio today, based on the bullpen that you have, too?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, depends on how they handle Gio the third time through. It's hard for me to say what I'm going to do; if Gio sails through it, you know. I mean, the third time through, they didn't really handle Strasburg as well as it looks because, you know, it was started by an unlikely error which Anthony doesn't make. And then they got two 2-out RBI hits with two strikes.

Now, I don't know if Strasburg was trying to throw the ball in that particular area, or sometimes -- I've been on the other side. Sometimes I just get hits (smiling). You know what I mean? I'm getting paid to hit, too. So you can look at it either way.

Q. You mentioned the fine line between urgency and panic. As you walk through the clubhouse, not just now, but over the years, how do you tell which players are on which side of the line and when you need to do something?
DUSTY BAKER: Not till you hit the field, really, because guys can be great actors and great pretenders. Then when you get to the field, then you find out.

You know, it's always an urgent situation, but usually the cool heads prevail. So I think we've got a bunch of cool heads here. Plus, we win today, you guys won't even ask me those questions.

Q. Just sort of off that again, when you leave last night, you get here today, do you even think about tinkering with your lineup at all?
DUSTY BAKER: I think about it. But if I can't come up with anything different, then why are you -- why are you going to do it? You don't do it just to be doing it. You know, you're like, okay, is this the best lineup that I have for today, or was yesterday a rare occasion? Or, you know, was yesterday the pitcher's day; you know, sometimes they have their day and it has nothing to do with the lineup that you put out there.

On some days, when the pitcher's on, you can put Hank Aaron, Willy Mays, Mickey Mantle, all of them out there, and he's still going to get them out. I saw the Big Red Machine shut out three days in a row, and I just thought that was impossible back in the day. Sometimes you just run into a pitcher that's on.

You don't like it, you know, and it's tough to watch, but what can you do but come back and get them today. I mean, this is a different game every day. So who is hot today may not be hot tomorrow, and vice versa.

Q. Bryce was in here and saying where he is now as to before the injury. He says he can keep getting better. Granted it's a small sample, but what have you seen and is there anything that you look for in particular that he's back?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, he's telling the truth. You know, one thing about Bryce, he's going to tell you the truth.

And so I feel the same way he feels. I've already stated that the longer this goes, the better Bryce has to get right. I can't tell you what I see, because you might be a double agent for the Cubs (laughter). You know, I don't want them to know any more than they already know. I'd like for them and the world to guess where he is.

Q. You always talk about great pitchers, and you don't get them early and sometimes you don't get them at all; so the importance of early in the game. For Gio, in your view, how important is the first today or how he starts this game?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, it's important for every pitcher. I mean, you look at the playoff games preceding these in other leagues. Some of them don't get out of the first inning. So the first inning is very, very, very important.

So it's no different for Gio than anybody else.

Q. I am not a double agent for the Cubs but I am curious to know how Max came out of his bullpen yesterday?
DUSTY BAKER: I haven't heard yet. He told me -- I haven't talked to Maddux yet, but he did tell me he had a very good bullpen. He told me that during the game. We were discussing it and talked about it.

We'll see, you know, how deep he can go. That's the question on anybody that's kind of semi-injured is, you know, when they fatigue, are they strong enough to battle through whatever is bothering them.

So we'll see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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