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October 9, 2017

AJ Hinch

Boston, Massachusetts - pregame 4

THE MODERATOR: Take questions for A.J.

Q. You faced him 10 days ago, whose advantage is it?
A.J. HINCH: Advantage for what, For the series?

Q. For Morton seeing the Red Sox?
A.J. HINCH: I think it's probably neutral. We played these guys for what feels like a couple weeks straight and I think both teams are very familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each team and how to attack each other. I think you get out on the field, familiarity plays, but talent's going to win out. So I think you can see guys over and over and over again, we have seen David Price a couple games, it hasn't really helped us with familiarity. They have seen a couple of our guys, it hasn't helped them. So it's about competing on the field and trying to win the big moments. Wherever you get your advantage, however comfortable the players are is really based on how calm they can stay in the moment, not so much that they have seen them before.

Q. With the rain coming, can you over think what your strategy is for who you want to use if there's along delay?
A.J. HINCH: No, I think you can't prepare enough. I think that you can't control Mother Nature. I have my hands full preparing for the Red Sox. I don't really want to compete with Mother Nature, too. So I think in a lot of ways you just got to play the game. When the rain comes, we know it's coming, whether we start the game on time, whether we get interrupted, you have to adapt accordingly. Decisions are made in this game with a lot of information all the time. We have a ton of information now, so I will tell you this, when you have rain coming and if you play out these scenarios and these hypotheticals and we have a huge decision in the third inning or fourth inning or fifth inning and this rain's looming, you need to get the outs. If I have to use pitching in order to do that, certain pitchers, I don't really care if the rain's coming. I care about getting the big outs or vice versa. When you have that at-bat in the 3rd or 4th inning and rain's coming, it doesn't change that moment. It changes later in time, but it doesn't change that moment.

Q. We really can't invent any new questions to ask you about Jose Altuve, but his numbers are just ridiculous. Hitting .727. Do you have any new answers?
A.J. HINCH: I decided to play him today and bat him third, so I got that going for me. But it's remarkable to watch him every day. I'm very lucky to be his manager. It is hard to answer the same question over and over again on how great he is, but I continue to reiterate, this guy puts in time, he puts in energy, he's prepared, he loves to play. This national spotlight that he's been on over the last couple of years. Not just this series, has been well deserved because of the quality of person he is, quality of player he is. He's certainly everything right that's about the Astros. I say that all the time and I'll continue to say that. You can just continue to copy and paste in your articles.

Q. Going to the bullpen early on often in the postseason is becoming more common and some people think it should be done even more than it is. Do you think this is sort of a long-term sustainable thing or just a more of a temporary trend?
A.J. HINCH: I think there's been a lot of talk about the bullpen usage over the last couple years, especially when you see teams have success and you see them get through the postseason, and I'll continue to support that in these small short series, in this time line where we have some built-in off days. It will be interesting to see over next year when more off days are put into the schedule if there's a little more appetite to use the bullpen more aggressively. You come into this game, Game 4, feeling it a little bit with your bullpen. You look up, Devenski's pitched in all the games, Musgrove's pitched in a lot of games. McCullers threw a lot of pitches. It's hard to sustain over time. It's easy to think about that in the five-game series, but if you watch baseball all around this playoff series, there's some beat up bullpens right now in this small week that we have played. So it's only been a week. Not six months, not a full season. It's been a week and people's bullpens are feeling it. So I think it's unreasonable to think that you can carry this out over six months. I think it is reasonable to think when you're at full strength that you can utilize a little strategy that helps you. How teams are going to deploy their resources and deploy their self-interests will be seen. But I don't think it's something that's going to be common place over a six-month season. But it's becoming common place over a month and that seems reasonable.

Q. Back to the weather, is it your understanding that as of now you will start on time and just what the mechanics behind that?
A.J. HINCH: We met at 10 o'clock, Red Sox, us, MLB, we'll get the umpires together, I think around 12 noon. We're supposed to meet again with another update. My understanding is that there's a window - which is the famous window, right? - Where we have a chance to get some of the game in, with some unknown on the back end, when the rain would come or if it would come. Again, this is new for us. We don't deal with this in Houston, but we'll adapt accordingly. We had this last week when we were here. They said it was going to be a tough time to get the game in, we played with barely a drop. It doesn't look like that on the map, I'm an amateur weather forecaster. But we'll have to deal with it. If we play two hours and then have to wait out a rain delay, so be it. If we play an hour and wait out a rain delay, so be it. If we play the quickest game in Fenway history and win that would be the best outcome. But we're just going to have to deal with it today. We may be here all day, we may be here for three hours.

THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you.

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