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October 12, 2017

Dusty Baker

Washington D.C. - pregame 5

Q. You guys obviously had a lot of options coming into today for who would start. What kind of made the final push for Gio in your mind?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, we weighed it out, right-left, and who's been, you know, the best behind the other two guys, but everybody is on call. And you know, Gio had gone Game 5 a couple years ago, three years ago, you know, and didn't do too well, so I'm sure redemption is on his mind, as well. All those factors into went into choosing today's starter.

Q. When you have an all-hands-on-deck game like this do you go into it with some plan of, if you're going to use some of those starters in relief, an idea of when that would be or does it depend on how the game goes?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it depends on how the game goes, and it depends on who we think can get warm in a hurry, and which guys are ritual guys that need certain things to get mentally and physically ready. So all those things go into it, but it boils down to how well your starting pitcher does.

Q. Do you think it will take awhile for Max to get ready? He said he could go an inning yesterday; could he go two or three maybe today?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, possibly. Possibly two. But again, like I said, I hope we don't need him.

You know, Max had the backpack on like the bullpen groupie guys do. Probably filled with candy and bubblegum and all kinds of -- I don't know what they have in there (laughter). Looks kind of weird, Max getting ready to go to school again.

Q. Is Tanner Roark available today?

Q. And would he be an option for you?
DUSTY BAKER: Yes, he would. Probably the early option.

Q. Before the Red Sox won in 2004, everybody talked about, it's been 86 years, 85 years, until they finally won. You guys know you have never won a Postseason series here in Washington. How much is that on guys' minds?
DUSTY BAKER: I don't think it's on too many guys' minds because most of them weren't here. There were a few guys that were here but most of them haven't been here. You can't put that pressure on you. You try to simplify the pressure that, hey, we've got to win one game, regardless of if you've never won a series here.

Sometimes the reputation of the town in other sports, basketball, you hear about it; in hockey, you hear about it, just different things. So you have to dispel those negative thoughts on your mind and just say, hey, it will be us.

You know, we're not ready to go home. We want to go to the next round. I mean, for me, well, I guess I am ready to go home. I was born in Riverside, California (laughter).

Q. You've been at this for a long time as a manager, and what keeps you going with this? Is it simple or as difficult as a World Series, getting a World Series?
DUSTY BAKER: No, what keeps me going is I love what I'm doing. I love competition. In our world, people always want people to quit, and I hear it all the time. I even talked my dad into retiring, and then he got deathly sick and went back and started working part-time, and then he got well again.

So what keeps me going is the quest for excellence, the thrill of competition, plus there's a few things that I want to accomplish in life. And until I figure out why the lows of losing don't match the highs of winning, then I'll probably be a manager for awhile. Not a long while, but a while.

Q. Does it favor hitters to see Kyle Hendricks and Gonzalez twice in a week? It doesn't normally happen. In your experience as a big league hitter and as a manager.
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, that's a good question. I think it does. I think it favors the hitters. It favors the pitcher first and foremost because he has an idea where he wants to go throw the pitch. I've got a guy behind me trying to ambush me and out-think me, and then they have got seven guys out behind him catching the ball even if I do hit it right.

So the advantage is the pitcher's always, but it helps to be familiar with the opposing pitcher. And it's a lot tougher when you haven't pitched anybody -- faced a guy for months. You remember what he was, but you don't remember the late break or the hop on his fastball, those kind of things.

You know, I remember -- I'm trying to figure out how Pedro used to call the Yankees his daddy; that's simply because he saw them all the time. I think it helped a lot to be familiar with the opposing pitcher.

Q. I know tonight is an all-hands-on-deck game, but you all talk about the importance of your starting pitching. And on this team, it seems like you still want to get six or seven innings out of a starting pitcher, where a lot of teams, guys are going to shorter starts. They don't let guys face hitters three times. Why are you guys so confident in that approach, and do you think everybody is reinventing the game for the sake of reinventing it?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, probably both, but I mean, somebody -- you've got to have a heck of a bullpen, say, okay, get to this guy and we've got a chance to score on him. You've got to have a heck of a bullpen.

But a guy is a starter because he has the ability to go two or three times through the lineup. I remember my good friend, Ozzie Guillen with the White Sox, he went the whole World Series, won four in a row without using anybody in the pen. So evidently, those guys were doing the job and they didn't get in any trouble for them to need to go get them.

Depends how they are looking and depends how many stressful innings they have had, because stressful innings take more than that one inning out of you. I remember Tommy John told me a long time ago that if a guy is a seven-inning pitcher and he has a stressful inning in the third or fourth, very stressful, he's a six-inning pitcher. If he has two stressful innings, he's a five-inning pitcher. As long as they don't have too many stressful innings.

Q. As someone who has reflected a lot on his career, you mentioned before Game 1 that you sort of had that day down at the military base. Will you allow time to reflect on how big this game is for you personally and this organization?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, but that puts unnecessary pressure on you I think.

So you just try to deal with preparing your team one inning at a time, one pitch at a time. If you can simplify it down to a matter of ones, then it remains simple. If you look at the whole nine innings before you even start...

Yeah, I know what's at stake. I mean, my team knows what's at stake. Everybody knows what's at stake. The Cubs know what's at stake.

Yes, I had the question earlier; this is one thing that keeps me going and keeps me motivated. You know, same thing that kept me going and kept me motivated and kept me going as a player: Big situations, big at-bats, big plays. All of these things are things that you dream about when you're a kid, you know.

Because when I was playing in the backyard with my brother, you know, Baker was always up with two outs in the bottom of the ninth (laughter) you know what I mean. I still play that game.

Q. What have you observed from your guys this season against soft-tossing starters, lower velocity? Some of them have struggled?
DUSTY BAKER: We have to make better adjustments because we haven't performed well against lower-velocity, control-type pitchers. But the law of averages is on our side, tonight. I told you I believe in the law of averages. The law of averages is on our side.

Q. Jayson had a couple tough at-bats with guys on yesterday, but he said he felt like it was a locked in 0 for 4. Have you seen him make any strides the last couple days and did you consider taking him out because of the numbers, or how do you feel about him in the second spot right now?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I considered it. But you know, Jayson has been a big-game guy most of his career. So not being sentimental or anything, but trying to be a realist; again, law of averages is on Jayson's side big time, again. You know, I've been Jayson. And so I might have had a fit if I wasn't playing tonight.

Q. In Game 3, Turner hit that ball hard for the last out, and then of course yesterday's game. How vital is he to the offense?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, he's very vital, because as he goes, we go. You see we scored our first run after his double yesterday.

Yeah, I don't think his -- I don't think he has much problem with confidence, not knowing -- I think he has a problem with frustration, maybe, because he knows what it's about and how badly we need him.

So I mean, this is a valuable lesson for a young man. You know, how many guys his age will even have this lesson before they are 25? It's going to go a long ways now, and in the future and the rest of his career I think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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