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October 20, 2017

AJ Hinch

Houston, Texas - postgame 6

Houston - 7, New York - 1

Q. Talk a little bit about what did that fifth inning means when you guys broke through. McCann had the big hit.
A.J. HINCH: Obviously we've been waiting for the big hit for a couple of games. And no better time than for McCann to have a really good at-bat battle, get a pitch he could drive, and then obviously break things open.

A good offensive output today, kick-started by him.

Q. Justin Verlander in the ALCS, 2 victories, 16 innings, 21 strikeouts, 1 earned run. How dominant has he been for you guys in helping you guys get to a Game 7 in the ALCS?
A.J. HINCH: He's been everything that we could have hoped for and more. This guy prepares. He rises to the moment. He's incredibly focused, locked in during games, and emptied his tank tonight.

And I'm so proud of him because I know how much it means to him. I know how much he puts into these outings. He chose to come here for games like this and beyond. We hope we all get to see him pitch again.

Q. Are you ready to say who your starter is for Game 7?
A.J. HINCH: Yeah, Charlie Morton.

Q. What went into your decision?
A.J. HINCH: He's on regular rest. We're going to have all hands on deck. You're going to see a game played tomorrow with everybody available, obviously. Probably not Verlander, but he's superhuman, so we'll see how he shows up tomorrow.

But with Charlie, he's been one of the unluckiest pitchers in postseason. He's not been hit hard, given up a couple of runs here and there. We just feel like with everyday rest or regular rest he's a great option.

But we want him to start the game. We'll see how he pieces together 27 outs.

Q. Your decision to pitch Giles in the 9th, does that impact tomorrow with him?
A.J. HINCH: No, these guys will be on an adrenaline high like none other. My decision to pitch him in the 9th, there was no tomorrow, so we didn't have the luxury of limping into that inning. We've seen how these guys can explode in these innings.

So I just went after it with Giles. I didn't want him to throw 20-plus pitches. We just wanted the three outs. We wanted to shake hands and get to tomorrow.

How it happens tomorrow, who knows? We'll see. I'll use every pitcher on the staff if we have to to get 27 outs.

Q. You mentioned Verlander emptying the tank tight in the 7th. Was it clear to you he was done, 99 pitches? What made Peacock the right choice there?
A.J. HINCH: With Verlander, you know, I always talk to our pitchers along the way and see how they're feeling. And he was cruising early. And in the last couple of innings, it looked like he was spending a lot of energy out there trying to make pitches.

In the 7th he sprayed the ball around a little bit, he had some walks, he hit Castro in the elbow. He just didn't look like he was making pitches. And those last pitches were pretty high stress. That was an incredible play by George in centerfield and for Verlander to come back and get the last out. I felt like that was enough.

I wasn't giving him a long leash going into the 8th. I felt it was better to pull him in between innings. We took it out of his hands.

For us, Peacock can really spin the ball. And that's the place in the order where we like that attack. I didn't love the Judge homer, but I haven't loved any of Judge's homers this series. I trusted Brad's calm demeanor and his ability to have that fastball to carry a little bit and the good break on the slider.

Q. Off the bat, you mentioned the 7th inning, Todd Frazier hitting that ball, what did you think?
A.J. HINCH: I thought holy hell, it was going to leave the yard. I thought it was out. That's the deepest part of the yard, and I've seen a lot of balls carry. And I've seen him hit one arm or one-handed swings this series and the ball carry out of the ballpark. I did think it was out.

And as I picked up Springer in center, he was tracking the ball. And usually the outfielders are the first key to tell you whether or not the ball is leaving the yard. If he stayed on the play, I thought he was either desperate or was tracking it down. When he jumped and made the play there was a huge roar and a big momentum play.

Q. Game 7 is a pretty special deal. How are you feeling about playing a Game 7?
A.J. HINCH: It's better than talking about the season being over, I'll tell you that much. I think for us, we felt confident coming back for Game 6, we were going to have a good game. This is a difficult team across the way. We're also a difficult team to close out.

For us to get to Game 7, I'm glad we played well enough to have home-field. It's going to be here in Houston. And as much talk in this series if we go up 2-0, the series is in our hands, we go to New York, they win three, the series is in their hands, it's all adjusted, we get to a Game 7, and by the way, it's in Houston.

Q. How important will the four runs in the last at-bat, to carry juice into the tomorrow's game?
A.J. HINCH: In October, no lead feels safe ever. Because that team across the way is not going to stop playing, they're not going to concede the game, they're not going to give away at-bats.

Obviously Jose hits the big home run on a pitch that nobody really hits home runs on. And the we continue to have really good at-bats that inning. Bregman has the big base hit.

One after another, one of our characteristics of our good offense is when we have one after another good at-bats and we continue to come at you. Any coach across the League or players across the League that talk about us during the season talk about how we don't stop coming at you.

That inning was an example of us near our best.

Q. You've seen Sabathia once in the series, you get him again. What's your takeaway from the first time around?
A.J. HINCH: We've got to make an adjustment on his style of pitching and see how he's going to pitch. He's got a really good fastball, he entices you up. He's got a slider. He's not going to be scared off in the moment. He's been in the League forever. He's going to come out with some pretty intense emotions.

Trying the cat-and-house game that comes with CC, can you lay off the breaking ball that's a ball, can you hunt the fastball has he moves it around the zone. I have no doubt he's going to come at us with his best.

Q. As comfortable as you were with Peacock in the 8th, after the home run, was any part of you nervous or did you have anyone that you were thinking of going to?
A.J. HINCH: You know, no, I wasn't going to make a change. I had Giles up about that point. But their middle of the order has hit everybody well this series pretty much, at least in our pen.

That matchup, if I didn't care the first hitter, obviously he got the out, Judge hits the homer, we were planning on him pitching the whole inning. So I was comfortable with him.

Giles got up at that point, and had he come in, we would have had to piece together the 9th, I wasn't going to go one-plus with him. But we didn't have to go to him because Peacock made his pitches.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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