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October 31, 2017

AJ Hinch

Los Angeles, California - postgame 6

Houston Astros - 1, Los Angeles Dodgers - 3

Q. Who will start Game 7?
A.J. HINCH: Lance McCullers, Junior.

Q. Tonight you guys are up 1-0, Verlander is going, and you weren't able to break through in the fifth inning, when you had a man on second and third with no outs.
A.J. HINCH: Yeah, the fifth inning, sixth inning, seventh inning we had pressure on them, and they just made pitches or made plays. Obviously got out of some jams. Obviously small margin here in this game and these two teams, and obviously credit to them, and we wish we would have had a little bit of a breakout. I thought Marwin in the sixth had a line driving with Utley is playing right up the middle. Obviously Altuve's play was close, first and third. And they navigated around the bottom of the order with the pitcher.

Tough not to tack on a few runs.

Q. What did you think of Justin's performance?
A.J. HINCH: I thought he was good, especially early. He brings so much energy and so much aggressiveness to the game. And I thought he entered the game with that. And I thought he was obviously cruising. He had the one hiccup in the middle of the game, but that was about it.

They did a good job of putting some at-bats together and they got some big hits. Obviously the elevated fastball to Taylor in one of the biggest moments of the game. Again, I thought he stepped up, and put as much into that game as he could.

Q. What was your thinking when you pinch-hit for him?
A.J. HINCH: We had nine outs left and we were down. It's no more complicated than that.

Q. Obviously you want to win tonight, but does it almost feel like this series was destined to go the distance at how close the two teams have been?
A.J. HINCH: Well, now it does. Now it feels like we need to play seven. I'm glad the series isn't over in their favor.

But this series has been back and forth. And two incredible teams, trying to get to the finish line. And so now, now obviously it's good for our sport. Necessarily bad for us, because we wanted to win tonight. We'll get back to the hotel, where we'll collect ourselves. Both teams will be ready to play with about as much energy as you could possibly imagine in Game 7.

Q. Do you think Verlander will be available for you tomorrow?
A.J. HINCH: I think it's Game 7, the last game of the season. We'll evaluate everything. It would take a big effort, but you never know.

Q. You mentioned navigating around the bottom of the order with the pitcher. Do you think the National League element played a role tonight?
A.J. HINCH: Well, I wasn't going to hit Verlander in an American League park. So I think that spot, it's the National League style. And obviously the way they could pitch Reddick after falling behind and they had an open base, they obviously could attack our pitcher. We're not going to hit there.

It's very much the difference, because they're facing Beltran or Gattis instead of the pitcher, in some part of the order, beginning of that inning or the ending of that inning.

Q. What is your sense of just how much you can get from your other starting pitchers behind McCullers tomorrow? And also in the loss tonight, you didn't really use the back-end relievers, what sort of luxury is that?
A.J. HINCH: Again, to reiterate, it's Game 7; it's the obvious part. So I think all of our guys are going to have the adrenaline on their side; they're all going to be ready to pitch. How we use them, how much we use them. We'll get to the field, they'll do their throwing program. If it's one pitch or a hundred pitches, I think we're going to have to have all hands on deck.

Q. You've had a little trouble scoring on the road, do you think that's their pitching or a little bit of you or both?
A.J. HINCH: Game 2 we scored quite a few. We hit a lot of homers. Again, I think when these moments come and there was a ton of energy in this ballpark and the opportunities, we created opportunities but the extra hit just didn't come our way. So I think when you lose a close game or a low-scoring game like that, you automatically look at the offense opportunities that you had. We created enough to score more runs, just didn't get the last hit.

Q. You've been great all year getting the message to your team. What's the message for Game 7?
A.J. HINCH: Come ready to play. This is the biggest stage, the best stage, opportunity to win the World Series in Game 7. That was immediately the message when the last out was made.

Q. In middle innings, you had seven guys left on base, and three innings in a row. Is that a frustration or is that good looking forward to tomorrow that you got guys on base? How do you look at that?
A.J. HINCH: I think they vary. When Morrow finds 98 again, that's pretty tough to hit. Bregman hits the ball, ground out to short. I think when Marwin hits the line drive to shortstop, Utley jumps up, it wasn't hit all that hard, but it looked like it was going to get over the infield. And then just they're making pitches.

Yeah, it's frustrating, we wanted to score ten. Make it really easy on me. That was my hope.

Q. Your gut feeling versus all the information you have at your disposal, which one do you find yourself leaning on more in a series like this?
A.J. HINCH: I think it's a balance. I think you have to combine what you see with what you know. And we can go in with all the information that we want. There is an element of paying attention to what your players are doing and how they're playing and what kind of version are they? Is it a good version of them, or are they struggling mentally, physically? You have to balance it all out and blend it.

I wish there was an answer key one way or another. But, again, I think it's a people business. You need to understand your people and then apply the information the best way you can to make decisions, in any part of this.

Q. You have been through two elimination games against the Yankees.
A.J. HINCH: We won them both.

Q. Yep. And you've had a great short-term memory all season. How much does that help you, especially with guys like Altuve and Correa, they can bounce back?
A.J. HINCH: If you carry any baggage into Game 7 of the World Series, then you're certainly misguided with your attention. We will come as positive as ever, ready to play. It is what looks to be one of the most exhilarating games that we're ever going to be a part of. Who can guarantee that you're going to be in Game 7 ever again.

Come ready to play. Have your best attitude, have your best opportunity.

Q. You talked about a razor-thin margin, how good a play was that by Bellinger on the Altuve pick?
A.J. HINCH: The pick is big. Obviously there's a lot of key parts of this game that could go one way or the other. And in that play, being able to keep his foot on the base, being able to pick the ball, fast runner, you know, there was a lot of action going on, it does cost them a run.

You have to make winnable plays, whether you're the winning team or not, if you want to win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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