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October 8, 2018

Tyler Flowers

Atlanta, Georgia - pregame 4

Q. Tyler, obviously still alive, but what was the vibe in the locker room today when you guys get in having the offense come alive last night?
TYLER FLOWERS: Right now, pretty normal for us. Freddie comes in there, he's joking around, he's got something on his eyeball. And Acuna is in there cutting up, and Ozzie. It's very typical kind of morning for us so far.

Q. Last night on that last at-bat there, talk to me about just walking through those hand signals?
TYLER FLOWERS: We can't give away too many secrets here, not yet. Yeah, they were having a little issues on the signs, and Vizcaino doesn't like to get too complex, so we kind of go with the more simplistic ones. But with that you gotta be able to change them up a little bit sooner than you would with some of the more complex set of signs. So I think they kind of lost each other in the middle there. Combine that with the first time ever running out of visits, it made it a little more entertaining and interesting to get on the same page there at the end.

Q. Tyler, Ender was saying Folty learned a lot from that first game. Are you guys going to kind of change your approach at all today?
TYLER FLOWERS: I mean, maybe slightly. Not really, though. I mean, the majority of his game is attacking with the fastball. When his slider is on, it's a whole lot of fun. When it's not, we gotta find other avenues to mix in off speed just so they have to respect both ends. But I think he did learn a lot from that outing. I mean, it could have been a lot worse than what it was. With that said, though, I thought he did a great job controlling his emotions, at least externally, but I think maybe internally he was still a little too jacked up and it wasn't allowing him to execute the pitches how he wanted to.

So I think -- coming into this one, and probably shortly after that one, I think he internally made some adjustments and kind of understood what he needs to do if he gets another opportunity. So we'll see how it plays out today. But I think his game plan is pretty obvious. He throws hard. He challenges towards the top of the zone. When the slider is on, it's a really tough at-bat. If you got more than that going for you, then we got a lot of options to get ahead and put guys away.

Q. Tyler, another tough lefty with Rich Hill today. You've seen him earlier in your career. Just kind of your thoughts on what to expect from him. Obviously a little different, probably not throwing as hard as he used to early in his career?
TYLER FLOWERS: Yeah, but it evens out with how good his curveball is, his ability to throw that anytime for strikes, for chase. He's a tougher matchup. I mean, for me specifically, I think he's one of the tougher lefties to face. The curveball you want to hit seems so far away out of his hand that you want to shut down on it, and the ones that look like good ones to hit disappear under the zone or at your foot.

With that, his fastball, maybe it's gone down a little bit, it still plays up for him and he does a nice job pitching towards the top of the zone as well, which makes the velocity a little higher. We'll see. Trying to have a good approach off him again. And if you see a pitch out, that's the one to swing at, and the one that looks like a strike, let it go.

Q. When you're game-planning for a lineup like the Dodgers, how much time, how much talk is there about Justin Turner, and how do you game plan against him?
TYLER FLOWERS: Well, we haven't played the game yet, so I can't tell you the whole game plan. All those guys do have some areas of weakness, and the way you can expose those weaknesses, not just them, but any hitter, is by getting the count in your favor. The more you do that, the more they have to respect different zones, different speeds. That's when you have a chance to get them to expand and chase some pitches later on in the at-bat. But if you don't get ahead, those guys do a great job honing in on certain areas, certain pitches that they want. And seemingly they don't ever miss them either. So strike one is a huge thing.

With that said, they don't give away strike one either. They have an idea and plan early in their bats. You gotta execute quality pitches to get ahead of them and then you got some room to work with.

Q. Do you feel a feel for how Folty is feeling coming out of the pen or maybe even there early? Were there any starts during the season where you were able to say something, do something to kind of help him?
TYLER FLOWERS: Typically, I would say it's more like with his emotions. Like the last one, I was worried about him -- I'm sure a lot of people were -- just being too jacked up. If anything, I felt like in the bullpen warming up for that game, he was almost too relaxed. Only a couple of them it seemed that he really turned them loose before he went out to start the game.

I'd like to see a little more of the normal Folty, like on the edge of kind of going crazy out there, because he seems to be pretty good when he's teetering right at that edge of out of control and really cutting it loose. That's the first time I've really seen that as far as before that game.

Other than that, I think most of the time he lives kind of at that edge, and that's kind of where we like him to be, controlled at that end of the spectrum.

Q. With the emphasis of not just the Dodgers, but a lot of teams trying to hit fly balls and going for home runs, how have you seen your pitchers and other pitchers around baseball try to exploit that as the year has gone on?
TYLER FLOWERS: I think we've all seen the trend. If you have pitchers that can elevate the ball consistently, fastball-wise in the zone. We're seeing more people go to the more traditional curveball or versus sliders. I think that's really the only way to combat it. Now it seems like the umpires are starting to do a better job or be more consistent with the top of the zone, calling strikes up there.

So I think it's going to be one of those circle of life things. We're going to see it continue for X number of years, and then I think you're going to see a trend back to the more traditional. But I know we targeted some pitchers over the last couple of years that have the ability to have a little extra rise on their fast balls or that sneak to it, and now we're able to see what that is. We can quantify it and see that this guy gets better spin and all that stuff.

So those guys are kind of highly regarded right now and coveted to be able to combat what's going on with how all these guys hit so many dang homers.

Q. Tyler, I don't know if it's going to come up again with the mound visits, but if I'm reading it correctly, it says the rules also allow extra mound visits if the umpire determines that the pitcher has misunderstood the catcher's signs. Do you have to ask for that?
TYLER FLOWERS: Yeah. Yeah. You have to tell him, and I think he has to believe there's actually evidence of a miscommunication either by wild pitch or cross-up. I'm not sure exactly how the conversation went down last night. But I felt like that was a situation where it should have been allowed.

Q. Do you know if it wasn't allowed?
TYLER FLOWERS: I don't know for sure either way. I didn't really talk to Suzuki about it in detail.

Q. On that, how tough is it as a catcher knowing you're in an all-hands-on deck situation; you may have to see six, seven different pitchers, guys who you wouldn't normally see in those roles. How tough is it to prepare for that and game plan for that as a catcher?
TYLER FLOWERS: You know, honestly, you could view it as a little bit easier. When you're talking about having a starter roll through the lineup two or three times, I think that's when it gets a little more complex. You gotta recall how you got them out last time, how many breaking balls you showed them, which breaking balls, change ups, the locations of different fast balls, early and late. I think to make it through a lineup three times, all those things come into play.

And against a lineup like this, you're not going to get Justin Turner out three times the same way. So I think it's more challenging in that regard than having a new guy out there pitching to them, you know, kind of that Spring Training type atmosphere where nobody enjoys the at-bats because you're facing No. 97, then 74 and No. 12. I think it honestly might be a little bit of an advantage just having different action on pitches, different guy, different look. I think it can be viewed as a very positive thing.

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