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October 17, 2018

AJ Hinch

Houston, Texas - postgame 4

Red Sox - 8, Astros - 6

THE MODERATOR: Questions for A.J. Hinch.

Q. What did you think of the call on Jose Altuve?
A.J. HINCH: What do you think I thought? What did I see? I saw fan interference. I've had this a couple of times, or we have as a team. And they deemed the fan reached over into the field of play and interfered with Betts.

And Jose pays the biggest price because the trajectory of the ball looked like it was going to leave the ballpark. But we assume -- and you can assume a lot with Mookie because he's an incredible athlete -- we assume he's going to make this spectacular catch jumping as high as he can into the crowd.

I asked for a review. And obviously they're going to give it to us. And they reviewed it and came back with the same outcome. So once the fan reaches past that line of the fence, I mean, we're going to penalize hitters every time. And so changed that whole inning.

Q. You lose 8-6 --
A.J. HINCH: That doesn't matter. It's convenient to think about it that way. But there's a lot of game left. There was a lot of action in that game. No, I'm not going to go there. But it would have been nice to tie the game at that point. But that's not the difference. That's not how the game plays.

Q. Do you have some video proof that a fan did actually reach over or are you saying what they said?
A.J. HINCH: I'm telling you what they said. No. We have a replay system and we have the video. But it doesn't matter what we think, anyway. They're going to tell us what they want to rule.

Q. I guess my follow-up question to that is do you ever get satisfaction that from Joe West -- I clearly saw somebody reach over, like -- because it looked like it would have gone whatever way --
A.J. HINCH: No, Joe called it that way. Joe called it that way from the get-go. There's so many plays in there -- I don't want to spend more time on this play -- but Joe saw the play as interference. He called that on the field. When they went to replay, they confirmed it.

So there's nothing more -- I can get ejected in the first inning which is ridiculous in a playoff game. But there's no mechanism for me to change their mind, change their interpretation, change the fact that I thought the ball was a row or two into the stands. It doesn't matter what I think. I'm not in New York, and I'm not an umpire.

Q. On the ground ball in the seventh inning, should Carlos have flipped to Marwin on that double play or is that kind of just one of those game events sort of things?
A.J. HINCH: That's a needle-in-the-haystack play. The near double play? No, he shouldn't have flipped the ball to Marwin. He was trying to rush and hurry and he missed the bag by mere inches. So I can't say definitively that Marwin was going to be there perfectly on time and be able to turn it either. It's an instinctive play, but I haven't seen it again. But my initial reaction during the inning was not that anyone made a mistake.

Q. How is Altuve doing from his knee pain?
A.J. HINCH: He's hurting. He's hurting. I'm watching him do his best and he's a tough kid. And he's giving us everything that he's got but he's hurting.

Q. You guys had historically good pitching this season. What's been your impression why they've had so much success against you?
A.J. HINCH: They're a relentless lineup, relentless lineup. So are we. This game was incredibly good on both sides -- great at-bats, great plays, obviously we were inches away from the ball going to the wall, we probably win, and it's a completely different press conference. But that's not how the game plays out.

But their offense is relentless. It's been relentless since March, since we first saw them in spring training. Getting through them, getting through the at-bats, you watch them hang in there. They draw walks when you shy away from the zone. They get two-out hits. They're a full offense to deal with on a nightly basis. That's what's going on.

Q. With Charlie Morton who is throwing a lot of curveballs, what did you see from him?
A.J. HINCH: He did the best he could. And I applaud him out there as well. I think fatigue set in pretty quickly for him. I thought he ran out of gas a little bit, which is why I got Josh in there. But I thought he did his best.

I think getting into the game was really hard. We gave up a couple of runs there with a tough pitch to Devers, soft in the zone. He stays with it with two outs. And, but their first few rounds of runs ended out being with two-out base hits that were key.

I expected Charlie to get into the third or fourth inning. That was about the range. The game played out, minus the runs, as expected for him. I thought he did his best.

Q. Based on what you saw from Jose, how much of a possibility is that Altuve is the DH again tomorrow?
A.J. HINCH: I just told him before I came in here to see me before he leaves. I have to have a conversation with him. He's going to post somewhere. This is a backs-against-the-wall, win-at-all-costs type game. He's not going to sit on the sideline no matter what. I don't know what he's going to do. I've got to talk to him.

Q. Results aside, how did you feel about Kemp going for second in the eighth?
A.J. HINCH: I didn't love it. Down by three, it's a tough gamble. And Mookie is one of the best right fielders in the game. Got a strong arm, and the play's right in front of him. So I think it was a mistake. It's an aggressive mistake but down by three it's a tough first out when you feel like you can kick start something.

They bring Kimbrel into the eighth inning. The two parts to that -- one, you're making the first out; number two, it's only a one-pitch out for Kimbrel. We would have hoped it would have been longer. He knows that. It was an aggressive mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.

Q. You win the first game at Fenway you've lost three straight and a couple of close ones late. How much do you believe in your team that they can pull this off and win this?
A.J. HINCH: I firmly believe in our team. This series isn't over. Again what do you expect me to say, right? I'm going to back my boys. We're a really good team and this has been a really tough series. Obviously we haven't won the last couple of nights. But I like our team's chances tomorrow. JV on the mound. The lineup, the at-bats that we put up tonight. We'll post just fine.

Q. You obviously like the idea of Bregman getting up there when he did in the ninth. What was your view of that play and the play Benintendi made?
A.J. HINCH: You know, it was right in front of me. I had a perfect view of it. And they played pretty aggressively in the gaps. You can pinch the gaps in this ballpark and you see it all the time. And it helped us on the Correa base hits in between the 5-6 hole on both RBI singles.

So at that point, I'm always checking out where the left fielder is. I see he kind of creeps inside the fence line where that corner is in left center. So when the ball was hit, two parts I was looking at was how Benintendi was closing and whether or not it was going to drop in as a -- a little more shallow.

But as he dives, we're all waiting in anticipation. And then his reaction was a pretty aggressive celebration so I assumed he caught it. We checked the video. And he caught it cleanly. The difference in that game literally was a couple inches. He misses that ball and if it hits leather, he probably keeps the game tied. If it doesn't then the game's over and we're celebrating.

Q. I'm sorry to belabor the Joe West call, but the call was not upheld in New York. It was allowed to stand. There was not a definitive angle on it. This is not the regular season. This is Game 4 of the ALCS. Are there enough cameras in the park? Should we be in a situation where there is no definitive camera angle on a call that important?
A.J. HINCH: Yeah, earlier we started the day with do we have too many cameras in the park. (Laughter) so, yeah, I wish we had an angle that was perfectly along the fence line that would show. That's the one camera we don't have.


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