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October 2, 2019

Bob Melvin

Oakland, California

Q. Were there any particularly difficult lineup decisions? How did you decide especially on the catcher spot?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, probably the last two spots were the toughest ones, Grossman or Brown or Phegley or Murphy. Really could have been a flip of the coin. We have confidence in both. Certainly Phegs had a terrific first half. Murph came in and hit the ground running, both offensively and defensively. Worked well with Manaea. So maybe lean just a little bit towards that. Hit some homers. He's been struggling a little bit as of late. So really kind of a toss-up.

As far as Grossman and Browny, Browny got off to a really hot start, slowed down a little bit. Maybe the experience just a little bit more on Robbie's end, runs a little better, switch hits, maybe a little better in the field, has played more left field and can do some different things. Balance the experience and youth with those two spots, went with youth at one and experience at the other.

Q. Was there any consideration to play Sheldon Neuse at second base, or did you want to go with Profar?
BOB MELVIN: No, Pro has been swinging the bat really well and he's got some experience off Morton, too. Morton can be very tough on righties. We tried to get as many lefties as we could in there today. And like I said, what is he, 4 for 11 with the homer off him? So if we have to make some adjustments as the game goes along, we'll do that, but Pro has been playing pretty good here recently.

Q. It's been a while since there's been a playoff game here at the Coliseum, and I'm just wondering if you could mention maybe some of your favorite memories from here having grown up here. And also what is it about this place when it's packed that makes it different from other ballparks?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, growing up here, The Who and The Dead in 1975, Peter Frampton in 1976. (Laughter).

No, as a kid, probably going to some of the World Series games in the '70s across the way with the Warriors. I've been to this part of the Bay Area quite a bit. It doesn't necessarily just have to be baseball.

I think we had a couple of walk-offs in the postseason. Coco had one and Steven Vogt had one, and I remember the crowd's reaction to that. This place gets really loud when it's well attended, and with Mount Davis open today, it can be a serious home-field advantage for us.

Oakland fans are unique and can make this place a serious home-field advantage for us, so hopefully we can give them something to cheer about early in the game.

Q. Last night you saw the Nationals go with Scherzer and Strasburg. You have Fiers on this roster. Is your sense that you guys win this game and everybody -- you can just dump everybody into this game, or is there any, okay, maybe we have to save a little bit for the next series?
BOB MELVIN: No, we're playing for today's game. Until you win this one, we're not even thinking about what's after this. So we're just trying to put the best pitchers on our roster that we possibly can more than anything else. Whether or not he's used in this game, I don't think we're looking at it as Manaea and Fiers. Mike hasn't relieved. Certainly wouldn't bring him in in the middle of an inning. We're just trying to get our best pitchers and be ready for any scenario.

Q. Those of us who cover the team were surprised about a couple things in their lineup today. I wonder what your reaction was to Diaz playing first base, the rookie Brosseau playing second and with Snell being on the roster, what were your thoughts on those things?
BOB MELVIN: I think they're trying to get as many right-handed hitters in the lineup as they possibly can and guys that have been impactful against left-handed pitching. So the minute you go right, you're going to see a different lineup. They can make line changes and they do it very well, and they're very good about pinch-hitting. Their guys are aware of the situations, they identify the leveraged at-bats. So I think they're trying to play against a lefty early in the game and they're ready for a righty, and I think that's why both those guys are in there.

Q. You mentioned Profar a little bit earlier who's immersed against Morton. He was saying yesterday he feels like the postseason could be a fresh start for him. He's been a guy who's actually had the ability to drive in runs. What kind of weapon could he be for you today?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, he's got experience late in the season. You know, he's got some history, like I said, against this guy. He's been playing pretty well here as of late, too. When Sheldon first got here, we gave him a lot of the reps and then Pro played himself back into the lineup, mostly against right-handed pitching, and at times he's been really good defensively. There's some balls that he's thrown away. But there's also been some really good plays he's made here, and I think he's playing with as much confidence as he has basically the entire season.

If you look at numbers, he's 20 home runs and he's knocked in some runs, so yeah, he feels pretty good about himself right now.

Q. Every rookie you've called up since August on made a pretty big impact down the stretch, and a lot of them are top prospects, but to see them produce at such a high level in crucial situations, how special is that to see?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah, I mean, it's part of what we think will be a bright future, and it's here now, and a lot of our top prospects are here now. I think in our organization, players know that we give younger players an opportunity right away, and the opportunity to get them in spots where they have a chance to impact the team. And that's been the case with every single one of these guys, whether it's Puk, Luzardo, Murphy. Sheldon has done a good job, too, Murph.

Yeah, we brought them in at times we felt like they were playing good and got them in the lineup right away, which gives them confidence, as well. But you'll see quite a few of these guys around here for a while. These are our top prospects, and they showed up about the right time.

Q. You made a roster move there, Barreto is in. Could you talk about this roster move and how Barreto could be useful to you in this game?
BOB MELVIN: Right, that was the hardest one was not having Steven on the roster, and he worked so hard to get back. You know, there was a time two weeks ago I didn't think there was a chance that he would be able to even play a game toward the end of the season. He played the last game, he got four at-bats, he looked fine. So that was the toughest one.

I think just the lack of at-bats over the last month-plus played in, and the fact that Franklin gives us a pinch runner, he gives us a guy that can play the outfield and the infield and multiple positions in the infield. You never know where these games go, so you're just trying to check all the boxes and have potentially a guy in a spot for any particular scenario, and that's why Franklin is here.

Q. What can you say you might have drawn from the '14 and last year's Wild Card losses that you might apply?
BOB MELVIN: You know, well, I think the guys that are here now, last year was the game that they played in, so I think just having the experience in that game and realizing that it's one thing to think you're ready for it, it's another to go out there and experience what it's like because it's different than the regular season. I think that bodes well for them, and plus we're playing at home. I think that's the biggest thing for us right now is we've played really well here at home. Our fans get into it, and it's just a little different venue than what we were dealing with last year.

Just a little bit more comfortable with the home.

Q. Yesterday Kevin Cash said something along the lines of if he gets into a chess matchup with you, you're probably going to win. How does it feel getting a compliment like that from your counterpart today?
BOB MELVIN: I don't know that I agree with him, but you know what, he and I have gotten to know each other over the last couple of years, and I think probably have a mutual respect for how each team does things. There's a lot of similarities between the two teams and how they do things.

They're probably a little bit more apt to match up this year than we are. Maybe in years past we platooned at a few more positions and pinch-hit a little bit more. We probably do have 1 through 7 today, guys that we don't really match up with. So it's a little different. They continue to match up as good as anybody in the league. Kevin Cash is a premier manager in this league, and the way they do things can be difficult to get the players to buy in, and he's gotten them to buy in 100 percent. So I think as far as the way they do things, he's about as good as they get.

You know once this game gets going and once our starter is out of the game that they're going to match up and they're going to pinch-hit. They run, they hit and run, they first and third safeties, they do a lot of things to try to take you out of their game, and he's really good at that.

Q. I know you're obviously extremely focused on this game, but whoever advances runs into the Astros and that pitching they have. You saw them a lot during the year. What kind of challenge in a short series would that present to whatever it is?
BOB MELVIN: They're a challenge. We've seen them all year. We're focused on this game. Really not thinking about them too much right now.

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