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October 4, 2019

Kevin Cash

Houston, Texas - pregame 1

Q. Kevin, just wondering what were the tougher decisions you faced as you came up with your 25 for the series?
KEVIN CASH: Well, I think Sogard probably was challenging just because he hasn't played too much. He's been banged up but gave us enough confidence with his last couple days that he's moving well and trust that veteran approach at bat if we need him off the bench.

Then there at the end of the bullpen kind of between Yarbs, Brendan McKay, Pete Fairbanks obviously was in consideration. Andrew Kittredge, given Brantley, Alvarez, and Reddick, and potentially Tucker at times to add that left-hander.

Q. Kevin, I know you guys were very confident the other night in Oakland that you could handle the crowd, could handle the atmosphere, probably going to be frenzied here today. How do you think your guys are ready for kind of this challenge and what you sense in the clubhouse this morning?
KEVIN CASH: I think they're going to be fine. Continue to embrace it. Not going to deny it, it's going to be loud, believe me. When they have the roof closed and they let off whatever that noise is, it rings everywhere, whether you're in the dugout, on the field. Try to prevent that from happening too much. But sometimes, we said the same thing in Oakland, that youthful energy and not having so many of those experiences maybe can work in your favor at times, the unknown.

But they're going to be pretty amped up. Like we talked about yesterday, we're facing a future Hall of Famer. That should get you pumped up alone.

Q. Kevin, beyond just the talent of your pitchers, is there anything that you guys emphasize to be the Major League leader in preventing home runs in a season like this?
KEVIN CASH: Specifically, I don't think so. The messaging that Kyle and Stan and our front office gives our pitchers is pretty simple. All starts with throwing strikes. There's so much that goes into game planning these days for opponents and specific hitters. But they do such a good job of finding -- you know, pitching within their own strengths and not getting away from that.

Sometimes you can find little things about a hitter that might exploit his weakness. But if it's not the pitcher's strength to do that you're probably not going to benefit from it. Stay consistent in being the best version of you.

Q. Just looking ahead to Blake tomorrow, he had a little bit of a rough outing in Toronto on Sunday. What gave you the confidence to start him, and what do you think is realistic?
KEVIN CASH: I'm betting on Blake. We're betting on Blake to catch a second gear. He's gotten the pitches in for sure. It hasn't been easy. There have been a couple of 30-pitch innings in there.

But the stuff has actually been very similar to what it always is. The command hasn't been there, but we saw some encouraging things with the fastball, where the misses were just a tick up out of the zone, not as much arm side as maybe we had thought. Same with the change-up.

Blake belongs to be in that ball game. As far as his workload, a lot of that is going to be dependent on how efficient he can be. And that's a challenge in itself against the Astros lineup.

Q. With the roster, what role do you see Chirinos playing? He started early in the year, not many innings towards the end of the year. What role do you see him?
KEVIN CASH: A big one. He could be a factor in any of these games. Given Glas, he's fairly stretched out, but we're asking Glas and Blake to continue their progression. I think Yonny is in the same mold. I don't think we're going to try to build Yonny up to that degree. If he's a time-through-the-order guy, and even if he started, I mean, I don't think anything's been decided once we get past Tyler and Blake starting.

So for game 3 and presumably game 4, 5, Charlie will be in there at some point, but not sure exactly how Yonny fits in.

Q. I want to ask you about how do you describe Avisail Garcia, the way he helped you to get to the playoff.
KEVIN CASH: Avi has been a stud for us. He's not in the lineup today. Definitely the toughest decision last night, picking between him and Yandy. He's going to get back in there.

The leadership, we talk about leadership, and Charlie Morton gets a lot of credit, deservedly so. I think Avi goes about it real quietly. The guys have so much respect for him. The staff, myself have so much respect for him. He's a lot of the reason we're here. The two-run homer helped in Oakland. His body of work throughout the season, the consistency was huge.

Q. Kevin, you've been obviously aggressive in using the bullpen is probably a polite word. With the way the schedule is set up, you play two days, have a day off, how much help does that give you in making those decisions to be aggressive again during this round?
KEVIN CASH: It helps. It's not September baseball where the roster is expanded, but the off days allow you to theoretically pitch every pitcher every single day. I mean, as long as the workload is managed, I mean, these guys, our high-leverage guys could, I would imagine, throw an inning, bounce right back, pitch the next inning, have a day off, and be ready to go again.

So the only guy today, and we'll check on him, is Diego Castillo. He threw two innings. I would guess, given the magnitude of the game and the adrenaline he's going to be featuring, he'll say he's good to go for two. If we need him, even more than that.

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