home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 5, 2019

Adam Ottavino

Zack Britton

New York, New York - pregame 2

Q. You have both been around in a few different bullpens in your careers. What is distinctive about the makeup of this unit?
ADAM OTTAVINO: I think, for me, it's just we definitely have a lot of variety in terms of strengths. Right-handed, left-handed, guys who can go multiple innings, so that's nice. And also, just a little bit of a veteran factor there. So guys aren't so much tied up in their own personal stuff anymore. We're all kind of on to that stage of just trying to win.

ZACK BRITTON: Yeah, I agree. I think a lot of that is experience. Our bullpen is probably the most experienced I've been around. And then a lot of different looks, too -- left-handed, right-handed, sliders, fastballs. I don't feel like the other team is going to get too comfortable off our pen.

Then we've got some younger guys, like a Chad Green, too, who's got elite stuff, and even some younger guys throughout the season that we brought up that have done a good job, too. So it's not just the older guys but a lot of the younger guys, too.

Q. Again, for both of you, how aware have you been made of how short your lanes might be in this series and how aggressive that Boone's going to play this?
ADAM OTTAVINO: I think just the rule of thumb is just be ready for anything. So could be in there for a long time or a short time. I try not to get too caught up in any of that or personal -- really, any of that stuff. Just try to go out and get the first guy out, then worry about the next guy, and if you get taken out, you get taken out. Just really try not to look into it too far.

ZACK BRITTON: Yeah, they've communicated with us pretty well throughout the whole season how they may envision using us and stuff like that. So nothing's really changed going into the postseason. Obviously, we know we might be used a little earlier than normal, but they've been good at communicating that.

Q. How do you believe, if it has or hasn't, your previous playoff experience has helped you now?
ADAM OTTAVINO: My only playoff experience was last year, but I think it was good to get that out of the way, just so you know a little bit emotionally how you're going to feel out there. I feel like now that's not an unknown. I know how I'm going to respond. So it's a lot easier just to focus on the task at hand and not think about other things like that.

ZACK BRITTON: Yeah, I think, having done it a few times now, it's just about slowing the game down. In the regular season, you have those games where maybe the crowd is not into it as much and things like that. It's just one of the 162 that you play. But in the postseason it seems, especially the hitters, the at-bats, the quality of at-bats are a lot different, and I think the more experience you get in the postseason, the more you realize that every pitch you make is the most important one. I think you fall back on those experiences the more opportunities you get to pitch in the postseason.

Q. Given the way you guys are being used and just the way the game has changed, how important is Gary behind the plate and just understanding what everyone can do? With the game plan, it seems a lot more complicated even than it was a few years ago for a catcher to deal with. How have you seen him maybe grow even this year?
ADAM OTTAVINO: For me, you never know what to expect coming in with a new catcher. I know there's been a narrative about his catching. I thought he's been pretty awesome the whole year. It only took him like three games in Spring Training to figure out kind of my MO and just kind of go from there. He's real easy to talk to. He works really hard. He pays attention. I'm guessing he's come a long way, but I think he's doing a pretty good job.

ZACK BRITTON: Yeah, Gary, he's done a good job this year. Even last year, I was pleasantly surprised. I had heard a lot of negative things about him. I didn't find any of it to be true. I thought he was a really good catcher, actually, has a good feel for game calling.

I think the one thing about our bullpen is you can kind of look down there and a lot of guys have like a signature pitch, and you can go list the names of the guys and pick out one pitch that probably their most dominant so that maybe makes it a little bit easier. I think he does a good job of incorporating guys' secondary pitches. I've been really happy with Gary. I think he's made a lot of strides.

Q. What did it mean to the two of you to see Dellin limp out there on his crutches for introductions last night?
ADAM OTTAVINO: That fired me up. I loved it. He's been with us the whole year. He hasn't felt sorry for himself. Like he's always been supportive the whole year of us, and we really wanted to have him the whole year. We were excited when he came back that one day, and I was extremely devastated after he got hurt. I've been thinking about pitching with him for a long time. So that was tough.

But he's been nothing but the best. He was the first one out of the dugout to congratulate C after his last start, and it just shows you what kind of guy he is.

ZACK BRITTON: Yeah, I think it's huge. It just shows the type of guy he is. He's been through a lot this year; adversity. Obviously, a free agent year, so he's been through a lot. So for him to have a positive mindset and be a good teammate says everything you need to know about the guy because that's a tough thing to do when you've had a lot of that bad luck thrown your way.

Q. Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball tonight. He's had a lot of success in the postseason. What do you think it is about his mentality and his makeup that allows him to succeed when the stage is the biggest?
ADAM OTTAVINO: For me, he's an artist out there. He's a pitch maker. I think he's pitching to a game plan and then with a lot of feel throughout the whole season. He kind of pitches in a playoff mode all the time, and I think that helps him when he gets to a stage like this because every pitch is so precious. He treats it that way anyway. So he kind of trains himself for this type of environment, I think.

ZACK BRITTON: When you look at the Japanese players, the international players, they play for a whole country every single start. For Masa, I don't think the pressure of the postseason really gets to him. I think he's used to that spotlight. He does a really good job. I haven't really been a part of a lot of those postseason starts with him, but I just think pitching on that stage for him, with all of Japan watching pretty much most of his starts, I don't think the postseason pressure really gets to him.

Q. Zack, I apologize if I get the date wrong, but I think in '16, it was a little bit of a controversy of why you didn't come into a playoff game. Aaron was obviously very aggressive yesterday with the pitching. What did that experience teach you and then watching how your manager managed the bullpen last night?
ZACK BRITTON: That was in '16. That was tough. Obviously, I wanted to help the team out in that situation. I think this bullpen's a little different, obviously. I'm not closing games now, but I think that allows Aaron to put me in the game a little earlier. But the game evolved, too. I think '16 was kind of that year where managers didn't want to leave one of their guys in the pen. Buck took a lot of flack for that.

I felt like that game situation, there was a lot going on. And nowadays, getting the bullpen early is a thing, and it wasn't quite there yet. It was the move that kind of maybe broke the ice for a lot of other managers to deploy the bullpen a lot earlier. Nowadays, with the strength of our pen, I knew signing back here, that was going to be my role. Come regular season, I was going to do one thing, and come postseason, I could be there in the fifth, sixth inning.

Q. You mentioned having a veteran pen and that being a real strength of the unit, but we do have one person who's a rookie when he game in the league this year, Jonathan Loaisiga. How have you guys or your unit been able to prepare him for the bright lights of this kind of intense matchup?
ADAM OTTAVINO: I don't think Jonny really has any fear. So you don't have to worry about that. He's a tough kid. He's got great stuff, obviously. More so, you just talk a little bit about situations, about not giving in, little things that come with experience, try to cut down on that learning curve a little bit. He doesn't need too much because he's tough and he's smart, and he's definitely not scared.

ZACK BRITTON: Yeah, I agree with what Otta said. I think it's just about him getting some more experience because his stuff is some of the best stuff I've seen out of a young pitcher. Just getting that experience is all he needs.

Q. It seemed like they used you pretty carefully and by design this season but even more so in September. How did that prepare you for what you're going to experience from here on out?
ADAM OTTAVINO: I just think it's a luxury to have it happen this way. I think they wanted it to go this way, but they would have changed it up if we needed to. Luckily, we took care of business this year and got a nice lead, and they were able to kind of stagger our appearances a little bit heading down the stretch. I think it's just good because we're expecting a big workload here in October and anticipating that and wanting that. So anything you can kind of do to mitigate that risk is probably a good idea.

ZACK BRITTON: Yeah, I knew that the idea from Spring Training on was don't throw three days in a row type of thing. So that allows those recovery days throughout the season that maybe we normally wouldn't get. That was big. That was for the postseason where, ideally, they'd like to throw us every single game with the days off. So we're ready for it. Everyone feels, I think, really strong in our bullpen just based on the fact that we've had some designated days just to focus on recovering and kind of -- it's not sometimes the physical, like, recovery that you need, but just kind of taking a mental break through the course of a long season. We've had a lot of opportunity to do that.

Q. Zack, earlier, you mentioned Chad Green. I was wondering if both of you guys could kind of just talk about what impresses you most about him. Outside of New York, he's not a reliever that gets a ton of attention.
ADAM OTTAVINO: I think, if you look at his career, it's been spectacular to this point. The only blip he had was earlier in this year and he was trying to work on some new things and find that secondary pitch. Now he has it, and you see the results since he came back. Mentally, he's one of the best at his age. He doesn't get rattled by anything. He just goes out there and executes one pitch at a time. He's a really hard worker. He's really well prepared, really great teammate. He's kind of an ideal teammate.

So for me, it's a joy to watch him pitch, and I think he's a huge key to our team.

ZACK BRITTON: Yeah, I agree. I remember watching him in Baltimore when he first came up, and I think everybody on that team at the time was like this guy is going to be a closer, a dominant closer for a long time. I know he went through some adversity at the beginning of the season, but a lot of times that makes you stronger. I think everybody in our bullpen has been through some adversity, and you can look back on that time and think that's kind of where maybe the first time it was up to you to kind of dictate the path you were going to lead going forward, and he did a good job going down to AAA and coming back. He's pretty much dominated since he came back. The numbers -- I'm not really sure exactly what they are, but he's been a different animal since he came back.

Q. As you guys know, given the way that strikeouts have risen in the game, I mean walks have, too, is it harder to get batters to expand the strike zone when they are like more focused this time of the year? Do you have to be like more aggressive or less, whatever it might be?
ADAM OTTAVINO: I think for me, personally, it's a fine line. The situation dictates how much you want to live in the zone, who's hitting, just everything. So I think hitters are getting better at kind of getting their best swing off in the zone and shutting it down otherwise. I think across the game, the hitters don't get enough credit for how much they've evolved the last few years, too. Everyone talks about the launch angle stuff, but I think it's more so just that guys are getting off really, really violent, powerful swings a little more often.

Because of that, it makes you not want to give in as much, and you end up kind of nibbling and trying to get the chases, but like I said, it's a fine line. Depending on the situation, you're going to go right at guys, and sometimes you're not, but that's the cat and mouse of baseball. So it's just another layer.

ZACK BRITTON: Yeah, I think the depth of the lineups that you face in the postseason, they're just quality lineups. It's harder to strike guys out. I think the Twins -- I don't know that they've struck out that much during the regular season anyway. For me, it's always been about, if I'm trying to force contact, I'm always better with the ground balls that I get. I've never been more -- like these guys where they're striking out 100 guys a year. So my approach has always been the same regardless of what the hitters are trying to do, just trying to get quick outs.

I think just the quality of the lineups in the postseason that you face is probably why you're seeing more walks and less strikeouts.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297