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October 8, 2019

Mike Shildt

Atlanta, Georgia - Workout Day

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mike Shildt.

Q. Has this series been as competitive as you thought it would be? And secondly, is it so competitive that you almost feel like every pitch or every play could be the one that decides the game and the series?
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, you know, I mean, I think there was the expectation that we knew we have two really good ball clubs going at each other. And there's no surprise; it's been very back and forth, competitive.

To the latter question, yeah, we've been -- me and Mad Dog, our pitching coach, Mike Maddux, yesterday morning actually going to the ballpark, just how we play baseball, how we play pitch to pitch, what the balance of a lot of the games and a lot of our season going on. So we're used to it. We're battle tested with it, and wouldn't have it any other way.

Q. With Goldschmidt and Ozuna, is it possible to say that together they haven't been as hot simultaneously as they are right now in the playoffs?
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, that's a reasonable thing to say. They've had moments where they've both been in sync. But it's nice to have the two big pillars of your lineup in good places and doing damage. They're both in a great spot.

Q. With Ozuna, we've asked you a lot of questions about him during the course, two hits in every game, a lot of extra base hits. What's different than just two weeks ago, three weeks ago?
MIKE SHILDT: You mentioned timeframes, what's different? There's a reference point prior to those couple of weeks that you alluded to that says this guy has done a lot of damage this year. There's nothing really necessarily different; that's the person he's capable of being.

I thought he was on the way to an All-Star Game or serious consideration prior to an unfortunate finger injury in San Diego getting back to the bag. But this is a dangerous hitter. This is a guy that rightfully strikes fear in other pitchers and can do damage.

So I don't think anything's necessarily different. He's just getting back to what the best version of him is, which is trying not to do too much, really seeing the ball well, being under control, and he's just putting a good swing and letting his God-given ability play.

Q. Talking about Ryan Helsley was pretty honest and candid about his thoughts about the cheer here, the tomahawk chop. Wonder if you talked to him about it or if you intend to if you use him tomorrow, what the reaction might be, what his thoughts might be going out there again?
MIKE SHILDT: My understanding, first of all, I respect Ryan's opinion. All he's doing is trying to support his heritage. I don't believe, and I could stand corrected, but my understanding is Ryan didn't seek out the comment. He was asked. So it wasn't like he was proactive about saying this is the way it needs to be.

But when asked people are going to give their opinion. And it's something that I respect. He's sincere about again his heritage and the thoughts behind it. I don't think he's got anything malicious towards it. I think he was just honest about it. And I respect that completely.

I have not talked to him because, again, he's in control of his thoughts and there's nothing outrageous about what he said or what he thinks.

Like I said, I support him. And regarding tomorrow night, Hels is a pro. And the hope would be, look, he was speaking out of sincerity. He wasn't speaking out of maliciousness or anything like that.

So people can take that in whatever context they want to take it in and how they react is how they react. But I'm sure Ryan will pitch equally good regardless.

Q. It happens sometimes in the regular season that a pitcher will face the same team in back-to-back starts, but not a ton. How do you think that will affect either of these guys given the quality of their stuff? Do you think it will maybe give the hitters a bit of an edge with both Folty and Flaherty?
MIKE SHILDT: That's a good question. I mean, there's the potentiality of that in the fact of familiarity, seeing guys. I do believe and always will believe that while that can lend itself to picking up something, whether it's a nuance thing or just release point or shape of the pitch, I also believe that execution of your pitch is still going to, a lot of times, win the day.

So it will be about who executes for the most part, but familiarity is something that is a factor.

Q. Obviously the postseason is different than the regular season for a lot of different reasons, but do you think that you've managed any differently these past four games than you did the 162 before? And do you think you'll need to manage any differently in Game 5 than you did the last four games?
MIKE SHILDT: I understand the question. Effectively there's more resources to you in a game like yesterday, all the games, really, including the game tomorrow.

Miles wouldn't have been available in a normal setting on yesterday. Truth be told, you manage to win every game. We're playing tomorrow, we're playing to win. So we use the resources we have every single night to win the game. I've done that my entire career and expect that to take place tomorrow.

You manage the resources you have, you manage the situation that takes place, and you put the best opportunity available for us to win. But as far differently, no. You just manage to win regardless of circumstance -- spring training, a different lens to it, but you're always managing to win the baseball game.

Q. Follow-up to that is, is Wainwright or even Hudson available or part of the plan?
MIKE SHILDT: I think it will be most all hands on deck. I would expect Waino to be available. Dakota may be a little different scenario. Listen, we've got guys we have a lot of confidence in. You never say never. Extenuating circumstances.

With Jack, yesterday, we had a sincere conversation with Jack and he was very pro being available. And I certainly respect the mindset and the heart of the competition for him and his desire to be there for his team.

He said I got an inning and I got a 0. Me and Mad Dog said, well, we appreciate that but we need to take care of you and we need to take the opportunity for Game 5.

And obviously we need to have gotten here, which we are. But in Dakota's case we'll be smart about it. I'm sure he'll lobby for it. The one thing that can be a little bit different is less pitches but also less rest. So I wouldn't rule it out, but I wouldn't expect him to be one of the guys in serious consideration initially.

Q. How much do you recall from the last decisive postseason Game 5 that you managed and how different are you now from what you were as a manager then?
MIKE SHILDT: Well, that would be against Tulsa in 2012. I remember vividly Boone Whiting (phonetic) came up, threw, whatever, six innings, fastball/changeup. Definitely, always you appreciate the fact that's seven years of hopefully some experience and wisdom.

But outside the mound visits, the game hasn't changed a lot. So really it's about playing the game and being prepared just like you always are and seeing what's in front of you and manage it.

Q. Is Matt Carpenter likely to stay in the lineup, maybe show a different look than you had here in Game 2 against Foltynewicz?
MIKE SHILDT: It's likely.

Q. Purpose be to --
MIKE SHILDT: Purpose being, look, we weren't able to do much against Foltynewicz. And clearly we'll need to be able to do both things, hold them and also score on our side. So we're going to take our best shot when the game starts to do that and manage it from there.

Q. Did I hear you correctly, do you and Maddux carpool to the ballpark?
MIKE SHILDT: We did. So the parking situation didn't allow our better halves to be able to park. So we carpooled to the ball game, then they had a ride as well. They enjoy each other's company.

Q. When Jack was sitting up there, he spoke a lot about the mental adjustments he made this year and also spoke about his personality on the mound a little bit. I'm wondering, what's he like in the dugout in between innings on the days that he starts?
MIKE SHILDT: Like most of our guys, Jack is laser focused. He's really into that competition but he's into it in a very sincere way. He's very focused, but he's also -- he's very present with it, too.

Q. Foltynewicz threw a lot of his slider the last time you guys faced him. What kind of adjustments will you need to make with his game plan, probably?
MIKE SHILDT: With Foltynewicz's slider?

Q. Yes.
MIKE SHILDT: You know, he threw a lot of good ones. We'll need to be able to be patient with getting a ball we can handle.

And to Mark's question a little bit earlier, hopefully the little bit of familiarity of seeing it will help some of the guys. But really we're just going to have to make sure we're getting in better parts of the plate and then not chasing it and letting it work for us.

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