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October 9, 2019

Mike Shildt

Atlanta, Georgia - pregame 5

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mike Shildt.

Q. It's Game 5 obviously, but what are your plans after Flaherty after, if you have to. Is Wainwright available?
MIKE SHILDT: Waino is available. We have a good bullpen. So we've been able to get to this point with our bullpen. But Waino will be there in the appropriate spot if needed.

Q. It's almost like we've forgotten about Kolten Wong being injured that last week or so. He seems to be so fluid out there. What have you seen physically from him so far in this series?
MIKE SHILDT: Looks like Kolten, moving around well, playing good defense, obviously a big hit, scored the winning run in the tenth. So, we wouldn't put him back out there overly compromised. He feels great and hasn't really missed a beat.

Q. When you set out on the start of the season and had a couple young guys in the rotation, particularly when Hudson made it, were there decisions that you guys would make along the way to make sure that they were available at this time of year? Or was it pretty much Jack was free to go because of what he did last year?
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, I was really pleased with -- and I give a lot of credit to, first of all our starters; they're the ones that put in the time, energy, effort, in between starts, take care of themselves, get their rest, do their recovery, work out; they're very diligent about that. So, they put themselves in a really good spot to be in this position.

But I give credit to Mad Dog, Mike Maddux. You guys have been with us all year, we've been very intentional about giving guys extra days, making sure guys are in a good spot. Pick the appropriate spot. We talked yesterday about what the competition looks like and looking to play to win every day.

But there's times where you can take an inning away from a guy based on where your bullpen is. We've been intentional about that as well. So it's been a collaborative effort that have allowed these guys to be fresh and ready to go in this part of the season.

Q. What have you seen from Dexter Fowler over this series?
MIKE SHILDT: I really like Dexter's at-bats the last game. Keuchel, first two at-bats, stayed on the ball, hard-hit balls with pace the other way, line drive to center. Thought it got over Acuña. Really liked his at-bats.

Liked his at-bats, his at-bat in the ninth. Took some good at-bats there, just got one foul. Could have won the game. So I think Dexter's taking good at-bats in a good spot.

Q. This obviously is the same lineup we've seen for the last two games but a different one than Foltynewicz saw the first time out. Was there much thought at all, I guess, to other sort of permutations for today, or is this sort of the look you wanted to have in there?
MIKE SHILDT: You mentioned it's a different lineup than he's taken a look at. Carp is in there. That's really the only difference. It's a lineup -- we've had some flexibility with the lineup. It's a lineup we've run out there, and a lineup we're comfortable with and competed well with. So that's what we're going with.

Q. Seeing what Ryan Helsley did these last couple of appearances, particularly the last one, do you view him differently as maybe more of a high-leverage possibility for games at this point in the season?
MIKE SHILDT: I thought Hels was in a pretty high-leverage situation in the eighth the other day -- 4-3 game. Brebs has done a nice job.

Good news is we've got guys that all have been doing a nice job. Breb came in, did a nice job the other day. We always trust Gio, especially with the splittiness -- he's able to compete well to that.

But to your point, Hels has done a really nice job. And he's been able to pitch in, I feel like, high-leverage situations, the sixth through the eighth, pretty much the last five or six weeks. So did a nice job the other day and he's more than earned the opportunity.

Q. Did you sleep last night?
MIKE SHILDT: Like a baby. How did you sleep?

Q. Not well, if I may.
MIKE SHILDT: Sorry to hear that. Yeah, had a nice meal, nice air-conditioned room and dark and out like a light.

Q. The reason I ask is I was curious, like, the biggest game of your life is the next day. Do you find yourself playing out scenarios in your head, making pitching changes at 2.00 a.m., or apparently, no, you're sleeping like a baby?
MIKE SHILDT: Yeah, we're in this series pretty deep. I don't think we're going to get a ton of surprises. Obviously there's a lineup change for them today. And that's why we show up, go to the ballpark early today and look at it and talk about it and prepare for it.

But the fact of the matter is if you're sitting there tossing and turning, figuring out at 2:00 in the morning, you probably haven't done your preparation other times.

We trust our preparation. It allows us to stay calm and just play the game and be ready for a lot of scenarios. And I don't want to minimize it because we have thought about, spent a good portion of the series and yesterday and today thinking about different ways the game could go and how we'd react to it. But as far as staying up at night, no.

Q. Not being around the team obviously all year, can you just talk a little bit about your staff? I know pitching coach, hitting coach gets talked about a lot, but when you're here watching this team and you're seeing the work getting done day in and day out, I don't know if how often you have an opportunity to talk about the other guys?
MIKE SHILDT: I'm glad you brought that up. Listen, it's a players game. The staff does their job. I have no other reference point relative to other stats in this league and really none of my business or concern.

But I will say this: We have as prepared and dedicated a staff as I believe you can have. Having done this a while and knowing what it looks like to pour your heart and soul into a couple of different ways.

And the first manner is our staff genuinely cares about our players. And that's the reason they're on our staff, quite candidly. They care about our guys. They care about this organization. And they care about the organization, our guys, more than they care about themselves, which is very important.

I learned that lesson years ago with Mark DeJohn, our now-retired field coordinator who got it from Mr. Kissell, that, listen, you've got to care more about the player's career than you care about your own. That's why we're here. And this is a staff that embodies that.

They are very, very dedicated every day to make sure that we show up and our players and us during the game have no stone unturned. It's a big reason why we have been able to compete as well as we've been able to compete.

Again, credit to all the players, the ones who take the information, execute it. But I can tell you this; it's a nice feeling to go compete with a bunch of guys who are all in it together, all it for the greater good, all in it for our players, that when the game starts, there's nothing that we're going to really miss or be surprised about, which is why I can sleep at night and our guys can sleep at night and we can enjoy ourselves.

So Oli Marmol, our bench coach, is phenomenal. Unfortunately there's a lot of managerial openings available. I'd hate to lose him, but he's a guy that is targeting in that direction.

And you've got Pop Warner, our third base coach, who does a tremendous job. Stubby Clapp, works with the infielders; they do the base running. They're super prepared.

We all know Willie McGee from his reputation as being an elite player and Cardinal Hall of Famer. And we're talking about a really dedicated, professional coach who cares a lot about his guys and the outfielders.

And you mentioned Mad Dog and Jeff Albert, they get the attention rightfully so as hitting and pitching coaches, big pillars.

But Bryan Eversgerd, our bullpen coach, tremendous. And Jobel Jiménez has done a nice job in his hitting coach job.

It's a group effort including our video guys, Chad Blaire and Ben, who is with us. And our bullpen pitchers, are not just bullpen catchers. They actually work and help us in other areas, Jamie Pogue and Kleininger Teran. It's a group that I could talk about for a long time. I have a lot of respect for and a big reason why we're here.

Q. Is there any review of Michael Wacha and what he did today?
MIKE SHILDT: I haven't heard. Michael threw -- thanks for the question. I haven't been able to update you on Michael much recently. Michael's in a great spot.

He's done nothing but recover well. He threw a very highly intensive bullpen today, which I've not got feedback back. I saw him right before he went out. I was excited about it. Recovered well from his lighter bullpen two days ago and is in a good spot moving forward.


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