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 9, 2019

AJ Hinch

Houston, Texas - Workout Day

Q. Obviously the lineup has not produced the way we're accustomed to seeing. Can you envision any changes or tinkering again with the order tomorrow?
AJ HINCH: Maldonado is going to catch. That shouldn't surprise anyone with Gerrit going. But I kind of see it a different way. I see it as their pitching has really done exceptionally well and our guys have had a few games here to see these guys over and over again.

I don't think now is the time to really turn your back on one of the best offenses in the Big Leagues just because the pitching staff has had a run of success for a couple of games. We'll go with the same guys.

Q. The Rays staff has been so good. You guys have struck out a little bit more than we've seen you. Have you seen anything different? Have you seen more chasing, just from your guys?
AJ HINCH: Last night in one particular strikeout, I never talk about Jose's strikeouts, but when you're seeing 99 mile-an-hour turbo sinkers that almost hit the back knee, I've seen that a little bit this series. I've seen some areas up top with some high velocity guys. I've seen them pitch in certain areas.

I've just seen a really good series between two really good teams; a potent offense, a really well-matched up, driven pitching staff, and I've seen four games played out where both teams have won two games.

Look, I think you can break it down. We'll have plenty of time to break it down after tomorrow's game however it plays out. But I like our guys. I like our chances. I think we're coming back to home where we play very well. And now that we've seen their entire bullpen a couple of times, it will be a fun game tomorrow.

Q. With Cole going against the same team in the span of just a few days, what do you think the challenges are for him or is he so dominant that he just has to stick to his game plan?
AJ HINCH: Well, Glasnow is going against the same team, as well. I think the advantages or disadvantages are on both same sides. I don't think there's a lot of secrets this deep into the series. I think both guys are really good. I think our guys -- one of the best, if not the best in the Big Leagues, at adapting and reading swings and reading approaches and seeing what they're going to bring, as well.

But I think this is why you play. Just because you have to play somebody back-to-back and face them two times in a row, that's the nature of playoff baseball and you've got to beat teams three times in a five-game series to win it. It happens to be they get to face the same pitching, and so do we. The team that scores the most tomorrow is going to win.

Q. With Tampa Bay's pitching, is it both the quality of the stuff and the fact that they sometimes tend to run a different guy out every inning that makes it so challenging?
AJ HINCH: The different guy every inning is one way to put it. I think it's more about the quality they're able to produce. You see what Anderson's throwing, you see Castillo, you see Roe's slider, you see Snell come out of the bullpen throwing 96 again; he hadn't done that since his injury. You see all sorts of different variations.

They made it perfectly clear they weren't going to let guys see a guy multiple times. And statistically and from a competitive standpoint that's the way to go. If you really want to be the most effective, that's the approach to go with. It's hard to do that over 162, but in a five-game set, you're seeing them play out their script about as well as they possibly could.

It's up to us to make the adjustments. We've seen these guys now. You can't have it both ways. You can't say it's difficult on one guy seeing a guy over and over again, and on the flip side when you see a guy over and over again you've got to find a way to put up good at-bats.

I love it. I love that we're here. And the way we got here is nerve-wracking just because you don't want to get to a Game 5. We fought all year for have a better record and to win our division to get this particular game at home. And they've got to come into our house and beat us again. With Cole on the mound, I don't know who could be more confident than us.

Q. You talked a lot about playoff experience throughout this series, but not just playoff experience but the fact that you have been in this exact situation, elimination games before. Do you think that will help you guys?
AJ HINCH: You know what will help us, is by playing with the lead and scoring more runs. That will help more than any sort of experience. I think coming into the game or the reaction to the last couple of games, that's where that experience plays up a little bit. But I don't necessarily think they're going to be scared off just because they haven't been in it. They've already played a couple of elimination games this season.

Much of the talk about experience at this point, I think everybody is just going to bring their best into tomorrow's game. We're comfortable that we've got to come out with one of our best pitchers pitching in our home field and win a deciding game. And no, it's not our first time we've been through this. But the most important game of the year is tomorrow.

Q. Alvarez and Urquidy are both rookies, both first season, very challenging situations, especially Alvarez, that has to be at bat every three innings. Have you talked to him regarding the situation? What kind of guidance do you give him as a manager? And lastly, and with all respect to the Tampa Rays, in case everything goes well tomorrow, do you think the fact that the Astros have been continually playing all the way to a Game 5, the Yankees ended up sweeping the Twins will be an advantage to the Astros because of the constant competitive playing?
AJ HINCH: No, I appreciate the question. I'm not going to address anything beyond tomorrow's game. Tomorrow is our center focus. And I understand the appeal of the what-ifs.

But when it comes to Alvarez, I don't have to say a lot to these guys. He's pretty tested. I'm going to put him in the 5 hole and let him do his thing. I love when he's up to bat. I think they showed him how they like to pitch him; they're throwing velocity up, they're throwing him some chase breaking balls.

He might be the one guy in a lineup full of guys you should be afraid of that they're probably the most afraid. I see the most action around his at-bats when it rolls around. That's a lot of respect that comes his way.

He's got a room full of guys in there that can help him. He's not nervous, he's not going to scare off. He hit a rocket last night. He's had his fair share of hits in this series.

My job will be to support him. I'm going to put him in the 5 hole tomorrow and let him do his thing. He may have the biggest swing of the game tomorrow, I don't know.

Q. Baseball is a game of adjustments, and you talk about having seen these guys now throughout the series, and of course throughout the regular season. When you do have that extra element of not knowing pitching-wise, do you maybe game plan a little different as far as scouting reports, information that you give your hitters? Does that look a little bit different in-game as far as adjustments, different things like that?
AJ HINCH: A little bit the in-game stuff is really based on what we know is happening at that point. We have a little bit of time when they're getting their guy warmed up. We know for example Anderson is going to come in against Altuve or Bregman or Poche or Brantley or however they're going to match their guys up. They only tip their hand when they take their jacket off and start warming up and we kind of know where that's going to be.

Going into a game I think at this point if you're surprised by anything that the Rays do then you haven't really done your homework. Those guys are in there right now going through different matchups. And I'm playing out a million scenarios.

And which I think brings up a really key point is the pressure tomorrow is awesome. And it's on both of us. And who's going to be able to get the lead. Who's going to be able to get out of the gate and kind of take control of the game. They're going to want to take our crowd out of it. We're going to want them to be loud as hell.

That's the fun part of your prep going into the game. How long does Glasnow go? I don't know. When will Snell get up? At some point. When do they go to Castillo and Anderson and the same crew? That's how they've won. And it's how they usually win.

But we are well prepared to audible when we need to and we know who they're going to bring who in against us.

Q. You've had some mixed results from some of your relievers that are expected to pitch the high-leverage innings. What have you seen from Pressly kind of still coming back, Harris, and just how do you feel about the depth of your bullpen so far?
AJ HINCH: I think what I've seen is how dangerous it is when you have a few guys get some injuries late in the year. And think they're going to be able to turn it on. Press has given us everything that he can. He's only had four or five outings. I thought the outs last night while it didn't seem maybe as big to some, keeping us in range when he came in and got d'Arnaud out, that was a huge out and much more like he usually pitches when it comes to the mid-90s fastball, the power breaking ball.

The fact that he hasn't had a full month of recovery or innings in order to build it up, at this point we don't have a choice but to go with what we think is best. Will Harris has had a tremendous postseason thus far. And it's no secret that I go to him in the most leveraged opportunities that I can. I feel really good about that. I've always had Osuna's back. I think when all is said and done I think we're going to see this guy come in and throw really hard tomorrow night. He's going to throw some really good breaking balls. He's got areas, and he gets a lot of outs.

Oftentimes these relievers are only talked about when they struggle or when they give up a big hit. It's a thankless job. If they don't do their job they blew the game. Nobody has really blown games in this series. Both teams have won the games that they kind of are ahead in and how they're supposed to win and how we matchup in the end. We'll see tomorrow night if that can continue. And I like the chances with the depth we have. The way that Joe Smith is throwing the ball, the way Josh James came in throwing upper the 90s again. How creative we have to be will be depending upon the game. The tone will be set by Gerrit Cole and that's a good feeling.

Q. You touched on it a little bit before. When a batter sees a pitcher more than once or twice in a game we see the advantage. Is there a similar advantage of seeing that pitcher more than twice, maybe even three times in a series?
AJ HINCH: Well, it depends on how they throw. Their mistakes, it's probably better to see their mistakes. But if Castillo throws the 99-mile-an-hour turbo sinker, it doesn't get more comfortable the more you see him. That's just the reality of it. If Anderson is going to dot 98 down and away, it's not going to get a lot easier.

I'll tell you this, on the flip side of that Will Harris's curveball is pretty devastating, as well. The more they see it doesn't necessarily mean the more successful they're going to be either. And the same goes for Pressly's fast ball or Joe Smith's angle. So when you have success against pitcher's, familiarity is always the go-to answer of like, hey, like I saw him a little bit better, when you don't, it doesn't matter. I guess it's all about results.

Q. Are all members of your pitching staff available tomorrow?
AJ HINCH: Let's get to tomorrow. I've got to get through a workout today and see how these guys feel. But it is all hands on deck for a reason this time of year. So I would expect so. I don't know about JV, I haven't talked to Zack yet about where he will be. But nobody really comes to my office the day of elimination games and says, Hey, by the way, if you can avoid me, I need a day of rest. That's not how it works.

Q. Four teams this year had a hundred wins or more, first time in baseball history, three of the ALDS are in Game 5. Does that say anything how at the top how competitive it is, that you can have 107, 103, 101 wins but it's four or five evenly matched teams?
AJ HINCH: There aren't a lot of bad teams left. These are pretty good teams. You play the regular season to position yourself for games like this.

We came into this series with a ton of respect for Tampa. They've done nothing but earn more of that. They haven't won the series yet. Just because they pushed us to a Game 5 doesn't give them any more advantage or anything like that. Where it fits in the 100-win season, I want to have three wins at the end of tomorrow night, that's the No. 1 goal.

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