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October 9, 2019

Kevin Cash

Houston, Texas - Workout Day

Q. What's kind of a reasonable expectation with Tyler tomorrow?
KEVIN CASH: I think he's pretty close to full go. He finished with 76 pitches, roughly, something like that. I believe he's pitching on an extra day. I think he's got a chance to get to that 90 pitch.

We'll just see how it goes. That's kind of what we've done with all of these guys that have been coming back from injuries. I think you go in with a game plan, a thought process, but you gauge off how the ball is coming out and how they're feeling. Kyle does such a good job of building those relationships throughout the course of the season to where you get some honest answers here as they're being built up and coming back from an injury.

Q. What's been the key for you guys to navigate this Astros lineup for four games as well as you have?
KEVIN CASH: We've got really good pitching. That's the biggest key. I like the fact that for the most part we have attacked them in the strike zone. They're an offense that if you -- I think we saw a little bit with Emilio, if you mess around and don't establish strikes, they're going to get you, and they're going to find their way on base, and that's when they really get the big hit.

Every little opportunity they've created, it seems like they have found a way to score runs from. Whether it was a miscue on defense, an infield single or a walk, it seems like they've capitalized on it. But the more that we can just stay in control of the count as much as possible has allowed us to have some success.

Q. Your bullpen is so good. Is it that you have a bunch of different quality arms that give different looks or their stuff is just so great?
KEVIN CASH: I think it's a combination. Their stuff is really, really good. Now, saying that, I don't know if you're going to see two bigger contrasts from Diego Castillo to Ryan Yarbrough, and then you bring in Nick Anderson. There's a lot of opposites in there. Diego does it with the sinker slider, Yarbs kind of mixes speeds and doesn't break 90 but can really pitch, and then Nick comes in there with kind of the high fastball that we can really get on hitters quick.

So it's a combination of both. But yesterday's game probably that's where the contrast really played a role. And you've probably got to have a little bit of that contrast to be fortunate enough to do what they did against as good as the Astros lineup is.

Q. We all know that a hitter has an advantage in seeing a pitcher a second or third or even fourth time in a single game. What about in a series like this where the Astros have a chance to see at least one of your pitchers for the fifth time, they'll see Glasnow for a second time in six days. Is there an advantage in the familiarity in a series?
KEVIN CASH: Look, I don't know the exact answer. If you're asking me personally, I believe it goes into the hitters' favor at that point. But the same to be said with our hitters facing Gerrit Cole. I don't think anybody wants to go up too many times against him. You have to keep in the back of your mind that all these guys just saw the same guy four or five days ago.

I generally think that it goes that way but certainly both pitchers that are going to be pitching tomorrow night are totally capable of making that comment not make sense.

Q. You've seen the maturation of Adames the last couple of years. What has that entailed and how nice is it to see him really seize the moment on this stage?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, he's really stepped it up. It's been awesome to sit and watch what he's done briefly in a young career.

Two sides of it, defensively we were comfortable, thought that he could play shortstop. Wasn't sure if he was going to be elite level, championship caliber shortstop. He certainly is. The player gets all the credit. I do give Rodney Linares a lot of credit for the work he's put in. He's given Willy a routine, and they stick by that routine day-in and day-out.

We heard coming up through the Minor Leagues, Willy kind of always rose up. The brighter the lights, the better he played. We're certainly seeing that now.

But he's playing with an all-time confidence right now. He's had some ups and downs throughout the season. He seemed to really have gotten hot in this postseason. But he's been a lot of fun to watch.

And we talk about Willy, he's one of those guys that have that "it" factor. He carries himself really, really well in the clubhouse. He carries himself really, really well on the field. You can't knock the smile off his face. And his No. 1 priority is winning.

Q. As far as the bullpen tomorrow, is that truly an everyone involved --
KEVIN CASH: Everybody will be available.

Q. Does "everybody" include Blake and Charlie?
KEVIN CASH: Yes. All of them.

Q. Everybody?
KEVIN CASH: We'll be ready, yes.

Q. When it comes to Glasnow, his numbers, even in a short amount of time since he came back, from an analytic standpoint his numbers are up there, still with the elite. What impressed you the most about how quickly he had to get ready for this and what you saw from him through September?
KEVIN CASH: What impressed me the most or us the most was that he got the ball in the zone really quick. What we saw of Tyler last year, pieces of it, and then in Spring Training, there were some inconsistencies. So when he had the two-and-a-half, three-month injury that kept him out, the major concern is, is he going to come in and able to throw strikes at a high enough tick to where it made sense to continue building him up.

It's been pretty remarkable what he's done, able to establish strikes in the zone, landing his breaking ball early. And he's really only got the land the curveball a couple of times early in a ball game. Once he does that, I think the opposing lineup recognizes it, you start to see the chase. And from analytically, it seems like he's getting better. His start here against the Astros might have been his best of any of those spin rate thoughts or readings that they come out with.

Q. What type of strides did Choi make over the course of the season for you guys to continue to trust him over there at first?
KEVIN CASH: Well, he worked. And I think a lot -- there was a lot of unknown with him at first base. He hadn't played -- he's played enough over there. Hadn't played a ton. Never really played a full season. We got in the middle of the season and there were concerns, like he was logging a ton of at-bats, a lot of innings on his feet. Is he going to be able to hold up through a long season. Other than one nick I think with his calf or something, he's certainly done that. And I think he's grown comfortable playing first.

And look, I think as good as our defense is, it elevates everybody a little bit. Ji-Man recognizes how talented we are defensively. You don't want to be the odd man out. He's saved, whether it's Willy, whether it's Duff, whether any of our second basemen, you want to be able to as an infielder feel confident that if I don't make that perfect throw, that guy at first has got my back. And I think Ji-Man has done a tremendous job of that.

Q. I know Charlie gave up the homer to Altuve in the first inning in Game 3. But other than that you've really contained the top of their order, especially early in games. How crucial has that been to especially neutralize Springer at the top?
KEVIN CASH: That's been crucial. I couldn't give you an answer as to how we're doing it because they're so good. Springer walks to the plate and all you're thinking is, get the ball down, don't let him get extended. He's so dangerous. All of them. I don't have a good answer.

We've got good pitching and we're fortunate with the way they have executed and kind of navigated through the top of the lineup. And I think we've done a good job of keeping maybe some guys off base when they come back up the second and third time around, that's been huge. Those guys seem to have a knack for rising up when guys are on base.

Q. In the last week you guys have won the winner-take-all Wild Card game, two elimination games, and you come in here for this. What's impressed you about the way your team has handled that, what have they proved? And how much momentum can carry over to tomorrow?
KEVIN CASH: Hopefully a lot. I'm impressed with the way the guys -- I'm impressed with the way the guys responded in Game 3. There's no -- we can't deny that after you saw Justin and Gerrit in Games 1 and 2, we did a lot of things right in those games and came up really short, and we got beat. They didn't hang their heads, which didn't expect them to do that.

I think Charlie Morton had a big, big role in that knowing that we were getting our version of those guys to pitch for us in Game 3, and he certainly went out and did that. And that momentum kind of carried over from Charlie's outing to the bats waking up a little bit. And then yesterday the fans, everybody getting involved.

Now carryover. We're back in this atmosphere again, which is as good as ours was. Theirs was very similar in Games 1 and 2.

Q. Last night Kiermaier described this team, he said there are no superstars but a ton of above-average players. What's your best description of this roster?
KEVIN CASH: I think that's pretty fair. Look, I think Austin Meadows has had a pretty superstar offensive performance. Is he a superstar? We'll find out in the coming years.

But I do think the mentality that these guys come to the ballpark, they might not be superstars but they certainly believe they are.

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