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October 9, 2019

Dave Roberts

Los Angeles, California - pregame 5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you do what the Cardinals are doing?
DAVE ROBERTS: That's a good blueprint, yeah, they got off to a good start. I'll bank 10 runs in the first. That would be great.

Q. Honestly, how did you construct this lineup today for the elimination game? What was your thought process going into this one?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I mean obviously having Beatty in there, I love his at-bat quality. He's going to obviously be tested with the changeup. But him at first base, I like him in there. And to have Freeser off the bench in a spot where Doolittle or Corbin comes into the game, I love that. That's why I chose to break up Bellinger and Seager in that 4, 5, 6. I have Kiké in there against the right-hander, that more curveball fastball, same change in there. I love Kiké's defense where I think Walker is more fly ball than ground ball, so to have him out there in left field makes a lot of sense.

Our bench, we can match up in any way, as far as defense for guys, hitting for guys, running with the speed of Lux on the bench. So I just kind of loved the way that we presented the lineup and also can counter if we need to.

Q. In Game 2 when you guys faced Strasburg there was a lot of swing and miss. How much focus has been put on making sure you keep him, like any pitcher, but keep him particularly in the zone?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's important. The other night facing Strasburg here, the fastball had the life that we know. The changeup is a chase pitch. And I think that you know that, but that lane that it comes out of, the depth that it possesses, is really good. So I think that it certainly helps that we have seen him just recently. And the curveball really played up last time. It was an 85-mile-an-hour curveball. So he threw the heck out of the baseball and we got our work cut out. But our guys are ready, prepared, and I like where we're at.

Q. You had said all hands on deck. Is your thought that if the situation calls for, it Kershaw is in tonight?
DAVE ROBERTS: He's a part of the deck. He's deckhand. So, yeah, if the situation calls for it, yeah. Clayton's ready to go in whatever we ask of him.

Q. I would imagine that at this point with those guys that you have in the clubhouse, the veteran leadership, you don't have to have a come to Jesus meeting. I understand they know what's at stake. Do you approach them any differently today or you just do it as normal?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think that it was more of gauging the room. And when I came in, there was Cody, Joc and all these guys yelling and hollering and I love that positivity, that energy. And I would rather have that than the kind of tense, focused, Game 5 situation. So we have been here, so for me we have been kind of tested, battle tested, so for me to kind of get the guys together to speak to the magnitude of the game, I don't see it makes sense. Walker is raring to go, I know that.

Q. What are they yelling and hollering about?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, you know what, I couldn't really decipher it, but it was loud, it was poking fun at guys. So as long as it was loud, I was kind of in.

Q. There's a perception that the Nats are kind of playing with house money as like a Wild Card team. You're the favorite in this series, the pressure should be on you guys. Do you buy that?
DAVE ROBERTS: I don't, I don't. There's not a guy in that clubhouse over there that doesn't want to win this game as much as we do. So I think that pressure is kind of what you make of it. And right now the goal in both clubhouses is to win a baseball game, regardless of who is favored, who is not. It really doesn't matter once that first pitch is thrown. We got to go out there and play a good baseball game, take good at-bats, catch the baseball, make good pitches, and I'll take our chances at home.

Q. Buehler's shown his metal in the postseason already, but now he's in an elimination game. I mean, do you sense any difference in the way he's approaching this or in his attitude toward it?
DAVE ROBERTS: No, not at all, not at all. He wants the baseball, I'm going to ride him tonight. He throws well at home, he's got fans behind him, a lot of energy, he's got 24 other players supporting him. So, yeah, I mean, I trust Walker in this spot.

Q. As good as he in the regular season, he's even been better in the postseason. What do you see in these games that he pitches that takes him to another level?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think, not to say he's not uber focused in every start that he makes during the season, but just that moment where the stage is big, the moments are bigger, everything's more magnified, Walker just has that extra level of concentration, execution. I love his stuff in big games. I love the swing and miss, in the zone, out of the zone. And again, he just has the ability to continue to make pitches and not let the moment get too big. So that's probably the reason why.

Q. What do you make of, in the long history of Strasburg and how we have all followed it, of where he is now in his career?
DAVE ROBERTS: He is a superstar. I think that you're talking about Strasburg and Harper as far as recency of kind of huge, huge expectations kind of from the day one of the draft and those are hard things to live up to for anyone's standards. But I think Stephen, don't know him, but he's been a pro and kind of adversity, successes and handled it like a pro. Done a lot of great things for that organization. I don't know if the expectation that people had for him he could have ever amassed, but he's done great things for this league.

Q. I know you've sometimes gone with Matt Beatty in left and Kiké at second base. Is there a reason you preferred it this way?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, it was more Walker being fly ball and the range out there, the outfield arm from Kiké, that was kind of the driver in that one.

Q. You guys have prided yourself on plate discipline, quality at-bats. 52 strikeouts in these four games, is it, has it been some anxiousness or do you just tip your cap to the pitchers that you faced?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think probably more the latter. You're looking at, three of the guys that we faced, as far as those three starters, and I know Sánchez punched us a lot, too, but speaking to Scherzer, Corbin, and Strasburg, those are three guys that really punch a lot of guys out. Those guys make good pitches, that's part of it. And there's a little bit of overanxiousness. When we get into good counts, I think that we get a little antsy instead of showing a little bit more discipline. He's going to be good tonight. But I think that more so to the pitcher, but to win a championship you got to beat good pitching too.

Q. We heard earlier that gymnastics was on in the clubhouse. Wondering if you can confirm or if the channel's been changed.
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that once it got to 7, 8, I think they pivoted from the baseball game to the gymnastics, but I don't know, I think Simone, I don't think she was in action today, so I'm not sure who they're watching. Maybe the flying squirrel?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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