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October 11, 2019

Aaron Boone

Houston, Texas - Workout Day

Q. Are you ready to announce your rotation?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, Tanaka will go Game 1, Paxton will go in game 2, and then Seve at home in Game 3, and then we'll be TBD from there.

Q. What was the thought process behind flipping Tanaka and Paxton for the first game?
AARON BOONE: Again, I felt like it was a good decision. Tough one to be made but similar to the Division Series, where I was going back and forth a lot. Just felt like Masa here in Game 1 is the way I wanted to go in the end.

Q. Both teams had their bullpens well rested. How do you think that will affect a seven-game series?
AARON BOONE: Well, I mean, I think it's clear the bullpens will have to get important outs. You would expect some close games. So games that come down to the end where if you're going to be able to win a ball game you're going to have to close it out. So obviously we lean on our bullpen heavily.

So I think even for -- even though starting pitching is obviously very important and if you're going to get where you want to go you've got to get good starts out of it, as well. Usually when we look back at the end of these things the teams that are able to close out leads keep on advancing.

Q. What do you think of this franchise and how they built it three consecutive seasons with 100 wins, and three consecutive seasons in the ALCS with a World Series title?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, it's obviously a great team. Very well run. Obviously they've done a great job with their farm system of developing kind of homegrown superstars as well as making a lot of decisions, smart decisions of bringing in, whether via trade, via free agency. They've certainly kind of established themselves as the class of this League here the last few years. Hopefully we can ding it a little bit.

Q. You've played a series that went the maximum length, then you just managed a sweep. Do you think one team has an edge now you're playing a team that went the distance?
AARON BOONE: I don't think so. You can sit and make a case for both ways; wanting to keep on playing and playing high-stakes games and us having a little bit of rest. I'm sure whatever way the first couple of games go, I'm sure people will harken back to that and say the rest helped or hurt us or vice versa.

I don't think there's a magic formula. These are obviously two great teams. And hopefully we'll kind of deliver I think what the baseball world is probably anticipating.

Q. Have you made any roster decisions, and in particular with Hicks and CC?
AARON BOONE: We have not finalized yet. Still working through it, actually.

Obviously watching last night's game everyone was at home so we did have a big roster meeting and talked through a lot of things yesterday for quite a while. And then obviously with the game last night and now flying this morning we'll kind of get together again and hope to nail it down here pretty soon.

But we have not made the final call.

Q. As successful as the Astros have been at home this year, and they have a very loud, pretty charged-up atmosphere here, you can't really do anything in baseball to counteract a home-field advantage. But do you think your guys are suited for that type of atmosphere just because of the games you play in all the time, whether it's in Boston or some of these other places? Can that be a benefit?
AARON BOONE: I do. I think our guys relish in this. Clearly the Astros have obviously shown that they have a real home-field advantage here, not only this year but even going back now a few years. And I think a lot of us are aware of how loud this place can be.

But I do feel like our guys will relish in that, embrace that, and hopefully find a way to have success through it all. But I don't worry about that affecting our guys and our performance.

Q. How were you able to stay motivated going through all the adversity, especially with the injuries that you had this year?
AARON BOONE: We had no choice, and we had guys that were called upon in those -- kind of replacing injured players and guys that where a lot was still expected of them, they expected a lot from themselves. And across the board guys delivered for us in impactful ways and allowed us to stay afloat and thrive all season long.

And kind of looking back on it all, the amount of people that really played important roles, some that aren't even with us right now, some that are down in Tampa staying sharp, some that are already home, we've had so many different guys have a hand in us being here today.

Q. When you took over this team after the 2017 ALCS, Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez, the guys just played in their first playoffs. How much have you seen those two guys and this whole team be prepared to go through a series like this?
AARON BOONE: They represented pretty well back then, and obviously showed at a very young age that they were equipped to handle all that the postseason can throw at you. I think in both cases those guys have continued to grow in not only their game but their roles on the team, they're a growing voice on the team.

Obviously you're talking about Aaron and Gary, those are two faces of our franchise and core players for us that in the end if we're going to win big this year, those guys will be right in the middle of it.

Q. Most of your guys have, like a lot of guys, have poor numbers against their big three, but you got to see Verlander twice this year, I think you had Greinke twice this year, did not see Cole. How much advantage --
AARON BOONE: We saw Cole here, didn't we?

Q. I don't think you saw him this year.
AARON BOONE: Yeah, we did. We played Cole this year.

Q. How much of an advantage is it you got some looks off those guys?
AARON BOONE: I think it's better than not seeing them. Obviously we're talking -- you're talking about the elite of the elite pitchers. It's always going to be difficult.

But I think the fact that, speaking as a hitter, anytime you've at least had a little bit of experience against a pitcher, I think that's beneficial and hopefully something that some of our guys take with them.

We look forward to the challenge of facing guys that are obviously as good as what the Astros can roll out there at you.

Q. Does the longer series mean maybe a little bit longer leash on your starters or do you think you'd be just as aggressive with your bullpen?
AARON BOONE: The game will kind of dictate it and where you are in the series, when the off days fall, who you've used. It just kind of depends.

We're going for broke. We'll try and do everything we can each and every day to win a ball game, keeping in mind that everything has an effect on everything. So each and every day you've got to make those kind of adjustments. So we'll see how that plays out.

Q. Last night when you said you were sitting back and watching the Astros game, are you admiring Gerrit Cole's performance or are you already thinking ahead, I've got to beat him in Game 3?
AARON BOONE: I was thinking -- he looked like he aged out or something, like check his birth certificate. He's like the kid still pitching in Little League that was a little too good for the League, you know?

He's obviously a great pitcher in the prime of his career in a really good stretch right now. Anytime you go up against a guy like that, you know, it's hard, but it's also really fun. And especially when you have a team like us that is as good as we are offensively and as confident as those guys are, I think they'll look forward to that challenge and hopefully be able to, when you do get that mistake, hopefully you're able to take advantage of it because you know those are going to be few and far between.

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