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October 14, 2019

Dave Martinez

Washington D.C. - pregame 3

Q. Davey, what did you have to see from Victor either yesterday or this morning to make sure he could get back in there today?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He ran the bases today and ran them full tilt. So he looked really good. We wanted him to hit on the field. He couldn't do that, obviously, because it started pouring down rain, but he hit in the cage, took some good swings. He's raring to go. Excited to be back on the field.

Q. During the season, you talked a lot about managing guys' workloads, whether it was Howie, Zim, some of the older guys. In the postseason, how much of a focus is it to put your best players in the best spots no matter what. Is that how you're approaching it?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Right now, yeah. The biggest thing is the days off. We've had days off in between. Moving forward, we've got three games in a row, and this is all based on conversations with Howie, Zim. Right now, they're playing well. They're healthy. We're just going to keep it going.

Q. You've also frequently mentioned conversations you have day-to-day with those guys. How much does strength staff come in, medical? Do you map out plans with them as well, or is it just the players?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Absolutely, absolutely. The biggest thing with Victor -- Michael's played really, really well, but with Victor, it's getting him loose and in the game and letting him play as opposed to keeping him on the bench, trying to get him loose again. I talked to the training staff about that and felt that he should just get loose and get in the game. If something happens, Michael is ready to play.

Q. Like you said, this is the first time you might be playing three days in a row in the postseason. So when it comes to your bullpen, do you have to approach these any differently and not know that you can ride Doolittle and Hudson quite to the extent you have at this point?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We'll just have to see how the game plays out today, tomorrow. These guys, this is based on -- they come in every day, they throw, and after that, I have a conversation with them to see where they're at. They know what we're playing for, so these games are different than the regular season. If they're available and we have a chance to close out a game, I'm sure they're going to want the ball.

Q. Davey, along the lines of Jesse's question, you have six guys on the bench tonight that have all made postseason starts before this year. How have you gotten those guys to buy in to a team-first mentality?
DAVE MARTINEZ: That didn't take much. They're all about the team. They really are. You listen to these guys pulling for each other day in and day out, they've done that all year. When they're called upon, they're ready.

Matt Adams the other day, huge pinch-hit. Hasn't really played much or done much, but he gets it, and he went in there and had a big hit for us.

Q. Davey, you were a major league hitter. Stephen Strasburg's change-up, how would you approach that, that one pitch? Has it ever made you sit in the dugout and go, what was that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I often say to myself when he throws it, I'm glad I'm not playing anymore because it would be frustrating to hit, but it's tough. I look at it, he's got two different ones. One breaks into righties and one just goes straight down. It's really tough. He throws it -- what makes a good change-up is your arm action, and he's got really good arm action.

Q. Davey, obviously, this staff is unique in terms of its makeup, but when you go back and think about the first 50 games and how bad it was, how worse would it have been without these -- without your four starters being able to go the way that they've gone all year?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Honestly, I don't want to think about it. We're fortunate that these guys are really good, four of those guys, and even when we had to mix in a fifth starter, those guys pitched big games for us -- Joe, Fedde, Voth -- they all did what we needed them to do. So life without them would definitely not be as fun. I'm just glad they're part of this and I'm part of them.

Q. You've also said -- I mean, you haven't said this, but we've seen bullpenning become a thing the last couple years on several staffs. This staff kind of goes against the grain. Is it simply the talent level of these guys, or do you think it's more this is what this organization simply thinks about starters vis-a-vis the bullpen?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I think our starters, as you know, we went out and got another starter last year with Corbin. We believe in starting pitching. That's where it all starts. Rizz did a great job of getting the guys we have now. They keep us in ball games. That's how it all starts. Hopefully today, Stephen goes out today and does what he's been doing all year and gives us a quality start.

Q. Davey, you've talked about liking how Tanner Rainey is throwing the last month or so. It seems like his command is getting a litter better. What would you attribute this last month that he's on?
DAVE MARTINEZ: One is confidence, and one is really not -- we talk a lot about him going out and just toning back his -- he's one of those guys that likes full-fledged energy, psychs himself out kind of deal. We wanted him to tone it back a litte bit. For him, 75 percent is 125 percent when he goes out. We just tell him, hey, strike one is your biggest pitch. You've got to throw strike one. Once he does that, it seems like he settles in a little bit.

But he's done that over the last month or so, and he's been really, really effective.

Q. Davey, you've talked a lot about guys kind of controlling their heartbeats, but with Anthony Rendon, some of his teammates have said that he plays like he has no pulse.
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, he has no heart. I shouldn't say that. He's got a big heart. We just talked about this. I just watched that guy go up there in big moments and yawn during an at-bat. I mean, what does that say about him? He's just one of those guys that you see no emotion regardless of if he hits a grand slam to win the game or he makes a great play or anything. He just plays.

You could talk to him, and he'll tell you, all right, whatever, he gives you that, but I know he enjoys playing. And believe me, when he doesn't do good, he gets really frustrated, he does. But I just love watching him play every day. He brings it every day. Even though, like I said, it looks like he has no pulse, but he does, and I know his teammates appreciate him very much.

Q. In the off-season, you lost one of your top players, Bryce Harper, to free agency. How did you overcome something like that? And are the Nationals today better today without him than they were with him?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We've had a long season. What I believe in is it takes more than one person to win the championship, and that's been the message since Spring Training. Everybody's got to participate. It takes more than 25 guys, honestly, to win the championship. Everybody we brought up at some capacity helped us win a game or two. So I'm proud of these guys sticking together. The biggest thing is that they play together.

We did things differently. We used different guys. If you look at all the people that played first base, all the people that played second base, when we lost Trea there for a while, guys that played shortstop, our outfielders, they all contributed, and I think that's what it takes to win a championship.

Q. You were part of one of the most famous ends of a drought for a championship in major league history. This game tonight is going to be the first one in this city that's this deep into the postseason in 86 years. Do you think that baseball history in the city of Washington maybe has not been talked about in terms of what this run for your team could mean for the city overall?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I think, one, this organization for years has been really, really good. And they've always been talked about as being one of the top teams in the division and they should go far. I think this year we kind of went under the radar because of the way we started, and now that we're where we're at, I think the fans, the city, appreciate how hard that we all worked to get to where we're at and that the players keep pushing to get better every day, and they do that.

I expect them to go out there today and compete. That's what we talk a lot about, just go out there and compete. Don't try to do too much. Just go out there and have fun and compete.

Q. Stephen has a 1.32 career ERA in the postseason. Small sample size, but in a couple outings this year, have you noticed any special ability for him to ratchet up a notch or focus more?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I think he goes out there and just tries to compete. He doesn't try to do anything different. What I love about these guys is everybody sees them every fifth day. I get to watch them every day and what they do behind the scenes. All our starters, they work harder than anybody to get ready for that fifth day, and I think that's a testament to how good they are and what they want to do and what it means to them to win a championship.

Q. Davey, do players think about the historical significance of Washington getting into the World Series? Do the Cubs think about it given the 100-year drought?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I think right now, our players are not thinking a whole lot about anything except winning today. I really do. We got to this point. We celebrated the Wild Card. We celebrated Game 5, and it was a celebration, and they were like, okay, let's go 1-0 next day. I think their focus is on just trying to go out there and go 1-0 today.

I just want to say one thing. I want to congratulate the Mystics for winning a championship. I think that's pretty awesome for the city, as well. So congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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