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October 15, 2019

Aaron Boone

New York, New York - postgame 3

Houston - 4, New York - 1

Q. In the first two games you played Gleyber in the third spot and you moved him today to fifth. And what do you think about Severino's outing today?
AARON BOONE: That was just we had a few more lefties, so spacing our lefties out. Lineup-wise, we switch a lot based on who we have in there. With Hicks being in there and having a third lefty, just kind of getting some spacing within our lineup is all. I actually think Gleyber hit six the first game, if I'm not mistaken.

And I thought Seve was good. Obviously really had to labor there in that first inning, 36 pitches, then had to work really hard in the second inning, and I actually thought he settled in. As the night went on, I thought he got stronger.

And then the decision to send him back out there for the fifth, I thought he was at a point where he was still strong and throwing the ball well. Maybe the delay hurt him a little bit, where he gives up the -- gets Altuve to lead things off and then the base hit and the walk.

But I thought overall he competed really well. Obviously got himself in some trouble there, a couple of solo homers, but overall I thought he was pretty good.

Q. Ottavino continues to have problems on the mound. What's been the problem, and will you continue to use him?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, we'll continue to use him. I thought he was in the midst of a pretty good opening at-bat there with Springer and then loses him. That's obviously difficult when you come in from the pen and you have a lead-off walk, especially there at the top of the lineup. We've put him in some tough spots obviously in the lineup, and then they're running. And Altuve's first-pitch hit and the night's over there.

Just got to be a little sharper with his command, a little sharper with his stuff, and we're going to need him moving forward.

Q. I wonder what you're seeing from Sánchez on both sides of the ball, specifically offensively. And would you consider going to Romine in this series as a starter?
AARON BOONE: No. I'm seeing Gary miss some pitches. I felt like he got another good one to hit today and put it on the net again. He's got to take advantage of -- especially when you're facing a team like this with pitching like they have, when you do get a ball that you can handle, you've got to make sure it gets in play with authority and not on the net.

Defensively I think he's been great. I think he's, from a game plan, game calling, receiving, you know, had the block get by, but anytime a heater is in the -- fastball is in the dirt, that's kind of a tough one for a catcher. But defensively I feel like he's been really good.

Q. A couple of times you had relievers who looked like they were close to ready when Severino is in the game. Did he earn his way past some of those matchups by you seeing his stuff was improving? Did you get close to taking him out and decide not to?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, 36 pitches there in the first inning, he's a hitter away. Obviously we're not going to let him go much more than that. And then there was another time that he was probably a hitter away. Yeah, just kept making some pitches when he needed to.

And again, then I felt like he got a little bit sharper. As he got into his outing I thought he got a lot better and stronger.

Q. You haven't gotten a lot of length from your starters the last couple of games. With the prospect of the weather tomorrow, and needing to win three games in four days after that, do you need more length from your starters? Can you get by with four innings from a starter, despite how good your bullpen is?
AARON BOONE: No, we're going to need some length. And Seve did get us into the fifth today and Masa six the first game. So really, it's one short outing that we had ahead of an off day.

But confident that our starters can give us that. Obviously one of these days we'll kind of bullpen it and have to go that way. But I'm confident that they can get us deeper into the game.

Q. As good as Cole was, did you think he was vulnerable with the five walks? And did you think he raised his game when the big spots with guys on base?
AARON BOONE: It's obviously a little frustrating we weren't able to break through with him. But I think up and down we gave ourselves a chance. And anytime you're facing a guy like that, you want that kind of traffic. And we had that in several innings. He made big pitches when he had to.

I thought DJ had a really good swing on a ball, he hit to center with a couple of guys out there. And then Didi gets under it just a hair.

So anytime -- I think we ended up with probably about nine baserunners against him. You kind of sign up for that. We weren't able to break through. We weren't able to get that hit tonight to really allow us to be in that game or even grab a lead at some point.

Frustrating but overall I thought from a plan standpoint and giving yourselves a really good chance, I thought our guys were able to do that.

Q. On that same note, we saw guys tonight like Edwin and Didi trying to attack Cole early in the count. Was that part of the game plan, trying not to get to two strikes?
AARON BOONE: Well, I mean, certainly you don't want to allow a lot of pitchers, but certainly great pitchers to just get ahead with ease. So I think guys were up there being aggressive.

That said, I think we made him work pretty hard, too. I think he was up over a hundred pitches or flirting with that, even in that fifth inning where we got him up to about 90. I thought our guys did a good job of being aggressive, looking for a pitch early, but also getting in, working some counts.

Q. On the Didi drive, did you and the guys in your dugout think that was out?
AARON BOONE: I wasn't sure. I knew he got it good. But I also knew he got under it and hit it high. So I was kind of just hoping a little bit.

Q. Do you put any stock in the idea that the ball that's being used in the playoffs is different from the one you guys have used during the regular season?
AARON BOONE: I don't know. I don't think -- hard for me to say at this point. I've heard a couple of things about that. I don't know.

Q. If you do play tomorrow, who is your opener and where do you go from there? Do you have any sense if they'd make a decision tonight on tomorrow?
AARON BOONE: I don't. I haven't seen anyone since I came in. I'm not sure of that.

We'll go talk through how we want to go with it tomorrow in the case that we do play.

Q. And if they do call it early would it be then Tanaka?
AARON BOONE: Good chance of that. That's something we'll talk through, also. But a good chance of that, yes.

Q. To the point of going deep into the counts, would you have preferred to see Didi take a few more pitches and swing at so many first pitches?
A. No.

AARON BOONE: No. I mean, I want our guys -- we do a great job as a whole, obviously, of working counts and making pitchers work. But I always think it's important to go in there on the hunt, especially when you're up against a good pitcher. You can't just give great pitchers strike one. I always expect us to go up there looking to be aggressive. So if there's going to be some first pitch outs, that's part of it.

Q. Considering how much time he missed, what did you think of Hicks's at-bats, and if they were good enough for you, can you see him moving up from 9th to someplace more towards the middle or top of the lineup?
AARON BOONE: I don't know. We'll balance it out, kind of looking at how I want to go forward from here.

I thought his at-bats were really good. Two pretty big-time at-bats against Cole on his walks. A lot of long at-bats, some good swings and 3-2. It was a classic case of him being -- I thought he was really aggressive but kind of that Hicks signature patience. So I think with what we've seen when he came in the other day and then his at-bats today, I think we're all very encouraged by that.

Q. You mentioned splitting up the lefties in the lineup, Houston doesn't use a lot of lefties in their lineup in the ALCS. Is there any pitcher in particular you worry about neutralizing left--handed batters specifically?
AARON BOONE: Well, I mean, they don't have lefties but they have guys that are better at getting lefties out. So in a lot of ways it's the same difference. So you're still trying to -- when we do have two or three lefties in there splitting them up because you don't want to give their guys that are really good righty on righty, long lanes. Same can be said for splitting up their guys that are more their lefty assassins.

You've got to not get caught up in what they are, right, left-handed, and what they get out. When we can we'll space them out. Obviously we don't have that luxury, because we're very right-handed usually. But I'll space them out when I can.

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