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October 19, 2019

Aaron Boone

Houston, Texas - pregame 6

Q. With the Astros going with a bullpen day as well, what are some of the challenges and how does the preparation change going into a game like tonight?
AARON BOONE: The challenges are you're not getting a lot of looks at one guy. They're putting in pitchers in parts of the lineup that are designed for them to be successful. So therein lies the challenge of it.

I think our guys from a game-planning standpoint have some comfort in the fact that they're used to it. We've face this quite a bit. So guys know kind of how to prepare and get ready.

But it certainly creates its challenges because they're matching up pitchers in areas that they have the best chance to be successful in their part of the lineup.

Q. Any chance you would use Tanaka?
AARON BOONE: Probably not. I kind of view Masa more in play tomorrow. Probably not today.

Q. Would you use Severino in an emergency?
AARON BOONE: We'll see. We'll talk about that in the hours leading up here.

Q. What made you decide to go with Edwin Encarnacion DH'ing instead of Giancarlo Stanton?
AARON BOONE: One of those that I toiled over last night and into this morning. Feel good about both guys. Not quite ready to feel like I'm ready to G out in the field. So it's now the DH conversation.

And still, even though Edwin has had some tough games, still feel like he's got a chance to really impact things. Felt like I wanted him in there today and wanted to keep the infield alignment the same. So it was really just deciding between two really good players.

And in G's case, first game back from the injury that he's still battling with, late game, getting in in the middle of the night and stuff. So it was a decision for me, feel like there's potentially a big spot for him off the bench still. And the good thing is that it's a tough decision because I've got two really good players.

Q. Starting Chad was pretty elementary. Did that require a lot of thought?
AARON BOONE: We debated a little bit but it all came back to Greeny. So obviously it's something he's done quite a bit this year, he's comfortable with it. Feel like he's throwing the ball well. So hopefully he can get us going on a good note.

Q. With Green, do you have a certain number in your mind pitch count-wise as far as how far you would push him or is it a matter of just watching and seeing how strong he is?
AARON BOONE: Not necessarily a pitch count, no. Kind of a baseline of hopefully where in the order he can get through. But if he looks strong and cruising along then we'll ride with him a little further. He's not built up to go too, too long but hopefully he can give us a little bit of length to start things off.

Q. Aaron Hicks missed a lot of time, had a monster at-bat in Game 5. What's impressed you about how he's been able to see the ball since coming back in the short span?
AARON BOONE: The fact that he's looked like himself and the good portion that Aaron brings. Ultimate strike zone control.

I feel like since his first at-bat when he pinch-hit here when we were here last time, I think it was Game 2, and then carried it right into now, the games that he started, I feel like the quality his at-bats have been there. And I feel like physically he's moving around well. I feel like he's moving well in the outfield, and I think clearly a guy that likes playing in these games that mean a little bit more.

Q. What are the biggest challenges of managing a bullpen game especially on a night where there's so much urgency as tonight?
AARON BOONE: Just knowing you're going to use a lot of guys and trying to get guys in parts of the lineup where they have a chance to be the most successful, period. We feel good about our guys and if they throw the ball the way they're capable of, that they can go out and be successful.

But the biggest challenge is trying as best you can to be disciplined to getting them into the part of the game where you want them in and not necessarily where you need them in.

Q. You and AJ Hinch know each other pretty well. And this is kind of a unique situation, both of you guys are doing the same thing in this game. Is there a part of you when you're making decisions, I know what he's thinking, he knows what I'm thinking, that kind of back and forth?
AARON BOONE: Honestly, I don't really get that involved in it like that or think about it that way. Kind of consumed with what we're doing. I mean, you've got to be certainly aware of, Hey, might they hit for this guy in this situation? So you try and think along in that regard based on what you're doing and the moves we're making.

But I don't think it gets too deep as far as -- because of our relationship.

Q. You've obviously spent a lifetime in the game, in a very traditional baseball upbringing. The idea of two teams doing a bullpen game with such high stakes just a few years ago would have been just about unthinkable. Do you think it's better for the game, more interesting, more efficient way to win or do you ever think, how did we evolve this game to this point?
AARON BOONE: Right. It certainly can be. Both teams are doing it because we think it gives us a better chance to win. Obviously some of it's out of need where we've had some guys that have started for us this year that aren't available.

So I don't get too caught up -- I'm on the side of things where we're trying to win. We've seen firsthand going back to when Tampa started doing this last year how effective it can be and how much of a challenge it can be. And we feel like we have the pieces that have a chance to have a lot of success with it and hopefully we can tonight.

Q. Is your team nervous, anxious, are you nervous, anxious? How would you portray what you're feeling and how you feel your team is feeling?
AARON BOONE: I think our guys are good. We wanted to make sure we got on that plane last night; we did. And I'm confident we'll come in here and go play our game and enjoy doing it.

As far as nervous, the leadup is always anxious and a little uptight. I finally, once the game gets going, there's some comfort in that. It's kind of the best time of the day, frankly, when you're in the game now and watching our guys go out and compete. You feel like all the prep work now is, Now we go. And there's some comfort in that.

Q. Did the loss of CC impact the matchups you see for Happ in that you might move him into some of the spots where you'd see a matchup for CC? Or is Happ still kind of in his own little lane there?
AARON BOONE: No, I think we -- there's some similarities between the two that we saw in this series as far as the occasional one off where they're facing one-hitter, one lefty hitter, but also there are some lanes where they can give us some length. Probably feel like J.A. can go more hitters at this point from where CC was before he got hurt.

But viewed them both a little bit similarly.

Q. So that doesn't change or limit Happ's length that you might ask him --
AARON BOONE: No, no, we feel like there's some spots for Happer tonight that he can go in and be effective for us.

Q. A lot of your guys, including Aaron Judge, have described this season if you don't make it to the World Series it's a failure. Is it?
AARON BOONE: I hate that question. Not because you asked, not like that. I mean, we're -- I know as an organization myself, our players, we're chasing a championship and we're doing everything we can. We want to be champions. So that's the goal. That's the focus.

Putting a label, success, fail, all that, I don't really have time for it, honestly. We've got to go get a win tonight and that's the focus. I'm proud to go compete with those guys every day. I reject it a little bit but I don't really get caught up in the question, either. It's full steam ahead, let's go.

Q. With the Astros starting Peacock tonight, any advantage for you guys, since you saw him just about 20 hours ago?
AARON BOONE: Well, I hope so. Look, we know he's a good pitcher, he's a guy that's pitched well in the postseason for them in the past. Obviously has dealt with some injuries this year. Hopefully a little bit of the familiarity of a few of our guys seeing him helps a little bit. But I don't necessarily think that plays in.

Bottom line is it's about execution and your being disciplined as a hitter and him on the mound making pitches. That will kind of determine it, if we take advantage of mistakes or if he executes pitches, that usually determines who's going to come out on top.

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