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October 22, 2019

Dave Martinez

Houston, Texas - pregame 1

DAVE MARTINEZ: I want to start off by sending my deepest condolences to the Eric Cooper family. As we all know, he passed on. The umpires are umpires; they're still families of MLB. And I wish his family all the best moving forward. It was a sad situation.

I've known Eric for a long time. He was actually a friend. So my condolences.

Q. Can you just go through what the considerations were in going with Cabrera over Dozier at second base?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, I like the left-handed bat, obviously today. And Cabrera has had some big hits for us. Even in the postseason didn't play much but when he did, he hit the ball really well. I wanted him back in the lineup.

Q. I'm sure you dreamed of being in this moment. How are you feeling? What is the emotion heading into your first World Series game as a manager?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I feel great. I preached all along about: Stand and fight, go in 1-0, and this is no different. I talked to the players yesterday. We were all upbeat. They were excited. We're all excited. I told them they worked unbelievable to get here, so here we go. Big stage, a big moment.

And like I said, I'm proud of where we're at and I'm proud to be associated with the Washington Nationals and the fact that we are one of two teams playing for a World Championship.

Q. Have you wrapped your mind around what it would mean to win the franchise's first World Series game?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I wrap my mind about trying to win today's game. And I want to focus on today's game.

Q. Just another housekeeping thing, the pitching choices, Ross over Voth and how you put together the bullpen, why you did it that way?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I think at this point with Ross over Voth, I can use Ross in back-to-back days. I feel like he can do that at this point. Voth I don't really know if we use him one day, he might not be able to pitch back-to-back days.

I think in this series our bullpen usage is going to be important. And I was trying to put together a bullpen who could actually throw multiple innings or even get four or five outs if they had to.

Q. Did Joe Ross's speed on the base paths factor at all into your decision?
DAVE MARTINEZ: That was part of it. We may have to use him. He threw a couple of bullpens. He threw a couple of sim games for us. And he's healthy. He's ready to go.

As you know, these guys got some really good right-handed hitters. I think he matches up well with some of these guys.

Q. Throughout the playoffs you guys have gotten 27 outs a lot of different ways. How would you describe the process in the dugout of trying to figure out how to do that? Is it fun? Is it stressful?
DAVE MARTINEZ: No, it's part of the game. This is stuff that's thought out, for me, way in advance. Like I said, as we had so many days off, I spent those days off imagining Game 1 and seeing how things would play out. And then processing everything and then going to our analytical guys, talking to coaches, pitching coach, and then relaying some stuff to our players. I had great conversations yesterday with a lot of our players about what we want to do and how we want to attack this thing, and it was all great conversations.

Q. Just getting back to Asdrubal, can you talk about what he brought to the club after you picked him up in August?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Since we got him he's been unbelievable. I had a conversation with him when he got here. I told him how we were going to utilize him. Never played first base before. I told him that he might have to play some first base. He said, Give me a day to go out there and work on it. And he went out there with Tim Bogar, and he looked like a natural.

We stuck him out there, he was good. Put him in the middle of our lineup, drove in some big runs for us, really big runs for us down the stretch.

For me, it's just another guy that fits with the rest of the club. He brings that veteran presence. He brings that fun-type atmosphere that we love, that our clubhouse has been built around. So he just fits and I appreciate everything he's done.

Q. When you were imagining Game 1, did you watch every game of the ALCS?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I watched most. Some of those games went on pretty late. Couldn't keep my eyes open, I'm not going to lie to you.

Q. Would you have pitched to Altuve?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Boy, I'm going to plead the Fifth on that. (Laughter.)

Q. Were you watching then?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I saw it the next morning. I saw the pitch, too.

But, hey, you're talking about one of the premier hitters in the game. You have one of the best closers in the game, too, as well.

Q. (Question in Spanish.)
DAVE MARTINEZ: (Answer in Spanish.)

Q. From the outside Stephen just looks a little more relaxed this year just based on the dance moves or whatever that we've seen. Have you seen any difference from him one year to the next? What's it been like managing him for two years compared to your perceptions of him as an opposing coach over the years?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He's been unbelievable both years. This year he's obviously showed more of a looseness about himself. I know we all talked about his dancing. But don't get this wrong, his day to pitch I don't talk to him. I stay away from him. He's very intense. That will never change. He does the diligence, he works unbelievably hard to get ready for the day he pitches.

But, man, what an unbelievable year he's had, and what he's meant to us getting here. This guy has been the rock, he really has. Scherz -- I could speak volumes of Sánchez, but he's been the constant. Guy that goes out there and gives us a chance to win every five days.

Q. Sorry if you've been asked this before over the last few days, but what's the fine line, what have you told your team about enjoying the moment, being in the moment and understanding you're four wins away from a World Championship?
DAVE MARTINEZ: The biggest thing for me is just to not get ahead of ourselves. I tell them: Win. We talked about this before. What does that word "win" mean? What's important now? So let's stay in the here and now and go from there.

Q. You mentioned that the last couple of days you've imagined how this game could go from a pitching standpoint. What did you imagine?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I imagined it could be really good. What do you want me to imagine? (Laughter.)

Like I sit here and I'm thinking about the matchups, like today. I wake up in the morning, I say, You've got Scherzer against Cole. Wow. If you're not a baseball fan right now, man, this is exciting times.

But I really like our chances. I like our guys. Like I said yesterday, they came out here and they were loose, they were having fun. They were checking out the ballpark. A lot of them have never played here. It was pretty cool just watching them just kind of relax and go out there and do their thing.

Q. At the beginning of this postseason I asked you about what it would mean to you to repeat what Alex Cora did last year as a manager of Puerto Rican descent win a World Series. Now that you're all the closer, can you tell me in English and Spanish what that would mean to Dave Martinez?
DAVE MARTINEZ: For me, regardless of my background or anything, just to get here to this point, this is why we worked so hard all year long starting not even -- I can go beyond Spring Training. At the end of last year we started processing stuff for 2019.

I'm just elated to be a part of something special, especially with this group of guys.

(Answer in Spanish.)

Q. What's the purple bracelet?
DAVE MARTINEZ: So this is a kid that I visited at his house who had cancer, who has beat cancer. Jack, if you're listening, proud of you. But I wear it every day.

Q. What do you think about having the DH in these first two games and how did you come to the conclusion to use Howie there today?
DAVE MARTINEZ: One, it really pissed off Max because he can't hit (laughter). He wasn't happy about that. And two, yeah, you know, Howie, he's a professional hitter. He's going to get a chance to play. These next two days, I'll probably DH him the next two days, just gives me an opportunity to keep him off his feet a little bit more instead of playing and focus on his hitting.

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