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October 23, 2019

Dave Martinez

Houston, Texas - pregame 2

Q. Stephen obviously has had a really good year. Can you talk about how different or how much he's changed personally just in the two years you've been around him?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He definitely has an unbelievable amount of confidence. He competes, not only as you guys will see him every five days, I see him every day. He's constantly trying to get better, and he competes with himself to get himself better.

He's been unbelievable in the clubhouse this year, really has. I know you guys want me to talk about his dancing. His dancing is really good now. But he's a lot of fun. He's opened up to what we're trying to do here as far as the culture. But he's been incredible, really has.

For me, my biggest thing with him is that he stayed healthy all year. And like you said, he's pitching the best I've ever seen him pitch.

Q. You guys when you switch things up on the right side of the infield putting Asdrúbal or even Brian Dozier sometimes, what gives you the confidence they can come in after not playing for several days or even more than that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: For me it's just their work ethic. They work diligently every day. They prepare themselves well. These two professional guys, veteran guys that have done it for a multiple of years, and they get it. I mean, when they're called upon they're ready. And they're engaged. Both of them play very well at second base. They both do a lot of different things; Cabrera being a switch-hitter, Doz having a lot of success hitting the ball out of the ballpark throughout his career.

But having them both is awesome. One plays and the other one comes off the bench, they both have done unbelievable for us.

Q. You mentioned that Strasburg competes with himself to get better. What does that mean?
DAVE MARTINEZ: So he's constantly trying to get better. He pushes himself to the max in the weight room, conditioning, different exercises. He wants to be the best every day. Not just, like I said, not just every five days; every day.

And I can say that about all our starters, really. I mean, they push each other, they compete. And it's a lot of fun to watch how they are day-in and day-out.

Q. What were your conversations like with Corbin after the game last night and is there a chance he'd be available tonight? And in turn what does that mean for starting Games 3 and 4?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Game 3 Aníbal will start. I haven't made a decision on Game 4.

I talked to Corbin a little bit. He's going to go throw today and we'll see how he feels after he plays catch.

But like I said, these guys, they're all in. And this is based on a conversation I have with them every day, and we'll see how he feels after he throws.

Q. Max and Taylor complimented the Astros' patience at the plate, not chasing. How do you balance being aggressive with hitters like that and not wanting to make a mistake, but also not letting the pitch counts run up too high when you want your pitchers to get through six or seven innings?
DAVE MARTINEZ: We talked about this coming into the series how the hitters are very patient. They try to get you to throw a ball in the strike zone. With that being said, we have to be aggressive in the strike zone. Strike one really matters when you face hitters like that. Getting ahead could change the at-bats.

For me, they've got to concentrate on throwing strike one and then go from there.

Q. Would Rendon make a great hitting coach? Do you think he's such a natural it would be hard for him to coach others?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I think Rendon has about ten more years to play before he has to decide whether he's going to be a hitting coach or not. I definitely would -- if he did decide, if I had a chance to come back, I'd definitely be in his school.

Q. Just being around Rendon the last two years, what have you learned about the guy off the field?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He's a very humble guy, very -- one thing that I don't know if people realize, he's very competitive in his own way. He's very laid back. Another guy that doesn't really have much of a heartbeat. But he's very intense. And when he doesn't feel like he's doing well, he's not very happy. And he always wants to do well.

One thing I've learned from him, that he's a constant professional, wants to play every day, does whatever he can that helps his team win.

Q. Are Rainey or Hudson or Doolittle limited in any way tonight?
DAVE MARTINEZ: There's no limitations right now. Like I said, we're going to try to go 1-0 today, and everybody is on board.

Q. To follow up on Aníbal pitching, he's going to have two weeks since his last start. Whether it was three or four, it was going to be a long time without pitching. Any concerns there?
DAVE MARTINEZ: With him, no. He throws a lot. And like I said, he threw a sim game and got up to 80 pitches between his bullpen work and the sim game. He's ready to go.

He's had this happen before to him and it didn't seem to affect him. So he gets it, he's a professional, he kept himself ready. He's been engaged this whole time.

He has an unbelievable way to prepare before each game as far as starting hitters and what he wants to do and how he wants to attack hitters.

As you know he's got -- I might be short, but he probably has 27 different pitches. He's going to probably use them all. But he competes. Like I said, just like his teammates, he goes out there and competes.

Q. That Game 1 start against St. Louis signified what this guy can do even at this stage of his career on this stage.
DAVE MARTINEZ: Absolutely. He loves -- he really loves these kind of moments. And like I said, he's engaged, he sits, he watches the games. He's a student of the game when he doesn't pitch. He's helping other pitchers. He's unbelievable.

When we signed him we knew what kind of pitcher he was. Had heard glimpses of what he could be in the clubhouse and the dugout, and he's all that and more.

Q. The schedule of the postseason just kind of seems to benefit you guys just as a roster, the way you use starters out of the pen, you play Howie and Zimm as much as you have. When did you start thinking about that, is that some point in September or some point during the season, Once we get in, we'll be able to use to our advantage?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, this was preplanned in September as we started inching our way to where we thought we were going to be, once we got to the playoffs how we would attack the playoffs. And like I said, this is based on having conversations with the guys and foreseeing what might happen. Letting these guys know that they might have to do things that they're not comfortable doing, which we talked about throughout the year with some of these guys. And they've been all in. They've been great.

Q. (No microphone.)
DAVE MARTINEZ: I've talked to our analytical guys, I mentioned it to Rizz. A lot of guys. Our coaching staff, Paul, just to see how this will all play out.

Q. One game into this, were your nerves about what you expected them to be? Is there anything that you do in particular to deal with that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Can you say that again?

Q. Your nerves, were they what you expected them to be one game into this and is there anything you do to deal with nerves in this situation?
DAVE MARTINEZ: No, ever since I had this little issue with my health, they took away my caffeine, which is not good right now, by the way. I'm still trying to figure it out. But I don't seem that I have that constant like fiery edge. So I seem more laid back.

It's funny, the guys in the dugout always come up to me and they put their hand on my heart to see what's wrong. And I have to tell them all the time, Hey, I'm fine. They say, Well, you look kind of like -- I say, Hey, no caffeine. You try going through the day without caffeine, especially when you drank it quite a bit. But I said, I'm good.

Like I tell the boys: Just one day at a time. Just stay in the moment. Enjoy the moment. Have fun. I went out there today and I saw all those fans. Man, it was -- I was excited. It was an unbelievable feeling to be here and play for a World Championship.

Q. After seeing Strasburg and Scherzer in Games 1 and 2, will that make Sánchez's more effective in Game 3?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Like I said, you look over there, you look at the lineup and they've got some good hitters. But I've always said this before, Sánchez is going to compete and he's going to try to get those guys out the best he can and keep us in the ball game.

Q. You said you hadn't made a decision on Game 4 starter. If Corbin can't go, what would be the contingency plan and could that include someone that hasn't started so far in the postseason?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, it could be, yeah. We'll see. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. But like I said, tonight is the game I worry about. And let's focus on tonight.

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