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October 30, 2019

Dave Martinez

Houston, Texas - pregame 7

Q. Did Suzuki try to do anything in the last hour or two and what led to him ultimately being scratched?
DAVE MARTINEZ: After I came in today, talked about it, talked to Suzuki, I felt it would be best to just keep him on the bench. Starting him all of a sudden third or fourth inning he tightens up again, things may get a little hairy.

Yan is playing good. Yan has caught Max before. I like Suzuki coming off the bench if need be, to pinch-hit or even to catch. So we did it that way.

Q. How comfortable are you today with Max? Has he continued to improve? He obviously told us last night he's good, the cortisone shot worked, so no setbacks, of course. How confident are you with him tonight?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I'm glad he told you that. I talked to him today, he says he feels real good. He's going to go. And he's going to pitch. And we'll see how far he can take us.

Q. Doolittle talked last night about how you try to treat this like it's a regular game but it's impossible because it's Game 7 of the World Series. I'm wondering what your day has been like leading up to today and how do you kind of treat this, as best you can, like a regular game?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, for me I woke up this morning, had breakfast with my kids, and just try to relax, like I always do, every day. And then got on the bus and got to the ballpark and started having conversations, just like I do every normal day.

Yesterday I said it and I was talking to some of the guys and told them, Hey, you know what, there's a lot of other teams out there that want to be in our position. We're playing Game 184. That's what it is today. So just go out there and have fun and enjoy the moment. Like I said, You guys have been good all year long. Just continue to play the way you've been playing.

Q. As far as guys available out of the bullpen, do you have everyone but Stephen or maybe you do have Stephen?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, if you have a Nats uniform on today and you're part of 25, I'm going to ask you if you can go. So we'll see.

Q. Does that mean you've asked Stephen if he can go?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I'm going to talk to him later on. Hey, there's no tomorrow. He's got three and a half months off.

Q. Was there any point over the last few days when you thought you would not get Max back if there was a Game 7, that you were doubtful or pessimistic about it?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, if you would have saw him Sunday, it wasn't good. He didn't look good. I wish I could kind of emulate the way he kind of came in like (indicating). I thought, Oh, boy, he couldn't move. I think you guys saw him.

So we tried to plan accordingly. And he got the shot. They told him he couldn't do anything for 24 hours. He listened. He came back and he said he felt good. He threw flat ground. Said he felt real good. Yesterday he got up and threw just to throw in the bullpen. Said he felt great. And then today he says he feels great.

So testament to him. This guy has been a workhorse. He's itching to go. He wants to pitch today and he's excited to pitch today.

Like I said, he's ready to go, there's no limitations, and we'll see how far he can go.

Q. After last night's play with Turner, would you like to see that rule altered, changed? What's your feelings there?
DAVE MARTINEZ: You know what, for me, it's -- that rule is -- I don't know how long that rule has been in place, probably a hundred years, I don't know. A rule is a rule. These judgment calls are difficult. The umpires do the best they can on getting it right. I know that. I understand that.

So my job is to get the boys motivated to play every day, and I'm going to keep focusing on my job.

Q. Just to follow up, after you got so excited last night, did any of your doctors give you a call today?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I had one come down yesterday to the training room and ask me if I was okay. I just asked him, Do I look okay? Yeah. So, yeah, they were all worried.

Funny, I had some fan screaming at me above the dugout when all this was going on, Davey, your heart. Remember your heart (laughter). Thanks (laughter).

Q. Knowing how Max is when anybody comes out to visit with him on the mound during a game, what will you be looking at to see if he is how he should be?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I'm going to send Chip out today.

Like I said, we've had conversations with him all year long. One thing about Max, he's going to be honest. And I know that about him. As the game progresses and we start going and things are going, he's going to let me know. I'm going to watch him and ask him how he's doing. And we'll go from there. But he's definitely always going to be honest with me.

Q. How are Max and Stephen similar in their demeanors in the clubhouse and how are they different? In which ways is it different the way how teammates look at them and how is it the same?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I can tell you right now all the guys respect them both. Max is a little bit more outgoing, rambunctious maybe is the word. And Stras is a little more subtle in his behavior. But they both are very competitive in their own ways.

They both, like I said, I see them every day. A lot of people only see them every five days when they start. Their work ethic and what they put themselves through to get ready for that game is unbelievable. It really is. Both of those guys have an unbelievable routine and a work ethic, and I think that's what makes them stand out and makes them really good.

Q. (No microphone.)
DAVE MARTINEZ: They're all fairly close. In case you didn't notice yesterday when the game was over, there was a group hug for Stras. They all got together and gave him a big hug. And they're a close unit. It's a little much, but they are close, yeah. (Laughter).

Difference is, Stras doesn't expect it. When Max does it and pitches, he wants all those hugs.

But like I said, they have a lot of respect for one another and they pull for each other.

Q. With you and the Astros having the great starting pitching and power and speed in the lineup, are you all as much alike as any two teams in baseball?
DAVE MARTINEZ: What's funny is coming into the series and looking at everything, and believe me when I say "everything" (indicating), we had boatloads of information. Yeah, there were a lot of similarities. Both teams' strengths are starting pitching, both have guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark, a lot of speed, good defense.

So we knew that this was going to be a really good series, and it turned out to be that. We're playing Game 7 tonight and that's a lot of fun.

Q. When you interviewed for this job obviously they're asking you questions about how you would handle it. I'm wondering what Mike and ownership told you about the organization and what their plan was and how they went about things and what their goals were?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, we talked a lot about all kinds of things. And coming in -- every job I had an opportunity to interview for, I did my due diligence and background on the history and what they've done over the years. And same here before.

And this is my second stint, actually, as you guys know. So I knew Mike and I knew the family pretty well.

But, yeah, we're very open. Had great conversations. I really believe that when I got this job that this was going to be a great job. And they built this team to want to win a championship. And here we are.

Q. Kevin Long has been successful this late into October with two previous teams. I wonder what kind of asset he's been for you during this run and how you've seen him kind of mesh or mold his approach to young guys like Soto to veteran guys like Zimmerman?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He's been awesome, he really has. The big thing with K-Long is he's very information -- information overload. Very on top of everything, and very studious. Gives players, hitters all the information they need. But yet he makes it fun for the boys. They get together in the cage and he's got all these little things that he does with them to kind of keep them loose and make it fun for them.

But he pays attention to detail and he treats each hitter individually. A lot of times you get caught up on just trying to teach one specific thing. But every hitter is different. And he understands that and he gets the most out of each hitter.

Q. There are expected to be 36,000 people at Nationals Park back in Washington tonight for the watch party for Game 7. What does something like that mean to you personally to see how close the city has gone throughout this postseason run? And second, part B to that question is, have you heard from any other coaches or any other friends you have in Washington sports, other sports besides baseball?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Actually, at this point in time coaches don't really reach out to each other. They understand that we're pretty busy. But I know they support what we're trying to do. And, look, when the Capitals won I was here and I was watching. I went to a lot of games. And sometimes I just wanted to be a fan. Sometimes I didn't even tell anybody I was going, I'd just buy a ticket and I went.

But the people, like in Washington, man, they buy in. They're all in. Even yesterday to see all those people at the stadium yesterday and hear now there's going to be 36,000 people, that's awesome. And we appreciate that. Believe me, the boys love it. And they feed off it. I've said this before, they have become the 26th man, and we appreciate them very much.

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