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October 7, 2021

Dusty Baker

Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Pregame 1 Press Conference

Q. Jake Odorizzi off the roster, can you just kind of talk about that and how difficult was that decision, that one specifically?

DUSTY BAKER: It's a real difficult decision. All decisions at this time are difficult. You wish you could carry 28 guys, but you can't.

I can't tell you exactly what went off into it, but it was a matter we had to weigh a couple guys versus a couple other guys. We urged all our guys to stay ready for the next round, continue to train. Things can change.

I mean, every team -- I was looking at the Dodgers last night. They had some big-time dudes now on their roster. This is part of the playoff process, which isn't very enjoyable.

Q. Following up on that, what specifically about both Greinke and Javier did you like over Odorizzi, and how did Odorizzi take the decision?

DUSTY BAKER: You expect a guy not to take it well, but it's an organizational decision. This is something we have to discuss and figure out. That's why you have people in different positions to try to figure out and help each other come up with a solution and the best team you come up with for that particular series.

Q. With Stubbs on the roster, how much does that kind of free you up to be a little more aggressive with how you use Castro as a pinch hitter?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, and also if I have to use Stubbs to pinch run without having to use one of my other players. Yeah, that does free us up quite a bit. I mean because then I'd have to run for both of them, but when you get down to the second one, then you can no longer run for them because you don't have anybody to catch.

So that does free me up a lot more for late in the game, or I can use Castro even earlier in the game than I would have had we only had two.

Q. Some thoughts about Zack Greinke being on the roster and thoughts about how you plan to use him and how important it is to have him there regardless of how you use him.

DUSTY BAKER: The guy's been there before, and he knows how to deal with the situation. He knows how to deal with pressure. He hasn't been out of the bullpen much, but he had a couple of stints right before the end of the season.

I can't tell you how I'm going to use him because I don't want to tell the White Sox how I'm using him because they haven't even given us their lineups yet, so I can't give them too much information. So we'll use him as we think it's right for him to be successful and also to make us successful.

Q. When are you going to be ready to announce your

Game 3 starter?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. We haven't even talked about it. We ain't even in Game 1 yet, so soon.

Q. The decision with Meyers in centerfield, what do you like about the matchup, and how do you kind of envision that centerfield job throughout the series?

DUSTY BAKER: Like I've been doing. You've been here with me. It depends on who's pitching for us, who's pitching for them. So that's how I'm going to match them up. I've got my lineup ready for tomorrow, but you'll have to wait till tomorrow to see it.

Q. Dusty, you've been to the playoffs as a player, manager, I don't know how many times. Does the feeling before it starts, has that changed over the years? Is it the same as it was with the Dodgers 45 years ago? What is playoff eve like for you?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, there's a lot more media attention now, big time, and a lot more cameras, a lot more action, a lot more lights. They take a lot more of your time up versus just dealing with things, other than just the game.

You look forward to game time. The game is the same. Pre and post is a little different, but the thrill and the exhilaration and the excitement and electricity of the fans is the same, and this is what excites me. This is what keeps me coming back. It's just the thrill of -- I know this sounds corny, but Howard Cosell said the thrill of competition and the agony of defeat. That's what it's all about.

Q. They've gone back to the standard rule for extra innings, no second guy on base. How do you like it?

DUSTY BAKER: I wish they had done it next year because we've kind of gotten used to a guy on second base, and now it could put a lot more pressure on your bullpen, like if you had to go 18 innings to win a game or lose a game, we haven't done this in a couple years. Like I said, I wish it's not. I didn't have any say so, but I wish we had waited until next year.

Q. Does it make it easier for you as a manager to have such a veteran ball club who's been here before? You don't have to worry as much about getting ready to prepare for a Game 1.

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it's a lot easier. I don't have to tell them -- like most young guys, you've got to tell them it's okay to be nervous. Don't be scared. But you don't have to tell these guys too much of anything. They actually tell each other.

There's a few young guys I'll talk to, but basically if they just emulate the guys that have been here before, copy them, follow them, these guys they know the pathway to the World Series and the pathway to victory. We have some outstanding, great leaders on this team in many departments.

Q. What's on the music playlist today, and is there a special postseason playlist for Dusty Baker?

DUSTY BAKER: That kind of depends on how I feel in the morning. Like this morning, it was Albert King, and then yesterday it was -- when I feel like whatever mood I need to be in is bill Withers yesterday. That's pretty good.

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