October 11, 2021
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Tampa Bay Rays
Pregame 4 Press Conference
Q. Two things to start: Most managers say all hands on deck in this type of situation. How all hands on deck are you tonight?
KEVIN CASH: Well, we've got to win if we want to continue playing baseball. So we're going to look at it where anybody that has pitches on them can be used.
I'm guessing you're alluding to Shane and Shane, and they'll be in the bullpen. So if we see a need arise, we'll use them. We're going to be very mindful, we're talking about 22 and 23-year-old players that are so important to us now and moving forward.
You've seen what the Red Sox have done and the success that they've had having starters come out of the bullpen between Houck and Pivetta, those guys have been outstanding. I think our guys are capable of doing similar stuff.
Q. I know this is probably not the experience you wanted to draw upon this early in the postseason, but you have faced a bunch of elimination games the past couple of years. How much does it help that guys in the room know not to treat it differently and take that same mentality?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, they know that. The guys that experienced it last year certainly know that, and the guys that were brought in this year that were not part of that 2020 club have grown into that mindset along with us.
Nelson spoke a little bit last night, not team meeting, nothing like that, just keep your head up, get ready to play. This team, what you do during the regular season has got to give you confidence in these trying situations. There's no denying yesterday was not ideal. It wasn't fun for any of us, but you've got no choice but to bounce back and expect these guys will do that.
Q. Speaking of bouncing back, we just talked to Brandon Lowe. What's your confidence level in him, continuing to put him in the lineup despite the struggles he has had recently?
KEVIN CASH: There wasn't even one iota of thought of taking him out of the lineup. The guy has 39 homers and 99 RBIs. If you look around the league, there's some really good players that have done that. I don't think they'd come out of the lineup when they're 0-for-14. Full confidence that Brandon is going to turn it around.
He has been pitched tough. He hasn't seen many fastballs, and the ones he's gotten, he's missed or fouled off. You look at what Eovaldi did specifically last night to him, that's as good a split as we've seen. Not just to Brandon, but a lot of our guys.
Q. With the bullpen, where even your highest leverage guys have pitched from the first to the 11th, do you feel they're in a pretty good spot as far as preparation for a game like this where their name could be called at any point?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, I do. We experience enough during the regular season where we ask guys to pitch out a role earlier in ballgames. They're fully aware. When this postseason starts, Kyle hits them, I hit them with "get ready." That phone could ring in the second inning, the third inning.
I know coming in yesterday they were all chomping saying that, we've got pitches.
Q. We talked coming into the series about Wander handling this stage. With the way he's played, how impressed have you been with the way that he has handled it?
KEVIN CASH: I've been impressed with Wander from the day he got here. He carries himself like a seven, eight-year veteran player. He doesn't have seven, eighth months in the Big Leagues. It's fortunate for us that we have him. It's a good feeling when he's walking up to the plate every night.
Q. Curious if you can share any conversation you had with Collin last night or this morning deciding he was the one to go today?
KEVIN CASH: I didn't have one. I wish I could. Kyle told him he was starting, and he said "Okay." There wasn't a conversation.
Q. You and AC are both such good communicators, and you're in a pressure-packed series like this. We've seen both teams show moments where things are pretty light considering the stakes and everything. Do you feel pretty good about how you can check the temperature of this team and get everybody where they need to be and how that's gone over these first three games?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, I hope so. I know AC is really good at communicating and understanding the room, certainly the room that he's leading. I like to think that myself and the staff have a good job of taking the temperature of the group.
But more than anything, you trust the guys that are on the field doing it. You can see reactions, and you can see things when it goes sideways or there's tough plays or calls, whatever, guys are going to get frustrated. I think you owe it to them to allow them to feel that way but snap out of it as soon as you take the field that next half inning, and I think our guys are doing that.
Q. Mark asked you before about the experience a lot of these guys have, but you also have a lot of young guys. Can you talk a little about how that's passed on within your group and how you're building something here that can kind of go year to year where that experience grows?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, that's the hope. There's no denying that we feel pretty good about where we're at organizationally from our player development, our players at the Big League level, our players that are up and coming that we'll see moving forward.
They do such a good job of preaching winning, and you look at -- we had four first-place teams this year throughout the Minor Leagues. That's pretty remarkable. You think of all the good baseball player development organizations, the Red Sox, the Yankees, just in our division alone, to lead all of that, it's a credit to many people that work really hard, certainly the players.
Q. Any further thoughts on the play from last night or just that it still stinks?
KEVIN CASH: Look, I don't even know if you can say that. It's unfortunate. They got the call right. I've never seen a play like that. I might never see one again like that, but that's the rule that's in place, and you're going to follow the rule.
I think the umpires did a really good job of -- I know they did a good job of communicating to me in the moment, and then from what I understand, they did a really good job communicating after the ballgame.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports