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October 12, 2021

Dusty Baker

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Guaranteed Rate Field

Houston Astros

Postgame 4 Press Conference

Houston, 10 - Sox, 1

Q. Dusty, in your time with this team, what can you say about their toughness as they hear the boos and the jeers and some of the stuff from where they go? They just seem to feed off of that or just kind of play their game no matter what's going on around them?

DUSTY BAKER: They've been doing that really since last year. And then it was accentuated this year even more. I don't know if they feed off it necessarily, but we've been constantly bombarded by negatives, you know, especially on the road. But these guys, they came in -- they come to play, and they love each other. And I remember talking to Bill Russell years ago, a few years ago, and I asked him, man, how did you win all those championships in Boston, and he told me, you know -- I thought he was going to say Red Auerbach, you know lot of hard work, but he told me that they loved each other, and they love each other. And love can take you to heights you never thought you could get to. And they feed off of each other and pull for each other on a daily basis. And one guy falls down, and the next guy, you know, picks him up.

And, boy, this was a heck of a series. It was a downer night before last whenever we played when we got beat pretty badly, but on a daily basis, they don't take one day into the next unless it was good. You know, I love this team, and the city loves them, and that's what counts.

Q. You said you're not sure if they're fueled by the negativity, but wouldn't it kind of make sense to have that chip on their shoulder, however --

DUSTY BAKER: I didn't say they don't have a chip on their shoulder. I got a chip, you know, from the times I was let go. You know, I mean, a chip is one thing, but you can't hold any animosity and hatred because all that does is eat you up, and that's negative energy, which doesn't last. Positive energy lasts. You know, negative energy dissipates.

You know, I never hear them really jeering back or saying much. I mean, these guys, they take that negativity and put it in a positive direction.

Q. You pulled Lance pretty early after only about seven, eight pitches. What was your thinking about that, and does that make him a candidate to start for Game 2 in --

DUSTY BAKER: We don't know. I didn't pull him. You know, we had to pull him because he felt some discomfort in his forearm. And at that point in time, you know, we certainly got to take care of him. We can't take any chances of injury, and I only pulled him because he was hurt, and there is a difference between being hurt and being injured, and that's why we pulled him.

That was disheartening news to me when the trainer came over and said that we got to take him out of the game. Lance is a warrior, and for him to come out of a game of that magnitude, you know, it had to be -- it had to be something, and we tried to stop it before it got serious, and he is being evaluated now.

Q. With Carlos Correa's future uncertain after this year, do you just see him maybe enjoying this playoff run maybe more than you saw him last year? Do you see a lot of enjoyment from him?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, last year was different because, you know, there weren't any people in the stands, and it was a playoff, but it wasn't -- it wasn't the electricity and magnitude of having people in the stands. You know, we all missed people in the stands.

Carlos has been one of the greatest big game players in the history of the Astros and even the history of the game, and I don't hear him talking about it. He just wants to play for his teammates and wants to win. You know, when you win, that puts pressure on the organization to maybe do something in the future, and this is his home.

I've heard him say that many, many times. You know, he grew up in this organization and grew up in the city of Houston. And just like I was talking to him just like me, I grew up in -- you know, with the Braves as a kid, and then you grow into a man, you realize that business is business, but you still got to play with the enthusiasm of a kid, and you play for your teammates, and hopefully that transcends to something good for us in the future.

Q. I just wanted to follow up on Jacob Meyers. He hit the wall pretty hard there. What's an update on his injuries?

DUSTY BAKER: We don't know either on Jake. He is being evaluated by our trainers and the doctors, and I hope he is okay. He just said that he had to exert more than 50% effort in throwing the ball because you saw him. He took a few throws. And then as soon as he tried to put a little mustard on it, you know, he didn't have it. So hopefully it's something that will subside by -- when do we start the playoffs? Friday. Will subside by then, and if it doesn't, then, you know, we have to make some adjustments.

Q. On the previous decade, your franchise was driven by data and did pretty well with the bunted pitch lab and all like that. This series you got the two-out hit consistently. Maldonado lays down a sacrifice bunt. Yet, you steal successfully. How satisfying is it to have a team so well-rounded and able to do the fundamental things that were so prevalent?

DUSTY BAKER: That's a very good question. You know, there's a time for the bunt, which you saw the game last night in Boston. You know, and there's a time to go for the big inning and there's a time not to give away outs, and there's a time to give away outs to advance a runner.

What we're trying to do is combine the two and maximize both the sabermetrics and just baseball, period. You know? That's a tough thing to do, but I think it's advisable, you know, to keep some of the stuff from before and also add some of the stuff that is being added now even though the stuff that's added now was always there. It just had a different name to it.

And so I think it's advisable that you combine the two. I mean, you see some of the older managers doing pretty well in this game combined with some of the younger things that are done now. I like to harken it to musicians. You know, when you see the Stones combine with, you know, John Lee Hooker or somebody, Old Blues Dude combined with Johnny Winter or Santana or some of the dudes, you know, you can learn from us, and we can learn from you.

Anybody that has kids knows that they need us to direct them, but they keep you hip and modern to what's going on today and possibly in the future.

Q. Tony was kind of adamant that he thought that you guys intentionally hit Abreu, and he thought you should admit it and questioned the team's character, and --

DUSTY BAKER: No, that -- there's no way. If anybody knew Graveman, the situation and the score of the game, you know, it wasn't indicative as to why you would start a rally or why is there -- I don't think there's bad blood between these two teams. You know, number one, we don't play them enough to come up with bad blood, and, number two, you know, they got a number of Latins, and we got a number of Latins over here, and anybody knows that Latin American players are close to each other.

No, I mean, there's no way we were trying to hit Abreu. Abreu -- if you are going to hit him, you are going to hit him long before that. If there was a reason, there was no reason for us to hit Abreu. He hasn't done anything to us, and the score wasn't indicative of even attempting to, you know, to start -- to start a rally.

Abreu has been hit, like, 20 something times, and, you know, in modern baseball, guys don't try to get out of the way of balls. I mean, you don't see anybody -- like in my day, you know, you hit the dirt or you turned away from the ball, but today guys are just standing there and taking it.

I beg to differ with Tony that -- no, I mean, there's no -- I mean, there was no intent, and there was no reason to do that, zero.

Q. Dusty, I was just curious, you know, coming into the game, you know, you talked about how you could potentially see two different versions of Carlos Rodón. What was your impression of today, and do you think that the series could have looked differently if the Sox had him at their disposal earlier this series?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, probably. I mean, yeah. I'm sure that it would have probably been different because this guy -- you know, the first thing that I looked up was his velocity on the board, and I looked up there, and I saw 96, and we had heard that he was 92, 93, which makes you commit a lot earlier to his off-speed stuff. You don't have the time to wait, but then I looked up there, and there were some 99s up there too, which is what he displayed the last time we played him.

You know, the one thing that I was wondering about was, you know, his sustainability. How long could he sustain that velocity and that pace? I mean, that guy is one of the best pitchers that I've seen in years, especially left-handed pitchers. You don't find left-handed pitchers that throw with the velocity that he has, and that's what velocity does. It makes you commit early, makes you swing at bad balls out of the zone because you got to start your swing early, so -- and then when his pitch count got up to like 50-something after the third and then I said, boy, this could be a long day, but, I mean, you don't know his physical limitations. We didn't that coming into the game.

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