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October 16, 2021

Dusty Baker

Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Pregame 2 Press Conference

Q. Who are you starting in Game 3?


Q. You played McCormick with Framber, which you always do. Having McCormick back in, is Meyers still not 100%, or are you just riding with the hot hand right now?

DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. Not to me. I think he'll be -- he's very, very close, and McCormick did have a good game last night. But I feel the extra two days, unless I got to put Meyers in the game today for defense or pinch-run or whatever, he'll be 100% when we get to Boston.

Q. I know you've already talked a lot about Carlos and Jose, but I wonder, when you have a duo like that, can you quantify what it means to a team, especially when you get to this level of the playoffs?

DUSTY BAKER: Especially up the middle. They say that you want to be strong up the middle, catching, pitching, shortstop, second base, and center field. This middle is something that is damn near like a vertebrae where it's been there for how long? Approximate six, seven years, or whatever it is. That's quite a long time to have a keystone combination, especially of All-Star caliber. A lot of times you have one All-Star caliber and like a Batman and Robin, but this time you got two Batmans. Those are some bad dudes.

Q. Given how much your bullpen was taxed last night, obviously, you're trying to win the game, but do you have a little bit of a longer leash with Garcia tonight, or do you do you manage that knowing how many relievers you used last night?

DUSTY BAKER: They used a lot too, but they had a little more length probably with Pivetta in their bullpen, and they didn't use Whitlock, two of their main guys. And we were trying not to use Odorizzi last night. If we would have gone extra, then he -- we're trying to use him when we get to Boston.

So no, the game will dictate what you have to do. And we've had some major discussions with him, me and Strommy at two different times, so we feel that he'll be ready and go as deep as you can go.

Q. Are you able to map out your Game 4 starter yet? Does it just depend on Odorizzi, if he pitches or anybody else pitches or where the series is?

DUSTY BAKER: We can't go quite that far yet. We got two more games before we get there, so it just depends on who we use and depends on the games.

Q. There had been a trend a couple of years ago towards younger, less experienced managers and then you got the Astros job, Tony got the White Sox job, the Padres are now pretty outwardly looking for an experienced guy. Do you feel like you're kind of carrying the torch? Your success here has helped kind of push that trend back the other way?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. It hadn't helped. I hadn't heard. Everything goes in cycles. I thought I was pretty successful before I got this job. As far as carrying the torch, being an African-American manager, I've been carrying a torch for a long time. Not only for people of age, but also, people of color at the same time. There's only two, man. You're sharing the torch.

So I don't think about it. I just try to do my job to the best of my ability, and hopefully people will notice and give others a chance the way that I got a chance.

Q. Following up on that, certainly you saw Will Venable at the plate yesterday at the lineup exchange. Maybe your thoughts on Will as someone who is looked upon as a future manager in the game as well?

DUSTY BAKER: Hey, man, Will is a bright young man. Very conscientious young man. His dad and I grew up together in Sacramento, Max Venable. So I've been knowing of the Venables for quite a while. Comes from a great family. He checks all the boxes. Not only did he play, but he is African-American. Everybody is going to Ivy League as a criteria for something, and he is an Ivy League guy too, so it's hard to say that he doesn't fit everything. I'm pulling for Will.

Q. Can you talk about how comfortable you all are this year compared to last year not having to do all that traveling being able to stay at your own houses, not having to play every day like you did last year?

DUSTY BAKER: It's very comfortable. Last year we stayed in our houses. That's all we did was stay in the house. We couldn't go to restaurants. The hotel, the life was very, very boring and confining. And, also, it was kind of lonely in a lot of ways because you couldn't be around your family, you couldn't even go to Starbucks. Like I said, you couldn't go to restaurants. We just went from the hotel to the bus to the ball park, back to the bus, to the hotel.

Boy, I mean, after a while you got tired of watching TV. There is life outside of baseball whether people believe it or not, and you have to enjoy your life in order to make baseball even better and more enjoyable.

Q. I apologize. I meant in the postseason.

DUSTY BAKER: Oh, in the postseason? Why did you let me go on like that?

Q. I didn't want to interrupt you.

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah. The postseason was cool. It wasn't bad other than your families couldn't come. Postseason was actually more fun than the regular season. But just to think, we were one game away from going to the World Series, and that was without Yordan even. I like what's happening now.

Q. Phil Maton has had a couple of big innings for you during these playoffs. How have you seen him settle into his role since he came over here?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, when he first came over here, we didn't know what his role was going to be, and he didn't know what his role was going to be. And it's a lot easier to settle into a role once it's determined what that is, and then you can sort of plan. The phone rings, and then -- it's not like some fire drill. The phone rings this time of the game, bam, it should be mine or this and that. And it makes it easier to program yourself to deal with what's coming.

We didn't know much about Maton. We've had to find out about all these guys. Like I said, who is better under this circumstance, who is better under this circumstance, and the numbers don't really tell everything. It tells a lot, but it don't really tell who is bold and who is scared or who wants to be there or who doesn't.

Q. Framber's short start last night, does that give you flexibility with him maybe in a Game 4 situation, or would you guys prefer to keep him maybe on normal, regular rest?

DUSTY BAKER: I was figuring that out last night. Would that be normal rest, or would that be a day short?

Q. Would be a day short.

DUSTY BAKER: Would he go 60-something pitches? We would have to see. We would have to talk about it and see where we are at that point in time. If anybody can do it, it would be Framber, so we'll see. You getting way ahead.

Q. Since you were discussing about being an African-American manager. David Culley the other day wished you congratulations and that kind of thing. But with David Culley at the Texans and Stephen Silas at the Rockets, yourself at the Astros --

DUSTY BAKER: You got to slow down. What did you say?

Q. With David Culley at the Texans and Stephen Silas at the Rockets and yourself here with the Astros, I don't know if you had a chance to give thought to that. How special is that for you from that perspective? All three teams, managed or coached by African-Americans?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, that's great. I haven't met them yet. I think that says volumes for the city because a lot of times different cities are more conducive to African-American managers, coaches than other cities. But when I first got to Chicago, there was three homeboys from Sacramento: Me with the Cubs, Bill Cartwright with the Bulls, and then Jerry Manuel with the White Sox. And so we were very, very proud of that. And within about, I don't know, three or four months, I was the only one left. So I just hope history doesn't repeat itself.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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