home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 18, 2021

Dusty Baker

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Fenway Park

Houston Astros

Pregame 3 Press Conference

Q. Hey, Dusty, Jose Siri in center field today. Thought that was interesting. Just what went behind that to get him to start today?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, they got to use right-center field out there. He can cover the ground, and he can also throw to stop you from scoring on the double from first base, limit triples. You know, he throws better than McCormick and Meyers, who is not quite ready. He is a fly ball hitter, and that wall could play big on him, and, plus, he has worked really -- I've observed how hard he has worked to stay in shape. He runs every day. He hits extra every day, throws extra every day.

Plus, you know, he probably would have had a start or two, but his finger -- he had broken his finger earlier, so I just thought that the matchup, he hits better against left-handers, just everything pointed towards him starting today.

Q. You mentioned Meyers not quite ready. How is he doing, and I saw him taking pregame work today. How is he doing in your opinion?

DUSTY BAKER: He is doing better. He is doing a lot better. I said, hey, you keep improving the way that I've seen it, like, he could probably get a start in these next two days, maybe as early as tomorrow. Every day is important when you are fighting an injury.

He is making tremendous progress, and he is doing all he can to get healthy and get back in there.

Q. Do you have pitching plans for Game 4 yet?

DUSTY BAKER: No, we're formulating that now, and I don't know if we're going to announce it tonight or first thing in the morning, but it's getting close.

Q. Dusty, when you had to kind of work around your starters not being able to go deep into games like you have in this series, how do you balance having to make those kind of adjustments on the fly versus wanting to stick to kind of the set bullpen alignments that you've had all season?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, you have to do what you have to do in times like this. You have to try to do whatever you can to win today, and then you also have in the back of your mind you also have tomorrow as well because there is going to be a tomorrow. Now, when it comes down to the day when there is no tomorrow, then you'll make those adjustments accordingly.

Right now it's the best-three-out-of-five series that's left, and you just have to do it. I mean, this is what we've been doing all year, making adjustments on the personnel that we have and who is available and try to match up the best we can as far as quality versus quality.

You would prefer it be set and everybody knows what's going to happen day to day, but it's not the case.

Q. Dusty, overall where do things stand with Zack Greinke right now? He pitched against Chicago, and you have talked about he is not stretched out, but considering everything you're talking about pitching-wise, he could theoretically play a large role, and how much do you guys believe that if you do use him, that he could give you what Zack Greinke normally does?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, we believe in Greinke. What hurt Greinke was the situation when he got sick, and when he got sick, it was at a point in time in the season where we were trying to get there. Everybody had us in the playoffs, but there was an outside chance we might not even have made the playoffs, the way things were going at the end there, the way the A's beat us, the way we had hoped to clinch it long before that and we had action on it. I mean, we were on one for, what, a week it seems like. We had to make those adjustments. Zack had to make those adjustments. We had to make the adjustments in our pitching, and Zack is going -- this guy can -- I mean, he can pitch. I mean, he can really pitch. So we feel very positive about the fact that he will pitch very soon.

Q. Dusty, when we see so many pitchers wearing down both in the American League tied and National League side, how much do you think that's attributed to the really short season last year, and after the shorter seasons in the strike years, '81 and '94 did you see any similar effect?

DUSTY BAKER: There's similarities. Any time your body gets conditioned for certain races, you know. I mean, you're conditioned to run a marathon, and all of a sudden you got to run a sprint and vice versa. I see a lot of similarities. I don't know what the stats are, but I'm sure you guys probably know. Check the stats on how injuries -- how many injuries happen after those years, you know what I mean, when you are trying to stretch these guys back out to run the long race.

So, I mean, it is different. Last year was different. It was a whole lot different, and we have a lot of kids here -- not kids, but young men here that had never run the full gamut of games during the whole season. A lot of those guys that we had here were just learning how to be in a bullpen. They were former starters, because you don't usually groom guys in the Minor League to be relievers, and then it's a difference of mindset, it's a difference on how you warm up. You have to warm up a lot quicker because you don't have the time to throw long, bounce the ball up against the wall, stretch, and everything, as you saw like Odorizzi does when he is called into service. Your body gets used to how you get warm and trying not to hurt itself.

Yeah, it's been different, but we're here, and if you are here, then you got a chance. And I get all these texts, oh, man, you know, people like talking doomsday, but we're 1-1. Last year during these playoffs we were 0-3, you know what I mean? You got to look at it in its entirety and in reality.

Q. Do you have any more update on either Luis García or McCullers, kind of what they're doing right now, and when maybe García could be available to you?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, García, threw a bullpen yesterday. He made some changes, slight changes in his delivery, and he didn't feel anything in his knee by making that slight change that Strommy found. He is well on his way to becoming available.

McCullers is not going to be available the rest of this series, so that hasn't changed.

Q. I think the word you used yesterday for Jose Urquidy is "mature." How do you see that play out in the way that he handles himself on the mound, might perhaps handle this crowd here tonight, and as well as throwing pitches to navigate this Boston lineup?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, this guy -- you know, this guy has World Series experience. I mean, you can't take experience away. You can say I'll know how to handle it when I get there. I can do this, I can do that, but until you're there, you really don't know. I'm not worried about him handling anything really because this guy doesn't show much emotion at all good or bad. Now, I don't know what he is like on the inside, but I can tell you what he is like on the outside, and outside perception and appearances is very important. Especially when you are talking about the opposition.

Q. For the lack of a better word, the Red Sox were a mess last year, had a lot of issues, injuries, what not. They added some players, but most people were looking at them as a .500 team. What do you think people, experts, baseball people, missed about this Red Sox team?

DUSTY BAKER: I think they miss a lot of times. All the experts had Tampa Bay here instead of the Red Sox. I mean, you have to -- it's only a calculated guess, whatever the experts are saying, you know? You guys have to do that because if you don't do that, you wouldn't have a job, but when you are wrong, nobody calls you on it. Now, when I'm wrong, everybody calls me on it. You know what I mean?

I don't know what they missed. They didn't know how Kiké was going to perform. They didn't know how J.D. Martinez was going to perform. I don't think they knew about Verdugo. They probably didn't know a lot. That's why you play the season. I don't think anybody probably knew how much heart they had and the fact that they were day to day probably in the toughest division in baseball. When you are battling Toronto and New York and the Yankees and those guys other than probably Baltimore on a daily basis, I mean, you're playing tough games and tough teams every day.

Q. As the visiting team here at Fenway Park, through your experience, can your players find some type of motivation through the hostility and the boos, maybe light a fire in their bellies as they play against the Red Sox?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, they already got that in their belly. Their belly is full of that. We've been going through this all year. Plus, we've been here once already, and these players have been here more than me. I mean, a lot more than me. I think this is only, I don't know, the first time here was the first time I ever managed here. I was trying to remember, man, have I managed here before? Schedule didn't work out or I was out of the game. Like I said, these guys have been here a whole lot more than me, and I think I had only played as a player a couple of series here.

Yeah, it couldn't be much more hostile than New York was hostile. So you just have to put that out of your mind and just play.

Q. Back to Greinke for a second, please. I'm wondering how have you been able to get a feel from him? Obviously, he has pitched at such a high level. He was a Game 7 starter in the World Series in 2019 for this team. Just the communication you've had with him. He is ready to do whatever you guys need if he is called upon?

DUSTY BAKER: Yes, he is. And like we have good communication. You've heard me say a number of times how much I like the guy. Is he different? Yeah. But the whole -- that's what makes the world go round. You don't want everybody the same. That would be boring as hell. No matter how you are or where you are from or whatever, you know, we just want you to perform and have a good time at it while you're doing it.

Q. What's impressed you the most about Kiké Hernández, the first two games of the series?

DUSTY BAKER: I saw Kiké a lot in the National League, and right now he is on everything. He is not fooled by much. He is not fouling pitches off. He is squaring them up. When you are hot like Kiké is hot, you are operating at a very high concentration and a high success/motivated type attitude. You know, when you are cold, man, I mean, there's nothing worse. When you are hot, there's nothing better. We certainly have to figure out how to get him out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297