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October 18, 2021

Dusty Baker

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Fenway Park

Houston Astros

Postgame 3 Press Conference

Red Sox 12, Astros 3

Q. Dusty, what are your pitching plans tomorrow?

DUSTY BAKER: We're going to start Zack Greinke tomorrow.

Q. Just to clarify on that, Dusty, is that a traditional start, are you going to use him as an opener?

DUSTY BAKER: No, just as long as he can go. As long as his endurance is fine. Like I said, as long as he can go.

Q. And then, I mean, obviously, the starting pitching was a problem again tonight, but Jose Altuve also on defense had a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes. You know, the play right before the grand slam on the potential double-play ball, and then in the third inning the Renfroe stealing at second. I guess do you have any level of concern, you know, given what happened with him in last year's ALCS that this is happening again?

DUSTY BAKER: No. I mean, to clarify, the other -- the throw bounced in front of him. You know what I mean? That wasn't a mistake by Altuve. The ball didn't get there, and the other one was a very tough play. The grass looks thick, but it plays very quick, and the ball bounced up on him. I mean, that was a tough play. I know we're used to seeing him make those plays, but that was a tough play.

And, you know, you think the ball is bouncing right to them and it's not bouncing right for us, and that was a big play, but, like I said, that ball hopped up on him, and that's a ball you don't know which way to turn your glove, up or down. If you played Burnout with somebody, that's where you throw it right at the waist, and you are kind of in no man's land whether you have glove up or glove down. That was a tough play on Altuve.

Q. Dusty, do you expect to have Javier available tomorrow behind Greinke for multiple innings potentially?

DUSTY BAKER: He was available today, so he'll be even more available tomorrow.

Q. Dusty, what did you see overall from Urquidy. You had Verdugo down 0-2 there in the second inning, and then everything just sort of spiraled. What did you see from him stuff-wise?

DUSTY BAKER: His stuff was good, and then he started barely missing with his breaking ball, and then where we walked, it seems like they ended up scoring, you know, via home run or some other kind of way because this team was similar to the A's in our division. You can make them earn it and stop from walking them, you know, we're pitching from behind most of the night, and we just got to -- we got to cut our walks down, you know what I mean, and, you know, a lot of their runs in the whole postseason, a whole bunch of them are preceded by a walk. And that one inning, you know, when they got the six runs they had two walks to load the bases, and we got to cut down on walks and make them earn it.

Q. Just on the walks, do you feel like your starters have attacked the strike zone enough in the series?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, evidently not. That's kind of a bad question. I mean, if they had attacked the strike zone, we wouldn't walk them, you know what I mean? I mean, you can't just throw the ball down the middle either. They're trying to make quality pitches and they're missing.

Q. How do you look at these first two games going forward? You lost by lopsided scores. You look at it just two losses?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I mean, they count as one. We come back and win tomorrow, the season -- the series is even. I mean, you don't like it. I'm not very happy about it, but you got to flush this one because you can't bring this one or the last one back until tomorrow. And so, like I said, you don't like it tonight, but the sun is going to come up in the morning.

Q. You guys have had such a strong offense all year. You know, just how challenging is it mentally to play from that far behind the way you guys did tonight just in such a deficit as in Game 2?

DUSTY BAKER: That's a good question. It does put pressure on your offense, and then what it does for the other team, the other team has a sense of relaxation and the pitcher feels that he just needs to throw strikes. When that happens, you start -- a relaxed pitcher could throw strikes. There's no pressure on him, you know, other than to throw strikes. He is not worried about hitting the ball out of the ballpark or not worried about anything other than throwing strikes. It's to everybody's advantage if you can get a good lead, a big lead early or have a crooked inning like they did with the six-run inning and like they did at home. They had two fours, grand slams. Heck, they've had three grand slams in two games.

So, you know, we got to come out tomorrow, hold them, and then score ourselves early.

Q. Dusty, just to not be able to get length from your starting pitching so far in the series, how difficult does that make the decision-making for you or does that put you in a corner at all in this next game going forward?

DUSTY BAKER: What it does, your bullpen is taxed. That's what it does. You're asking everybody to do probably a lot more than you would ever ask them to do, multiple innings, back-to-back days. You know, we need some zeros out there for an extended period of time, and hopefully we'll get that tomorrow.

Q. Dusty, I know you didn't have many options, but Urquidy going 46 pitches in that second inning, I mean, did you think about going and getting him a little bit earlier, or were you just hoping he could get through it?

DUSTY BAKER: If I go get him any earlier, it's going to tax my bullpen even more. We were hoping he could get through that. How much earlier can I get a guy? In the last two games we've gone to get them very, very, very early, and that put -- you still got to fill eight to nine innings, you know, with guys that are already taxed.

It's kind of like Groundhog Day, a reoccurring nightmare where you hope to get some innings out of these guys. You hope they can get out of the inning and then take him as far as you can take him.

Yeah, I mean, it's easy to say go out and get them, but then you got to replace them with somebody that's already taxed.

Q. Can you share with us what you have told your players and what you will tell your players given you have been through all these scenarios, you have been through all different kind of things coming from your experience?

DUSTY BAKER: No, I can't tell you what I told them because I haven't told them nothing yet. You know, when a dog is down and you're down, you know, you know you leave them alone for a while. Then you let the tempers and the feelings and emotions settle down. Then you talk to them. If I did talk to them, I can't tell you what I talked to them about.

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