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October 18, 2021
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Boston Red Sox
Postgame 3 Press Conference
Red Sox 12, Astros 3
Q. Hey, Kyle, with the 3-0 count you had the green light. Were you thinking home run? And go through that pitch.
KYLE SCHWARBER: I definitely wasn't thinking home run, but I definitely was thinking, don't be late and get it in the air. You are trying to get at least one, and not going up there thinking home run. That could turn into a pop-up or something like that, so just trying to not be late. You know a heater is coming there, and just go from there.
Q. Can both of you talk about the offense the last two games.
KYLE SCHWARBER: It's been fantastic. I even think even in the first game of the series and even go before that. I mean, ever since the playoffs have started, I felt like we've done a really good job collectively as a group. With Tim and Pete, our hitting coaches, doing a really good job of coming up and having presentations on pitchers and then kind of giving their game plan and then opening the floor to the players to kind of collectively talk and to come up with a game plan. I feel like we've been doing a really good job of executing that game plan, and it's showing out there.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: 100%. I think Schwarbs hit the nail on the head. We've got a collective group game plan, and we want to execute it with every at-bat, every pitch as much as we can. The postseason is you can have tense moments, and the other thing we've been trying to do is stay loose. A.C. has been harping on it a lot and telling us to be us. We've been doing this all season. Obviously, when Schwarbs came over after the deadline he was a huge boost to our lineup, and he hasn't skipped a beat since he has gotten here.
So having a good like him at the top of the lineup brings so many different dynamics, and then it just -- just the way it kind of breaks your lineup up. We have a talented group of guys, and when we stick to our plan, we feel like we're just as good as anyone.
Q. Kyle, I think every time you've had a 3-0 pitch this year you've walked. I'm curious if you felt comfortable swinging just because of the way this offense is going? Like, if you guys have been grinding, I wonder if you had been more patient or what not.
KYLE SCHWARBER: I think I'm a really bad 3-0 hitter. I really do. I don't know if I even have a hit in my career in a 3-0 count. That might be my first one.
The thing is, you know what, we have guys on the pond, let's be aggressive here. We're wanting to get after these guys. We want to be aggressive, but be aggressive to our pitch. I think that you look at the at-bats beforehand, the way that we've grinded that guy out. There was a couple of walks. Christian hits a bullet. Altuve is not able to handle it; run scores. Then get to a 3-0 count, and he is forced to come to you.
I think that's kind of the biggest thing is just still being aggressive to your pitch.
Q. Kyle, do you remember the first time you ever led off? Did you ever lead off, like, growing up, or college or anything?
KYLE SCHWARBER: I led off in college I think a couple of times, but, yeah, the first real time I think Jesse saw it was in '17 kind of, like, for a couple of months there.
Q. And obviously, you are only guaranteed to lead off the inning once. After that it's just -- you were basically the clean-up hitter on that grand slam. Is it still unusual to see your name at the top, or are you used to it, and how does it affect your approach?
KYLE SCHWARBER: I've been used to it just from my previous experiences and first off in Chicago and then this year with Washington. I was up at the top of the lineup too. I think I batted there for about a month or so.
So I'm used to it. It's just a spot in the lineup. I think that was kind of like my first -- my first go-round with it was this fighting that conception of what the leadoff spot is and what you're supposed to be besides making it your own. You don't have to be that prototypical speed -- not speed. Yeah, I'm fast. You don't have to be that prototypical try to work a walk or something like that. For me I can do that already, so why would I try to force that besides just going up there and just trying to take my at-bat?
Q. Kyle, Alex said you were 0-for-7 on 3-0 counts coming into tonight, now 1-for-8.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: Is Alex in here?
KYLE SCHWARBER: Thanks for pointing that out. All right, baby.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: Usually when Alex tweets, the opposite happens, so that's good. That's good, Alex. Good on you.
Q. Just a thought from both of you about the crowd, what it was like tonight, but also, rounding the bases after you each homered, how loud was it and how cool was that for you?
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: I mean, for me it's the first time I've ever experienced that in the postseason. Obviously, Schwarbs has done it plenty. It never gets old. This game is so hard that any time you can clear the fence and jog the bases it's special, but to be able to do it there in the postseason and to be able to do it in this environment with, I mean, arguably I think some of the greatest fans in baseball, it's truly special. It's just one of those moments you don't really -- you are never going to forget it, and you kind of are on this platform where you don't really know what to do. You kind of black out for a second.
Yeah, I mean, for me to round the bases, it was awesome. Obviously, Schwarbs to round the base in the situation he did, he probably single-handedly with that swing helped us break the game open and kind of relax. I don't know if I could sit there and say that I would have relaxed if we were winning 2-0. You might try to do a little much or do something your next at-bat.
Yeah, I mean, it was pretty special. It was awesome. Want to keep doing it, and want to keep winning ballgames.
KYLE SCHWARBER: He almost tore my rotator cuff giving me the forearm bash. Just very exciting moments. Like you said, these are moments that you are never going to forget as a player. This is what we live for. We live to be in the postseason. When you get that first taste, that first experience, you want to keep coming. You want more. It's an addicting feeling, and especially in this place where it's just rocking the whole time and it's rowdy and they're in tune to every single pitch, and every run matters. It's something that you're not going to forget, that's for sure.
Q. Kyle, I was listening to you talk about the meetings you had preparing for the game and the offense and so forth. Obviously, there's information, and then there's communicating the information. I was wondering if either of you could speak to the level of the communication skills and conveying the information? Do you find that this step is a cut above or like everybody else, and could you maybe provide an example of the manner in which they convey this information that makes it more user-friendly, if that makes any sense.
KYLE SCHWARBER: I think the biggest thing is it's not, like, percentages or anything like that. You know, we'll have video, we kind of talk about pitch action, a go-to or something like that that the guy really likes in a spot or whatever it is. Then it's more of the collective group that's coming up with what we want to do. Do we want to really work this guy? Do we want to do this, do we want to do that?
We just -- it's nice because we're able to sit there in a group setting and righties can talk to righties, lefties can talk to lefties, and we can all kind of formulate what we want to do, and that might not -- yes, we have a group thing, and then you can kind of tailor that to your individual plan as well.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: 100%. I think Schwarbs hit the nail on the head. I think we go into those meetings, and obviously, for the younger players that haven't faced some guys even, you know, we talk to the veteran guys who have faced the guy multiple times, and it's, hey, what to expect here, what to expect there. Everyone from the top to the bottom does a really, really good job of even in-game prepping. To get in there and have an at-bat and to see what a guy's action is on a certain pitch or, hey, this is what our plan should be as a righty or this is what our plan should be against lefty. Everyone is coming in relaying that feedback.
Some guys have different tendencies. Like, J.D. Martinez can go to right field at will. Some other guys are more comfortable pulling the ball. Xander Bogaerts can hit a fastball above his eyes better than anyone I've seen in the Big Leagues. Obviously, it's tailored to what you know you can do personally. To have a general idea of what a guy's action does, what he wants to do, what his plan is and to understand that plan is huge.
KYLE SCHWARBER: Even to back that up is just -- for me personally, I haven't faced these guys. I haven't faced these guys this year. I think the last time I saw these guys were -- I mean, Spring Training, yeah, with the Nationals, but in 2019 in a regular season game. So being able to have guys who have faced them already throughout the season, to kind of relay that information definitely helps me, and I know that in-game stuff too really helps all of us.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: Absolutely.
Q. Kyle, you've heard this place loud a few times already this October. Just what was the noise level like on that grand slam, and what was that feeling like?
KYLE SCHWARBER: That gave me a headache, and I loved it. I loved every second of it. Like I said, this is what you live for, right? This is it. You know, obviously, we still have steps to where we want to be, but to have the atmosphere like that, we feed off that, and that's only going to help us be better, and it's going to help us to where we want to be, but we still got to take it a game at a time.
Q. Kyle, where did you get the shirt? And when did you first hear this they called you Kyle from Waltham?
KYLE SCHWARBER: Waltham, I guess that's where I'm from according to people from Boston. I guess Middletown, Ohio, is not a real place anymore. No, I got it -- I think Carrabis got it. Sent it into the locker room. I think the first time I saw it was either him or MLB posted something, and everyone was asking me what's Kyle from Waltham? I'm, like, what? I'm like, I'm from Middletown, Ohio.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: They're going to have field day with that one. "Walt-ham," they're going to have a field day with that.
KYLE SCHWARBER: I guess my hometown is Waltham now. So go Hawks.
Q. This is for both of you: You guys were talking about sort of the communication and strategizing that goes on between offensive players on this team, and whatever it was, two days ago Cora was talking about how Jose Iglesias has functioned as a coach this postseason, and I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about how he has contributed to those hitters meetings.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: Iggy was with the Angels for the majority of the season. He faced these guys plenty, and he is a veteran. He has been around. He is a hell of a player. He helped us so much down the stretch. I don't even think he really realizes the impact that he had on our team. You know, I know I got to see it from afar when I was rehabbing and I was trying to get back to the team, but I was so genuinely happy to see a guy step in and to not skip a beat. To come here and to feed off this energy. I talk to him about it all the time.
For him even if it's not verbally, but it's just the way that he carries himself, the way he handles himself, I mean, he has been a huge asset to this team down the stretch run, and even into the postseason.
He has given us the information we need facing these guys multiple times. He has helped me. I come back and talked about it in the ALDS. One of the games I tried to lay a bunt down, and right after the inning, he tells me, hey, I used to do the same thing you did with my back foot. Keep your back foot still. Little things like that that you don't really think much about, and then two days later here I am having to put a sac bunt down, and that's the first thing I thought of was, don't move your back foot, and I got it down.
Iggy has been such a great teammate. He has been such a huge boost for this team and what he has done for us. Now, obviously, he can't play with us. We would love to have him playing with under the circumstances, but for him to be there all the time. He is always on the top step, pushing the cart now. He is always invested. He knows that he is a part of this team as much as anyone else is. There's a bunch of people that aren't in our organization anymore that were a part of this team at one point or another, and they've helped us in so many different ways. But Iggy has been a phenomenal teammate, and he has been a huge asset for us.
KYLE SCHWARBER: Yeah, same. This guy has -- let's be honest, we're not here without that guy. He did a phenomenal job from coming over here and stepping right into a role and playing unbelievable defense, having great offensive at-bats, and just the energy he brings on a daily basis is great. As soon as you walk into that clubhouse, he is in there, and he is going to give you a "what's up, kid, how are you doing?" Just ready to rock and roll.
The information he has passed along with these guys, just the game knowledge. This guy has been around, and he knows the game, and for me being new to the infield and things like that, he is able to help me out with going out there and footwork, taking ground balls, things like that.
Obviously, on the offensive side, too. Just being able to talk some of these guys that we're facing and the kind of formulating a game plan.
Q. You had a lot of home runs. Is the laundry cart ride losing any appeal, or still magic?
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: Never.
KYLE SCHWARBER: No, no.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: As Rafi says, tunnel time.
KYLE SCHWARBER: Tunnel time.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: That's what we do, so...
Q. Kyle, you were talk about the noise and the energy here at Fenway. You've had the opportunity to play at two historic ballparks, Wrigley and Fenway. What distinguishes the Fenway sound or the Fenway feeling in October from the Wrigley one?
KYLE SCHWARBER: I mean, this feels like everything is right on top of you, right? It just feels like it's just right on top of you. There's no foul ground. You look back, and the stands are right there, and it's straight up. Then I can't imagine what it's like being out in the bullpen, right? Having all those -- they're crazy out there, and I love it. I love it.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: Good crazy, though.
KYLE SCHWARBER: Great crazy. Jumping up and down and being loud the whole game. I mean, yeah, it just brings a smile to your face when you just think about it, right? Just the atmosphere. It's something that you want. You don't realize how lucky you are as a player to have a fan base like this. I was lucky. I had a great fan base in Chicago for how many years I was there, and then to be able to walk into another great fan base, you can't take that for granted. You cannot take that for granted because you go to -- go and play games in other places and to have -- no offense, but just to not have the seats full, right, it's a different game. Walking into a place where the fans they care about you, win or lose. They're going to be there, and they're going to let you know, right? Don't take that for granted because it's very special to have.
Q. I know it was a night of big swings, but could one of you talk about -- or both of you -- that walk that Alex Verdugo worked in the second. I believe it was an 11-pitch plate appearance. And what that does for a lineup and everything.
CHRISTIAN ARROYO: Let's look back at the first inning, you know, and it looked like Urquidy threw how many pitches? 12? It looked like he was cruising. Eddie came out and looked like he was cruising through the first inning and for a split-second you're thinking, all right, this is probably going to be a pitcher's duel and we're going to have to scratch and claw our way through.
I think what Dugie did in that at-bat is so big in setting the table and what it does is 11 pitches, I mean, it wears down a pitcher. It takes away an inning from what he is probably going to end up doing. For him to go in there, grind out at-bats, foul pitches off and just consistently think, like, in the back of his mind, all he is thinking is get on base, get on base, get on base, get on base, however you can. For him to come in there on a guy who was kind of cruising and looked like he was handling it pretty well, it just changed the -- it changes the direction on how the game is going, and then you get Hunter who comes in and does the same exact thing. After that it was kind of like, all right, we now have an approach. We've gone to our approach, and we're staying within ourselves.
I think Dugie leading off there inning was huge, and I think that that -- without Dugie leading off the inning, without Hunter staying within himself and then Vasky getting up there with two strikes and using the entire field, that stuff doesn't happen. Obviously, we can go to the big blow here from the big fellow, but obviously, it starts with Dugie, and Schwarbs was able to put the nail in the coffin there in that inning.
KYLE SCHWARBER: I think the biggest thing is people get caught up in the big swing or whatever it is, right? People kind of forget about what led up to it, right? The at-bats beforehand are what set up the big moments, and those are things that you can't take for granted. Dugie, unbelievable. Works that walk. You think back to the at-bats when Rafi and J.D. hit those. Key walks, things like that. To be able to grind guys out and to have those kind of at-bats, like he says, it wears them down, and then they think they get -- they're about to punch them out, whatever, in four pitches, right? You grind out 11. Next thing you know you got another guy coming up, and they're going to keep grinding you out. They're going to keep grinding you out. It's relentless. That's what we want to be as an offensive group, relentless. I think we've been doing a really good job of that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports