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October 22, 2021

Dusty Baker

Houston , Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Pregame 6 Press Conference

Q. Is Urquidy available today?

DUSTY BAKER: Probably not. It would be one day short of a normal day's rest, and so we probably have to save Urquidy in case there's tomorrow.

Q. What has it been like to watch Luis GarcĂ­a grow as an athlete, as a man in his rookie year?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, he was very good early and then he struggled lately, which happens to young players. He is very calm and collected. He is very fortunate that he has Maldi to direct him. Such a veteran, speaks Spanish, to direct him through the games. He has grown before our eyes. It's easy to handle the good times, but how you handle adverse times is when you really grow up, and he has really grown up. He works hard, and he is a fine young man with a great attitude.

Q. If pressure is the right word, what is the pressure like trying to close out versus being down and trying to catch back up?

DUSTY BAKER: There's pressure on both sides, but there's only pressure if you let pressure get to you. And anybody that's ever fished, I try to use it like fishing. You can fight a fish, and then as soon as that fish sees the boat, he gets some more energy because he doesn't want to come out of the water, you know? Well, it's the same way when you are playing somebody that, you know, you take that last out, that last breath out of anything, they're going to fight you all the way to the end of that last breath, and so it's much like fishing to me.

Q. When you guys were in the playoffs last year, you didn't have fans in the stands for that whole situation. You weren't playing at home like you normally would be. What's it been like just being in this city? I imagine you're getting off an airplane, you're walking around, you know, whatever you can do during the small time that you have when you're not at the ballpark, just kind of feeling things and noticing the vibe you've gotten from everyone in this city.

DUSTY BAKER: The vibe is good, and I hear from a lot of people that are pulling for us. I hear from relatives. I hear from -- not only in this city. I hear from people all over the United States, some of my homies, some of my hometown people. I mean, I even hear from the mayor every day almost. I met the mayor years ago through Jimmie Lee Solomon, who was a good friend of mine that passed.

And so I mean, it excites the whole city. People tell me they're watching games when they don't ordinarily watch games. There are fans where there -- and I got a few fans that watch whatever team I'm on. So, yeah, it's been good, and part of the thing about being on a team is that you want to make your city proud. And I love those H-Town T-shirts, and I got about 32 requests of people all wanting my sweatshirt. Well, they can't have it.

Q. Is Javier available tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: Probably not.

Q. What would you say about just how a playoff moment like this can define a player's career and what it can do for their confidence and their reputation? For example, like Framber the other night. He will always have that night. What can you say about just this moment and what it can mean for a player's career?

DUSTY BAKER: It can do everything for your career. I remember I think a week or so ago I was watching the Yankees-Boston series, and they even brought Bucky Dent back. How many years has that been? 30-something? And people that have never heard of Bucky Dent, and they show that or they show Carlton Fisk getting that home run, I mean, these go down in the annals of history that will never be forgotten.

Boy, I mean, you don't think about it while you're doing it, but, you know, you continue to live it, and people continue to live it even when you are gone.

Q. During this postseason, in the beginning Yuli was struggling a little bit, and you moved him in the lineup, but he has been really hot lately. Have you thought about moving him back or since he is that hot just keeping him where he is?

DUSTY BAKER: No. We talked about it. And he was cold. And I moved him down to seventh, and he didn't fight me. He said, okay, I'll do whatever. But he asked me that if he gets hot, don't move him back up, so I said, okay. This is how it's been because that seventh spot is one of the most important spots in the lineup because you're up there a lot of times with runners in scoring position. A lot of times you're up there with two outs. Because I batted seventh in '77, and I know how important that is because that's usually the bookend to the lead-off man.

Q. Ryne Stanek was telling us he has been most impressed with the way Luis GarcĂ­a has learned as the season has gone along, and that's allowed him to forge ahead after some ups and downs. What have you seen in that regard, and how can that help him tonight in this second look of the Boston lineup?

DUSTY BAKER: That first look wasn't very long of a look, you know what I'm saying. So I think he is going to be ready. That was great of Ryne Stanek to say that because Ryne is a very honest dude, and he made a very honest assessment of what he has seen this year. And Ryne Stanek is also big-time improved from when we got him and saw him in April. He is kind of looking in the mirror a little bit, and that's a good thing.

Q. You've obviously managed a lot of playoff teams, and I'm sure they've all been different, but is there a common thread between all of the great teams that you've managed?

DUSTY BAKER: Probably resiliency and determination, I would say. Just sheer will, pride, belief and hope. You know, like Tommy Lasorda used to tell us all the time, and it's true, you got to believe it before it happens.

Q. I'm from New York, so anyone mentions Bucky Dent, I'm contractually obligated to follow up. What series were you watching? Was that in the regular season or old series?

DUSTY BAKER: That was when they played --

Q. The Wild Card game?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah. They showed Bucky, and then they interviewed him in the stands, and he said he wasn't recognized yet. He had a leather coat on. He didn't have a Yankee hat on, or he might have. I don't remember what he had on, but they showed him and interviewed him in the stands. You didn't see that game?

Q. I did, but you said series, and I got confused. You meant the Wild Card Game.

DUSTY BAKER: It's all series to me.

Q. In your conversations with the trainer and Strommy, how did Odorizzi bounce back, and could he be equipped to give you multiple innings tonight if you would need him?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, he is fine. How long has it been since he pitched?

Q. He came in after GarcĂ­a, so it would be normal kind of --

DUSTY BAKER: Normal rest.

Q. I was wondering with the awkwardness of coming in in the middle of the game and everything being so odd, just wondering how he was.

DUSTY BAKER: We have to give him plenty of time to do his Pilates or whatever they were doing. At least that's what the network asked me, so network guys asked me and said, hey, man, make sure you give him enough time.

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