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October 31, 2021

Dusty Baker

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Truist Park

Houston Astros

Pregame 5 Press Conference

Q. Dusty, I know he's in the lineup today, but what exactly happened to Alvarez when he crashed into the wall? Did he kind of lose his breath? Was it his knee? What happened there?

DUSTY BAKER: No, I was afraid it was his shoulder, much like it was a similar play to what happened to Meyers. Fortunately for us and him, it wasn't. He banged his knee on the fence because he had paint or something that came off on his knee. He's okay. He's a little sore today, but he's good.

Q. Did you have to have any discussion with Alex about moving him down on the order? How's he doing? What's he kind of working on to get going?

DUSTY BAKER: Like all my players, I have a discussion with them prior to making a move and telling him why and reinforce to him that he's not the scapegoat here, that there's a few guys struggling in our lineup.

But he's very important, and the guys that are hitting in front of him are swinging better, especially in this National League park. They're pitching around Alvarez, you can tell, and they're also really pitching around Yuli. Like last night, first and second, they walked Yuli. So I moved Yuli up because Yuli was swinging better.

He understood. He went out and took extra BP and just trying to find his stroke. So he's a team guy. There's no problem with him moving. This is hopefully a temporary situation until we get back home and get our full complement in the lineup together with the DH.

Q. Dusty, I know you can't be specific, but have you had a chance to talk to Jason Castro? How is he doing?

DUSTY BAKER: No I haven't talked to him. I was going to talk to him in a few minutes. I haven't talked to him yet.

Q. Dusty, you've been around this team last year and now all of this year. You know what they've been through over the last five. Is this team, the guys that have been around for the last five years, do you feel like they're at their best when the pressure is on, maybe backs are against the wall?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it would be to our best interest to be at your best. So we'll see tonight. Tonight's a big game, to say the least.

So we know we've been here before. Hopefully, we'll have a big offensive output, but get a well-pitched game from Framber and then come out healthy.

Q. With Framber, are there any specific adjustments he needed to work on between starts, or with him, is it really as simple as getting ahead like he did in Boston?

DUSTY BAKER: No, it's as simple as getting ahead with quality strikes. They've kind of loaded it up with right-handers tonight, like they usually do. So it's a matter of committing his fastball and then also trying not to force the breaking ball if he doesn't have it early in the game until he finds it.

Q. Over the years, how have you personally learned to cope with the tensions of postseason games.

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. I don't feel tension. From my playing days, it takes you to a higher level of concentration, more than anything.

I've learned that you have to keep breathing because, you know, that sounds corny, but like I tell my players, I go out to the mound, and I tell a guy to breathe because you start hyperventilating and you think you're breathing, but you're really not breathing.

You've got to slow your heart down. You have to have -- I remember Sadaharu Oh told me a few years ago that you have to have the burning desire to succeed in your heart but the coolness of mind to control your heart. So I've learned to do that through breathing.

Q. How many toothpicks do you go through during the game? More in the postseason than the regular season?

DUSTY BAKER: No, it depends on the game. Everything depends on the game.

Q. This one is for the Spanish broadcast, if you could answer in Spanish. In the clubhouse, how hard is it right now, and how important is the experience of this team in previous situations like that for facing this elimination game?

DUSTY BAKER: (Answering in Spanish.)

Best I got, man.

Q. You've seen so much in this game. Is there something you've seen with another team, perhaps even this team, where you shake up the lineup just a bit and it seems to help guys just get on track?

DUSTY BAKER: I'd rather not shake it up. I'd rather have a set lineup, but the thing that you have to do more than anything is just call up on your experience and realize that there have been a number of teams that have come back from 3-1.

I got a message, a text message from one of my players that was reminding me that they were behind 3-1 in Chicago and Cleveland a few years ago. So you have to realize and remain confident, try to take advantage of every situation.

I'm a person that believes in miracles. I really believe in miracles because I've had a few of them happen to me in my life. So that just reinforced some health issues, some fast cars. I don't know how I got out of there without having an accident.

There's been a number of issues that have happened in my life that let me know that there's somebody above that's helping to perform miracles.

Q. Pitching-wise, is there anyone that you want to try to stay away from tonight, or is it all hands on deck?

DUSTY BAKER: It's kind of all hands on deck. I'd rather not -- you know, it depends on Pressly because he threw a bunch of pitches last night. I had my eye on the board the whole time up there when he was closing in on 30 pitches in that second inning out because I think he went an inning and a third. But he says he's fine.

Probably want to stay away from Luis Garcia in case we need him tomorrow. I'm sorry, the day after tomorrow. And then we even have Urquidy available. So almost all hands on deck.

Q. So having taken 19 years to get back to the World Series, is this a disappointment that you're down to 3-1 at this point, or is it just a matter of course? It's just you deal with it and move on?

DUSTY BAKER: No, I'm not disappointed. I'm not disappointed at all. I'd be disappointed if I wasn't here and had to wait until 20, you know what I mean? So, no, not disappointed at all. I'm just trying to figure out a way to get back in this thing, and more than anything, figure out a way to get back to Houston with some life because Houston gives us what Atlanta gives them. So just trying to figure out how to win this game tonight.

Q. How about this kid that you're facing that probably hasn't been too much scouting? You probably haven't seen too much of him, huh?

DUSTY BAKER: Not really. We haven't seen hardly any of these guys, which the odds in their favor. They know more about us than we know about them. But our batting coaches, in particular Cintron and Snitker, they work tirelessly doing their homework, trying to get our guys up to speed on what we're facing.

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