October 7, 2022
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Tampa Bay Rays
Pregame Press Conference
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kevin?
Q. You guys came in, you rested a lot of guys. You didn't come in -- you lost your last five, but how does the team feel and how do you feel going into this series?
KEVIN CASH: I feel good. Look, it's postseason baseball. I think that's what every club comes into spring training looking to do. I respect that we lost those games, but I think we've talked about it, that we've tried to prioritize, if we're not going to get home field advantage, we need Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks as starting pitchers to be fresh.
Yesterday was a good day. The sun was out and we all got on the field. We hadn't been on the field in quite some time because the weather was in Boston, but I think it was good that we were able to get out there, get a workout in, and the guys seemed extremely relaxed.
Q. Saw Randy walk in the clubhouse with new cowboy boots. That's probably a good sign?
KEVIN CASH: Oh, did he? Yeah, that's a good sign. I'll let you know after the game. If not, we'll get him another pair. (Laughing.)
Q. With the way Cleveland puts the ball in play, how important is defense going to be for you guys this series?
KEVIN CASH: Our defense is extremely important for us every game. We all know what the offense is. I would like to think we have more offensive capabilities.
But playing the six games against Cleveland there's not much margin for error. Like we talked about yesterday, the strikeout is just not easy to come by. So we need to make sure that we secure the baseball and do everything we can for Shane, starting with Shane and then any other pitcher that comes in.
Q. Ji-Man had a lot of struggles these last couple months. Your patience in keep putting him out there and get him to turn around. It worked last week. Can you talk about what's been accomplished in the last week of the season? Obviously he's in the lineup today for that reason.
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, look Ji-Man had a trying two months. It's not my patience. I think it's his work and his mindset to be able to get to a spot where he's feeling much better about himself the last two weeks. I know the hits came in that last series. There were some hard hit balls. Even here in Cleveland he hit the ball well.
Chad Mattola said probably from the All-Star break on that the best version of us has Ji-Man playing a role, playing a factor. I feel good. He feels good where he's at. I'm excited to see him go out there today.
Q. Especially facing three right-handed starters in the series the importance of every left-handed hitter in your lineup probably matters even more, right?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, I mean, look, the righties that they're starting are kind of neutral, tighter split. I think everybody's going to play a big role. The guys that are not, given how their bullpen shakes out, they can come up with some big at-bats later in the game.
Q. Can you speak to the confidence of Yandy having missed the time and how much does also having seen him do it in 2019 play in to your confidence?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, a lot, I guess. Look, you talk about where we've been the last couple games and not doing much offensively. The game that Yandy was in there against Houston, I think he was on base four times. I'm guilty of it too, Randy, Wander. Well, Yandy gets the thing going. We have missed him. I'm confident that he is healthy and he's going to come in and do his thing.
Q. Do you try to add an inning or two and some pitches?
KEVIN CASH: Just like we did the last time, add an inning and 15, 20 more pitches.
Q. Do you think his experience having done this before can help him and also just see where he is in the rehab? He seems pretty focused.
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, I do think it is. I think for all these guys that have experience it's tough to say that, to argue that it doesn't help. That's not to say guys that have, don't have it matters that much. But our pitchers for the most part have their reps and, I mean, it's remarkable that Glasnow has gone through this and, not had a hiccup, it's not that, it's more that he's harnessed everything in the zone and been extremely competitive.
Q. You said you guys have been comparing notes on your surgery rehab and that he probably has a few miles an hour on you?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, he's got a couple. I came back quicker, though. Yeah.
Q. Talking about the challenges Cleveland presents with the way they put the ball in play and the things they do. What about GimÃ©nez in particular and what about the difference from him last year to this year?
KEVIN CASH: What about who?
Q. GimÃ©nez. Second baseman.
KEVIN CASH: About putting the ball in play?
Q. Is he emblematic kind of what they do?
KEVIN CASH: Yeah, I mean, I think all of them are. Even Naylor, he hits fourth for them and he puts the ball in play. When he needs to shoot a ball the other way, he shows that ability. GimÃ©nez, he handles lefties as well as he does righties. He can put a bunt down. They're tough to position for.
You see so many clubs and certainly in the American League East that right-handed hitter comes up, everybody goes to one side. Left-handed hitter, you look at our defense, and you'll see it throughout the series. It's close to straight up because they can spray the ball all over the field and he's certainly one that can.
Q. Can you speak to the final roster yet?
KEVIN CASH: What time is it?
THE MODERATOR: 10 of 10.
KEVIN CASH: I cannot. Sorry.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports