October 11, 2022
Houston, Texas, USA
Minute Maid Park
Pregame 1 Press Conference
THE MODERATOR: First question for Dusty.
Q. What went into the decision to carry both Garcia and Urquidy and was that just kind of prioritizing length in a five-game series or what went into that decision?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, that was exactly what it was because you can get upside down in these games, especially if you get into extra innings because now you have to go play conventional baseball. You don't start with a man on second base.
We needed some length, especially in Games 3, 4, and possibly 5.
Q. You're entering your 12th postseason now as a manager, still seeking that first championship as a manager. Is that something you think about or that weighs on you at all as you enter the postseason?
DUSTY BAKER: No, it doesn't weigh on me. I mean, I feel very fortunate to have been here the 12th time. 12's my lucky number since I was a little kid.
So I look forward to it. It doesn't weigh on me at all. I've done the best that I could do to this point, and that's really all that you can do. Like I said, it's a joy to be back here in postseason.
Q. Do you know your rotation for the rest of the series?
DUSTY BAKER: Yes. It's Framber tomorrow -- not tomorrow, on Thursday, and then McCullers the third game.
Q. You have a very experienced team when it comes to playoffs, but you also have several players that are going to be making their debuts. Did you have any message to those young guys or is it just kind of like do what got you here?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, yeah, a combination of the two. I urged them to relax, concentrate, be determined, but stay alert as much as anything, and follow the guys that have been here.
This team here is a team that makes young players, especially, feel welcome and part of the team. That's big, especially when you're a young player, to feel welcome. They don't make guys feel like rookies.
Q. The decision with the pitching rotation, I know Lance's numbers at home have been pretty good throughout his career. What went into just arranging it like that?
DUSTY BAKER: We just talked about it. Framber has been pretty good, you know, he's been great.
Also, they have a platoon situation over there. So instead of having their platoon guys play two games back-to-back, let 'em, hopefully not get their timing as much back-to-back.
Also the fact that Framber can go deep and JV can go deep. So hopefully it works.
Q. How tough is it to have to tell Phil Maton and Will Smith they're not on your ALDS roster?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, well, it was very tough, especially in the case of Smith because this guy was a World Series hero last year, a playoff hero.
But the fact that they have so many interchangeable parts over there and he would probably have to be facing a lot of right-handers that they could pinch hit for with their lefties. So, yeah, it was very tough.
Q. With respect to center field and left field, do you expect to divide playing time much the same as you did in the regular season or is your strategy altered for the postseason?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, the strategy is probably, you know, I think that Yordan's been playing -- Ćlvarez, that is, he's been playing great out there. So we'll see, depending on who is pitching for them, which ballpark we're in, a lot of that comes into play.
The center field situation it depends who is pitching for us and also, again, who is pitching for them, the size of the ballpark. So I'll do much the same as I did this year. You don't want to change things too drastically because you're in the playoffs.
Q. To follow up on that point, has Yordan progressed to a point where you feel comfortable with him in left field in the 9th inning of a one-run game?
DUSTY BAKER: Yes. And it's not only that, I mean, with this extra inning format that you have now, his spot could come up a couple more times, and you would hate to not have him, his bat in the 10th or 12th or whenever that is.
So, yeah, I feel very comfortable with Yordan. He's played great out there. He's worked hard. He takes pride in what he's doing. He takes pride in his throwing. He's been very impressive.
Q. You spent the first four months with a roster similarly constructed with no left-handed relievers, but what makes you comfortable going into this series with that?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, you always feel more comfortable with some left-handed relievers. But you have the roster that you have. We've been pretty good so far. Our bullpen's been one of the best in baseball.
So if you followed me those first three or four months, I was always calling for a left-hander or two, you know, and still calling for 'em. (Smiling.)
Q. Do you have a lineup yet?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah.
Q. Can you share?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I don't have it verbatim. Let me see. You know I do. (Laughing.)
Okay, man. Well, we got Altuve, PeĆ±a, Ćlvarez, Bregman, Tucker, Yuli, Mancini DHing, McCormick center field, and then Maldonado. Is that nine? I told you I didn't have it verbatim, but I was kind of guessing.
Q. In light of Justin Verlander's performance this year, you obviously had to exercise some caution as he's coming off the Tommy John, that you mentioned he can go deep. Do you feel like now that it's October the harness is off?
DUSTY BAKER: Yes, the harness has been off for awhile. I mean, the harness came back on when he pulled his calf muscle, and then that set him back a little bit.
But, yeah, I mean, this guy, he knows himself as well as anyone. He works hard. He's prepared to go deep into the ball game.
But in the beginning, we didn't know. We didn't know for a long time is the reason why we had a six-man rotation. We had a pitch count on him to try to get him to this point. So far, so good.
Q. Yesterday you mentioned some illnesses maybe going around. Everybody okay? Any concerns there?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, everybody's good. Everybody's real good. I mean, we have an injured player, but he'll talk to you guys after I leave.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports