October 11, 2022
Houston, Texas, USA
Minute Maid Park
Postgame 1 Press Conference
Houston Astros - 8, Seattle Mariners - 7
THE MODERATOR: Well get started with Dusty Baker.
Q. Can you talk about what you guys did there knowing that Verlander was kind of struggling early, what you told the guys?
DUSTY BAKER: I didn't tell them anything. We wanted to keep it close, but they kept adding on runs, which made it difficult to say keep it close, and that was big. You want to win the 7th, 8th, and 9th to give you a chance to win the ball game.
Boy, that was probably one of the most exciting games that I've been a part of. Man, that was unbelievable. At the end there, the at-bats that the youngsters had, Hensley, and then PeĆ±a with two strikes to get a hit to set it up for Yordan. We just wanted to get it to Yordan and maybe even Bregman and past them and we know if we got it to those guys we had a chance to win.
Q. What kind of progress and growth have you seen from Yordan that prepared him to take that stage, to take that moment, and excel. We have seen it kind of day by day, but there's a lot that goes into that in the postseason as well.
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, the postseason is just an extension of the season, really. He has a very slow pulse rate, I'm sure. He doesn't show excitement too much. He has a high level of concentration, discipline, and confidence. You know you got a chance when Yordan comes to the plate, and when he doesn't come through you're almost surprised.
I mean, you know nobody can do it all the time, but he's pretty good at it.
Q. Were you surprised that they went to Ray in that spot?
DUSTY BAKER: No. I mean, I don't ever second-guess against a manager. If he gets him out, then it looks great. I've been in that same situation. A manager is either right or wrong depending upon how the players perform. So he thought that that was his best option. Next time Robbie Ray could win, but today we won.
Q. What do you do to set up some of the preparation for guys like Hensley and PeĆ±a for those situations? For Hensley, it's his first postseason at-bat in that spot.
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I told the young boys, you have to, he who relaxes the most, concentrates the most, and is the most determined is the one that usually wins. At least you can make a good showing. A lot of these things have happened for these guys during the season.
I think Hensley hit like .350 in limited at-bats in September. PeĆ±a has been clutching up for us on and off most of the year. It's probably much like when they were kids. I mean, I don't prepare 'em. I think life prepares them, from Little League to Pony League to Colt League to high school to college, playing in the backyard, I mean, all these are preparations for moments like this. They have probably dreamt about moments like this, and dreams can come into reality, but they start as dreams. I mean, I dreamt myself. I still dream.
Q. Two things: One, what was up with Verlander today? Secondly, how much does experience play into a team being behind like you guys were but kept battling?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I think experience helps a lot. I know a lot of people in this modern world they tend overlook experience. Experience, you can't put a price on it. Experience, it takes time to get to experience. You just don't start off with experience. It takes time.
And what was up with Verlander, maybe he was a little rusty. He was barely missing on a number of pitches. I think those days off, I think hurt our whole team. You see, we didn't wake up until the 5th, 6th inning, and this is game of repetition and a game of game action. You can practice all you want to. There's nothing, no substitute for game action. So that's not an excuse, but I can sort of feel it and see it.
Q. Obviously you've seen a lot all sorts of things in your long career. Where would you rank this of all the things you've seen?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, boy, that's so close to the top. I don't know what the top is, but that's very, very close to it. That's, boy, I mean, the baseball world had to be excited. I know the town is excited, our team's excited. If you're not a baseball fan after watching that, there's a good chance you'll tune in tomorrow or Thursday.
Q. (Question in Spanish.)
THE MODERATOR: Can you give us that answer in English.
DUSTY BAKER: I should never let y'all know I speak Spanish. (Laughing.)
No, I told him that I was talking to my father and, you know, I just said, Lord and dad, please have favor on us and on Yordan.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports