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October 13, 2022

Dusty Baker

Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Postgame 2 Press Conference

Houston Astros - 4, Seattle Mariners - 2

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for Dusty.

Q. Can you just talk about what Yordan Ɓlvarez means to your team day after day?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, hey, I mean, he's a big boy. I call him Grande. He comes up big. We love having him at the plate. He likes to be in the big moment. His concentration and discipline is way ahead of his years. We just love having him.

Q. Was Ryne Stanek available for today or not?

DUSTY BAKER: Oh, yeah. Yeah, he was okay. It just wasn't the right time of the game. So yeah, he's fine. He'll get in the game.

Q. Can you talk about PeƱa, who of course keeps getting on ahead of Yordan, which obviously makes it tough on the other team as well.

DUSTY BAKER: Well, that's big. You want to crowd as many guys on the bases in front of Yordan as possible. But he keeps getting on. That's his, he's doing his job. So far he's been unfazed by the playoffs or anything. He's a very calm and mature young man. Boy, I'm glad that he's getting on in front of Yordan.

And in my mind, Altuve is about to get hot here soon. So without Altuve getting on so far, it's almost mandatory that we get PeƱa on ahead of him. So in the next couple days we're going to try to get all of 'em on.

Q. What did you like about the matchup with Neris against Raleigh in the 6th inning?

DUSTY BAKER: Man, you ask me these questions. Well, you know, we think that he has a repertoire of pitches to get him out in that situation. Raleigh's been one of their most dangerous hitters down the stretch. We just thought that that was the time because Framber was struggling. Raleigh had just hit a rocket to center field off Framber in his last at-bat, and so we decided to go with Neris.

Now, this was his first playoff appearance and that was big. I mean, that was a real big out. We escaped all day with walks, because we had a number of walk, leadoff walks that we escaped, and our pitchers got out of trouble.

Q. What did you think of Framber overall?

DUSTY BAKER: Framber was good. He started out like a house of fire, and then he lost the feel on his breaking ball. And that was a heck of a play that he made because Framber induces a lot of soft contact, a lot of infield, like dribblers. And he just threw the ball wildly past Maldy.

But Framber was good. I mean, he came out locating his fastball. His fastball was almost a little too hard because he was throwing 94, 95. Usually he's 92 to 94 with movement. But he was good. I mean, he held us in the game until the big boy hit one out.

Q. What does it mean to you guys to have taken care of business here and go to Seattle just one win away from another ALCS?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, that third win is always the toughest, because I've been in this situation a couple times. So you try to get it over with as soon as you can so that they don't have much life after that third game.

But it's going to be tough. I mean, their fans, I've got people in Seattle. It's going to be sold out. First time in 20 years. They're scalping tickets and all kind of stuff up there. So it's going to be loud. Seattle's a good place to visit.

Q. When you managed Barry Bonds you saw him intentionally walked at some unusual times. What were you thinking about Ɓlvarez being walked one-run game putting another runner in scoring position?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I thought about Barry Bonds. I mean, that was some Barry Bonds-type stuff there. I mean, that's the ultimate respect.

Bregman rises to the occasion too. That's why I got Bregman hitting behind Yordan, because all you need in that situation is a base hit. Yeah, that was, right away I thought about, I've seen that a bunch of times, but not in a long time since Barry Bonds.

Q. When Yordan steps up to the plate there's this anticipation in the crowd. Do you guys feel that in the dugout too when he walks up those steps and heads out there? Like something, you got to get on the top steps here and see what's about to happen.

DUSTY BAKER: Well, yeah, exactly. I mean, you don't go to the bathroom, you know. I mean, you wait. You hold it until after he hits. And like I said, that was the same way with Barry Bonds. Like, you don't talk to anybody. You just pay attention.

Yeah, we got the same anticipation. I mean, it's hard to keep hitting it out, but when you're concentrating at a high level like that, he's getting a pitch and he's not missing it.

Q. You touched on this a second ago, but a lot of traffic in the latter half of the game. Can you talk about the job your bullpen did today in getting out of those troubles and ending the game?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, they did a great job getting out of trouble. And Maldy did a great job of directing them out of trouble. I mean, that goes unnoticed sometimes. The catcher really comes into play in that situation, to calm the pitcher down, know when to go to the mound, know when to call a timeout, and putting down the right fingers.

You don't invite that kind of trouble and have them get out of trouble all the time like that. So our guys, they were a little bit rusty, you could tell. Pressly was a little rusty. He's been out there, it's been awhile since he's been out there. And some of the relievers as well. So hopefully in the ensuing games we'll be better.

Q. When that ball dropped in front of Julio RodrĆ­guez in the 6th inning and gave Yordan an opportunity to go up there and do what he did, did that kind of feel like kind of what you were talking about before, kind of that anticipation kind of moment that they might have let slip there?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, that was a big one. Usually rallies are started by bloopers or infield hits, and stuff. If you watched the Braves the other day, that rally was started by a weak contact. Everybody talks about exit speed, but I always talk about exit hits. That's what precedes Yordan or anybody that's going to have some tremendous exit speed.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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