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AL DIVISION SERIES: MARINERS VS ASTROS


October 15, 2022


Dusty Baker


Seattle, Washington, USA

T-Mobile Park

Houston Astros

Pregame 3 Press Conference


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

Q. What are your pitching plans for Game 4, if necessary?

DUSTY BAKER: We haven't solidified it yet.

Q. Is Christian Javier available out of the bullpen today?

DUSTY BAKER: Probably not. Subject to change, though.

(Smiling.)

Q. The first two ALDS games were obviously very close, very tight. You guys were able to win 'em. But the other three division series, the Dodgers are down, Phillies over the Braves, you know, the top seeded teams have, I don't want to say struggling, but there's some theory that maybe the time off has affected them. What's been your impression just having to deal with the downtime, which is different this year, if it's affected you guys at all, has it made things different, or have you guys responded as well as you needed to?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, yeah, I think it's affected us too. I think it's affected everybody. The whole thing was an experiment. Nobody really knew. But from my experience with the Dodgers, and our trainer used to tell us, it only takes you a couple days to kind of start declining in your timing. I found that to be such.

Gilbert had a lot to do with us in that first game, but I could tell that some of our guys weren't a hundred percent timing-wise. They were strong, but I could tell, like, not going to admit it, but like Altuve and some of the guys were off a little bit.

And then it got better as that first game went on, and then we were better in that second game, but we had a day off, and then we got better, and then we had another day off. So we'll see how we are today.

Q. You talked yesterday about how crazy you expect the crowd to be. In your experience, how much can a team feed off of that and how do you prepare your own team for that?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, there's no way to really prepare it. I mean, this team is probably as prepared as any because a lot of the boos and the scorns that we've gotten over the last three years.

But the home team usually feeds off of it, but the visiting team, sometimes you got to have the attitude as we're the visiting team. When you're the visiting team you kind of expect it.

Q. You mentioned Altuve and he has yet to have a hit in this series. What have you thought about the quality of his at-bats?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, like I said, he's off a little bit. I'm not worried about Altuve. Altuve without any hits is probably the most dangerous guy in this building because the law of averages are on his side, and I believe in those law of averages. So I'm not worried about Altuve.

I'm glad that in the meantime that Bregman, Álvarez and Yuli and Peña are swinging well to offset whoever is not swinging well.

Q. I know the off days have allowed you to play Maldonado and start him in all three games, but I guess what kind of role do you envision for Vázquez and if this does go, if you guys do play a couple games in a row, could he possibly get a start?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, possibly. It depends on who is pitching. The guys that Maldonado has caught are the guys that Maldonado usually catches and has been catching for a number of years.

So you can't play everybody. There's a good chance if Javier pitches, that Vázquez will catch him. And also if we're late in a game, depending upon the situation and the score of the game, that I've got Vázquez ready to hit for Maldonado or whoever without completely tearing up my lineup. I mean, I got a plan. I always got a plan. But sometimes the opposition changes your plans. Most of the time they change my plans.

Q. The other day you were asked about another opportunity in the postseason. You kind of said you're happy you've been here 12 times. Obviously, there's nothing technical you can look at, there's no video, but do you maybe look back at other opportunities and perhaps change things the way you go about things? You talk about those plans or is it one of those where you just keep doing what you've been doing?

DUSTY BAKER: No, I mean, you do what you've been doing and you hope you do it better. And no matter what, I mean, you're at the mercy of how the players perform, whether you like it or not. I mean, I wish I was in control with my bat or my glove in there, but I'm not. So you try to put guys in a position where they will most likely succeed and hope that it works out.

The manager gets the credit or the scorn if things don't work out, but it's the players that are playing that have to perform, and sometimes they perform and things don't work out. So all you can do is do your best, prepare the best you can, because you are not in control as much as you think you're in control. I mean, you would like to think that you're in control of everything, but you're in control of very little.

Q. I'm curious about Rafael Montero. When you guys got him from Seattle last year, what was maybe the things you felt like he needed to work on and how has he kind of implemented that this year?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I liked Montero when he was in Texas, when he was a closer. And I liked him here. I don't know what happened here. But he appears to be the same. He appears to be a little calmer, more confident, and he's probably thrown more strikes. Guys get better. Sometimes we lose sight of guys get better. Everybody doesn't come in the same way, and everybody doesn't stick around the same way. If you don't get better, you're not going to stick around.

So I would like to think that he's gotten better. I would like to also think that our staff and our pitching people and our metrics people have helped him to get better. I think that's mandatory.

Q. I spoke with David Hensley and asked him, what's it like kind of being ready, not knowing when your number is going to be called in a pitching opportunity or whatever. He said that there are discussions about when those guys might come in and those situations may arise. Is that just something you guys have internally thinking 6th, 7th inning here might be an opportunity for this guy or that guy?

DUSTY BAKER: Well it might be sooner. But I tell 'em to stay prepared. Do not get surprised. Because you get surprised, you get surprised mentally and physically, you just can't turn it on. I remember I've had some players that every time I looked down the bench their heads pop out to look back at me. And I say, This guy's got ready.

And there's some other guys got the feet kicked up. And all of a sudden you tell them to get ready and they're shocked.

So personally I like that guy that's always sticking his head out. That guy tells me that he's at least ready. It's easier to turn it off than it is to turn it on.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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