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October 15, 2022

Dusty Baker

Seattle, Washington, USA

T-Mobile Park

Houston Astros

Postgame 3 Press Conference

Houston Astros - 1, Seattle Mariners - 0

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

Q. Can you just start with Lance. You said the other day that this is a different team with him healthy and him starting this thing off with six scoreless. What does that say about him?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it says a lot. I mean, we didn't even know if Lance was going to pitch because he had been sick. So he worked on himself. Our fitness staff worked on him. I would have had to fight him for him not to pitch because he loves to pitch. He loves to pitch in these kind of games and these scenarios.

Boy, our pitching staff did a heck of a job here. Theirs did a heck of a job, especially tonight on us, because it's hard to hold somebody scoreless for that long on both sides. This is some team. These guys, they grind and grind and grind and sooner or later we broke through.

Q. When you were getting through those later innings there, mental exhaustion, physical exhaustion play in, but where does experience take over, the fact your team has been through this so many times?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, experience is very important and people are discounting experience sometimes in the world. These guys, they know not to panic. They don't get too excited. They don't get too down. It means a lot. Once you've been through it and then you go through it again and again and again, and then you sort of expect excellence, and that's what this team expects out of itself.

We didn't know who the hero was going to be tonight, but we were hoping that we would have somebody. And we had somebody in PeƱa. This whole series it's been different guys. But our pitching staff and our bullpen did a heck of a job during this whole series.

Q. PeƱa has been in the mix in all of these game-winning situations. Did you sense that he was a kid who had this in him?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah. I mean, you know, you never know until you get there, but you could tell by his brightness in his eyes and his alertness on the field that he wasn't scared and he wasn't fazed by this. Boy, he's been a godsend to us, especially since we lost Carlos because this could have been a disastrous situation had he not performed the way he has.

And he's only getting better. That's what you want. You want these young players to improve. If you see improvement, especially in this short period of time, the sky's the limit on where they can go. We were all young at once upon a time and we remember the exuberance of youth, but you also are surrounded by experience on this club. We have a great mixture. We have a great mixture, period, of experience.

Look at the job Hunter Brown did. I mean, he did a great job. These guys are a lot older than they play. No, I didn't mean that. They're a lot older than their time in the big leagues.

Q. And you have almost all of your pitching staff under contract for next year too. How important is that kind of continuity for a staff going into next season having the success you're having?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, that's very important. A lot of these guys were on the team during the COVID year. A lot of 'em cut their teeth during the playoffs during that time, and then it accentuated itself last year and into this year. So they're unfazed by the pressure, and the quicker you can get used to the pressure, the better you will perform and the less you feel pressure.

I love these young guys, and the old dudes too. But I really love the young guys because they follow the old dudes.

Q. You talked about the pitching staff performance but Garcia basically made a start in the back end there. How big was that and what is, the fact that you guys have five, six, seven kind of starting pitchers, what does that do for you down the road in the postseason?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, that's going to do a lot, especially when you get in extra innings like this, you're not going through everybody on your staff. We still had Urquidy that could give us innings too. And I remember, against the Mets when I was with the Giants, we ran out of pitching. And, I mean, that's a terrible feeling to run out of pitching. You're not matching up. You're just going on who is left. We had some innings in the tank, so to speak, and he was great. I mean, to pitch extra innings like that, I mean, that was a start for him. When a guy comes out of the bullpen and he can go five innings or more and then you got another guy. So it's a very secure feeling when you know that you have innings and you have quality in your bullpen.

Q. Focusing on pitching too, can you tell us what you saw out of Mariners pitchers today and even broader, what are you expecting out of this team going forward to be challenging for you guys?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, we're expecting more of the same, just build on the positiveness that you took from this series and from the series before this. You can build on that. It gives our team a lot of confidence when you know that we didn't walk many guys today. We kept the ball in the ballpark. It's a very, very good feeling. The pitchers know that if they throw strikes that our guys will catch the ball. As a general rule, we don't give away outs, which always ends up costing you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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