October 18, 2022
Houston , Texas, USA
Minute Maid Park
Workout Day Press Conference
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions for Dusty Baker.
Q. The surprise of what happened with the Dodgers and the lesson that the San Diego Padres taught to all of baseball, I was wondering what did you tell your team regarding what happened in that series, what almost happened with Seattle in reference that No. 1 team in American League, not so powerful team in American League, and almost cost you guys the series, what's the lesson that you gave to the guys to avoid that possible scenario. If you can say in Spanish, it would be beautiful; if not, I understand.
DUSTY BAKER: No. Yeah, but I haven't said anything to them. I just told 'em to play nine innings, or if it takes more. Never underestimate anybody that you're playing when you get to this point. And if it wasn't for Yordan at the end and PeÃ±a, like JV said, we might have loss that first game, and that first game, we knew how important that was to win because we had Castillo, I mean, who has outstanding stuff.
It was really big for us to win that last game because both sides were operating on fumes after that 18 innings, and they would have probably had more energy than we did had we played that Sunday. They're younger and have a tendency to rebound quicker, and also, they would have probably fed off the energy of their fans because I know that we were extremely tired on Sunday and we were probably even more tired on Monday, and fortunately, for us we didn't have to play.
That was big for us to come out of there with a sweep. As you see in the playoffs, anybody can beat you, anything can happen. Like JV was saying, whoever is the hot team at the end.
So we were very fortunate to have won the games that we won because they were in line, one hit, one play, they could have won every one of those games, but we won 'em.
So instead of looking back, we have to look where we are. We don't know who we're going to play. But we're trying to prepare the best we can without over-preparing for the two teams that we may play at the end of this day.
Q. Obviously Justin's starting Game 1 of the first series very uncharacteristic for him. What are you expecting from him going forward to bounce back from such a subpar start, for his standards especially?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, this guy he knows what it takes. So we're not worried about Justin. I mean, it can happen to anybody. I don't care how great you are or what your track record says, that's why you play the game. So we anticipate Justin to come out and throw a great game.
I mean, let's face it, those days off really hurt some of the guys. It hurt their location. It hurts their timing on some of the hitters. So I think it's, we've tried to work as hard as we can during these three days off, four days off, here to try to alleviate that situation because you got to come out strong in this next series starting tomorrow.
Q. Such a unique situation with your opponent. They're playing today, and then they will fly in tonight, whoever it is. Wondering if you could maybe put yourself in the shoes of the winning skipper, how you'll handle these next 24 hours, and I guess maybe my most the important question, do you tell them to scale down the clubhouse celebration knowing that there's the ALCS right around the corner?
DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. I mean, when you get a chance to party, party. You know what I mean? Because there's not many people partying on that day but us. So you party, you let it go, and then you look forward to the next round, and you try to feed off the energy and the positive thought processes for the next series, and then you look forward to hopefully partying in the next series, and then you scale it down, and then you go to the next series.
And then after tonight, then there will be four, the Final Four, so to speak, that are left standing. So you just look forward to it and feel fortunate that we're in this position.
Q. Do you know who will start Game 2?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, but, I mean, we have to wait. We'll let you know tomorrow.
Q. As a follow-up, why wasn't Javier available in Game 3 in Seattle?
DUSTY BAKER: Probably because Javier was going to pitch Game 4.
Q. How do you expect your roster might change for the ALCS with possibly seven games in eight days?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean we were discussing that at length today. So we might go to 13 pitchers. But then that means that you only have 13 position players. And you got to decide which ones that you think will have a chance to help you more in the next series.
And also some of it depends on who we're playing. Like whether we're playing the Yankees or whether we're playing Cleveland. And that will be decided very shortly and then we have some tough decisions to make.
Q. When you took this job I remember you saying you didn't know if you would get another shot. Obviously you wanted to be here. Three years later you're in your third consecutive ALCS, the team is. And it seemed like you enjoyed that Seattle celebration as much as anyone.
DUSTY BAKER: Well they made me. I was trying to stay behind the curtain.
Q. You enjoyed it.
DUSTY BAKER: Well I enjoyed it once they got me out there.
Q. How has your, just your bond with this team, these players, the organization, the city really grown in these last three years?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, it's been a good marriage for all of us. I loved the city even before I got here. Because I spent a lot of time here, got a lot of friends here, relatives here.
With the players, I knew some of them from afar and then you get to know them.
It's made it a little difficult with COVID to meet everybody in the organization. Because I still haven't met everybody in the organization because we didn't have the freedom to meet 'em. By now I would have known most of the wives, most of the kids.
But since I've been here there have been two dozen kids born and I didn't even know the mothers.
So it's a situation where it was a little bit different. You couldn't go out to different restaurants or bars or different things that you would have ordinarily done.
It's been different because of COVID, but things are hopefully subsided. But we're still not out of the woods yet. We still have to be careful. As I had to be careful out of Cleveland last year, I mean, a couple months ago.
So the whole world's different from the time I got here. But it's getting better.
Q. When you guys were figuring out your rotation with the 3 through 7 without an off day, was it important that your Game 3 starter was comfortable working on three days rest if he was needed potentially for a Game 7?
DUSTY BAKER: Yes. Yeah. And a lot of that depends on the strength of the person. Mental and physical strength of the person. Who has the most resilient arm. All that comes into play.
Also you have to be aware and cognizant of the future of that player. Because I'm very aware of that because, being from San Francisco, the Bay Area, everybody has to extend if you're going to be the champions.
And then I saw firsthand some of the outcome of the Giants winning three years, three out of six years, which could possibly have cut some of the careers short of Lincecum, Cain. And then you see that Bumgarner is not the same.
A lot of these guys, those extra innings and extra stress that are put on especially the pitchers. You know, it's for the quest for the championship.
So I'm very, I'm trying to win the championship, but I'm very aware of the careers of these guys and the future games that they're going to have. As far as like excellence for their careers, earning power, all this comes into play.
Q. What has that preparation process looked like as you try to get your guys ready for the big stage and you don't know who you're playing in a little bit over 24 hours now?
DUSTY BAKER: Well you try to go about your work as normal. You take infield, outfield. The guys are on the field right now while I'm talking to you guys. You're hitting, you're trying to simulate as much as you can for game situations.
You try to urge guys to get their rest, to eat well, stretch, get a massage. Whatever it takes to prepare yourself. Because we got a tough road here.
Like I said, there's only four of us left. So we feel very privileged and honored to represent the city and represent our families.
Q. As you've gotten to know Christian VÃ¡zquez what do you think of him as a player and how comforting is it to have a guy like that as your backup catcher?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, well he's not really a backup to me. I got two regulars. But it's just that Maldy has caught particularly JV, Framber and McCullers over a long period of time. And it's very comforting to have Christian. He's a great teammate. He studies, him and Maldy study together. He's a very astute baseball mind.
He's a good athlete. He can run. He can throw. The guy can catch. I know he's been around awhile, but he has a very bright future and I'm glad we got him.
Q. How much do you think these couple days will help Altuve decompress a little bit? And what are you expecting from him kind of after those three games he had against the Mariners?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, hey, man, this guy's been good for a long time. Sometimes it's not always up. I mean sometimes, no matter how great you are, sometimes there are down times. It's how you deal with the down times versus how you deal with the good times. It's easy to deal with the good times.
But the mentally strong have a way of dealing with the down times. We just have to increase concentration and focus. And when you're in a downward spiral, man, sometimes it's hard to get out. I don't care who you are.
But I'm expecting big things out of Altuve. Because he expects big things out of himself. So I don't put any pressure on him.
I just feel very fortunate that we had some guys that were hot enough to carry us through that series. Had we lost that series then everybody would have been talking, would have been blaming Altuve. But that's not how it is.
And that's the kind of team that we have. You get a couple guys down. Boom. We got a couple guys that pick him up. And hopefully, like I said, it's been a long year, but we really -- we've been winning games, but we have never been operating on full cylinders the whole time. Especially our offense.
So the way I look at it, the law of averages are on our side. Because you can tell I believe in those law of averages. So water seeks its own level and it's about to seek his shortly.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports