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October 19, 2022

Dusty Baker

Houston , Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Pregame 1 Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with Dusty Baker.

Q. Can you go into the decision to start Framber in Game 2?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, Framber's been throwing well, I mean, the whole year, so we thought that that was the best sequence of pitchers, Framber followed by -- JV followed by Framber. And then if we go deep into this series, Framber has the resiliency to come back, or if we have to bring him back short or if we have to bring him back at all.

Q. I guess that's my follow-up. Is there any circumstance under which you would pitch Verlander or McCullers on short rest in this series, just given their histories?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I'm just hoping we don't have to come back and make that decision because both have a history of coming off of operations. So you would rather not jeopardize those guys' career if you can help it.

Q. Are Javier, Urquidy, and Garcia available in the pen as you start this series?

DUSTY BAKER: Probably. I'm not sure about Garcia because he would be on short rest. So as we go deeper into this playoff, that will be an easier decision.

Q. This series has kind of been in the making all season in some ways. A lot of the rivalry predates you with this club. It goes back to 2017 and 2019. What's your perspective now that you know that you're playing the Yankees that you finally have this rematch in a lot of way that really it's the fourth time that these two teams have met since 2015 in the playoffs.

DUSTY BAKER: Well, this is about the 10th time I've met with the Yankees, going back to my playing days. So the rivalry that's been created here, I'm new to it, but we played 'em quite a bit last year.

So it's a big series for the teams, a big series for the towns, and it will probably be rather exciting.

Q. Díaz in there at DH today, is that a matchup thing or is that something that you think is going to continue throughout the series?

DUSTY BAKER: No, I'm not sure. You go on day-to-day, you see how a guy's swinging. But that was the best matchup that I thought that gave us the best chance to win today.

Q. Talking about this particular team with the sixth one of these in a row, do you mind talking about managing all these different guys with all these different cultures from all these different places and why it's been successful not only for the last five years, but especially this year?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I think managing different cultures is probably one of the easier things for me to do because I've lived in various cultures throughout my life. I was in a predominantly Black and Mexican situation as a kid, and then in high school, I was the only Black dude in the high school, me and my brother, and then we went to the South during the tumultuous '60s, late '60s. And then I went to play in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico.

So I've been in almost, in between there, I was in the Marines, so I've been in almost every culture that you can be in. And I think that's what makes the world go round is taking people for their face value and accepting people how they are without trying to change 'em. But hopefully you can have some influence to help 'em be better like people did for me.

Q. Urquidy was the only player on the roster for the DS who didn't play at all in that series. Given that, are you inclined to try and throw him earlier in the series just to get him some work?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it depends on the situation. I mean, at this point every game, every inning is important. If the situation is correct, then that's what we'll do.

He threw a simulated game the other day to try to get him some work that way. Javier threw a simulated game as well. Our hitters got some live pitching, and then the pitchers got some live hitters.

Q. Given that he's a rookie, what has impressed you this year about Jeremy Peña now that you've had kind of a full year managing him?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, he doesn't act like a rookie. He's quiet like a rookie should be, but he doesn't act like a rookie, like some rookies act. I don't know if that answers your question or not.

Q. Where do you think his sense of poise comes from, I mean, coming up big in the 18th inning there?

DUSTY BAKER: It probably comes from his background, from his culture, from his dad who played, from his mom that he's close to, and the fact that, I think he's the only Dominican dude I know who went to University of Maine. That wasn't meant to be funny.

Q. It was, whether you know tended it to be or not. Thank you for that. You've guided this team through a lot of the reactions, the criticisms, all those things that date back to 2017. There are some hard feelings that remain from that. As you look back on that, what was the key for you to guide this team through those things to get them to the point where they could go play baseball and succeed at the level that you guys have succeeded?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, try to deflect as much as I could away from them, and also to not have to talk about it all the time, and also to ask the world for forgiveness that we didn't get much of, but you still ask for it, and then you forgive yourself if you are guilty, and then you realize that, you know, I don't know anybody in this room that hasn't made some mistakes. So then you live your life and go from there.

Q. With a couple of the roster changes, you have Seth Martinez in with now 13 pitchers, Jake Meyers out. How do you anticipate using Martinez or kind of what role is there for him and maybe the decision between a guy like Hensley and a guy like Meyers for that last spot?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, we liked Hensley's at-bats. He had played more. Jake hadn't played very much this year because of injury. I mean, he came in halfway through the year and he was playing catch up the whole time.

Seth, it was a very tough decision probably between Seth and Smith that we had to leave 'em off again. But with their predominantly right-handed lineup and with Seth being one of the better matchup guys versus right-handers, you know, that went into the decision.

Q. We don't know if any of these games will go extra innings. But you just played one that was 18. Did you notice any difference with no runners starting the innings at second base in the approach of your hitters as opposed to what you've been doing for the last two and a half seasons; i.e., is everyone trying for a home run rather than stringing hits together?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, yeah, you probably answered that question. I mean, yeah, you see the amount of guys that were trying or were swinging at first pitch pitches on both sides. You see the amount of strikeouts that were present on both sides. The excellence of the pitchers. In modern baseball you don't hardly see stringing two, three hits together. You see strikeouts or home runs.

Like in Cleveland's game it was decided at 17 innings by a homer. It was decided in our game in the 18th inning by a homer. And that's kind of the way guys are approaching modern baseball. Sometimes the stats show that you shouldn't give away an out or this or that. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don't. But the game is to get base runners and opportunities on as often as possible. But you got to realize that there were two outstanding bullpens and outstanding pitching staffs that were competing against each other.

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