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AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: YANKEES VS ASTROS


October 20, 2022


Dusty Baker


Houston , Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Pregame 2 Press Conference


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

Q. Who will start Game 3?

DUSTY BAKER: We'll let you know tomorrow. We're still undecided.

Q. Stanek's only pitched once in this series. I think you said earlier you were looking for certain pockets to use him. What's kind of the ideal scenario you're looking for with him?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it wasn't, I mean, last night was a situation where we kind of got guys slotted. He'll get in there, big-time. And I talked to him about it. I just said, you know, you can't pitch everybody all the time, and our starters have been doing so well. But I got to get him in there in order to keep him sharp.

Q. Díaz in the outfield today, did you just want to get Álvarez off of his feet a little bit?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, after that 18 innings and then an off day, and then we're kind of pressing it and then once we get to New York, then Álvarez possibly could be out there every day. It depends on how Díaz is doing and how he's feeling and how he's swinging. So just trying to hedge our bet towards keeping Álvarez fresh and healthy.

Q. I know we've talked a lot about this in the past, but now that you're one series away from another World Series, how much do you still think about finally getting that first World Series championship and is it something that drives you?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I mean, victories drive me. And I'll get it. You can't rush it before it gets here because it ain't here yet. So you just got to put yourself in a position to do it.

I'm just taking it one game at a time and just living my life because you can't live too far in the future or else you're not really enjoying today. So if I can enjoy every day like I have the last four games, I'll be a very happy man.

Q. Last night you mentioned McCormick was kind of like oblivious to the stage and everything. Like, what does that look like and how does that benefit him?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know what it looks like. I don't know what the world looks like in Chas's eyes. But, I mean, that helps him a lot where you just play without worrying. There's a lot of young players that worry unnecessarily versus just thinking about playing. The more simple you can make things and just play, the better things, most of the time, end up for you.

Q. Is the overall depth of this team pitching and defensively, offensively, maybe one of the most underrated aspects of it? Last night we saw in the 6th, 7th inning the depth really come through. Pitching, you mentioned Stanek, and you've got guys you can't even get in because everyone else is throwing so well. It seems like this has really helped you guys' entire season?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it has. And what's helped a lot is the fact that our starters most of the time go deeper than any other starters go, which keeps my guys fresh.

But I'm always aware and conscious of a guy not being sharp because of rust too. So there's a thin line between how to do that. We put our heads together and try to figure out how to keep guys sharp, but keep 'em strong, and we've been pretty fortunate injury-wise, knock on wood, to do that.

Q. Curious why your guys are so good, your hitters are so good at controlling the strike zone. Is it kind of who they are as hitters or is it the work that your staff does with them too?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, probably a combination. Also, I mean, it's mostly who they are, but a lot of it has to do with sheer determination and enjoying competing. Our staff stresses to be a tough out and put the ball in play. If you put the ball in play, you got a chance. If you don't put the ball in play, you have no chance. You put the ball in play, especially nowadays that they have a lot of guys playing out of position on certain teams because they're counting on the strikeout, so therefore you don't have to, defense isn't as important if you're depending on the strikeout.

But the guy on the other team, he has to catch it, and then he has to throw it, and then somebody on the other end got to catch it too. So there's a possibility of three mistakes by putting the ball in play.

Q. What did you think of Altuve's at-bats last night?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah. Well, yeah, they were okay. I'm just glad, I mean, I ain't worried about Altuve. I mean, I know he's the talk of how come Altuve is not doing this and that, but we feel fortunate that we got other guys that are getting down and taking some of the pressure off of Altuve.

Altuve is going to hit, let me tell you. I mean, he's been hitting probably all his life. It's just sometimes you're going through an unfortunate period of time in your life and at the plate. You can't guide the ball. You have to, all you can do is get a good pitch to hit, which we urge him to, and try to hit it hard. If you don't hit it hard, hit it soft with a good bat angle and then try to throw it in there.

I remember years ago I was asking José Cruz, he was struggling, and I asked José, I said, Hey, José, man, how you doing? And he says, Dusty -- they call him Chop Chop, and he said, Man, I chopped one off the turf, I get jammed, and then I get going.

So that's all you need.

Q. How is Gary doing and do you feel like he'll be able to rejoin you guys at some point this series?

DUSTY BAKER: Good question. He's going to rejoin us today, yeah. He's just not going to be at third base yet. I just heard from him right before I came in here. Thanks for asking.

Q. Tucker had that home run against Seattle, but he's come up a lot with runners on and hasn't quite been able to deliver. What have you thought of his at-bats?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, Tuck's going to hit too. I mean he's kind of a streaky hitter. So Tuck time is coming.

Q. Just your thoughts on playing with the roof open today? What do you expect from your team? And is it kind of strange playing with the roof open in this stadium?

DUSTY BAKER: Well it's different. I mean, it's going to be a lot different. I think we only played with the roof open one or two times all year.

So the sight lines are different. Hopefully the shadows don't come into affect. There's going to be a predominant wind pattern that's ordinarily not here. There's not going to be as much noise, concentrated noise in the building.

So it's going to be different. I mean, a lot of times the wind comes in from right, bounces off the stands and then shoots back out to right. So it knocks down balls hit to left and it helps balls hit to right.

Q. What do you think about Jeremy Peña and Kyle Tucker being finalists for Gold Glove?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I think that's great. When you get gold, that means that you have talent, but that you honed it. Defense is work. You have to work on defense more than offense. You go to a Little League game, everybody wants to hit. And as soon as they get through hitting they're ready to go home.

So defense is work. My greatest thrill almost of my life is to get a Gold Glove. It's on my mantle and it means that I worked.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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