November 2, 2022
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Citizens Bank Park
Postgame 4 Press Conference
Houston Astros - 5, Philadelphia Phillies - 0
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with questions for Dusty.
Q. How would you describe Javier tonight? He's pitched a game like this before with a no-hitter but just with two pitches that they just had no clue, it seems like they couldn't catch up to you.
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I don't know. He was electric. He threw the ball up, down, and that shows you that the best pitch in baseball is still the well-located fastball. He was calm, cool. Christian VÃ¡zquez called a great game for him. I think that's the first time I've seen two guys with the same first name as a battery. So maybe that was part of it.
Q. Pretty emotional swing from last night to tonight. What does that do for your squad knowing you're going to get one more back home now?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, that's what we were coming here trying to take it back home. You want to win 'em all, but we realize how tough these guys have been in this ballpark. And the reality when you go on the road, if you can win two out of three, then you've had a pretty good series.
So it's a big series tomorrow before we head back home. We know that they have a great offensive club over there and they got a lot of energy in this ballpark. So, man, it's a strange series. I mean, they hit five home runs yesterday and then no hits today. I mean, this is a daily game and it's filled with daily emotions.
Q. Maybe just a little bit more on Javier, not just doing what he did, but the situation, you're down 2-1 in this series, a lot hinges on tonight. What kind of context does that add to his performance for you?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, to me, like I had heard an interview by Joe Torre that Game 4 is a pivotal game in a seven-game series, and that's why we kind of wanted Javy pitching that fourth game. I mean, the guy was cool as if it was June or July. That's how he is. I was glad that, I heard his mom and dad were here from the Dominican. They got to see him pitch. It's always great when do you something in front of your folks. I mean, this is a world stage here. People from all over the world are watching this, and he certainly put himself on the map.
Q. There's been three no-hitters in the postseason history, and you've been in the dugout for two of them. What do you think of that and what do you remember of 2010 and Roy Halladay and being on the other end of that result?
DUSTY BAKER: Oh, yeah, I was on the other end in this ballpark. I mean, that's what's strange about life. And I remember being on the other end of that. It was the 7th inning and it seemed like it was the 2nd inning, and I looked up on the board and it's the 7th inning already. Then you're trying not to be no-hit and then you're trying to win the ball game and, yeah, that's pretty remarkable. I've been on both ends and here for two out of three.
Q. You guys threw the first combined no-hitter in World Series history. Can you talk about how Javier's performance helped fuel the offense tonight?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, yeah, I mean, Nola was dealing on the other side too until we broke loose with some consecutive hits, which have been eluding us. We got a couple key RBI hits. It was a big one for Yordan to get hit to score our first run because we hadn't scored in 14 innings or something like that, 15 innings, or whatever it was. So it was just good to push that first run across the plate.
But a combined no-hitter is, I mean, that's hard to do because usually somebody's going to give it up during that no-hitter. So all our guys were poised and ready and strong and that's one reason why I didn't use some of those guys in that game to try to salvage that game last night because I wanted them to be fresh for today, and they will be fresh, relatively fresh, tomorrow.
Q. You mentioned VÃ¡zquez earlier. What went into the decision to start him and what do you think he brought to that effort behind the plate?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, he's caught Javy probably more than anybody on the staff. Like, he got a chance to watch the first couple, the first few games to see how to pitch or how to change in our pitching plans. He's an outstanding catcher. He calls a good game. He's been in this arena before with the Red Sox.
So the decision went in because I got to play him at some point in time and usually Maldy catches Verlander, Framber, and McCullers, and he was doing that before we got VÃ¡zquez. So that's what went into my decision.
Q. You mentioned how important this game was. Obviously, you got a guy throwing a no-hitter. How do you determine when the time is to pull him? I don't know that anybody expects 130 pitches, but obviously, he was still pitching pretty well when you took him out.
DUSTY BAKER: Well, yeah, he was. But it was a situation where he was approaching that 100 mark. Before every game we have kind of an unwritten limit on where a guy should be in the ball game. His limit was a hundred pitches and I think he was at 93, and if we had sent him back out there the next inning, he would have surpassed that maybe in the first hitter.
So you don't want to bring a guy out of the bullpen in that situation with a guy on base, so I wanted a fresh arm. Our guys have been rested. Our guys hadn't pitched in a couple days, our back end of the bullpen guys.
So it's always tough to take a guy out, but you have to weigh the no-hitter and history versus trying to win this game and get back to 2-2 in the World Series.
Q. Did he have that limit knowing you might need him again? Would it have been different if you knew he wasn't going to --
DUSTY BAKER: No. No. I think we took him to 115 pitches before, one time during the course of the year. But he hadn't pitched in a while, and all these days off, you lose some endurance during these many days off that we've had.
Q. What did you think of Yuli's at-bat? I know it just added another run, but he had a down year, you stuck with him all year, and he hasn't even struck out the whole postseason.
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I mean, that's, I mean, contact is huge in the World Series. I have faith in Yuli because Yuli's been on the world stage even before he got to here. You're on the world stage in Cuba, anybody that's ever been to Cuba, you got to play, you got to play to eat.
So I just knew that Yuli was going to come through for us. He's worked hard. He kept his head straight. And that was a big fifth run because you always want to play for that fifth run to keep 'em out of slam reach. So that was a big fifth run for us.
Q. You have such a great appreciation for baseball history. You know the story of Don Larsen. Was there anything about this that was uncomfortable for you, taking a guy out of a World Series no-hitter, or is this just baseball in 2022?
DUSTY BAKER: No, no, it's baseball in 2022. If I was the first guy to do that this year, as I recall, I think Dave Roberts had to do that in L.A. with Kershaw. So you think about, especially a young player, you think about his health and his career as much as you think about that game.
And like I said, we had a real fresh bullpen, extremely fresh bullpen, and one of the best bullpens around, so I had full faith that they could do the job.
Q. Was there a time in your career as a manager where you never could have conceived that a manager would do this, take a pitcher out of a World Series no-hitter?
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. I've never been in that position, so I don't know, to tell you the truth. The important thing is we won the game. That's most important. And we're 2-2 and we get to go back to Houston no matter what happens tomorrow, and tomorrow's as big a game as it was today.
Q. You've managed for a lot of teams and I wanted to ask you, what did the Astros do that kind of distinguishes their pitching program? Because they have brought in, they have had a lot of changeover in the last five, six years with pitching and you guys just keep producing these good young arms. What is it about the Astros?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, like we do have good young arms and we have a feeder system from the Dominican. A lot of the guys are from another country; namely, the Dominican, Venezuela, and Mexico. So we've had a very good scouting system in Latin America.
And then we train 'em. Our people upstairs they put 'em on a program. We have an idea when they should be in the ball game. It doesn't always work, but it works more times than not. So we've developed a system and a lot of the system was here before I got here and I just try to continue it and enhance what we already have.
Q. If this goes seven games, do you have any idea how much Javier could give you on three days' rest?
DUSTY BAKER: Oh, I don't want to take -- well, I thought about that today (laughing.) I was shaking it out, to tell you the truth. So, I don't know, two or three innings, maybe.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports