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October 6, 2010

Bruce Bochy


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Bruce Bochy.

Q. Can you tell us what your playoff roster is and what your four starters are going to be yet?
BRUCE BOCHY: We're close, I'll say that. I have to talk to some players, what we're probably going to do. But we still are going to wait a little bit here. I have to talk to a couple more players.
But the club, we pick the guys we're going to utilize we think the most, so we should have something after workout.

Q. Can you at least discuss the four starters situation?
BRUCE BOCHY: We got our three going with Timmy, Cain and Sanchez. With the next game, we have an option there between Bumgarner and Timmy.

Q. Bruce, I don't think there seems to be much doubt about Buster's capability and potential as a hitter, but, obviously, you guys are built around pitching, and putting him in the catcher's spot to handle a pitching staff for a playoff-caliber team is not necessarily an easy decision. What went into your thoughts and Brian's thoughts about when he might be ready to do that, and why you think it's worked out so well?
BRUCE BOCHY: We talked about this quite a bit in the off-season and actually in spring training, but really started this winter when we were trying to, you know, decide when we thought the best time for Buster was to come up here and when we thought he would be ready.
Now we did sign Bengie, and that allowed us to give Buster more time to continue his progress down in Fresno. And he got a lot of playing time in spring training, that was the plan, to give him all the experience we could handling the pitchers there. And, of course, with the job that Bengie did, there was a sense of comfort there with the pitchers to start out the season.
And then it came to a point where we needed some help, and we felt Buster was ready, and we brought him up to play first base and give us another bat in the lineup. And then, finally, decided to turn this over to Buster. We felt he was ready.
And that's why the trade was made with Bengie going to Texas, to make room for Buster to take over. And he did such a great job. He made the transition, you know, from Bengie handling the staff to, you know, Buster doing all the catching. The pitchers really acclimated themselves to him very well, and what a job he's done. We're here because of the job he did behind the plate as much as his hitting.

Q. This is a two-parter. There has been a lot of talk about the chemistry you guys have. Do you believe that winning breeds chemistry, or does chemistry actually help winning? And the second part is how does this club's chemistry rate with some of the other great teams you've managed in your career?
BRUCE BOCHY: Winning certainly helps the chemistry on a ball club. Chemistry is something that's hard to describe. It just doesn't happen. It happens because you work at it, and these players work at it in there.
We have a great blend of veterans and young players, and they do a great job of holding each other accountable and playing the game right and playing the game hard. Winning certainly does reinforce that. And I think everybody in that clubhouse knew that we were a good club, that this was a club that could get into the postseason if we did things in the right way. They made sure that each of us did do that. They came in prepared every day.

Q. How does it rate with other clubs that you've had?
BRUCE BOCHY: It's as good of a club as I've ever had. That's what I think of the group that we have. They've coalesced into a bunch of guys that have one agenda, and that's to win and that was to get to the postseason.
We made some changes and guys change their roles, but, you know, they never let that be a distractions from what we wanted to accomplish. That's to get here.

Q. With the bullpen talent and depth that you guys have and the way you've all been able to protect leads, especially here at home, what kind of an asset is that, and what does it allow you to do with the starters or with the offense playing for a run here or there? And for some of us who haven't been here all year, can you walk us through how the bullpen has come together?
BRUCE BOCHY: It's as good a bullpen as I've ever had. You know, you have your great closers or your set-up guys, and I've been fortunate there. But the depth of this bullpen is probably as deep as I've ever had. You know those guys in that fifth, sixth, seventh inning, they can make a difference in the game. Ramirez, Casilla, Lopez, they all help us to get to Wilson, and it allows you to shorten the game up at times. And I thought Jonathan had gone far enough in the last game, and I don't pull him unless I have the confidence in the bullpen. And I have in those guys, because of the job they've done.
It certainly makes life easier when you're able to make some moves earlier in the game because of the bullpen that you have.

Q. Bruce, the offense has become increasingly reliant on the home run over the last month, and I'm wondering how that happens, where it changes that way, and is that a concern against a team that doesn't give up a lot of home runs?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, it's nice to have home runs but you need other ways to score. We think getting tore res back and having the top of the order do some things, that could help create some runs. But with that missing there for a while I think the long ball was important for us, and they came through for us. You know, you've got -- we talk about this all the time. You have to keep the line moving at times, especially when you're facing good pitchin' that don't give up the long ball, you know? And we have guys that give you good at-bats.
Sure, we have got some big home runs, and for a while there, we were relying on the long ball. But if you look at the bats, they were grinding those out pretty good, too, and helping things out.

Q. Boch, with the struggles that Timmy went through in August and the way he was able to bounce back in September, how do you think that will help him mentally going into this pressure-packed situation, Game 1 of the playoffs?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well I think his struggles were behind him. He was searching, we all know it. But coming out of it, he's got his confidence back and his "stuff" back. And at some point in the future in his career, he may stumble and he'll have that experience to draw on.
But right now, that's behind us. And what's important is how he is throwing the ball now, and he's throwing it well.

Q. Pablo Sandoval had a break-out season last year. He had some struggles this year. What's been your take on his season and how do you get him back on track?
BRUCE BOCHY: It's been up and down for Pablo. He's been fightin' himself at times this year, but I like where he's at now. And he's carrying himself up to the plate, gettin' better swings off, had a good month in April. But when -- similar to Timmy's situation. When he started struggling there, he was fightin' it.
And this is a tough game sometimes. It can humble you. And here is a guy that has had tremendous success. Last year, you look at what he did, and all of the sudden, you go in a slump and you don't know what's going on. And he hasn't handled that very often in his career because he's always hit.
But, again, this is something they all go through. It's a great learning experience and he'll be better because of it.

Q. Bruce, presumably Zito and Rowand two guys on the borderline for the postseason roster. They're your two highest-paid players. Is it easy to remove money from the equation? Would it be embarrassing to have your two highest-paid players not on the roster?
BRUCE BOCHY: You know, we're going to go with what we think our best team is. We're not caught into salaries. We're about it's how guys are doin'. Rowand will be on this roster. The way we're settin' up right now, I like him on this roster. And I know he hasn't got a lot of playing time, but he will help out.
I have talked to Barry. As soon as I'm done here, I'm going to get back with "Z" and talk about his situation.

Q. Has Tim Lincecum's style as a pitcher changed, say, from a couple of years ago? Has it evolved or changed that he's somewhat of a different pitcher?
BRUCE BOCHY: A little bit. If you look at his pitches now, he's not just a fastball curveball guy. He came up with a good change-up. That's a big pitch for him, he throws a slider. So now he has four pitches he will throw at any time.
And I think, yeah, he's changed a little bit. He doesn't try to power his way through pinch hitters as much as he used to and go for strikeouts.

Q. Bruce, the experience of Lowe, the amount of big games he's been in in the postseason, what do you expect from that and how do you handle that?
BRUCE BOCHY: He's going to be tough. I know how well he's been throwing this month, and the success he's had at postseason. He's a good pitcher. He's a big reason why the Braves are here, because of the year that he had. It's a good match-up.
They're similar teams, good startin' pitchin', good bullpens and you try to find ways to score runs, but we're certainly facing a good one tomorrow.

Q. Secondly, '84 and '98, you mentioned the fans were fantastic. What's gone on here in San Francisco this year, how do you compare that and the excitement around this ballclub as you're going into the postseason?
BRUCE BOCHY: You know, anytime you're in postseason, there is a different, you know, excitement or energy in the ballpark. What I experienced in the last three games against San Diego in the last series, you know, it's something I haven't quite seen, you know.
Been in the postseason before and seems like every year it's a little different. You say this is the best crowd I've ever seen. And that's how I felt in that series against San Diego, how our fans came out and, not just during the game, but before the game, after the game, the city, you know, it's something like I haven't seen.

Q. Bruce, Roy Halladay had a great day today.
BRUCE BOCHY: Unbelievable.

Q. Which made it all the more reason why you guys wanted the second seed and not have to go through it. How much about -- first of all what do you think about the performance by Halladay, and how much did you think during the last weeks that you didn't want to play those guys?
BRUCE BOCHY: I never thought about who we were going to play. I don't know if any team does. When you're fightin' to get to the playoffs, you have one goal, a mission, that's to get there. So that was never a thought.
Now, as far as his performance, it's one of those incredible efforts in baseball. That's history! Second one ever in postseason play and for a guy to throw two in one year, that's remarkable! I tip my cap for a guy to go out there and do it the first time he pitches in postseason. It tells you how great this guy is. You know, what this guy can do on anytime he hits the mound, I mean, throw a no-hitter against a good hittin' team like that, that's amazing.

Q. Bruce, you said that Rowand will be on your roster. How much does his experience in postseason go into that decision?
BRUCE BOCHY: It plays a part, you look at everything. He has had success against some of these pitchers, you know. He's been there. His experience will help. He gives you flexibility, the double-switch, things like that. We know that they have a couple of good left handers in the back-end of their bullpen and he gives us a right-handed bat.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Bruce.

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