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October 7, 2010

Dusty Baker


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dusty Baker.

Q. You kind of had a night to sleep on being on the wrong end of history. What is this team's resolve and how do you feel today going into Game 2?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, this is a very resilient team. Invariably every time we've had a tough go, usually we come back and win. So once you've done it once, you can do it again, and do it again, and do it again.
Yeah, you know, we slept on it. You know, I was telling Brandon Phillips, he and I have something in common. We're both the last out with no-hitters. That's a bad feeling when you're about to touch first base and see the first baseman reaching for the ball, and you're facing the reality that you're out.
But main thing is you've got to forget yesterday, that's why it's called yesterday, and not today or not tomorrow. So it was a great ballgame. There's always two sides of history, the side that people love to see like his no-hitter yesterday and the side that we were on yesterday.
I just told Brandon, just like me, I've seen that Nolan Ryan no-hitter about 72 times, and Brandon's going to see that probably the rest of his life.

Q. Didn't much matter in the end, but how encouraging was it to see your bullpen keep your team in the game after the second?
DUSTY BAKER: It was very encouraging. Especially encouraging that some of the young guys did well having their first taste of the playoffs. I think that's going to help them now and in the future. Now they shouldn't be nervous or overwhelmed because they've gotten that first one out of the way already, especially in the case of Wood, especially in the case of Majewski and Bray, we still have a couple guys that have had their first. Not the major, but almost half our side of the bullpen has gotten the experience and had success.

Q. One more word on Halladay, and I know you're probably not too eager to praise a guy that might be pitching again later, but just his body of work this year, a perfect game, no-hitter, probably win the Cy Young 50 games, et cetera, is it fair to place him among the best individual seasons in the years you've been in the game and is there anyone else that's had a season like this?
DUSTY BAKER: That's a very good question. Yeah, this is probably one of the best seasons I've seen in a long time. I remember right here in Philly the years that Steve Carlton had. The years that Nolan Ryan and J.R. Richard had down in Houston.
You know, I had a couple 20-game winners on the same staff in San Francisco. And the fact that he had a perfect game and no-hitter in the same season probably sets him apart from the rest of the guys.
Plus, we hit him pretty good the last time we saw him in our park. And it shows you he's studied, and he's made the adjustments from the last time we saw him, so it's up to us now to make the adjustments to him the next time we see him, and that is the name of the game. He who adjusts the quickest is usually successful. Last night he made some very good adjustments.

Q. Roy Oswalt was very successful for a long time against the Reds, but last couple of years, last four games in particular you've gotten to him, and he hasn't won a game. What do you attribute that turnaround to?
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. Different team, you know, we have a different team. In the past he was very successful, you know, he hit off left-handers pretty good, Dunn and Griffey and those guys pretty good. And we probably have more of a contact team now than we did then. I was only with them like a half a year or two-thirds of the year.
I mean, after awhile you do everything you can. That is the thing about the big leagues. You try to figure a guy out. I mean, guys getting you out a lot. You'll stay up all night trying to figure out how to get this guy, or the pattern of pitches or sequences or whatever it is. So I talked to people, and they said that he's thrown as well as anybody since he's been here. He's been better than Roy Halladay since he's been here.
He's a very tough competitor. You got your hands full, but, hey, we've got to do what we've got to do.

Q. Do you think you have him figured out? How good do you feel going into tomorrow?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, we feel real good. Do you have everybody figured out? You don't know. You don't know until the game starts. So just depends on how sharp he is, and depends how sharp Bronson Arroyo is tomorrow. So I think it's going to be a very good ballgame.
You know, you want to come here and win both. But you're in a situation where you'd be satisfied if you left here with the split. You don't come here wanting to split. I've heard people say that. I think that's -- you know the word for it (smiling). Yeah, now that we're in this position, let's have a split and take it to the house.

Q. You kind of touched on it just a second ago. Spending a lot of time talking about where your team's collective head's going to be at and if they show the resiliency they've shown all year. How much of it comes down to whether Bronson Arroyo pitches well enough to give you a chance tomorrow? And the second question, is there a guy on your staff that you would feel anymore comfortable giving the ball to in this sort of situation than Arroyo?
DUSTY BAKER: That's why we set our rotation the way we did. You know, Bronson's been here before. They have some guys over there that have had some success against Bronson too. But there are some guys last night that didn't have any success against Volquez and ended up having success. Victorino hadn't had a hit off of him and he gets two hits, two big hits.
So it's just hard to tell. You know, it boils down to whoever's pitching. That's number one. You get a good pitched game and you can beat anybody, which was evident last night.
The ball's in the hands of the pitcher. That is number one. So do you want a lot of runs? Okay, yeah. But are you probably going to get them? Probably not. So it boils down to what kind of pitched game you get.

Q. This is another resiliency question. When you talk about resiliency, is there a different sense of urgency this time of year compared to April through September? You've been through some emotional losses yourself in October. How much tougher is it to bounce back from those games now versus during the season?
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. It all depends what kind of person you are, what kind of personality of the ballclub. You have your back up against the wall, I mean, you're going to fight. Our back isn't up against the wall exactly yet. But like I said, we have every intention of coming out tomorrow, winning the ballgame, and forgetting about the no-hitter.
All I know is that the teams that I've been on that have won are usually teams that come back and win. I remember in '81, the Dodgers years ago, I think we were down every series. Even 2-0 in a couple of the series. And there were other series we were up 2-0 and 3-1 that you end up losing. So, again, it's in the hands of the pitcher.

Q. Did Travis Wood's performance alter the way you think you might be using him the rest of the season? Is he going to be in the bullpen for sure the rest of the way or might you start him?
DUSTY BAKER: That's the situation that depends on what happens the next couple days and where we are. But that was a perfect scenario to use Travis last night in his first playoff experience.
Now, next time you're not as apprehensive about him being overwhelmed and nervous, because he's done it, he's had success. If it comes down to that situation, we probably won't be able to use it again probably until Sunday. So our plan is to have him as a pinch-runner, because he's one of the fastest runners we have on the team as a pinch-runner or whenever we need him the next couple days until Sunday. And on Sunday we'll see how it goes, and then we'll see how it goes again on Monday.
He could start. Depends, we could use Volquez in the pen. You know, the next few days you just don't know. You do everything you do to stay in this series, you know, to win.

Q. It's now been 30 innings since the Reds have scored a run in this stadium, and you're going up against a guy who has never lost here. So much of hitting is confidence. How do you help your guys line up some younger guys? How do you help them get the confidence to overcome those psychological hurdles?
DUSTY BAKER: I didn't know there was psychological hurdles until you just told me (smiling). I'm hoping my boys don't -- I'm not going to tell them that. I mean, the main way you overcome any kind of confidence of psychological hurdles is a quick count. Because I'm big on if you're 0 for 10, you're going to be 0 for 12, 0 for 13. Anybody that's ever been in a slump knows the more you count, the worse it gets.
So we're going back to one, number one. That's the main way.
Like I said, I didn't know it was 30 innings. I still don't know (smiling).

Q. Not so much in reaction to last night's game, but just the situation of the match-ups tomorrow. Any possible lineup changes you're contemplating?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, that's a good question. Yeah, we're going to go with Hannigan, who always catches Arroyo, he's catching tomorrow. Then Laynce Nix who's had some pretty good success against Oswalt is going to be on the field tomorrow.

Q. What is it about Arroyo's demeanor, personality, whatever, that allows you to feel confident that he'll pitch you a good game tomorrow?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, that's him. He's not bothered by too much; you know, like I've always said, he's a highly competitive, well-prepared, good-time-Charlie type person. So, therefore, he has the ability, he knows how to stay loose. It's just Bronson. Anybody that knows Bronson, you can look at him and tell he's loose. Everywhere he goes they tell him to cut his hair, and he still has the same hair (smiling). He's the same guy all the time.

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