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October 22, 2010

Bruce Bochy


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Bruce Bochy.

Q. Do you marvel sometimes about the growth of Jonathan, how inconsistent he was in prior years and this year how he's taken that step to being very consistent, to the point where you have full trust in him to pitch the last game of the regular season and you're at this point and the trust factor you have in him?
BRUCE BOCHY: I do. It's been a pleasure to watch Johnny grow as a pitcher. And we've always known that Johnny has the equipment to have success up here. And earlier he was his own worst enemy. But his growth as a pitcher this year has really been fun to watch.
He competes so well. He handles adversity so well, whether it's a questionable call or error, puts that behind him. And he's a big reason why we're here, because of his growth.
And I think our staff feeds off of each other and I think between our pitching staff and Buster Posey, I think they've helped Johnny, too.

Q. Obviously this team has battled all year. Is this coming back to Philadelphia, though, the ultimate test of this team after having a chance to wrap it up at home and now having to come back across the country?
BRUCE BOCHY: Sure it will be. But I'll say this about the club. We've been tested all year. You go back to early August. We've been playing big games. We were six and a half, seven games back. Went down to the wire playing Atlanta and now we're here in Philly, playing a tremendous team that's been to the series the last two years. No question, that's a test.
But these guys, they've been battle-tested. And we know we're playing a club that's loaded with experience, and they are, too. But I like the way my team has handled everything thrown at them and they'll go out there and give it their all. And that's all you can ask.

Q. Is there a specific reason for that confidence? Is it specific guys that you think will kind of step up? Or what is the reason for that confidence?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, if you look at our club, it has been one guy that carries this team. We've had our struggles and even during the course of a game when things go awry, it seems like somebody different steps into the breach and finds a way to help us win the ballgame.
And that's the way it's been for us, whether it's our starting pitching, our bullpen or somebody different in the lineup. We tweak the lineup quite a bit and we find ways to get it done.
And it's a group of guys that play to win, and that's what you want.

Q. Bruce, historically, when Jonathan would lose the strike zone, he would never get it back. That's changed this year. What specifically do you see with him in a game that you're looking for to indicate that he's regathered himself?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I think with Johnny, more than anything, is to stay in his delivery. He had a tendency to overthrow. He would struggle a little bit, instead of stepping back, taking a deep breath or keeping his composure, he would try to reach back for more. Open up and consequently he would compound the damage and his ball would leave the strike zone. But he's being so much more consistent with his delivery. That's why he's got more success is because he's commanding the ball so much better.

Q. This is a follow-up to that. Charlie Manuel talked about the importance of patience for his hitters against Jonathan. How important, given the stakes and the adrenaline tomorrow night, is it for him to sort of stay within himself?
BRUCE BOCHY: I mean, for all of us, hitters, our pitching staff, you know, you've got to keep your poise. You don't get caught up in how big the game is. You go out there and play it the same way. And you can't change. Your hitters need to be patient. Try to get a good pitch. Your pitchers are the same.
You really don't want to change things. And that's what you have to remind yourself.

Q. Are you going to have the same lineup as the other night? And, secondly, part of that, you've had a hard time with both of your third basemen, Fontenot and Pablo, in terms of catching the ball. Have you pretty much decided that you're just going to go with the one who is swinging better?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I pretty much made up my mind. I'm going to wait until tomorrow to write down the lineup, but it's going to be real close. These guys -- our last lineup, that's been pretty much the lineup that's gotten us here. But there's a couple of options there at short and third, we know it. But that's what we've been talking about and tomorrow you'll know which way we go.

Q. In what situation might you use Bumgarner and/or Lincecum as early as Game 6, the availability of both?
BRUCE BOCHY: He'll be available. When I would use him, that's hard to answer until I see the situation. But when you're at this point and he's not going to start again, well, he's available in the bullpen, just like they use Oswalt.
So I would say more could be early, middle, in that area, if we needed help. Madison would be available for an inning or two.

Q. How about Lincecum?
BRUCE BOCHY: Timmy, we'll check on him. The same with Timmy. See how he's doing. And if we needed some help there, I think he would be available. I don't know about tomorrow, if we would. But the last day, I'm sure he would volunteer his services.

Q. This is obviously a trip none of you guys wanted to make, how would you describe like what the mood was on the flight and everything and as far as how optimistic you are about getting this finished here?
BRUCE BOCHY: The mood, the spirit of the club was normal. Guys were resting. It's been a grind, three hard games there. Hard-played games. We got delayed. Our President delayed us there. We had to wait for Air Force One before we could take off. But we finally got here. But the guys -- that's why really I decided to cancel the workout.
We've been going back and forth between playing Atlanta. Of course being here in Philly, then coming back, getting here a little late, I just thought we were better served taking the time off and just relaxing at home. But, no, it's a normal flight.

Q. You alluded to it earlier, this team -- you never know which Giant is going to step up and beat you on any given night. In the other clubhouse it's a little different. You've got basically the same eight guys run out there every day, which is not the way you played it really all season. To what extent does that work for you guys when you get into a playoff situation and that 25th guy may very well be the guy who's got to come up in a double-switch or a ninth inning pinch hit and everybody is fresh and everybody's sort of been involved in the series?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I think the way we play games and the fact that they know I'll use them all, they stay ready. And whether it's a double-switch or a spot start, they are used to it. So that helps them. And, sure, you'd like ideally to have a set lineup every day. It makes life a little easier.
But it's been fun. And they're a great group that -- I've said this before, we've had guys who are used to starting that lost their starting position but they've stayed ready and they've helped out and they've helped out the other players.
And it does make it a lot easier when guys can set aside their own agenda or ego and ask what's best for the club and that's what these guys have done.

Q. What do you make of the uncertainty of the starting time of having to wait for the AL game to be over to know what time you play tomorrow?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, it's part of the schedule. There's nothing we can do about it, or the Phillies. Now just wait and see what happens. And we'll just have to change our times coming to the ballpark. But it doesn't affect us as far as how we're going to play the game.

Q. Relief pitchers talk a lot about the 27th out being the most difficult to get. Why are clinchers -- why is nailing down the series so much more difficult than getting to that point?
BRUCE BOCHY: It just has been that way. It's not easy to explain. But you get teams that are fighting on the other side. They're battling all they can to stop that from happening. I don't think there should be any added pressure on a team that's trying to get it done.
But we talked about this in our division race. We had trouble getting that last game. It just seems like it goes that way but not all the time. But it's been talked about quite a bit that last one's always the toughest to get.
But I think it's a case where you're playing good teams when you're in that situation. And it's not easy. And you know it and you've got to go out and play your best game to get it done.

Q. You're coming into a pretty intense environment for Game 6 here tomorrow. You've been in that situation before in the postseason. What do you draw from your previous experience or what do you share with you team about what to expect tomorrow night?
BRUCE BOCHY: I think they have the experience of playing on the road or hostile situation like here or Atlanta. Our park. It's loud. And it's intense out there. But when you've done it for a while, you get used to it.
You're able to control your emotions and deal with it. Like Johnny touched on, he's already pitched in big games but it's part of the growing process that these players have to go through and we've been through it. Like I said, I think we've been battle-tested, maybe not to the extent of the Phillies because they've been doing it three, four years here. But it's something you get used to.

Q. Is Sergio Romo okay and does it look at this point that Uribe's wrist has calmed down?
BRUCE BOCHY: Sergio is fine. No issues there. And Juan felt like he was swinging the bat fine. Letting it go in batting practice. So he's good to go.

Q. One other thing, Lincecum did a lot of slide stepping yesterday. They still stole bases I think seven for eight of the series. Is that a concern? Anything you can do at this point? Or are you who you are at this point?
BRUCE BOCHY: It's who we are. This team does a good job of stealing bases. We know it. And it's not just that they steal but they have great success ratio. And they pick the right pitches to go on. And I know Davey Lopes, he does a great job with them. And it's part of the game we have to deal with.
And I really think overall we've been pretty good. I thought Timmy was doing a pretty good job. But they're going to get their bases. They're good at it. And you don't want that to take away your focus of making a pitch. But at the same time you have to give Buster a chance back there.

Q. You hear a lot about this momentum that we all talk about. Is that just a phony media thing that doesn't really exist when you're in uniform playing a game?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I think it's part of the game, when a team gets on a roll during the season, you know, whether it's winning or losing, seems like it's hard to lose a game when everything goes your way or you're in a losing streak, it doesn't seem like you can do anything right.
But I think when you get to postseason, you know, I think you can throw that out. It always starts with your pitching or your hitters, you're playing good teams, and I don't think that plays as much a part as maybe during the season when you get on a good or bad roll.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Bruce.

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