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October 13, 2012

Bruce Bochy


Q.  As comebacks go, yours was outstanding.  How does the Cardinals coming from six runs down compare to what you guys did by winning three games in Cincinnati?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, it's impressive what the Cardinals did.  And really, if you look at the game we had and the game they had, they were similar.  We were up 6‑0, barely hung on, and they found a way to get it done.  Both clubs at some point had their backs against the wall.  We had to win three straight and they're down a couple of runs in the 9th.  They found a way to get it done.
I think it says a lot about the two clubs, the character of the clubs and how hard they fight, and it should be a really hard‑fought series here.

Q.  Talk about the logistics, what you guys went through last night.  When did you check out of the hotel, when did you leave for the airport, and when did you find out about the results?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, we had, I thought, a pretty good plan (laughter).
We had a little mechanical problem on the plane.  But anyway, we watched the first part of the game, the Cardinal/Washington game.  And at 11 o'clock we headed to the airport.  It was around the 7th inning, and at that time Washington had a lead.  So we went through security, got on the plane.  And the timing was great.  It's the 9th inning and so we could see what was happening and the guys, we're watching the game with a lot of interest.  Great game, exciting game.
At one point you think you're heading to Washington and then the Cardinals come back and we realized we were coming home.  And then we had a problem on the plane with the hydraulic system.  We had to sit there for two and a half hours, and that made it a long night.  I think the boys were getting a little restless.
So we got in, I'm not sure what time, 5:30, 6:00, somewhere in there.  It was a long night.  But we still think we did the right thing on how we headed to the airport at that time.  I know the guys would have wanted to come home after the game anyway, instead of staying in Cincinnati.  We just got delayed there for a little bit.  It worked out fine.

Q.  You were on the plane watching the game?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We were all watching the game and could see what was going on.  And in a matter of minutes you're going from Washington to coming back home.  And it's a great ballgame.

Q.  What time did you actually get airborne, do you know?
BRUCE BOCHY:  You know, I would say, I don't know, 2:30, somewhere in there.  I can't tell you the exact time.  At that point I think most of us were asleep or trying to fall asleep.  But I know it was two to two and a half hour delay we had.

Q.  As a catcher you've seen Buster Posey, 2010, this year, and the inevitable comparisons between him and Yadi Molina are coming up.  What are your impressions for somebody that understands it as well as anybody?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, we saw in 2010 what a difference maker Buster Posey can be for us.  And we put a lot on him at that time, at his age, his lack of experience.  We put him in the cleanup role and went on to win the World Series because of his bat and how well he caught.
So it shows us not just the talent that Buster has, but his makeup is off the chart in the way he handled everything thrown at him, to be on stage and carry himself the way he did.
And, sure, I think you're talking about two of the best catchers in the game when you're looking at Yadi and Buster, two guys who catch well, throw well, handle the bat, hit for power.  They have the whole game.  And so it's a big reason why these two teams are here, because of the two catchers.  So I'm sure there's going to be a lot of comparisons.
But they're different players.  I don't want to go into that.  But in their own way, their own style.  But both just incredibly talented catchers.

Q.  You've announced one and two, is it likely Cain for three, and are you looking for Lincecum as a starter?
BRUCE BOCHY:  The reason we named the first two is because we felt we had to.  I think you're fair in mentioning Cain likely for Game 3.  As far as Game4, we'll wait to announce that.
Again, we talked about this in the first series.  They're all available.  The first game or second game here at home and we'll see how it goes and then we'll name Game4.  But Timmy threw the ball great.  Zito, he was a little bit off, but not bad.  He ended up throwing a lot of pitches.  But at this point we're just going to wait until we get to St. Louis before we name those starters.

Q.  What has Gregor Blanco meant to the team and to you as a manager as the guy who replaced Cabrera in leftfield?
BRUCE BOCHY:  He had a great series against Cincinnati.  He had a big home run.  Played well defensively.  He did a lot of good things.  It's not easy to lose a player like a Melky who did a great job for us.  But what happened, happened.  We crossed that bridge and moved on.  And part of the reason we moved on was because of Gregor and the way he played, and Xavier, too, I'll mention.  And we couldn't have asked Blanco to do more than what he did in that last series.  And he'll be out there in this series.  He gives you the added dimension of speed.  He also showed he's got some pop.  He had a big home run there for us.
It's nice to have a guy like this when you have to replace somebody, you've got a quality outfielder out there who can do some things for you.

Q.  What do you have to do to stop ‑‑ what are the key areas that you have to stop the Cardinals to beat them, in your mind?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Well, they're a great team, great offensive team.  They can beat you in different ways.  They have power.  They run.  They get those timely hits.  They won a World Series last year because of being a balanced ballclub that can do a lot of things.
It's not an easy lineup to go through.  We know it and you've got to make your pitches or you'll probably pay for it.  And they have good pitching and a really good bullpen.  They have some guys throwing really hard coming out of that bullpen.  And a closer who's throwing well right now.
I said this about the team we just played, Cincinnati, how balanced they are.  And you saw how that series went, hard‑fought series, and I expect the same in this series.  You've got to go out and play your best ball.  That's the only way you're going to beat a team like this.

Q.  How would you assess Bumgarner's start in the Division Series, and what are the qualities about him that give you the confidence to put him in this kind of tone‑setting Game 1 start?
BRUCE BOCHY:  He's done such a great job all year for us in the previous postseason, his first start.  He had a good first inning, and he just got out of sync with his delivery and made some mistakes, couldn't get the ball where he wanted and it happened.
But it's a start.  And that's how we look at it.  These guys are going to have a hiccup now and then.  But we still have all the confidence in the world in Madison to go out there and pitch like he's been pitching all year and has thrown well, and hopefully just giving us a chance to win.

Q.  Is Zito definitely going to be on the roster for this series?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, Zito will be on the roster.

Q.  When you have Lincecum as an option do you play into the Cardinals predominantly right‑handed hitting, how big a factor is that setting up your rotation?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Sure, you've heard me mention all the variables, right‑handed bats, how they hit righties or lefties, more importantly is how our guys are throwing or playing.  And I'm talking about position players.
So we'll look at all those things, how they were used the first two games, who's available.  That's why we haven't named Game 3, Game4 starter.  But, sure, I think you have to look at the team that you're playing.  For us it's either St. Louis or Washington.  It might have made a difference how he ran this rotation out there.  But we'll announce that soon.

Q.  It's been a few months since George Kontos got called up from the Triple‑A.  What have you seen from him this season, especially in the confidence you've shown in him?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I really like the way he's carried himself in the last series.  He wasn't afraid.  He threw strikes, quality strikes.  He really saved us a couple of times going out there and getting some big outs.  He hasn't been in this situation before, but you wouldn't know it.  That's how you want your pitchers to be, is go out there and throw quality strikes and don't show any fear.  And this guy didn't.
And that's why I had no problem putting him in there and he ended up ‑‑ I should say nice surprise.  We carried him because we thought he could help us.  He ended up being the 11th pitcher, the 12th guy to get some outs.

Q.  Of the four teams left to still play and three are managed by former catchers, one, does that prove that catchers are the smartest guys on the field?
BRUCE BOCHY:  I don't know.

Q.  And two, could Buster and Molina in 15 or 20 years be managers?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yeah, I think they're all catchers.  That's a good thing, I think.  I've said this, you do see a lot of catchers managing.  I do think catchers have a slight advantage as far as making that transition from player to manager because in essence that's what you're doing.  You're having to handle a staff, 11 or 12 pitchers.  Hopefully you have some understanding of pitching.  You're watching the game.  You can't drift mentally during the game at all.  You've got to keep that focus for nine innings.  You're out in the outfield, you can maybe think about that last at‑bat.
For me being a role player, I watch a lot of games.  Hopefully these things help.  It doesn't mean managing is going to be for you.  But I do think it does help you in making that transition.
You're talking about two guys without question if they wanted to manage, they'd be great managers because of what they do.  They're managing a team out there on a daily basis, handling a staff, running the game.  You have to know all the signs.  You're looking at the manager.  There's no part of the game you can't know something about being a catcher.  So those two, I think, would be great choices.

Q.  Just to clarify, is Lincecum available out of the bullpen in Games 1 and 2?
BRUCE BOCHY:  Yes, he is.

Q.  Your team has had surges all year long, surges back from difficulties.  Is it because of the difficulty that your club rises to the occasion or just in spite of it?
BRUCE BOCHY:  No, I think it helps when you've had to go through them.  I think it says a lot about the character of a club, I'll start with that, that they have not let anything distract them or cause them to lose any confidence.  I'll go back to Spring Training, Sanchez, he ended up going on the DL.  Then, of course, Wilson going down.  And the Cabrera thing.  Every club has to deal with it.  It's just not us.
We know all the teams have their ups and downs and have to deal with injuries.  But what's important is how you deal with them.  This club has kept their focus on winning ballgames.  I think once you have to go through them it does help you or have to come back ‑‑ I'll go back to LA, we were behind them, had to go in there and win and these guys did it.  And that experience is invaluable.  And they did something that's never been done in the National League and that's go in and beat a club on the road, a very good club.  And I think it does say a lot about the makeup of the team here.

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