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A.J. Hinch World Series off-day interview

October 30, 2017

Q. Since a possible Game 7 could be a wild card, anything could happen, do you propose managing Game 6 differently, using players any differently? A.J. HINCH: Well, I think you try to win Game 6. I think when you consume yourself with too much "what ifs" in the future,

Q. Since a possible Game 7 could be a wild card, anything could happen, do you propose managing Game 6 differently, using players any differently?
A.J. HINCH: Well, I think you try to win Game 6. I think when you consume yourself with too much "what ifs" in the future, it will only complicate matters. So I'm going to proceed just trying to win Game 6. And if that means I have to use guys in a unique way, that's fine. If the game warrants any decision to try to win the game, I think you have to try to win the game that you're playing that day and not concern yourself with a lot of unknowns.
Q. Is there any import in your mind and in your players' mind of finishing it off in the 6th, so you don't wind up in a situation where there's a Game 7, with them coming into it with positive feelings after escaping being on the ledge?
A.J. HINCH: Well, I think you try to win -- our players will focus on winning, because we want to win the World Series, not to avoid any stress. These games are intense enough as it is, we don't need to complicate it any other than play the games that we're playing. So the purpose is to try to win the World Series. And I think our guys will be singularly focused on the game that day and not overthink it any further than that.
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Q. (Inaudible) after coming off a tremendous win, the way you won, can there be some carryover to Game 6?
A.J. HINCH: I think, again, I think anything is possible. I think it's going to be an intense game regardless of how Game 6 ended. But there's certainly some positive momentum. We are going to get on the plane today, excited to get to Los Angeles, and play the game as fast as possible. Once we get to the stadium and we start our pregame work, and get to batting practice and the preparation for the game, it becomes about Game 6 and not about how we won Game 5. And our team will continue to be focused on that.
The positive momentum, the positive vibe, the good moods will all work in our favor.
Q. Are you surprised with how the ball has been flying out of the ballpark this World Series?
A.J. HINCH: I guess a little bit, just because both teams are putting up incredible at-bats in the most important times. And the intense home runs are -- the intense moments that have ended in home runs are (inaudible), just because all that goes into it.
I think for both teams, I think we realize on the pitching side, both teams are at the very end of their rope when it comes to the season, when it comes to high-leverage situations, the intensity of their innings, and their mistakes are getting hit. But the volume is certainly record-setting and certainly the intensity of the moments that are ending in home runs is hard to fathom.
Q. Considering the workload and the intensity of these games, what does your bullpen have left at this point? Do you have anything going into Game 6, other than Verlander going nine innings, about --
A.J. HINCH: Well, we have two innings worth of bullpen left -- I'm sorry, two games worth of bullpen left, and our guys will be ready. We realize that the bullpens have been beat up a little bit on both sides. But that doesn't have an impact on decisions that are made or pitches that are made in the next game. And we are going to try to have a short memory on the guys that have been hit. We'll try to build off the momentum that Justin Verlander is going to create for us in Game 6, and then we going to try to get to 27 outs with the lead. Who that is or how we get there, it's going to be played out tomorrow night in LA. But we have confidence that we have enough left in the tank to finish this.
Q. You were asked about your favorite moment when you clinched against the Yankees. And you said it was that last breath. What was your favorite moment last night? And what does it mean to use a guy like Derek Fisher, being able to score one of the biggest runs in team history?
A.J. HINCH: You know, obviously the play that ends the game is always my favorite one when it's in our favor. But when you watch your team celebrate on the field and the crowd is going crazy, it's at your home stadium. When I first got to Bregman, the bear hug that a player gives you after coming up so big on the biggest stage is pretty special. And Alex Bregman and I are close, and he continues to exceed expectations and be a big-game, big-time player. That's a special moment for a manager when you see the maturity start for one of your own.
As far as Fisher goes, you know, when you walk around the outfield before the series and you start to tell people "you're on the roster", "you're not on the roster", I told Derek Fisher he's on the roster for a reason. I told him I didn't know it would be his bat or defense or speed, but he was going to find a way to contribute. I didn't know it was going to be a game-winning run in one of the most epic World Series games in history. But he was just fast enough and exactly what we needed to make that moment possible.
Q. You guys were just trailing in a series 3-2, come home for two home games and won those. The Dodgers are in the same position. Just knowing Roberts so well and that team being so deep and talented, how difficult will it be to pull out one win and what do you expect from the Dodgers?
A.J. HINCH: Sure, I know Dave well, and I know he'll have his team ready to play. And most of the time you ask your team to have a short memory in good and bad. In this particular situation I want our guys to remember exactly how we felt coming home after the Yankees, getting swept with the Yankees and having a 3-2 deficit. We weren't going to give up and the Dodgers aren't going to give up either.
So we have to go no further back than the last series that we need remember that anything is possible, and the team that is down is going to come out just as hungry as the team that's ahead. That's why it's important for us to focus on the game at hand and do everything that we can to win the first game that we play.
Q. We all know how talented your young guys are. What is it about your team's attitude that makes you think you are going to be successful for not only this year but be successful in the future, as well?
A.J. HINCH: Sure. We have some incredible resolve and resiliency, and a lot of teams have that. And we've seen it play out in the field from our young guys and our older guys. (Inaudible) but the application of being your best at the biggest moments is something that I cherish about this team. We are never out of it, no matter what part of the order we're in, no matter where we are in the game. Our guys have an incredible will to win. And them being able to stay in the moment and be themselves and continue to overcome some deficits from Game 1 to now, whatever game we're playing now, is a signature of the season so far.