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World Series Game 6: Roberts pregame interview

October 31, 2017

Q. There's been no shortage, as you can imagine, I'm sure Cole has probably told you ideas, in how you should manage the pitching staff for the couple of games here, and it's gone to starters as middle relievers, middle relievers as closers, closers as starters. How do you balance

Q. There's been no shortage, as you can imagine, I'm sure Cole has probably told you ideas, in how you should manage the pitching staff for the couple of games here, and it's gone to starters as middle relievers, middle relievers as closers, closers as starters. How do you balance knowing you guys consider all these different elements as to the best way to get the 54 outs you need to get versus there is some human element to this, and you can't treat these guys like widgets?
DAVE ROBERTS: That's very well said. I think in our clubhouse and the Astros' clubhouse they have those same conversations. And you look at relief usage, it's about 20 pitches separate the relievers this series. So all these kind of navigating staffs and relievers and things, that's what it's down to.
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But where we're at, we're at an elimination game, where we have to win a game tonight. And so with that, it starts with Rich Hill. Talking to players today, who's available and to what extent, but I can be certain that every guy is going to want to take the baseball in our clubhouse. So I think it's just now about putting these guys in the position to get 27 outs tonight.
Q. I'm sorry if you've been asked this a lot, but tonight's starter, Hill, what's your game plan, what can you let us in on in terms of how deep, how many times around the lineup, that kind of thing?
DAVE ROBERTS: I wanted to go -- God, I'd love to see him throw a complete game. I want him to go as long as he can go. Go as hard as he can go for as long as he can go. We'll have guys behind him.
Rich's only goal is to go out and execute pitches and I know that's his only focus.
Q. Kenley, would you be considering the pattern that's been set already, would you be reluctant to use him for two innings? Would you rather him for one strong inning, if that's how you can go?
DAVE ROBERTS: I would say probably the other day we felt good about him going six outs. But I would say today is probably a three-out situation, yeah.
Q. I've been asked by a lot of baseball fans, the reason of your move, bring in Jansen to pitch with a 6-1 score, and maybe not saving him for maybe the next day, a little more fresh?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think that right there, that's a game that we wanted to win. And you also have to look at who you're going to bring in. And if a guy gets on base, is he going to get loose. If another guy gets on base and if he's going to be in the game if something does happen. Right there for us in the World Series, I wanted to assure us to win a game.
And talking to Kenley two days ago how he felt, six innings for him was very reasonable. And I thought he threw a great pitch to Bregman, but he got a soft-liner base hit. And so the results weren't what we'd liked but I still thought he threw the ball well.
Q. Yu was in here before you. It's unconventional for a Game 7 starter to come in pregame; usually you wait to see if there's a Game 7. Were you involved in that at all?
DAVE ROBERTS: No, I didn't know. I hope it went well.
Q. It went fine.
DAVE ROBERTS: No, I didn't know that.
Q. I imagine you have Clayton tonight, but would you prefer to hold him for tomorrow?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that's the idea, understanding that you still have to win two games. And what you could potentially get out of Clayton tomorrow versus today. But Clayton is adamant that he feels good today and wants to be available. So I think for me we'll just leave it at that, but it's no surprise that his mindset, his attitude to give us whatever he has.
Q. It's been a little more than a year since you played a game that you absolutely had to win. I'm just wondering when you open your eyes in the morning as you sort of work your way through the day toward 5:00, how that changes anything about the way you're thinking, the way you're feeling physically, things like that?
DAVE ROBERTS: Physically, good. Mentally you're constantly thinking through different situations. Obviously they've got Verlander going, one of the best pitchers in the game. But I think it's, for us, trying to get a lead and I expect Rich to match him pitch for pitch.
But it's going to be a fun night. A lot of energy and it is nice to come back home to the home team, to the home fans. It was crazy over there in Houston. And I expect the same thing here tonight.
But, yeah, it's been a year. But a lot of those guys in the clubhouse, in our clubhouse, were part of that game. So I don't think there's going to be any sort of panic. I think that we're ready for this. And we're going to find a way to win a game.
Q. After a day off would Morrow still be back in the role as primary setup guy or do you want to give him a rest?
DAVE ROBERTS: I haven't talked to Brandon yet, and once they get out there and start playing catch I'll know more. But I would expect Brandon to be available in this situation, certainly.
Q. At this stage everybody seems gassed. How much of a role does adrenaline play at this point in guys being able to get out there and basically give that effort that they need to give, when maybe they are struggling to come up with the energy to do it?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think that it plays a big role. But every player is different. But I think that that's what gets guys through this. You can look at how many innings a guy has played, how many innings a guy has pitched. And everyone on both sides is tired, fatigued, and has been used all year.
But this is what guys play for. This moment. So to tell a guy when he wants to pitch or when he wants to play, there's always more in there. And I know on both sides guys want to be in that moment and in that spot. So it's just up to us to make the right decisions and have these guys be productive.
Q. I know you guys have had almost two days now to stew on the fact that this is an elimination game. You guys didn't have a workout yesterday. Still a lot of the team showed up and was working out here. Is there anything that you say, particularly to some of the younger guys, about staying focused, not pressing for this game?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, our youngest player, Cody Bellinger, when it became really hot, he really slowed the game down. And I recall even the other night he just -- the crowd was going crazy and we were down and he just looked at me and was like, man, this is awesome. So for him to just have that perspective was pretty -- was good for me to hear.
But I think for our guys it's not really needing to send a message. Everyone knows how important this game is. And we're ready for it. We're prepared for it. So we're going to go out there and do what we've done and play 27 outs.
Q. Justin Turner back at third base in the lineup tonight. The leg bruise, obviously he's good enough to go. Is it a complete thing of the past or is he just good enough to go?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think it's -- I'm sure there's some signs of something there. But training staff, JT says he's ready to go. So like I said, if we're at home in Game 5 he would have played. But given that we had the opportunity for a DH. But he's good to go.
Q. We know that baseball players can be very superstitious. It's Halloween, does that add anything to this game?
DAVE ROBERTS: Not on my end. I saw Kiké in some outfit earlier. You know, I think that's a question for each player. But for me, it's Game 6 of the World Series.
Q. What's been your favorite moment of this World Series?
DAVE ROBERTS: Wow. I think probably one of the first two wins. But as far as moment, maybe the Corey Seager homer. That was a pretty cool moment. We ended up not winning that game. But I thought right there that was pretty cool to see Corey have that much emotion.
But there have been so many -- the Chris Taylor at-bat the other night, big moment. [Hernandez] has had some big hits for us. So many. Clayton getting the win. There's so many good things. And obviously those guys could say the same thing. But a long way from over.
Q. Darvish was in here earlier, he talked about kind of being touched about the fact that before Game 4 his teammates told him, "We're going to win this one for you." I think before the NLCS game, the last one, [Hernandez] said something similar to Kershaw, and he got a lift out of that. Knowing how Darvish works psychologically, how are you hoping that that type of feeling manifests itself on the field?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think so, and he's not necessarily emotional, but he is sensitive. And I think that everyone cares what their teammates and the sentiment of what they think of the player. Yeah, Yu is right there, and it meant a lot to him for players to come out and say that for him. And just know that we have all the confidence in him for tomorrow night. And I know he's looking to redeem himself and felt that obviously he wasn't himself. So it's our job to give him that opportunity.
Q. Playing in a National League park obviously, is it possible to see a National League type of style game to score early and put the pressure on Verlander?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that you still have to -- if you talk about small ball, you still have to have the right components to do that. But I do think that with these guys in a National League ballpark, you get a lead, that puts the onus on the other manager to make a decision.
So I do think that it is important for us to get a lead, yeah.
Q. You know these guys. You mentioned that they want to play in this moment. They want to play in this game. How do you balance the brain, the heart of, yeah, he wants to go, but maybe I'm not so sure if he can go kind of thing?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's a balance. It's a balance. And I like to think I've got a pretty good feel for the players. So conversations, training staff, pitching coach, and on the position-player side essentially the same thing, training staff and me having conversations with these guys. But I think to a man, tonight everyone's ready to go and contribute in any way they possibly can.
Q. Game time tonight temperature is going to be, what, 40 degrees lower than it was Game 1. Do you think the park plays differently under these circumstances? And you've seen many games here over the course of your career.
DAVE ROBERTS: I do, I think the other games we played here obviously the ball was carrying. But I think with the temperature drop, it is going to play more normal. So you're going to have to hit it. And not saying that our guys and their guys didn't get into some, but some of them I didn't think would have played as homers. But it will play certainly more traditional as we're used to here.