Q. Just talk about the craziness of the game. You have to get Gray so early, and you guys were relentless coming back just what was it like there on the bench?BUD BLACK: You're right. I don't think you could predict that game coming into this ballpark in this scenario with
Q. Just talk about the craziness of the game. You have to get Gray so early, and you guys were relentless coming back just what was it like there on the bench?
BUD BLACK: You're right. I don't think you could predict that game coming into this ballpark in this scenario with the way Jon Gray's been pitching and the way Zack Greinke's been pitching and who Zack Greinke is. But you're right. I mean, right away all hell broke loose, and from then on it was a heavyweight fight, going back and fourth. We got close a couple times. They stretched the lead. We came back. Obviously, it was like you said, it was a crazy game. It was really something I don't think any of us scripted.
Q. In regard to Jon tonight, we talked so much about the big moment tonight. What do you think happened? Besides obviously he gave up a hanging curveball to Paul Goldschmidt, but beyond that he did seem a little, my opinion, a little overwhelmed by the moment. Is that fair?
BUD BLACK: I think that's probably a better question for Jon, Patrick. But I know my conversations with Jon today, and there were a couple of them, couple short ones. He seemed fine. I think Steve Foster mentioned the same thing to me throughout the day. He and Darren who are very close with Jon. You can maybe catch up with them as well. I thought Jon going into this game was, and I said it many times, was in a good spot physically and mentally. I think today, he seemed fine. If you really dissect the inning, you know, Peralta hit a pretty good slider, it looked like, down. And he hit it through the middle. Marte, that pitch was up and in, it looked like a ball at 97 miles an hour. He sort of brought his hands in and got a base hit, and the hanging breaking ball to Goldschmidt. This guy's an All-Star. He's one of the best players in the league, an MVP candidate, and he hit it out. So there's 3-0.
I think Jon, from a pitching side, you look at if you look at each pitch, the ball was up. He didn't get any balls at the knees, the breaking balls weren't down. When you do that, you're in jeopardy. They took full advantage of that. They did not take pitches, they did not miss them when they swung. They squared up his mistakes. He wasn't, you know, we talk a lot about the ball-strike ratio, it was great. He threw the ball in the strike zone, but not in good spots. So the location today was not where it needs to be in this type of game against that type of lineup. So, again, it wasn't like he was nibbling. It wasn't like he was scared off. He wasn't. I mean, he went at them, but he just didn't make good pitches.
Q. Were you surprised to see Robbie Ray at all or in this kind of elimination you just have to say --
BUD BLACK: You've got to be ready for anything. And I know that that's why he was on the roster in case something like this happened. You know, it's hard to keep an All-Star off a playoff roster in a game like this. As far as just looking at their rosters, they've kept the guys that have been there all year for them, so that did not surprise us at all.
Q. In a game like this, in a moment like this with so much on the line, you're staying on the top step, how do you sort of maintain your moment to moment focus when it feels like everything is going a little sideways?
BUD BLACK: Even though it got a little skewed, you know, you've got to keep competing on that's the thing. I mean, that's the thing from the coaching perspective and the decision-making process as it relates to the game. You have to keep competing and staying in the moment of what you need to do from our end of player usage, pitcher usage, how we're going to use our bench.
And, man, it started early. It started in the first inning of how we're going to navigate our way through the rest of that game once we took Jon out. That's both the pitching side and the bench side. The coaches did a great job of getting players ready and involved and being ready for anything. Rule number one, you guys are ready for anything. From the git-go, there it was. Here's Oberg in the game, gets two big strikeouts to keep it at 3-0. You know, we didn't plan on that, but it presented itself. Here we're pinch-hitting Tapia, and he gets a base hit. It just went that way throughout the game.
Actually, I don't want to say it got easier, but as we climbed back into the game, it felt more like a game. It felt more like, hey, we're on to something. We've got a chance here to win this game. Down 6-0 with Greinke on the mound, that's long odds. But here comes our guys fighting like hell all throughout the game. Even in the ninth, we kept going for our base hits. You just keep competing. That's what you do.
Q. Pat Neshek has been one of the best relievers in baseball.
BUD BLACK: He was an All-Star this year and look at his numbers. Look at what he's done.
Q. Even the first inning he pitched tonight. But when you decided and you went out there to have the talk, how much of that conversation can you share with us?
BUD BLACK: Not much. We knew that Mathis was the hitter that I went out there and said, hey, you've got Mathis and then it looked as though Bradley was going to hit, right, because there was nobody warming up.
So here's an all-star pitcher. This guy's had a remarkable year. The it just came down to one of those, like Berry said earlier, a crazy moment where a relief pitcher got a hit off an all-star, who would have scripted that one? That's crazy.
Q. You've played the Diamondbacks like 20 times this year and the Dodgers 19. How do you size up that series?
BUD BLACK: I think the Dodgers have had a phenomenal year. What they've done especially in the middle part of the year, that run that they went on. It's going a hard-fought series. Just like this was a hard-fought game, that's going to be the same thing. Both both teaches pitched well. You look at the National League statistics and team pitching, they're right there. I think the Nationals are right there as well. But Greinke, Rey, Corbin, Walker, solid. Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Darvish, I means that good starting pitching. Both teams have good closers. Both teams are formidable with the lineup, so it's going to be a great series.
Q. Greinke's been spectacular at home all season long. What was the key to that fourth inning, the patience to not get to him?
BUD BLACK: Well, the first time through he really had the ball down in the slide down with the slider and the change. He had the change to the lefties, got his outs. Got the slider to the righties and got the outs. In the fourth he got the ball a little bit up in the strike zone. You know, Trev got a base hit sort of off the end of the bat. But we just stayed on him. We just stayed on him. Again, you talk about how you get runs, you string hits together, and guys that have been following our team all year, we talked about when you're going good, you string hits together. In today's game, you look at the Diamondbacks, and they strung hits together in the first inning for three runs. Later in the game they strung some hits together even against Estevez and Holland, they strung together two runs in the eighth. That's how we did it. We strung it together against Greinke. We tried to make him get the ball up in the zone. A lot of times when you do that, he's got such good depth to his pitches. A lot of times it's a little harder than you think.
Q. In a world where we sort of like to compartmentalize everything and give everything a little number and all that stuff, at this some point tonight you're standing on that top step watching a relief pitcher triple in two runs. Does it suggest to you that there's so much variance? I mean, you just can't prepare for everything.
BUD BLACK: That's right. I mean, you can't. Nobody would have thought that would happen, but that's the beauty of our game when things like this happen. Now, for us, obviously, tonight how it happened, but you know, the first question today from Berry was the craziness of our game, that's what makes this game special. Nobody could have predicted that. Again, that's why this game is so great.
Q. Buddy, hard loss, crazy game, all those things. But bottom line, this season, your first season with the Rockies and this game, how proud are you of this team the way you guys continued to battle back all season plus tonight?
BUD BLACK: Yeah, well, I told that to the guys how proud I am and the coaches, you know, as well and all our staff of this season. When nobody thought that we'd be in this position and we were. We were, as the game went on, we were right there, a few precious pitches and a hit or two from maybe climbing back ahead in that game, and it didn't happen.
But this was a good year for our group. A lot of things transpired that I think will help us in the future. The position players and the pitchers, I think there were some boxes that were checked off for some guys that will hopefully help us moving forward, but our guys should be very proud of how they played. Their intent every night. Here we talked about our work ethic and our determination to get to where we want to be, and it was extremely admirable what our group did.