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Oct. 20 Dave Roberts postgame interview

October 21, 2016

Q. Dave, you understood this wouldn't be easy, but after being up 2-1 in the series, what is the level of disappointment with the way you guys have played the last two nights?DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, you know what? I thought -- honestly, I thought two nights we got beat. We

Q. Dave, you understood this wouldn't be easy, but after being up 2-1 in the series, what is the level of disappointment with the way you guys have played the last two nights?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, you know what? I thought -- honestly, I thought two nights we got beat. We got beat. Tonight it was one of those games that it was -- up until that 8th, it was a very good ballgame. Could have went either way. I felt that, you know, just once Petey got in there, there was some soft contact that found some outfield grass, and game got away. But tonight I just felt that we got beat. So we'll get a day away from this to reset, and we've got Clayton going Game 6. So that's a game we expect to win.
Q. Is everything OK with Kenta physically? If so, why take him out right there before Jon Lester comes to bat?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that Kenta's fine physically. For me, I felt that at 3 and 2/3 he was around 75 pitches, and I felt that he was starting to lose that fastball command, and I thought the breaking ball wasn't as sharp. Lester put a good swing on that ball in his first at-bat, and so I didn't see Kenta getting Fowler, so I liked the Fields matchup, if for some reason we lost Lester. So, at that point in time, I wanted to make the move, too, knowing that Kenta wasn't going to get Fowler anyway. So I felt that Fields can go in there, throw strikes and beat Lester with velocity.
Q. You did some of the things you talked about. Took some huge leads there. You're trying to have an impact on Lester psychologically or whatever. Did you think it had an impact? If not, is that a credit to him?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's certainly a credit to him. I thought that when we did get a little bit of traffic, I thought that we put a little pressure on him. But he's a great pitcher. He's a great pitcher who competes and finds ways to get outs when he needs to. So we had some opportunities, but those guys got the hit when they needed.
Q. You talked yesterday about being a firm believer in momentum. How much is not being able to build early offensive momentum been an issue for you? And also, do you see any glimmers of hope for that offense early on?
DAVE ROBERTS: I do. I do. I think that it is nice to get a lead, and so the last two nights those guys have been able to get the lead and put a little pressure on us. So I think that, yeah, I do believe in momentum, but I also believe that the next day's starting pitcher has a lot to do with momentum. So I like our guy.
But I thought that we just couldn't break out with that big hit against Lester. But to his credit, he found ways to get that out.
Q. I know you guys are used to it, but do you fear at all that Baez' pace might make things difficult on defenders? Is it something that's frustrating for you to watch if he takes a long time?
DAVE ROBERTS: You know, Pedro's very methodical. But we've talked about the pace of play and trying to kind of speed that up. I think our guys make no excuse about how fast or slow a guy works. Actually, Pedro, if you look at the execution of pitches, it wasn't that bad as the line score. I think for me, it was a matter of not trying to extend him too much tonight, when I felt the game got to a certain point. So after throwing 27 pitches last night and to get him up over 30, I thought didn't make sense, and I wanted to get a fresh arm in there. Wanted to get Ross in there. But Baez hit a good cutter away and cleared the bases.
But I think for me, you always want to keep in mind the health of the player. So Pedro, it's a work in progress as far as the pace. But I think that he still pitched considerably better than their line.
Q. Despite the national media's love affair with this Cubs story, there doesn't appear to be a huge chasm in talent between these two teams. In your off time, do you ever think about how much the media and the nation wants them to win? And maybe it leaves you at a disadvantage or somehow disregarded?
DAVE ROBERTS: No, no. I don't think that has any bearing on the last two nights. That's a good club over there. That's a good club. I think it would be a discredit to our guys to use any of that as motivation, to spite the media, the public or whatever that narrative. I think for us, we're trying to win baseball games to advance, and that's our only focus. So I think I talked a lot all season about the noise, and all that stuff has no bearing on the outcome of the game.
Q. You obviously have to have a two-game winning streak on the road. I wonder what your comfort level is that you get to try to do that with Kershaw and Hill who kind of dominated this team earlier in the series?
DAVE ROBERTS: You look at the series where we're at. We're down a game, but we've won on the road before. We've won two games before. And I think that for us it's an isolated focus on Game 6. We get a rested Kersh. So with that, we feel good.
After we get through Game 6, we'll focus on Game 7. But I think our confidence hasn't wavered.
Q. Lester clearly seemed to be agitated by some of the tactics that you had. Do you think he fed off that or do you think it worked at all to his advantage?
DAVE ROBERTS: I don't know. That might be a question for Jon. But I thought that winning pitches by showing bunt and getting into a good hitter's count goes to the hitter's advantage. But this guy is an ultimate competitor, and he's going to find a way to get outs. Obviously, he and David Ross have a great rapport. And David did a nice job settling him down at certain times. But it comes down to you look back at certain at-bats where we had opportunities, and he made the pitch.
Q. Looking at some of the things Baez has done, the play tonight in the field, and Kris Bryant hauling down to first on that single, it seems like they're diving in everywhere. Have they sort of used their speed and athleticism to disrupt things? Does that really make them stand out amongst other teams?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, they're very athletic. They've got a nice mix of youth and some veteran players. But under Joe, his leadership, those guys play the game the right way. It's a fun team to play against. They've been the class of the National League all year. And obviously Baez is a very talented, special player. I wouldn't say that their speed or athleticism kind of flustered us. It's just more they made plays when they needed to, and Baez has made some very nice defensive plays. Fowler in Game 1 made some great plays. Bryant plays the game the right way, gets down the line, legs infield singles out. And, again, I think our guys did the same thing. So this series certainly isn't over. But it's fun to compete against guys like that.
Q. You could argue that the series has turned on a couple Joe Blanton sliders. What are you seeing there? Do you think he's fighting fatigue at all?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that Joe feels good, because after that, he still makes pitches. I think if you look back, he made a couple mistakes in the series and we paid for it. But as far as fatigue, I think Joe feels great, feels strong, and he'll be the first to tell you that he needs to execute a pitch. So when you look at Game 6, Game 7, I'm not going to shy away from going to Joe.
Q. I know you've got the off-day tomorrow. I know you've got Kershaw Saturday. But how concerned are you with the non-Jansen part of the bullpen? It's been a battle the last two nights?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's been a battle. It has been a battle. Those guys over there, they compete and they don't give many at-bats away. They spoil pitches, they run counts. So when you do make a mistake, these guys can slug. So these are the guys we have. These are the guys that got us here. So I think, again, I'm not going to shy away from any of these guys. But obviously you look at going into Game 6, Kenley's going to have a few days off, and we've got our ace going. So it will give our guys a chance to reset. But, again, these guys have gotten big outs for us all year long.
Q. It's been such a good year for the bullpen. But I believe 43 innings is the most out of any team in the postseason by a bullpen. Does it seem like fatigue has kind of impacted your bullpen?
DAVE ROBERTS: No. I think with the postseason there's off-days in there. Yeah, we're probably -- I'm going to the pen a lot. I am. But I think there are certain times where I feel like the game might be in the balance at a certain point and I've got to make a decision. So it doesn't always work. But I feel confident that you keep putting these guys in position to get guys out and have success, then that formula will work. But, again, if you look at this series, there's a couple pitches that they took advantage of. A couple opportunities that we didn't take advantage of on the offensive side, and that's the difference in the series.
Q. Going back to the base running. I think Kiké in the first inning, Corey in the sixth, and Joc, I think, in the seventh, were on first base, didn't steal, but were able to get very large, secondary leads. If they're that far out, why not just send them?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think they're not the prototypical base stealer. David Ross still throws the ball well, and even Jon Lester, there were some 1-1.5s, some 1.2s, so you've still got to get a pretty good jump. Also when you start getting behind in the game, you don't want to give outs away by just stealing. And it's just the high fastball that you're throwing out, it's just not worth it, where you could potentially get an extra base hit to get the game closer. So you've really got to be certain if you're going to do that.