Q. When you start a playoff game like Clayton did and you have that kind of run support for the rest of the night, what's that like for manager? DAVE ROBERTS: It's a pretty good feeling. For us to strike first and have CT battle, get a hit, and JT or
Q. When you start a playoff game like Clayton did and you have that kind of run support for the rest of the night, what's that like for manager?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's a pretty good feeling. For us to strike first and have CT battle, get a hit, and JT or Corey to earn a walk, that's a big homer. Big homer. And we had a great offensive night. Obviously, you feel pretty good when Clayton's on the mound.
Q. What is it about Justin Turner that he seems to find an extra gear every postseason? Is that an innate quality?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's innate. I think that it's innate. It can be learned, I guess, through experience, but JT just has that pose for that big moment and to not, you know, do too much. So when a pitcher does make mistakes, he just has a way to capitalize and doesn't go out of the strike zone. He just has a way of hitting that big moment, whether it's hitting a homer or hitting the ball the other way to drive in a run, he just conducts a professional at-bat in big spots.
Q. What were you seeing from Clayton tonight? It seemed like he was really kind of battling and leaning on the fastball to get through it?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that he was. He was. I thought the fastball velocity early, very good, was arm side mostly. Some balls in on the right-hander. In on the lefties. Some good curveballs and the slider early was okay, and I think towards the fourth, fifth and sixth it just wasn't there. So he was certainly going to that fastball.
Q. And I assume the lead played a big factor in sending him back out to the seventh?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think the extra day prior, the extra day on the back end. Had 90 pitches going into the 6th inning -- going into the 7th inning, through six. For him, that part of the order, I felt good with him going back out there. So that was sort of my thought and obviously there was some hard contact from that part of the order and it was nice to go to the pen there.
Q. Given the back injuries, Clayton the last couple years, are you keeping a bit closer eye on him in the postseason? How do you handle that?
DAVE ROBERTS: I don't think that right now -- I think that he's strong. I think he's healthy, and ever since he's come back, he's continuing to get better. Obviously, we know the history, but managing him in his start I'm not thinking about the bat.
Q. Going against Taijuan Walker, the first postseason start for him, you want to hit him on the ropes early, was that per your game plan?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, he's got big stuff. He pitched at the top of the zone with the fastball. He's got a good breaking ball that he didn't go to as much early. We did a good job of staying with him in the strike zone and trying to get him over the plate. He was missing down with some pitches. But I think that in the postseason I think the at-bat quality continues to get better. The focus is a little bit more. You spoil pitches and we put him on the ropes early. To get, I think it was 48, 49 pitches in that first inning, that was a great job. Team offense right there at its best.
Q. After Clayton's start tonight, what are the chances that we'll see him early? Is it set in stone that he's going a Game 5?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, if there's a Game 5, that's when he'll pitch.
Q. The decision to run Kenley out there, was it just a matter of he hadn't pitched in a few days and he had some time off?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think with Kenley right there it was a game that you really want to win, and he's well-rested. We used two of our top guys out of the pen, so in that situation, a guy gets on base you're going to go to him anyway, so you might as well try to get him early.
Q. Tomorrow night, Robbie Ray, you said you haven't figured him out yet. What do you need to do between now and then?
DAVE ROBERTS:: He's a heck of a pitcher. He's one of the elite pitchers in the National League. He's got plus fastball, pounds righties in, he works both sides of the plate, he's got a really good slider. I think if he makes a mistake, we've got to be able to capitalize. So I know that Turner, Ward and the hitting guys are going to have a great game plan against him. So we're going to go out there and compete and hopefully put some hits together.
Q. Clayton said tonight this game for Yasiel was kind of big for him. What's it like for him hitting in the number five spot and having the game he had tonight?
DAVE ROBERTS:: Against a right-hander Yasiel has been one of our best hitters all year. Since the All-Star break his quality of at-bat has been very consistent, coming through in big spots, and he's earned that opportunity. It was big for him. I think that obviously Corey, it's big for all of our guys, and even Chris Taylor had good at-bats, so all throughout the lineup there were good things tonight.
Q. What was your reaction when he slid into third and kind of looked over to the dugout at you guys?
DAVE ROBERTS:: And stuck his tongue out and waved his head? There was no surprise. That's what Yasiel does. He's called the wild horse for a reason. The ball was in front of him. That was his read, and he's just, he's a wild horse. So sometimes you shake your head. Sometimes you smile. But he's a heck of a talent, and he helped us win a baseball game tonight.
Q. Is it surprising in Clayton's remarkable career that this is his first postseason victory at home?
DAVE ROBERTS:: Is that right?
Q. I read that somewhere.
DAVE ROBERTS:: Is that right? That's a fact? Well, yeah. As great of a pitcher and career that he's had, that's surprising. I'm glad that I was part of his first postseason home win.
Q. In a short series, how important is it to win the first game?
DAVE ROBERTS:: It's important. When you have your ace going out there and you throw some runs out there, I think it's very important. So I think it's good. I think we feel good about it. There are some things we can clean up, but, yeah, we'll be ready to kind of turn the page and ready to go for Robbie Ray tomorrow.
Q. What's it like to see a guy like Brandon succeed in his first playoff game after 11 years in the big leagues?
DAVE ROBERTS:: It's outstanding. Everyone has their own story. Every player has their own story and has their own path. But for Brandon, the way he started this year in Triple-A and Minor League free agent, and from the beginning he was all in for whatever we asked of him. For him to kind of keep his head down and continue to compete and wait for that opportunity, and when given, he performed. So he's earned these high-leverage opportunities. Guys love him in the pen. He's one of the leaders in the pen. So it's a great story, and he's got big stuff. I'm happy he's on our side.