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Dave Roberts WS Game 1 pregame interview

MLB.com

Q. Take us through the thought process of leaving Curtis off the roster and putting Brandon on it?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think with Brandon on it gives us an extra arm. I think that the characteristics of his pitches, I think makes sense to complement our bullpen.

Q. Take us through the thought process of leaving Curtis off the roster and putting Brandon on it?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think with Brandon on it gives us an extra arm. I think that the characteristics of his pitches, I think makes sense to complement our bullpen.

And with Curtis, just having Joc, a left-handed bat, Andre, who has come off the bench, Joc to be able to play all three outfield spots, and just the thought of Corey's back and just the coverage that we have with Kiké and Taylor, we felt good with that. And obviously just the at-bats that Curtis has taken over the last month, having been to what, I know, he would expect. And for us I think that to win this series I think that it was the best for us. And I talked to him last night and obviously disappointed, but still supportive.

Q. Corey Seager back on the roster I assume. We haven't seen the lineup yet, he's starting at shortstop tonight? Do you have the rest of the lineup as well?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, Corey will be starting tonight at short. Austin will be catching. Cody, Logan, JT will be at third, Kiké, Taylor and Yasiel.

Q. What was the thought process with Seager batting sixth?

DAVE ROBERTS: It was more of he hadn't played in two weeks, and obviously to give him an opportunity to kind of ease into the game a little bit. Keuchel puts the lefty on the ground a lot. It gives us a chance to spread out the two lefties in our lineup, and just adds length throughout the lineup. So when you're looking at beating the starter as well as trying to play the matchup game, I think that it posed a lot of challenges. And tomorrow Corey will be back in the 2.

Q. Brandon hasn't pitched this postseason, any concern about him being rusty? And how has he stayed sharp, tried to?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think that since the regular season has ended he's thrown three different occasions in simulated games and two innings a piece. So he's accrued six innings since the regular season. And really has been sharp. I think to his credit has done what he can do to keep our position players fresh and sharp. And with what we've seen of his sinker, the cutter, the curveball, it just makes sense.

And I think that being a veteran player I don't think that the moment is going to be too big for him. But, yeah, there is something to the fact that he hasn't pitched in a Major League game in quite some time. But I think for us we're still confident that he'll be productive.

:: World Series schedule and coverage ::

Q. How hard was that conversation with Curtis? This is an older player. This isn't the earlier rounds; this is the World Series. To leave him off, had to be a difficult thing to break that to him?

DAVE ROBERTS: It was. But like I said, Curtis handled it like the pro that he is. And this is his third time being a part of a World Series team. Who doesn't want to see it through? But I think that the decisions that we have to make aren't always easy, but I think that a lot of conversations and trying to figure out what's our best 25-man roster to beat the Houston Astros, and we made that decision. And again just a credit to him and his character that he was supportive.

Q. Can you maybe break down a little bit in some specifics why the Astros are so dangerous as a matchup. And is there any strange, disadvantage, or is it irrelevant to be in a market unlike LA or New York or Chicago, where there's a little less attention at times through that a playoff run? What makes them dangerous and what about that position they're in in terms of national attention?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, to address the national attention, I don't think that that's relevant because they had to go through the Red Sox and the Yankees to get here. So they've really handled themselves very well, and beat two very good ballclubs.

The challenges, you look at the starters, pose challenges, with their pitch mixes. And you look at their offense, very dangerous. They slug, they don't punch. And so that combo right there is scary. Very athletic, they can do a lot of things. And when you've got guys like Beltran and McCann as veterans kind of showing these younger players how to do things the right way, that's lethal when you take a lot of talent, as well.

But I think for us we have similar kind of makeup in our ballclub, with our ballclub. It's two very good ballclubs, have been good all year, and so it's only fitting.

Q. How do you see the bullpen roles shaking out now that Brandon is in there? Does anybody else's roles change? And what do you specifically envision for him?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think that with Brandon, he gives us the luxury of getting lefties and righties out. So I think that I can kind of navigate our pen with who we feel matches up best with the other guys. So I think that the high leverage, obviously Brandon, but when you've got Kenley at the back end, obviously. But to deploy him a certain part of the lineup and Kenta, also, those are nice pieces.

The lefties, they're a very right-handed-dominant lineup, but there are some spots for Cingrani and Tony Watson but Josh Fields, also. Yeah, we have a lot of good options, especially with eight arms in the pen. But Brandon is probably going to pitch the highest leverage spots.

Q. You've had plenty of time to get used to this notion, this morning you woke up on the day of Game 1 of the World Series. What were your early thoughts, and where has your head gone over the last few hours?

DAVE ROBERTS: Trying to figure out a way to try to get some hits against Keuchel. Taking a little bit to grab breakfast and taking a little time to reflect and understand that it takes a lot to get here and a lot of people to get here, making sure that when you get to the clubhouse the guys in the clubhouse understand that. And it's really easy when the guys in the clubhouse, as far as clubhouse, the clubbies and the training staff, and ushers and people that are so excited that have been here for a long time, so that's easy to see. Very excited for them. But once you step in the clubhouse, it's kind of all about work and trying to win a game.

Q. With the extra heat here today, does that affect maybe the pitch count for Kershaw? Are you going to be monitoring, I guess, the fatigue or energy as it gets later into the 5th, 6th inning?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, Clayton says he's from Texas, so that's not going to be a problem for him. I don't think. I don't think so. I think that he takes such good care of himself, adrenaline. But I think I'm going to look at this as any other start and to see the stressful innings, how the ball is coming out, how he's spinning the baseball, and kind of go from there. But it is nice, though, to have a great pen behind him.

Q. A lot of guys in your room have never been in a World Series, are you curious to see how they're going to react?

DAVE ROBERTS: No. Yeah, I guess, yeah. I think until you're in that situation, you don't know how guys are going to respond. But I think, though, we've done a good job all year of understanding that this is where we expected to be and really believing it, and I think to put that out there in the beginning. So there's no one in the room that's surprised that we're here.

But, again, it's still going out there and trying to execute. And pitch and catch the baseball and get some hits. But, yeah, until we've seen it, we don't know.

Q. Since he's come off the disabled list, Kershaw has only thrown more than six innings once, and that was the eight-inning against the Giants, why has he turned into a five, six-inning guy?

DAVE ROBERTS: I wouldn't a he's a five, six-inning guy. That's a small sample, as people say. I think there were reasons to take him out at certain points of each game. I fully expect him to go deeper tonight, if it calls for it. But, again, it's taking a long view sometimes and understanding that there's still starts to be had. And so we were at in the standings, with what we have in the pen, and I can't even recall each day the freshness of the guys back there that followed him.

So there's varies reasons why he didn't go deeper. Could I have pushed him? I'm sure I could have. So I think that he's as rested as in good a state of mind as he's been for any postseasons for him. I expect him to go deeper tonight. But having the guys in the pen that can follow him up is a huge luxury for us.

Q. Do you plan on going forward starting Austin off against lefties, and having Grandal against righties? And how is he doing? I know his wife gave birth.

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, he just had a baby boy yesterday. Big boy. I think 22 pounds -- 22 inches, not pounds (laughter). That's a really big boy. Not that big.

So Yasi is happy. And he just flew in from Arizona, so he's in a catcher's meeting. He's ready to go. I don't know, we haven't decided that yet. I'm going to kind of look at each day individually, and see who's going to start behind the plate. I know that Austin is starting tonight, and Verlander tomorrow, but we'll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow.

Q. Dallas Keuchel is a guy who only three of your guys have ever faced before. He's also a guy that relies on the pinpoint control. What are the challenges in facing a guy like that that you've never seen before?

DAVE ROBERTS: He's a guy that poses a lot of challenges in the batter's box, because he has plus, plus command but he also pitches out of the strike zone. So it's obviously that is something that's purposefully done. He doesn't give in. The movement that he has on the baseball misses the barrel. He puts the ball on the ground, works efficiently.

So I think it just comes down to discipline, trying to get a ball up out over. Use the big part of the field, like everyone talks about. Light air today, it's going to be hot. So I think for us to try to get underneath it and try to put the ball in the air. With him obviously it's a tall task. And he's going to compete and make pitches. But if he leaves something up and out over, we've got to be ready to slug it.

Q. You mentioned all the things that happened to get here. Three of them happened last December with signing Kenley and Turner and your Game 2 starter tomorrow. Where were you physically during those days? And what did those three signings mean to where you are right now?

DAVE ROBERTS: With Rich, I recall I was at the Winter Meetings and I think we got that done first. And with the other two, I was at home holding my breath that, as JT made his way to Curacao, and you could convince that -- they could convince one another that it was smart to come back and sign back. To my credit I didn't kind of intervene in their discussion and swam in any way. I kind of let it be, and let the situation play out. But fortunately for all of us, they both decided this is where they want to be.

Yeah, those three guys, the leadership role on the field, the impact they've made, not only for me and the coaches, but their teammates, the city, itself, huge, huge guys coming back for us.