Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Dave Roberts WS Game 2 pregame interview

MLB.com

Q. I want to take you back to Game 2 of the NLDS, your victory over Robbie Ray, a pitcher who has had dominance against you. Do you feel unlocking the code, as you put it, has helped you during this playoff run?

 

Q. I want to take you back to Game 2 of the NLDS, your victory over Robbie Ray, a pitcher who has had dominance against you. Do you feel unlocking the code, as you put it, has helped you during this playoff run?

 

DAVE ROBERTS: I think so. He obviously had a lot of success against us. So to have a plan going in against him to swing at strikes and take balls. I think that was the best we've done obviously at that point against him.

But, yeah, I think that carrying that plan to the next -- to the games following throughout the postseason, we've done a very good job. And you look back at the pitchers that we've outlasted, and looking back to the CS and Jon Lester threw a great game against us, but just went five innings. And so that was a win to be able to get into their bullpen.

So I thought Dallas last night threw the ball really well. It was efficient. But I still thought our approach, plan, was good. And you need that when you're facing ones and twos. And we've got our hands full tonight. If we can go out there and execute our plan, then I think it gives us a good chance.

Q. Expanding on that a little bit, obviously you guys have tried to practice patience when you're facing pitchers like this. When you are facing Verlander, who has a longer leash, how does that change the way you might approach it?

 

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think with a guy with his stuff, and when he gets up with two strikes he has the ability to really kind of put you away. So the idea of waiting him out doesn't make sense. So he's going to attack and I think that we have to sort of match that intensity and that idea, as well.

Q. Just the thought process on Joc over Andre in left.

DAVE ROBERTS: I think with Joc it's more the velocity. I think that this guy is obviously plus, plus velocity. I like Joc a little bit better with the velocity. And I think Joc is a better defender in left field, too.

Q. Back to Joc a little bit more, what have you seen from him since he came back from the Minor Leagues? Has he made some adjustments?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think that he's -- obviously he kind of tweaks things a lot, he tinkers. But I think that in his batting practice and simulated games I think he's in his legs a little bit more, more consistent mechanically. And so I think for us is it hasn't really translated into production. And he hasn't had those opportunities really, to be fair to him. But I think in this one case I think he's going to put some at-bats together against him.

Q. Just talking to your guys about the approach at the plate, with a guy like Verlander, when you're facing him, how much information do you want them to have ahead of time, and then kind of turn that off and they can just go out and cut it loose against him?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think that we're very good at trying to disseminate what we want to get to these guys and what we don't. But we've got very intelligent players that can handle information. So before they get into their work, we give it to them. There's obviously video that guys are in tune with. But after that it's kind of going out there and competing.

But I think that as much information as we can give these guys, to which they can handle, is a good thing. And it goes with having guys that can sort of retain it, can handle it, and we've got some intelligent players.

Q. What did you learn about him in the game you faced him in August that you could carry over into this game?

DAVE ROBERTS: Boy, that he has weapons. He's a bulldog. We were trying to sweep those guys. And he took the ball, and he even said after, he took it like it was a playoff game. And he pitched like it.

So he's a No. 1. I don't want to give away too many things, but like I said he's got a lot of weapons, he's a great competitor, and he's going to rise to this moment. There's no doubt.

Q. You talked yesterday about getting the ball in the air on Keuchel. How important is it to get the ball in the air against Verlander, as well? How difficult is it when a guy that's so good at the top of the zone with a lot of velocity?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's tough because there's a characteristic, he has rise to his fastball, his spin rate. So you have to understand where the top of your zone is because he does have that ability to have guys expand up. But you still have to be aggressive. When he does make mistakes, I wouldn't say that he's Maddux with command, but he's got such plus stuff. So when he does not execute a pitch, then you've got to be able to slug it.

So I think it's just, for us, it's just to really look to be aggressive in the strike zone. And again when a guy has that stuff, it's a lot easier said than done.

Q. A lot of starting pitchers have had a really short leash this postseason. Rich Hill has only faced one batter a third time through the order. What goes into the decision to pull a guy so quickly?

DAVE ROBERTS: No. 1, looking at how his stuff is playing at that particular moment or that inning. No. 2, who's coming up and what part of the order, and if I like the matchup. And No. 3 is how the pen is as far as their rest or how they're feeling. So I think that with the pen working backward, I think our pen is in great shape. And I think that they have a lot of righties stacked at the top of the order, like they did yesterday.

We'll kind of watch how Rich is throwing the baseball. And it's not for me to have preconceived drawn up that we're going to have a short leash on him or pull him in a particular part of the order. It's more seeing how he's throwing the baseball first and then adjust after that.

Q. I know it's not your department, but it seems like after last night's game, people are talking about how quick the game was, in addition to how good the game was. Is that a better baseball game when it moves like that, when it has that kind of rhythm? I know it had two great pitchers pitching, but just the flow of it?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think so. Last night was great because you had two very good pitchers that were throwing strikes. Guys were swinging the bats. There were some really nice plays defensively, some big hits. And I think the pace was really good. Even in between innings I thought the pace was great, yeah.

Q. A.J. says that with his starting pitchers he likes to communicate with them almost in between every inning to see how they're doing. What are your lines of communication with your starter? When do you actually start asking him how he's feeling and how he's doing?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think for me, every manager has a different way to communicate with their pitchers, for me it's not an every-inning type of thing. It's more when they're out there I'm watching their demeanor, their body language. I'm watching how the stuff is coming out of the hand, and then I'll talk to Rick, as well, and see what his thoughts are.

But for our guys, every time I seem to ask them, which I did last year, it seemed like they were always okay. So that became redundant. And now there are some difficult conversations when I feel that pitcher has had enough. But I do a lot of watching and obviously A.J. does the communication between innings, so I kind of just watch them.

Q. You talked about your relationship with A.J. How did Josh Byrnes play into it, and what was your relationship with Josh in both San Diego and here?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I've known Josh since he was in Cleveland. We were in Boston together. And so we kind of worked together, but really not together in the same organization. And so A.J. and Josh have a long history, obviously. So our little circle, we've kind of forged a nice relationship among us. And that circle obviously with baseball it kind of gets interwoven.

But, yeah, Josh was instrumental in me coming over and kind of familiarizing Andrew and Farhan with me. A.J. was supportive, obviously, in giving me advice on trying to get this job.

Q. Rich Hill's got the lowest opponents' batting average on the fastball, and he throws 86. How is he so effective with a slower fastball?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's one of those things, again, like Verlander's 95, 97, with a spin rate characteristics on the rise, that guys are kind of really trying to get a handle on these days. And Rich is one of those guys, too. So the fastball, when you look at the velocity, it plays up. And when he's getting his fastball out of a certain window, that same window as his curveball, that goes north to south, when it's good, really plays up. And he's a two-pitch pitcher, will mix in a cutter once in a while to a right-hander. But he has that swing and miss.

When a pitcher can throw strikes and get swing and miss in the strike zone, that makes him pretty special, and Rich has that ability.

Q. You used Justin Turner and Dave Ortiz in the same sentence. Based on what we saw last night, do you continue that? Do you think there's more to come out of JT?

DAVE ROBERTS: I expect that. And when I said that it was obviously high praise, and for me to live what David did for us in so many different postseasons. It's amazing in a big moment to really be able to come through. And JT has that DNA and that makeup. If he gets opportunities I'm sure that he's going to rise to that moment again. And it puts the onus on the other pitcher, if they want to take a chance with JT or Bellinger behind him. So it's a pick-your-poison type of things.

Q. A.J. said yesterday that the mindset for the Astros has been on winning and not developing. So what's the mindset for the Dodgers, if there is any?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think that we have a similar thought. It is about winning, especially at this level and this ballclub and with the players that we have, it's about winning, and it's only about winning. Corey Seager , Cody Bellinger, young players, they're going to get better as they get older and log more innings and more Major League service, and they are developing. They're growing as players, as men. But we're trying to win, and that's our only goal.

Q. You mentioned the NLCS about how much trust, the trust has grown with you and Puig. And the one thing Turner spoke of on media day, that Yasiel is understanding the concept of a team offense more this season than before. What areas are you seeing that exactly?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think, No. 1, he's taking more walks. And if you want to kind of dig into that, he's just been way more disciplined in the strike zone. Where I think in years past a walk was not necessarily looked at as a positive for him. And now he's understanding that to be able to keep the line moving, there's a lot of value in that. During hitters' meetings there's more interaction, and questions from Yasiel's point. And when you're talking about scouting and information, he's considerably more open than he was, even when I first took this job.