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World Series Game 3: Roberts pregame interview

Q. You kind of alluded to McCullers' reverse splits. Take us through the lineup decisions with Kiké and with Joc tonight?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think starting with Logan, I like the defense and the right-handed, and obviously you have to decide between him and Chase. But there are -- Logan gets on base, love the at-bat quality, and I think the same thing goes for Kiké. Throughout the postseason the handedness really hasn't mattered. Just the quality at-bats from the beginning in the postseason. And I think his ability to recognize a breaking ball, and hit velocity.

Q. You kind of alluded to McCullers' reverse splits. Take us through the lineup decisions with Kiké and with Joc tonight?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think starting with Logan, I like the defense and the right-handed, and obviously you have to decide between him and Chase. But there are -- Logan gets on base, love the at-bat quality, and I think the same thing goes for Kiké. Throughout the postseason the handedness really hasn't mattered. Just the quality at-bats from the beginning in the postseason. And I think his ability to recognize a breaking ball, and hit velocity.

And Joc still like the defense out there and left field. And just to kind of -- obviously get a left-hander in there to kind of break up some of the righties and compete, maybe work a walk or a run into one like he did the other night. I like having Joc in the batter's box and in the lineup, as well. To have Dre, Grandal, Chase on the bench to potentially match up or hit for one of those guys is a luxury, as well.

Q. Brandon Morrow, what was his reputation before he came to the Dodgers? What do you know about him and what has surprised you most about his reinvention this season?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, what I knew about him is he's an intelligent guy, cerebral, big arm, really good stuff. He started, he closed, Major League pitcher. And just there's a point when he signed where he resolved himself to pitching out of the pen. And I think that was a major hurdle for him mentally. So once he kind of conceded that it allowed him to thrive in this situation. And I think the thing that surprised me most is probably his resiliency. We really try to take care of him as far as workload, but when asked to take the baseball he's done that.

Q. Can you just talk about how the Game 2 loss impacted your team. What process do you guys go through to kind of get that out of your system and kind of hit the reset button?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, the game impact is because we're 1-1 instead of 2-0, that's how it affected the team.

To reset, we had an off-day, got on the plane and turned the page and focused on McCullers and the Astros. I don't think anyone expected to go in there and win four games and those guys to lay down. We expected to go out there and play our best baseball, and I think we've done that. We've played very good baseball. And we got beat the other night. And that's going to happen.

So for us, our minds are clear, there's energy, there's still focus. So I see us playing well again tonight.

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Q. Players often come in here and talk about relaxing, and treating it like every game. Now with two World Series games under your belt, knowing every move you make can be critical, what's the decision-making process been like for you through these first two games?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think it's more the same way I tell our players, is there's a certain way to play the game. And I think there's a certain way to coach or manage a game. And I think you're coaching or managing to win that game that day. And I think that's been our mindset every day since I've been on board.

Yeah, you understand the stakes now, a regular season as opposed to a postseason game or World Series, you manage a little differently. But for the most part the process for the both of us, player and manager, mirrors how you kind of do it in the regular season and it's with the idea of trying to win one game, and that day being the most important day. Outside of that there's always going to be people's opinions and that just comes with the job.

Q. Are you pleased with every decision that you've made so far?

DAVE ROBERTS: I am pleased with the decision, don't love certain outcomes. But you can't chase outcomes, you'll be chasing your tail. And today, for example, we have a plan versus McCullers and their pen. And Yu has a plan versus their hitters, and the plan is to go out and execute and trust the process. And we don't know what's going to happen right now, and I don't know what's going to happen. But that's the great thing about this game.

Q. Your front office folks have talked about how you blew them away when you applied to be the manager. And I'm just wondering, did you walk out of there thinking "I killed it"?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yes. (Laughter).

Q. And second question, what advice would you give to people applying for the manager position in 2017?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think the best advice I would give is you have to be yourself. You've got to be authentic. I think that to gain trust in people -- those people making decisions are very intelligent, and so they see through BS, and people that aren't honest. So I think that for me going through the process, being open to other ideas and being able to communicate with various factions or different people I think is very important. But I think ultimately you have to be true to yourself because I can't be X, Y or Z. I have to be myself.

Q. Did you feel confident walking out?


Q. What about the relationship with players? I know a manager has a tough line to walk between being a disciplinarian and laying down the law and that sort of thing, but what kind of relationship do you want to have with those guys?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think the thing I learned about that was from Clint Hurdle. He said that the three things players want to know is, can you they trust you, do you care about them and can you make them better. If you can strive for those three things, then you have a chance to get a player -- to make them better. And I think that for me, that's the things that I talk to my coaches about. I try to live day to day. And I think that's kind of what we have in our clubhouse.

Q. Another manager interview question. We didn't plan that out.

DAVE ROBERTS: I'll do my best for the organization. I'll be out in the community (laughter).

Q. I know you said that late in your playing career, as you sort of looked to the next stage, you started paying more attention to what was going on with the managers and coaches and everything. I don't know what you observed earlier in your career. What do you think the manager's responsibilities have evolved since you first broke into the Big League?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's more collaborative. I think that when you're talking about when I came up it was more -- not necessarily a dictatorship but I think that the manager had complete autonomy, and I think that now there's a lot, like I said, there's more communication with the front office. And I think that it's forced and allowed for growth, for people on the field. And not just for the managers, but for the coaches.

I think that you're forced to -- there's more teaching, I think, going on. I think that players now are in the big leagues a lot sooner for various reasons, and I think that coaches, not to say that coaches in years past or decades past didn't teach, but I do believe that a lot of the coaching came from peers or teammates. And now that the coaches are forced, which is a great thing, to be teachers.

You have to surround yourself with a lot of good people, because I think that duties call for not just the end-game management but there's other things that kind of take you away from the players but you can't lose that focus.

Q. As you look at all the analytic tools that are given to you by the team, how do you decide which ones you rely, to emphasize in making your decisions, is it always the same? Does it change throughout the season or even series to series or matchup to matchup?

DAVE ROBERTS: I take it all in. And I have the privilege of watching these guys every single day practice. And seeing how a guy is feeling, knowing what's going on in his life, how he's feeling that particular day. So when you take the information, you also have to understand the value of the recency of that particular day or the last few days, how he's feeling, how he's swinging the bat. And so as the numbers, the metrics are a very good baseline, and the fact is that these are facts. And but I think that me having a relationship with the players, the coaches having a relationship with the players, me relying on the coaches, and me kind of baking that all in, helps me make certain discussions, in game, lineup construction, defensive positioning.

So essentially to your question, I take it all in and kind of try to filter out. And one is really not more important than the other one for me, I think they're both tangible.

Q. With all the attention on analytics, do you find it entertaining or comical when you see a game turn when a ball skips of the brim of a cap, or a throw hits an umpire?

DAVE ROBERTS: We have that play in our playbook, by the way.

Q. The pickoff throw, too?

DAVE ROBERTS: No, Laz wasn't part of that equation, but the one off the hat was. I'm sorry to interrupt.

Q. I was wondering, is it kind of ironic with all the attention on analytics, that the World Series can turn on plays like that?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, it is. It is. And I think that's the great thing about this game. To get all this information and to essentially try to give your team the best chance to win on the margins. That's what baseball is, you play on percentages, and it's a game of numbers and percentages. But the fun thing is that every single game it seems like something unpredictable happens, a ball that could have gone in the gap, on both accounts, but didn't. A dropped third strike, whatever might happen in a game. So that's great.

As far as what we can control, I think that we try to do that with the metrics and again the relationships.

Q. As this series shifts to an American League park, you've played in both leagues, as a player, you're a National League manager. In a world where there's interleague play throughout the entire season, what are your thoughts on the designated hitter at this particular point? Do you think the National League team has an advantage in the World Series in that regard? You gain a hitter in the American League, and they lose the hitter when you go to the National League park?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think the advantage to have four games at home is an advantage, we earned that right. I think every team, depending on your roster, you can look at, is at an advantage for an NL team to add a hitter. But for an American League to come to a National League club with our pitchers being more familiar in the batter's box and hit, that's an advantage. With interleague play, a lot of guys are familiar with the American League ballparks and vice versa. I think it's great.

My stance on the designated hitter. I think it's fine as it. One of my good friends is David Ortiz. To extend his career, because he can be a designated hitter, it's great. I support whatever baseball supports, and we'll win games with or without it.

Q. The end of your career it coincided with the start of A.J.'s career in Stanford. Did you face him at all or any memories of that?

DAVE ROBERTS: I'm sure A.J. might have brought this up, I was a part of one no-hitter, on the wrong side of a no-hitter, and he was the catcher. We got no-hit up at Sunken Diamond and outside of that probably stole a couple of bases off of him, I can't recall. I'm going to stick to that. So we're sort of even. So this is our rubber match, the World Series.

Yeah, we crossed paths. Really didn't really know each other very well. In the similar circles. Became really close in San Diego. And really talked, planned, front office, managing, coaching. So we really had a lot of spirited, open-hearted conversations. We knew each other pretty well. So to see this kind of play itself out like this, it's really -- I can't even think of an adjective, it's crazy, yeah. Or is that adverb?

Q. Since you guys don't get here too often, is it kind of a relief that you don't have to acclimate to Tal's Hill in centerfield? What does your catch out there rank in terms of just cool things in your career?

DAVE ROBERTS: That was up there. I'm still waiting on the dinner from Eric Gagne. He owes me a dinner for a game-saving catch.

Tal's Hill, that was a tough one. Berkman got me the night before. Ball over my head, my legs gave way on Tal's Hill, he ended up having a triple. And the next night we got him. So I told CT that this fence out there, so it's an easy centerfield to play, compared to the old days when I used to play.

So, no, it's a great ballpark. Yeah, it's still a little quirky, but it was quite an experience. One of my better plays, yeah.