Oct 30 Ned Yost pregame interview
Q. Last winter you signed some established veterans, Morales, Rios, other guys. How much more attractive a locale do you think you became as a result of your success last year?
NED YOST: With the addition of Rios and Morales? Q. Just the ability to get that kind of quality veteran talent because of the success --
NED YOST: It looks good now. It didn't look good at that time, and I think Dayton took some heat for signing guys like Morales and Rios. But we did extensive background work on their character and their makeup, and we still thought that they had plenty of baseball left in them. And in the right environment, the right opportunity they would be very, very productive. And Rios battled through some things - broke his hand in like the sixth or seventh game of the season and missed five weeks, and then got the chicken pox. But in September he got hot and has been swinging the bat great throughout the playoffs. And Morales has put together a phenomenal year. Both of those guys have been a big part of us getting back to this point now.
Q. Do you think you're a better, more attractive place for free agents because of your success?
NED YOST: Yeah, I think everyone wants to go with a winner. I think that's an attractive thing. Before we had trouble attracting free agents because we weren't winning. We were winning 72, 74 games a year, especially the free agents that can take their pick. They want to go to a winner. So I think definitely we're more attractive.
Q. A lot has been talked about your approach offensively. What traits do you think make a good hitting coach? And also what Dale has brought in his role in establishing the approach you have?
NED YOST: Yeah, for me the most important thing is knowledge, right? Of course, that kind of goes unsaid. But the ability to communicate that knowledge and to reach players. And Dale's got -- and I realized this really, really early. When I first hired Dale in Milwaukee, it was because I wanted Robin Yount. I tried to talk Robin into becoming a bench coach. He said, "Well, I'll do it on one condition: If you take Dale Sveum." I said, "Robin, I don't know Dale Sveum. I know the name, but I don't know the guy. How am I going to take a guy I don't know?" He goes, "You gotta trust me on that one. But I'll guarantee you this, if you take him, he'll be the best coach you've ever had." So in order to get Robin, I took Dale, and he was right. He was the best coach I'd ever had, because he can do anything. He can coach third. He can be the bench coach. He's managed in the Big Leagues. But when I got fired, he took over for me. And they didn't give him the job; they gave it to another guy. But they asked Dale, "Do you want to stay on as the bench coach? He said, "No, but I'd like to stay on as a hitting coach." That didn't surprise me because Dale is so versed in all aspects of the game. When I saw what he did in Milwaukee as a hitting when he continued to develop Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks and all of those guys, to take them to the next level offensively -- as soon as Dale got fired in Chicago, I came across the ticker that he'd been let go. And I thought to myself, I'm going to wait a little while, but I'm calling him. I waited like two minutes, and I called him. He just walked out. I said, "What are you doing?" He said, "I just walked out from getting fired." I said, "I know. I just saw it. I know you've got a year left on your contract. Do you want to work or take the year off?" I said, "I got a job for you." He said, "Well, what is it?" "I don't know yet, but I definitely got a job for you if you want it." He said, "Give me a little time to think about it." A couple of hours later he got home and got on the computer and looked at our club. He called me back and said, "I am all in. If you want me, I'll in." I said, "I definitely want you." That was as third base/infield coach. At that point, I'd been talking to Dale about his philosophies and hitting. And we were struggling offensively early, and we decided to make that change. It could have been the best coaching move that I've ever made was pitting Dale into the hitting coach because he has a knack of communicating and getting his point across. He's a guy that has tremendous experience. The players see that, they gravitate to it, and they listen to every word that he says. As a hitting coach, it's really tough to get guys to buy in, because hitting is so tough, right? But Dale has that form of communication that after a while there's a little bit of a grace period where guys were listening to what he was saying, and they finally started to take over what he was saying and because they started seeing results. Now they hang on every word that he says.
Q. What do you know about Volquez's return? And will he be able to pitch?
NED YOST: Yeah, he's still slated to pitch Game 5. He texted Dave yesterday that everything was going good, and hopes to see him Saturday. We should see Eddie tomorrow. He'll be ready to go.
Q. What's the biggest adjustment coming to a ballpark you don't know much about or haven't played at?
NED YOST: We played here a couple of years ago. I went out yesterday and walked the field. It's not really a big adjustment. All the adjustments we need to make we'll do in batting practice. The outfielders will see the speed of the grass. And we didn't get into New York until 6:00 in the morning, and by the time we got our bags it was 6:30. So we brought our starters out yesterday to be available for the media, but we didn't get on the field. Everything we did was kind of light stuff in the cage and working the training room. When we get out on the field for batting practice, we'll look at all the angles. Rusty will hit balls off the wall to see how they bounce. Infielders will be able to judge the speed of the infield, and by the time the game starts, we'll be in good shape.
Q. You've managed in both leagues, how much different is it managing a National League game and American League game? And do you have a preference?
NED YOST: If I had to take a preference, it would probably be the American League game, one, because frankly it's easier, in my opinion. Running the pitching staff is tough, to begin with, but in the American League you run them out there until he gets tired. You don't have to worry about the pitch count, you don't have to worry about the fifth inning, and you're down a run and you've got two guys on with two outs, do you hit here or not hit here? Do you double-switch late because I want to bring Herrera in for two innings? You don't have to worry about any of that stuff in the American League. But it's fun to come in short stints like Interleague Play and manage National League-style baseball. It is fun. And we do enjoy it. And we've done it a lot, so we're used to it and we're ready for it. But it makes it a little bit more fun.
Q. Chris Young pitched in the first game. He's the starter for Game 4. Will he be under any kind of limitations because he pitched recently?
NED YOST: No, no, no. We do like we do with all of our starters, we'll continue to evaluate every inning how he's throwing the ball and how he's feeling, but there's no limitation.
Q. You just bumped up your lineup by one, was there any consideration to anything else you could have theoretically gone left, right, left, right, like you do?
NED YOST: No.
Q. That was easy pickings there.
NED YOST: Yeah. One, we've got three out of four lefties with Hoz, Moose, Salvy and Gordy. Our lefties all hit lefties good. We've had a chance to see Niese a couple of times, so we know what we're getting into there. And it's not a situation where we're going to be facing -- it might have been different if they had three or four lefties down there in that pen, where every time from the fifth inning on they're going to see a different lefty. That's not going to be the case. We decided to stay just like that.
Q. After Spring Training where did you think Young would fit with you as far as slots?
NED YOST: Well, I didn't know, you know. When Dayton signed him, I thought it was a great sign, because it was a depth sign, for depth for our starting rotation in case something happened. And I never could figure out why we couldn't hit Chris Young. We faced Chris Young in Seattle, and the first time you look at everything he's throwing, 88-mile-an-hour fastball, his slider doesn't look anything special, his changeup doesn't look anything special. Then after seven innings we've got two hits and no runs. Then the next time, okay, we're going to get him this time. Seven innings, one run. And I never could figure out why nobody could hit this guy. Once we got him, I started watching behind home plate, and see with the deception of a guy that's 6'10" with his fastball, his slider the bottom drops out of it, and the changeup is invisible at times. So when there was an opportunity to start, we put him in the starting rotation and he did great. And then we made a decision, later in the year somebody went out, I can't quite remember who, and we needed to make a decision on one of the starters, and I took Chris Young out of the rotation because I knew the year before he had pitched fantastic for three-quarters of the year, and got a little fatigued, and then struggled the last half. Well, I wanted to make sure that once we got into late August, September, that I wanted a healthy Chris Young. So I put Chris in the bullpen there to try to limit his pitches for this very time, in case we needed him, and obviously we have. And he's been a big key for us this offseason. But we felt like going into the postseason we had a completely healthy and a completely strong Chris Young, and if you've got that, if you know his makeup and his character and the way that he competes, he does it like nobody else. So I think the plan worked out good and we've got Chris ready to go.
Q. Just speaking to Young, making that decision to bring him back in September starting again, is this about what you expected? Do you think it's just the rest or do you see something else that is leading to like velocity is up, striking out hitters the way that he hasn't since really San Diego?
NED YOST: I think it was the rest more than anything, that we didn't burn him out early, even though we really could have, because he was pitching really, really well as a reliever. Andy couldn't figure out why we would take him out of the rotation, but it was just for this (laughter). It was just for this time. We wanted Chris Young to be strong, healthy and ready for the playoffs. Sorry, Andy.
Q. Your guys have done a great job of not striking out. How do you keep that going against Syndergaard?
NED YOST: Don't strike out (laughter).
Q. Anything about him that concerns you more than another?
NED YOST: Yeah, the kid throws a hundred miles an hour with a big curveball. He's big, he's tough. I don't know what's going to happen today. I was quite frankly really, really impressed with our group that we only struck out twice against deGrom. The last time I saw deGrom was in the All-Star Game and he lit it up. I mean, he was the guy that for me during the entire All-Star Game, he was the guy that was the most impressive. So to only strike out two times against him for me was very impressive. I wasn't really expecting that. Again, I don't really go into this game with any expectations. We're just going to have to do our best. Get in that box and battle.
Q. With the comparison of Yordano with Syndergaard, does he embrace this challenge tonight?
NED YOST: Well, I don't think it's the challenge of Syndergaard that he embraces. It's being able to pitch in the World Series that he embraces for his team. He's been chomping at the bit to get out there. He's been waiting for his turn. I know he's excited and ready for it.
Q. You guys signed Chris Young late; it was already into the Spring Training. Were you surprised he was still available at that point in the spring after the year he had last year?
NED YOST: I was. I was very surprised. And I think -- I want to say it was two or three weeks into Spring Training when Dayton signed him. He came up and said, "Chris Young is still out there." He said, "Do you think it would be a good idea to sign him for depth?" At that point I liked the starting pitching we had. But I remember Bobby (Cox) saying in Atlanta, you can never have as much starting pitching. Get as much as you can, because over the course of the year you're going to need it. I told Dayton, "Yeah, I think it would be a great idea to get Chris Young." So we signed him. And that was one of the great signs that Dayton made this year, along with Kendrys Morales, and Alex Rios and Franklin Morales, who's played a big part on our club. But these were all under-the-radar signs, that have been a big impact to help us get to this point in the World Series.