Oct. 26 Ned Yost workout day interview
Q. For you as a manager, how is this club different from last year's?
NED YOST: You know, they have a lot of confidence. They've got a lot of determination. They've had determination from day one of Spring Training. I think this time last year we were really excited to be here. I don't think we really expected to be here, but we were excited to be here.
This year we expected to be here. This group of guys has gone out and accomplished everything they've set their mind to this year. And they wanted to win the Division, they did that; they wanted to win home-field advantage, they did that; they wanted to get back to the World Series, they've done that.
And of course, we had a large contingency of Royals in the All-Star Game. They wanted to get home-field advantage for the World Series, they've done that. They've accomplished everything that they've set their minds to up to this point, and we've got one big series left.
Q. The Mets are kind of maybe in your position from last year, a young team that hasn't experienced it before. They've won most of their games in the playoffs, as well. You won them all obviously. How do you feel your experience in several playoff series now might be an advantage for you?
NED YOST: I don't really see it as an advantage. We didn't have any playoff experience last year, and we took it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.
It's about execution. These guys have got a tremendous team. They've got tremendous pitching. They're going to go out and play their game. It's the World Series, but when you're here, it's a very rapid pace, but it's fun. There's only two teams left. The whole world is watching.
I don't see having a huge experience advantage over those guys, because it's the World Series, anything can happen. You just go out and play.
Q. The Mets have a lot of good left-handed power. Do you see guys like Morales and Duffy playing a bigger role in the series?
NED YOST: Yeah, you could. The teams that we played against, Houston and Toronto weren't really left-handed matchup type of teams for us. But we do have more matchup possibilities here. Morales and Danny definitely could play a bigger role in this series.
Q. What is it about this team's approach this year that lends itself to hitting hard-throwing pitchers this year?
NED YOST: They've got that knack of putting the ball in play. They don't strike out. They don't strike out a lot. They've got short, simple approaches. We play in a big park, which is not conducive to power. We don't swing for the fences. We have power, we can hit homers, but for the most part we just try to stay short and quick and drive the gaps, and our guys do a good job with that.
Q. Could you go into the reasoning you used for lining up your pitchers the way you did in the rotation.
NED YOST: Well, Ventura -- we've go so many Vs in the lineup-- Volquez lined up perfectly for the first spot for us. If we brought Ventura back for Game 1 he would have been a day early. We didn't want that. We wanted Johnny Cueto in Game 2, because Johnny really feeds off the home crowd. And we're able to have Johnny in Game 2 and Game 6 here at home, where we think that that gives us a bit of advantage having Johnny pitching at home in front of our home crowd. They really, really give him a lot of energy. He's pitched his best games here.
And then Ventura in Game 3. We really like Chris Young in Game 4. He's a guy that it doesn't matter, there's nothing that's going to distract him. There's nothing that's going to slow him down. He's had a great year for us, he's been a great addition for us. We like the way it sets up with Volquez, Cueto, Ventura, and Chris Young.
Q. For you as the manager, what does Ben Zobrist bring to the team?
NED YOST: He brings a lot of different aspects of his game. He plays a great second base for us. He's a very fundamental player, both defensively and offensively. He's a table setter, plus a run producer from both sides of the plate offensively. He sets up the top of that order, especially Escobar had a great LCS, ended up winning the MVP trophy. You have those two guys at the top of the order, just sets the table for our guys in the middle of the order.
And then you drop down to the bottom of the order, we've got balance down there with Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, and Alex Rios, who has had a really, really good Postseason.
Benny Zobrist just brings stability to that lineup and it allows that lineup to be deep, everywhere from 1 to 9.
Q. Catchers are always guys that are going to take a beating behind the plate. At times when you go out and see him, does it amaze you that he's, I'm fine to go, he's got blood dripping?
NED YOST: I was a catcher. You take a beating. That's part of the job, you just do. You just have to keep on going.
There's times that you'll get foul balls off your shoulder, off your collarbone, off your mask, really shake you, really hurt. But it's a position where you've got to shake that stuff off. You've got to just kind of know it's part of the position. You're blocking balls off your thumbs, off your arms. It's just a tough, tough position.
But Sal is suited perfectly for it. He's a big guy, he's extremely tough, and he can take a beating.
Q. After the National League Series Joe Maddon dropped a Barry Bonds on Daniel Murphy. Do you guys prepare for him like he's that type of an offensive force?
NED YOST: He's been very, very hot. We talked about in our advance meeting today how he stands on top of the plate like Barry Bonds did. So when you're on that kind of run like he is, he's very hot. He's seeing the ball well. You better execute pitches, and that's what we're going to try to do.
Q. You guys obviously don't play the Mets a lot. You played them a couple of years ago. It occurred to me when I was looking back through the box scores, Wade Davis was a starter in one of those games. Can you talk about his journey and how he went from there to what he is right now, and how much he's meant for you?
NED YOST: He's been great. Him and Hoch have similar paths; they were both starters, both of them weren't having tremendous success as a starter. And we had heard that Wade had done really, really well out of the pen when he was in Tampa. With both of those guys, let's put them in the pen and see what they've got.
Wade went from throwing 92, 93 to 97, 98 as a reliever because he doesn't have to pace himself, he just comes in and gives it all he has for an inning.
The thing about both Hoch and Wade is the intangible confidence that they have in their abilities. They never panic. They never lose their composure on the mound and both can execute pitches. They both can command the baseball with more than one pitch.
Both of those kids, especially Wade, has that closer mentality. We talked about Holly's closing mentality. Nothing affected him. His heart rate never got up, no matter what the situation was. He just continued to focus on executing pitches and that's what Wade does so well.
Q. Last year you at least saw the Giants in the season, this year you haven't seen the Mets in a while. What do they bring to you? And Maddon made a lot of it during the last series that he really likes to see teams, rather than just read scouting reports and look at video. Plus the element that Wright gives the entire team, pulling it together.
NED YOST: We don't worry about that. They've got great advance scouts that have given us a ton of information. The videos that we can look at helps us some. You still have to go out and -- I mean, it's hard to find a comparison to a DeGrom or a Syndergaard or even a Matz or a Harvey. Those guys are exceptional pitchers. You've got to go out and see them.
For the most part they attack the zone, which, you know, we attack the zone offensively. We understand what they're about defensively. They're a very solid defensive unit. We know all about their pen. So not having seen them doesn't bother us. We feel like we're prepared and ready to go.
Q. What about Wright?
NED YOST: Yeah, we've watched hours and hours of video on all those guys. He's a tremendous player, he always has been. He's an MVP caliber type guy when he's healthy. He looks completely healthy now. He's a veteran guy and he's a very, very nice player.
Q. Can you explain a little bit about Alex Gordon and what kind of impact he's had with his tenure with the Royals and also with his skills, just in terms of setting the culture for what you're trying to do?
NED YOST: Yeah, it really started when Alex moved from third base to leftfield. And I think that Alex is a real quiet, I mean all business type guy. Very seldom do you see any emotion from him.
But what's so impressive is just watching his work ethic day-to-day in how he prepares every single day. Everybody in that locker room looks up to him. They see how hard he works and his preparation every single day. He's always just about the first one in the locker room. Everything he does is to be ready to play a baseball game, from the food he eats to the exercises that he does early in the weight room to the preparation before the game. His routine is impeccable. And guys see this. And they see a three-time Gold Glover, they see an All-Star.
Part of the reason why he's so good is because of that routine. And guys now, over the years you see their routines become more regimented, Hoz and Mous, and those guys with their routines, Escobar. He kind of leads by example in those types of areas.
Q. Is there any chance that the structure of the back end of your bullpen might change? Ryan had a couple of struggling outings. You mentioned Luke pitching so well right now. Is it a possibility?
NED YOST: It's a possibility. We're still evaluating some things on the roster. But we'll see how it plays out. You kind of go with it and see how it plays out, exactly.
I mean, it's kind of hard to judge a little bit. Toronto had the middle of that order that was just -- they were unbelievably deadly in the middle of that order. You make the slightest mistake and they were going to bomb the ball into the seats.
But we're always evaluating the bullpen. Hoch had such a really good series. We could see him in higher leverage situations with Madson. Herrera was fantastic. Wade was fantastic. Of course, that's not going to change. But Duffy could play, and so could Morales.