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NLCS Game 3: Maddon postgame interview

October 18, 2017

Q. Are you surprised by all this; that your offense just couldn't come on track?JOE MADDON: Of course we expected more. The Dodgers have pitched well. Surprised, it's somewhat surprising. I don't want to use the word disappointing. Our guys are working really hard. They've pitched well. Hit a couple

Q. Are you surprised by all this; that your offense just couldn't come on track?
JOE MADDON: Of course we expected more. The Dodgers have pitched well. Surprised, it's somewhat surprising. I don't want to use the word disappointing. Our guys are working really hard. They've pitched well. Hit a couple balls well. But, overall, the three games, I guess their relief pitchers have pretty much thrown a no-hitter against us, so they've been pretty good.
Q. Can you talk about the difference of Yu Darvish pitching one year ago? He had a four-seamer, slider pitcher?
JOE MADDON: Who are we talking about?
Q. Yu Darvish. One year ago, four-seamer, slider pitcher, today, cutter, two-seamer. Did you notice the difference, and are you surprised?
JOE MADDON: Well, we had a chance obviously early. We hit some balls well early in the game, and then he settled in. We talked about that before the game. Not necessarily surprised, no. He was not throwing his fastball nearly as often as he has in the past. I did notice that. He's more of a breaking ball pitcher now than he had been. Utilized much more, like you're saying, cutter and all the other stuff. He had really good command of it.
That's the thing. He was throwing the ball where he wanted to. The one thing I've always appreciated about him was that. I've thought of him to be a very good command pitcher. So give him credit. He threw the ball really well. Maybe reinvention of himself, possibly. But I've always seen good stuff from him.
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Q. You've been asked a lot this postseason about the difference between starting pitching and the length that those guys go in the postseason compared to the regular season. How much more difficult for you personally is it to keep that leash kind of short on your starting pitching when you don't know what you're going to get from your bullpen?
JOE MADDON: Well, you've got to -- like right there, I thought Kyle -- Kyle actually had good stuff I thought from the side. Although they were taking swings, they hit a couple home runs. But when it got to that point I'm looking for no contact at all. I'm looking for C.J. to get out of that inning, and then you just try to piece it together after that. We had a full complement tonight, so I was okay with it. Some nights you don't and it's a little more difficult.
But, yeah, I talked about that actually before the game. I think we need more length out of our starters. I just thought under the circumstances tonight, had there been maybe a not-rested bullpen, I might have done something differently. But I thought C.J. was the right man. It's just the walk there, the walk, two walks really hurt us. Otherwise, he didn't give anything up.
Q. If there was a turning point tonight, was it Jay's at-bat in the first? Did you feel like you had him on the ropes? And what to you take out of this that maybe makes you feel better about tomorrow's game?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, I felt good about Jay's at-bat. Like we were just talking about, we had a chance to get on them early. I really liked Jon in that spot. That's the guy that you think is going to move the baseball. He might not get a hit, but you think he's going to move the baseball. Probably looking something soft, and all of a sudden, he blew a fastball right by him.
But that was probably a significant moment in tonight's game we had a chance to jump on. Some really good at-bats. Hit the ball hard in the first inning, probably as well as we did all night. What was it after that?
Q. Anything you can draw on?
JOE MADDON: You know, listen, just the fact that our guys -- I've got the little wristband on, we never quit. Something we've talked about the last three years. Not easy. Obviously. It's been done before. Theo saw it. So we have to figure out a way. A lot of it is contingent upon Jake tomorrow. Jake being able to pitch more deeply into the game is going to be very important for us tomorrow, I believe. Grabbing a lead and just hitting their pitchers finally. They've pretty much stifled us.

Q. Carl against Darvish, is it more difficult to pitch to a guy who has never really had much offensive success?
JOE MADDON: He's not going to swing either. That's part of it. It's like if you're in the bullpen, just throw right to the catcher, if you can. Then their hardest hitter comes up, Taylor, and he strikes him out. That's the nature of the beast.
I am certain they told Darvish not to swing, which is a great tact in that situation, but it's frustrating. I was going to actually, if Barnes had made an out and first base was open, I was going to walk Pederson to make them do something right there. Although I know that C.J. may have that issue, but that was the right thing to do. It worked out that way. We walk him and strikeout Taylor. It's called baseball.
Q. Joe, with the full bullpen tonight, in the fourth you have two on, two out with Kyle at the plate with the full bullpen tonight, is that a spot where you consider an early hook at all?
JOE MADDON: No. The score was like 1-0 or whatever at that point or 1-1 exactly. I just got done talking. I knew we needed more out of him in order to win the game. You could go there, Darvish was throwing the ball pretty well. To me that was way too early to make that kind of decision based on we needed to win the game tonight.
Q. You were here before in 2015. 0-3 to the Mets. Different team, different time. Do you talk to your team at all or is it just pretty much --
JOE MADDON: No, I don't go out of my normal patterns. I have three meetings during the season -- one in Spring Training, one at the All-Star break, and one before the first playoff game. We've done that the last three years.
There is nothing inspirational I could possibly say that's going to make a difference. We've just got to go out and play our normal game tomorrow.
The biggest difference between that series and this one, the weather's much better. I mean, between now and that Mets series. There's no -- from a hitting perspective, we have good weather to hit in, and I really anticipate, hopefully, that we're going to come out stronger tomorrow at the plate.
Q. Is Willson okay?
JOE MADDON: Yeah. He got crossed up, and I was a little bit concerned. He said he's fine. You know how tough he is. But he's getting a little bit red. It hit him like right here in the forearm, and under the circumstances I thought it was better to make sure he got ice on it and play tomorrow as opposed to having it get stiffer and sorer tonight and maybe risk him playing tomorrow. So before I walked over here and came over, they were saying -- P.J., our trainer, said he was doing pretty good, so there should be no issues.
Q. Given how these three games have gone, what gives you confidence you can turn it around tomorrow?
JOE MADDON: Just our guys. I'm not going to sit here and throw a lot of hyperbole your way. It's just about our guys. You have to -- your back's absolutely against the wall. Tomorrow is a Game 7. We have three or four Game 7s in a row coming up right now. So it's just about, you know, we've got to counterpunch it at some point, and that's absolutely necessary tomorrow. We need to gain some kind of mental momentum, and obviously that's our last chance to do it tomorrow.
So I've talked about trusting our guys. I trust our guys. It's been an unusual route to get here right now also. So stay with it, don't come out of your normal patterns and play hopefully the kind of game we can tomorrow.
Q. Getting Happ down the stretch there, is that the idea to get his power into the lineup?
JOE MADDON: It was a double-switch. I didn't know how long we were going to ride that pitcher getting into the game. If we had scored some runs, there was a chance that Watson would be in the game, and that was a good matchup for Happer, didn't play out, but it was a good matchup.
So there's all those things that you've got to think of in advance. So it was a double-switch. He had a good matchup against the guy coming out of the bullpen that didn't play.