NLDS Game 3 Joe Maddon postgame interview

October 9th, 2017

Q. You often say they are not all oil paintings but somehow you got this one done?

JOE MADDON: It's true. We got it done because our pitching was so good, quite frankly. Their guy -- give Scherzer a lot of credit, man, to come off that injury like he did and pitch as well as he did, that's pretty phenomenal. That was phenomenal.

And then our guy matched him, which we needed tonight. You had to match that great pitching performance with another one and we did. And then we got a couple knocks late to get the game in our favor. But that was really, really an exceptionally well-done performance by both pitchers.

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We made mistakes. We made mistakes. We made some errors, but then we made some great plays. We made a couple base running gaffs. Part of it is possibly guys trying just a little bit too hard. But at the end of the day, you'll always take that effort, always.

Q. You talked about the starting pitching and how good it was. Was there a different feeling in the dugout when Scherzer came out and a different feeling in the other one when Quintana came out?

JOE MADDON: You know, it was just a matter of matchups. I don't know that it was a different feeling. Just presented differently to us.

Schwarber right there obviously, it was set up before the game that if that were to happen that would be a spot against a lefty and it just happened. I didn't necessarily feel anything differently. I mean, I'm certain that, you know, based on his injury and everything, he was not going to go much further than that, anyhow. But no, I didn't feel anything necessarily different.

Q. It was a bloop single, but does Rizzo just have a knack to get the hit at the right time?

JOE MADDON: There are some guys that are like that and because -- I think a big reason is he uses the whole field. He's not always trying to pull the baseball. When he's not going well, he's in the pull mode. When he's using the whole field, that's normally when he's pretty good.

Now they have to respect the wind and his power. They are playing more deeply and that's permitted the ball to fall in. A lesser hitter probably would have been caught. But that's the thing I appreciate about Rizzo, the choke-up, the willingness to go to the opposite field.

That's why he's so good, beyond he's got natural ability, but as an offensive player, he can hit the ball in the seats and then he can he can hit you a blooper line drive to the left. That's what needs to be nurtured more, and I really love his approach.

Q. How big was that eighth inning from Carl Edwards, Junior, and did you have to talk to him at all yesterday before the game to get over Game 2?

JOE MADDON: Honestly not. I talked to him -- I patted him on the plane the other night. I just said, "Hey, man, we're good" and he smiled and I knew he was fine. Watched him yesterday in our little brunch outside and saw him talking with his family and everybody; looked good. I did hear some of the things that some of our guys had said, perfect, regarding just maintaining his confidence. It happens. Everybody knows it happens. You play in this game long enough stuff like that happens.

But he's got tremendous talent and he came back and pretty much the same part of the batting order and did it again, did it a little bit better tonight. Just did not make the mistake. I'm really happy for him, seriously, because that's something you don't want a kid to carry with him too far. He's going to be a big part of our future, so bully for him.

Video: [email protected] Gm 3: Maddon praises Edwards Jr.s performance

Q. Is it a dilemma for a National League manager to have a slugger who can hit 30 home runs but doesn't really have a position and may be even a little bit of a liability in the field?

JOE MADDON: Of course. Ask the Phillies about Greg Luzinski. It happens. It happens historically in our league. It's part of the game. Schwarber works his butt off literally to get better in the outfield. I watch him every day. And here is the thing about that, that's a routine play. That's not over the top and that's not an exceptionally great play and it's something that he knows he can make eleven out of ten times. Just happened tonight.

I have such faith in the fellow and the guy and his work ethic and how much he cares. After the game, all the guys are going up to him, every one, and reinforcing him that it's good. Bully for our guys, also. He's going to continue to get better on defense. But you've got to love his heart, man.

Q. Obviously you have a ton of confidence in Almora. What makes him so good in that role?

JOE MADDON: He doesn't swing and miss often. If you look at his breakdown, he's not a swing-and-miss kind of guy. In other words, the ball should be put in play. I don't care who's pitching, how hard he throws and how good of a breaking ball, especially against a lefty. He's a contact guy. That's what really makes him attractive as a pinch-hitter.

And the same with a or a Tommy La Stella. How about Tommy's at bat, great at-bat right there. Didn't get too eager and all of a sudden he's going to swing at pitches over his head; didn't do it. I think the really interesting pinch-hitters for me are the guys that make contact.

It's always sexy to have the guy with pop; that's cool, but he's very pitchable normally, whereas guys like Tommy and John Jay, and Albert -- and Albert's got some pop now, don't get me wrong but he makes contact. I think that's why he's done so well.

Q. Did you expect them to pitch to Rizzo or walk?

JOE MADDON: I had no idea. Honestly, I had no idea. I knew they had a lefty up in the bullpen and they had a righty -- I think part of that is Willson, a big part of that is Willson. If you watched us throughout the season, Willy has been, wow -- man, if he didn't get hurt, he would have had a hundred RBIs or something really close and a bunch more homers. You watch his at-bats, he's not expanding the strike zone. He's a tough out right there.

I think to choose to pitch to Rizzo there is based on Willson.

Q. A lot of talk before the game about Jose making his first playoff start. How do you think he handled that and was it tough to take him out of the game?

JOE MADDON: I thought he handled it beautifully. He overboogied on the third pitch, that elevated fastball to Turner. Otherwise he has really controlled his emotions from the first pitch. I had it set up, he was not going to pitch to Zimmerman in that inning. Just happened that was a two-out error that had me bring Strop into the game.

That was set up before the inning began. I really try to stay with the script that we present before the inning begins. I really felt strongly about Strop on Zimmerman. The reason is Strop has a much better chance for a punch-out as opposed to Quintana -- and you don't want the ball to be moved, and he moved the baseball.

Q. Going forward, the way these games play out, do you think the relievers that you use in front of Davis, Strop, Edwards, are going to be everyday guys and just how important are those guys in front of ?

JOE MADDON: Invaluable. That's the beauty of the playoff system where you get that day off so if you used them two days in a row, they can still recapture the momentum, the arm strength. If you look at Strop, more utilized in back-to-back days over the last couple years. Carl, not as much.

And this year, we started doing that a little bit. I don't know, it may have happened five times, you can look it up, maybe, with Carl going back-to-back days. But part of that was not doing it too often so we would have more at this time of the year. His stuff was really good.

Again, today, it was outstanding and he's learned how to do that. He's learned how to, you know, not throw too much in the bullpen before he comes in, but he does in between up here; all that stuff is learned.

So those guys are invaluable. Duensing was up a couple times tonight. Did I not have Montgomery up, at all, or Wilson. So it was primarily those three guys tonight.