THE MODERATOR: Thanks for being here, Dave. First question for Dave.Q. Good morning. How are you guys feeling after the long trip last night? Can you just talk a little about that?DAVE ROBERTS: You know what, I think that it was same circumstances for those guys over there. Our guys
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for being here, Dave. First question for Dave.
Q. Good morning. How are you guys feeling after the long trip last night? Can you just talk a little about that?
DAVE ROBERTS: You know what, I think that it was same circumstances for those guys over there. Our guys just came out of a hitters's meeting. There's some energy, there's some laughter, focus, so I don't think that it's going to affect us, the travel, the day, the cross-country, anything.
So I think that where we're at, there's really no distractions. So I think that we feel good. We're prepared. Kenta got here earlier and he's rested and ready to go.
Q. Obviously more right-handed today with Howie and Charlie. Can you talk about that, and what was the talk about Ruiz and Grandal at catcher?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that with Charlie, I like him against left-handed pitching. I like the defense, and you still have Chase coming off the bench against their right-handed relievers.
I think for me, Howie's got three or four at-bats this post-season. I want to get him in there against a lefty. I like him at the top of the order, working at-bats, getting on base. And again, same thing with having Tolesy. So left-handers, we're very strong at the bench, Reddick, and I wanted to get Yasiel obviously in the lineup.
For me, the battery, I like the way Yasmani handles the pitching staff. Has familiarity with Kenta. The way he can receive, throw. I still trust he can get on base against a left-handed pitcher.
Q. Last game Maeda pitched against San Francisco was shaky and didn't last too long. Are you worried about how many pitches and innings he will throw today?
DAVE ROBERTS: No, I'm not worried about his last start -- last two starts, San Diego and in San Francisco. I think that Kenta, with a couple extra days' rest, he'll be ready, focused.
So for me, it's more of going as hard as you can for as long as you can and understanding that our bullpen is fresh, rested. But Kenta is going to go out there and compete, and I'm certain he's going to throw well.
Q. Since Puig has come back from Oklahoma City, he looks strong especially against lefties. What's different to you in his approach or just his overall game?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think his overall game starts with the acceptance of any particular role that I have for him and the buy-in. So that's been really apparent for me and his teammates.
The other factor is just the mechanical. I said the other day, he's more athletic. I think he's a little bit more handsy. He's got a little bit more rhythm into his swing and his load, he's not as static. So those are two variables for me that have led to him being such an impactful player and I think he's going to have a big game today.
Q. This isn't like the NBA or college basketball where home court is a huge, huge deal, but still the Dodgers have had a great record at home. What's most important about playing at home? Is it batting last? Is it a comfort zone? What's the biggest issue there?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think that part of it is, you know, when we were there in Nationals Park, it was loud. Those guys fed off that emotion. Those fans were great. And we've got the same thing here.
So just to the point of, NBA versus Major League Baseball, I think the fan has things to do with it as far as emotion and adrenaline. But having to find your closer or certain guys in the pen on the road, that's tougher as a strategic thing, as opposed to being able to hit last at home.
And also, you're just more comfortable with the background, the drive to the ballpark, the clubhouse, the routine of playing at home; I think that players typically enjoy playing at home.
Q. Is Julio your first choice for tomorrow if you get the win today? If not, is it going to be Kershaw?
DAVE ROBERTS: We know that Julio right now is scheduled to start regardless, but after today, there's no absolutes, we can change, and we do have Kershaw available.
We just haven't decided as an organization what makes the most sense, whether it's a win or a loss today. We're still going to, we do a good job of just focusing on today, and to have those two options, very good options, and we'll discuss after the game.