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Oct. 10 Joe Maddon pregame interview

October 10, 2017

Q. What is it about Almora's makeup that makes him such a clutch player in the Postseason?JOE MADDON: He's a good baseball player. He has more opportunities as the years unwind, or moving forward. When he gets his 500 at-bats in a season, you're going to see that on a

Q. What is it about Almora's makeup that makes him such a clutch player in the Postseason?
JOE MADDON: He's a good baseball player. He has more opportunities as the years unwind, or moving forward. When he gets his 500 at-bats in a season, you're going to see that on a consistent basis, too. I think he stays ready. He's egoless. He knows his role right now. He's very good at hitting left-handed pitchers, and he's a good defender.
He's just a great teammate. I think that all matters and on top of that, he's a good contact guy. He makes contact. He makes contact, even against righties. If his numbers aren't as good, he moves the baseball.
In yesterday's game, you know, when it comes to really good pinch-hitters, as far as I'm concerned, I really like contact over power, and he does a really nice job with that.
Q. We're in that weather situation thing, but do you feel fortified because you have potentially three starting pitchers tonight in Montgomery, Lackey, and Arrieta, and have you found out what it's going it take for Lackey time-wise to get ready?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, with Lackey, it's not -- just a little bit more than normal. He's not going to need this whole elongated process to get ready. We talked about that the other day. Just give him a little extra time, a little bit more of a heads up.
I've already talked to Boz to make sure we do that, so that's not going to be a concern. Regarding the starting pitchers for tonight, hopefully we just start the game knowing we're going to be able to play the game. It's difficult when you start a starting pitcher and then have to have him sit down after 45 minutes or an hour and then move on to the next guy or whatever.
I don't know exactly what we're going to do yet, but I prefer -- I think everybody does, that if you start the game, you know you're going to be able to play the game, as opposed to having so many interruptions.
Q. As far as having three guys, does that help you when you don't normally necessarily have that?
JOE MADDON: Of course, having those guys within our group right now -- and I'm sure they have the same thing on their side -- it definitely aids that moment. But listen, Jake's really primed for this opportunity. He's done a great job of rehabbing his leg. He feels very good arm- and leg-wise right now. I'm real eager to watch him play. Hopefully if we do start the game, we'll be able to complete the game tonight.
Q. I think you probably just answered my question for me, but if you're unable to play tonight would you stay with Jake tomorrow?
Q. From your information, Jake's injury and the Scherzer injury, similar? And does seeing Scherzer as strong as he was last night do anything for your mind-set going into Jake's start?
JOE MADDON: Well, I mean, I'm really impressed with what Max did yesterday. That was above and beyond. Didn't know what to expect. Maybe his original injury was not as severe as Jake's was, obviously. But the way he was able to deal with his body yesterday and still pitch at that level, that's pretty darn impressive.
Now moving over to Jake, Jake's just had a longer time to rehab this whole thing. We brought him back slowly, about 75, 85 pitches for a couple starts, then moved him back right now to make sure that, if we get in this position, that he would be well and ready to pitch.
I don't know, to the extent that they are exactly similar; I just feel good about where Jake is right now physically and mentally, because he is. He's mentioned how great his arm feels, also, based on the rest, too. So you have the combination of resting his arm, resting his leg. The big thing for me today or tonight would be just commanding of his fastball, having had this much of a layoff.
Q. When you were in Tampa Bay, you talked about just embracing the idea of being in the AL East with all those big teams and you won. How do you translate the words and the philosophies to the actual results? Because anybody can say something. How have you been able to impart a sense of confidence that things are going to happen the right way?
JOE MADDON: Well, I think you have to support it on a daily basis. I can't waiver. I mean, I've often talked about regardless of good or bad situations or moments or winning or losing streaks, they have got to see the same guy walk in the door. In other words, I've got to back up what I'm talking about.
I think communication is a big part of it. I've always believed that you want to build relationships through communication. You want to build -- for so many years, I think intimidation was the chosen route. When I was a young guy playing in the 70s, particularly football and baseball, I really appreciated the communicators coaching-wise, as opposed to those who tried to get their point across through intimidation. Communicatively, I think that's more lasting. Intimidation lasts for a brief period of time. Eventually that catches up to you.
You have to be consistent with your message. The players have to believe in your message, and I don't want to use the word sell, but you have to really lay it out in a manner that makes sense and that they can embrace or empathize with, I don't know.
So coming up the way I did, and playing for the people that I did, and a lot of it has to do with playing for the people that I didn't think did it right; and I never wanted to be like that guy. So all those things matter, and if it came down to one word, I would say it's consistency and approach through good and bad moments. They have got to see the same guy. I hope that's not an oversimplification, but that's what it comes down to.
Q. We've seen a lot of managers go outside of the norm, bringing in starting pitchers in the middle of the game as relievers, etc. How hard is it to not go outside of the box and stick with what you normally do in these type of situations?
JOE MADDON: It just depends, how hard is it --
Q. Expectations from yourself?
JOE MADDON: It just depends what you have. I can't see anybody better than C.J. in that moment or Stropy in that moment among our starting pitchers right now that might be available. Although like last year, for instance, in the World Series, brought in Jonathan Lester because I thought when you have Jon Lester in the bullpen, you utilize him under those circumstances. It just depends. I think you have to take everything into consideration.
Really, I really -- like this pregame I just went through, I sit down with my stuff and I go through just like you do every other game. Now, say, for instance, C.J. is not available or Stropy is not available, then you might have to reach for something differently on that particular night. But if they are, I want to stay with tried and true.
The difference would be probably Wade going three-plus outs would be the biggest difference at the end of the game, but as long as these other guys are ready and available, I think it's wise from my perspective to stay with that same game plan.
So I don't know; I really believe, and I've often talked about even taking another step in Spring Training. I want the same game played on March 15th as June 15th as October 15th. I've always said that. And I think if you really breed that kind of method internally within your group, then they will. They will go out there and play the same game, take chances, not be afraid of making mistakes; not being concerned about if something negative happens, that, oh, my God, the intimidation, the opponent, is going to come back to me and somebody is going to climb on my back because I made a mistake. I don't want that. I don't want that at all.
I want it to be the same. I want less work when it comes to prep, quite frankly. When it comes to the boys sitting down with the defensive coaches sitting down with them, don't add anything. Don't try to be smarter. We do this every series.
I've gone the other way, so I know; I don't like it. I know. Over-prepped, the over-thinking, the over-everything. I don't like it. I think you should simplify; if anything, when things get hot right now, the guys can't have a complicated message to hold onto. It's not going to work. They need a simple message they can go back to when it gets hot.
Honestly, you could tell, I'm really a big believer in that. It's not -- I don't believe in changing anything right now.