Q. Can you just take us through the thought process of going with Kersh today?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think the thing was, trying to talk through the pen, yesterday, kind of what happened, and how they have been used the last couple days. And you know, looking at potential for Julio and obviously there's some pitch-count mindfulness with Julio. And with Clayton, we had complete certainly from the training staff, the doctors that health wasn't a factor.
Obviously it's a game we need to win; where, one, Clayton gives us the best chance to win, and number two, he gives us the best chance to go deeper into a game.
And so with that and the off-day tomorrow, and Game 5; so then to give us an opportunity to evaluate after today's game.
Q. Would Julio be the starter in Game 5 then?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think today, it's one of those things we just can't make that determination, because with today, it's an all-hands-on-deck, and obviously the guys we have in the pen have been used a lot. So I think that Julio is fresh.
So he's going to be in the pen today. So depending on how this game plays out, we'll make that decision. And you know, obviously Rich is an option, too. So I think that with today -- as far as Game 5.
So I think as far as today, we're trying to win today, and I think we'll have time to make that decision.
Q. Have you talked to Josh Reddick about the play that he had in right field that cost a lot of runs?
DAVE ROBERTS: No, I didn't. It was a play that he would say he should have made and he didn't. So, no, there's nothing he talked about.
Q. Just go through the mind-set of Clayton when you told him, and what that conversation was like?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think it was from the beginning, once the series started, that Clayton voiced that he wanted to pitch Game 4.
Our mind-set was just prepare to pitch Game 4, so your work prior to Game 4, do that, and if we have to push it back a couple days, then we'll do that. So I think that for him, once we made that decision, he was prepared.
Q. Did you stay up and watch the entire Giants-Cubs game?
DAVE ROBERTS: No. I made it till about the 11th and then I got on social media and I figured out who won.
So I set my alarm early, and if it would have been the other way, I would have went back to sleep.
Q. So you didn't actually find out until this morning when you woke up?
DAVE ROBERTS: Correct.
Q. How did you guys go about letting your guys know? Was it just up to them to kind of, social media?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that's kind of how it was. We had something laid out as far as either scenario, and that's what we had to do, yeah.
Q. How important is it to have guys like Gonzalez with all the experience he's got in this kind of situation where you need a win or go home?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's good. I think that we have that, and I think they have that, as well.
But as far as our clubhouse, have guys that have been there and been in elimination games, I think that that's a good thing. Our guys, they're prepared. And you just never know how the game is going to play out, but as far as the preparation, the mind-set; and we don't scare off very easily. So we're prepared, but we've got to win a game today.
Q. Were you expecting Joe Ross to get the ball, and what are your thoughts on him and what you guys need to do against him?
DAVE ROBERTS: We were thinking it was going to be Joe. He's made more Major League starts, and we figured that they would go that route. With Joe, he's really been tough on right-hand hitters. But I like our right-hander in there.
We've got a slew of left-handers, and so I think for us, he's got a good fastball. He throws a slider and he's got a change. But again, it's as simple as being aggressive in the strike zone. And I think that, as you've seen in this series, when we're in the strike zone, there's quality contact. And when we're not, there's a lot of swing and miss.
I think that applies. It's simple, but it applies to Joe and it applies to all of the other guys we have in the pen.
Q. There's a lot of research, I guess, on how pitchers perform on short rest. Is it the organization's belief that Clayton is an outlier?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yes. Yeah. And I think that Clayton, he is an outlier in all of Major League Baseball. We feel very comfortable and confident with him going on short rest, and I think -- so far as the arm usage, 100 percent. And I think that there was a lot of conversations with the docs and the trainers as far as the back, and also obviously talking to Clayton, most importantly, that's not an issue.
So taking everything and taking all the information and knowing Clayton's history and he's done it, and there's really no unknown, and pitched well in that spot; that just gave us more assurance, yeah.
Q. If you can avoid using Julio today, is it safe to say he would start Game 5 or is that still up in the air between him and Rich?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's still up in the air. I think I'm going to manage this game, again, all hands on deck, and Julio is a big part of today as far as his rest and how we feel against the Nationals, their offense.
After today, we'll assess. And I think that regardless of if Julio isn't used and we have Julio or Rich, those are two good options for us.
Q. If either Game 4 or Game 5 winds up being a bullpen game, so to speak, do you think there's a difference, whether it's easier or hard, to manage the bullpen at home than on the road?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's easier at home. But I think that with the guys that we have on the road, potentially, they pitch well home, road and I think Game 5, it's just about shortening the game, finding, in our opinion, the best matchups and giving us a chance to win.
So I think that to have the guys that we have at our disposal available and rested for Game 5 puts us in a good spot. That's why, again, we really like Clayton going today.