Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Oct. 12 Billy Butler workout day interview

Q. All your time in Kansas City, has the team ever had a stretch where they played better baseball than you have this postseason?

BILLY BUTLER: No. We've really come together. We're playing really good in every aspect of the game. Big clutch hitting, doing really well with runners in scoring position. Bullpen has done a phenomenal job. Starting pitching got us to where we are, got us into the playoffs.

First two games this year, we've actually kicked them up really good and we're proud to do it with as big a load they carry all year. We come together one through nine in the lineup, we're putting great bats together, realize that other guys across the away are pretty good pitchers, too, and we've made them work the first two games of the series. We're really proud of what we did in Baltimore.

Q. Yesterday, how much confidence is there in your dugout just because of what you've already accomplished with these late-inning wins?

BILLY BUTLER: I think the way we felt it wasn't the ninth inning, it was we're heading for another extra-inning game.

But, no, I mean, we have tremendous confidence in our bullpen. And I think that's where the ability to win extra-inning games and win games late is the bullpen is locking it down. And they've been tremendous and given us opportunities to win the game.

And offensively we're having different guys step up each time. Mous is having a tremendous playoffs. Just one through nine in the lineup, he's hitting the nine-hole, but not hitting like a nine-hole guy at all. He's really stepped up big for this team.

Q. How big has that lineup switch been not only for you but for the entire team?

BILLY BUTLER: I think that you never really want to have a lineup switch, but what happens is the lineup switch, you're not scoring a lot of runs at the time. And Ned probably would prefer to have the same lineup all year, but that's not the way it is.

We've had trouble at times scoring runs. And that's what the manager has to do when you get to certain times is shuffle the lineup around and this one has really clicked. Guys have come up in situations where they've gotten it done. This has really pulled us through. We're putting up some runs and we're putting up a lot of runs each game. It's big offensive outbreak. And couldn't be a better time of playing our best baseball at the time it matters most.

Q. You've been here longer than a lot of these guys. Guys like Mous and Cain came up together, can you talk about how they evolved. Didn't happen immediately, but now they all seem together.

BILLY BUTLER: I think everybody's progression is different. But it's very rare for guys to just come up and immediately explode on to the scene. There are scenarios where that has happened, but it's few and far between. Guys have really gotten better each year in every aspect. And it's one of those things you don't know when it's going to happen.

But when you bring guys up at the same time, it's bound to happen, it's all kind of happened at once, and that's what you're seeing with this group is a mix of a lot of guys that have been here and just different ways of prospects coming up, we have a ton of homegrown talent. And that's what we were striving for.

Q. You mentioned Mous a couple of minutes ago. What do you remember about the way he handled going down to Triple‑A, maybe conversations you had at the time that explains why he's been able to lock things in so well these last few weeks?

BILLY BUTLER: I got sent down to Triple‑A twice for various reasons. At times you need to work on things as a player. Sometimes there needs to be roster moves.

In Mous' case, he was really grinding. He was just having a tough go at it and went down and took a little bit of pressure off. And he's been better since he came back up. He's been consistent. He's starting to hit the ball the other way, I know he's driving the ball for home runs, but he's also putting some really good at‑bats together. And even when he's not, it's just tremendous to watch him.

I really think that the time he spent when he went down, it got his confidence back, for one. And I think he refined some mechanic stuff and maybe got the back door where it used to be, because you're seeing a different guy.

Q. You're a student of hitting. And much has been made about the Royals' ability to put the ball in play consistently. How important is that to a team?

BILLY BUTLER: Well, you put a lot of pressure on defense when you do that, especially in the games we're playing now. The atmosphere is tremendous. You're more apt to make mistakes. Just the ability to ‑‑ things you have to account for that we're going to put the ball in play, you don't know where. A lot of times it's just a form of an approach. Each guy has really come through and stepped up, focused even more now that we went to the playoffs.

You've got to credit everybody in there for ramping up their focus and their approach to playing, they've taken it to a different level.

Q. There was a point in time, maybe with even in the last month where your baseball team didn't necessarily get credit for playing good or maybe even playing poorly in front of big crowds. That clearly is not the case now. What do you attribute that to? Ned says maybe with the Wild Card game, the eighth inning.

BILLY BUTLER: I think there's a lot of different opinions on that. I personally think that we, throughout the year, had big crowds on some certain teams. Like sellout crowds. I don't know what our record was, 30,000 or more, but I think it was coincidence.

You can see now we're playing really good in front of sellout crowds every night. And I just think it was something that I think actually was good for us to play in front of early in the year. Because you can tell that obviously being in Baltimore and with the noise and stuff like that, it really doesn't affect us. We're focused on our job at hand. And I feel like nothing is really going to stand in our way if we come together.

Q. I know it hasn't been easy, but I know it's been a lot of fun. But you guys are unbeaten in this postseason. Find yourself shaking your head or can you believe you guys are 6‑0 and rolling like this?

BILLY BUTLER: I know that it's been a great ride so far. But I think everybody in the clubhouse is just focusing on the game tomorrow. It's one of those things, yeah, we know we're on a roll and we know that we've won ‑‑ we know we haven't lost in the playoffs. And I don't think that's really our goal. We're trying to win each pitch, win each at‑bat. And we've been able to succeed at that.

And I think the reason why we are where we're at right now is we haven't gotten too far ahead of ourselves, we've focused on the job that's at hand and not really looked at the big picture. We're just focused on what's right in front of us.

Q. You guys obviously talk about how you haven't lost a game in the postseason. You've won in front of sellouts with the other team. What's that like to take control of the series all on the road and to win those games? You look around, what's it like to see that support?

BILLY BUTLER: I'll take a look back on it and realize what we actually did. We're ‑‑ I really ‑‑ I don't think it matters, when we step on the field, at whatever the game time is, that each guy knows their job, each guy knows their role. And everybody is executing it to a tee right now. And it's one of those things that we're rising above that. It doesn't matter what atmosphere it is, where we're playing. We're just raising our game to a different level.

Q. What do you think with the kids that are trying to stay awake for these memorable late games? This is something they want to see.

BILLY BUTLER: It's a once‑in‑a‑lifetime experience, just judging from 30 years, it's been for us to get back to where we are now. It's something that you learn to cherish and you don't know when it will come back. So I think that it's something they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

Read More: Kansas City Royals, Billy Butler