Oct. 12 Davey Johnson pregame interview
Q. Any of your starters available out of the bullpen today, and if there is a Game 1, will Jordan Zimmermann be the first starter?
DAVEY JOHNSON: Yes, Jordan Zimmermann will be the starter in Game 1 on Sunday. Edwin Jackson will be in the pen. A little different scenario with Edwin. Yesterday with my bullpen kind of overused on the day before, I really needed somebody for that seventh inning, is what I was really looking for.
The bridge, I didn't want to go to some of the guys out there, certainly Christian Garcia I didn't want to go to; Matthews had been working through a lot, throwing a lot of pitches and same with Stammen. So I really needed him for that one inning.
But I warmed him up in the sixth so that he wasn't rushed to get ‑‑ you know, I didn't want to have him rushing to get in there. So I had Stammen.
And then I used him in that inning just to get to Clippard and Storen.
Jackson, on the other hand, he threw 68 pitches his last start. This would be his throw day for a start on Monday. I would use him not in that ‑‑ I feel like I have the bridge to get to Clip and Storen and Matthews and Stammen and Garcia.
So he would be somebody that I would use if we went past nine innings. So that's the only reason. But he would have to throw today, at least a side today, to be ready for Monday.
Q. Just going off what you just said, is something wrong with Burnett, or is it simply because the Cardinals are so righty heavy?
DAVEY JOHNSON: You know, he did have a little discomfort toward the end of the season, and then he was up and pretty straight in the game that I brought him in, last game in St. Louis.
No, I would still use him. But this is a ballclub with very veteran hitters that go the other way real well. And I like the right‑handers more matching up. No different than I've done all year long, whether if we were coming into Philadelphia, the left‑handers got overworked that series, or Atlanta, I was happy with the left‑handers. Not that left‑handers can't get right‑handers out, but I like my matchups of my right‑handers against this lineup.
Q. Do you give Gio any kind of talk before this game, or do you just try to avoid him? What do you want to approach with him?
DAVEY JOHNSON: Well, he's been talking to me for two or three days, grinning and telling me that there's going to be a Game 5; there's going to be a Game 5.
I talked to him a little bit last night. He poked his head in my office, grinning, "See what I told ya." I don't do anything different for preparation for these games. The experience they go through, that's their learning curve. He might have tried to do a little too much over in St. Louis, ergo, all the walks.
But he's a very talented young man, and he knows what he needs to do to be successful. So I just do the same thing I do normally; make sure that every time I see him, I shake his hand and I grin. And that's his preparation.
Q. Can you talk a little about what Adam LaRoche has meant to your lineup, especially in the post‑season?
DAVEY JOHNSON: Adam has been ‑‑ we didn't have him last year, and he's been a mainstay from day one this year. I think I helped jump start him this season because I told him toward the end of spring training, I said, Adam, with you and DeRosa, I'll probably do a platoon over there. I know your foot is not 100% and I'm worried about your shoulder, and DeRosa has a bad wrist, so maybe I get 100% over there.
And he looked at me like I was crazy. From day one, he's been basically carrying the ballclub. You know, he's doing nothing that he hasn't done all year. He's been getting big hits for us, and I figure for him to keep on doing it.
Q. In the time that you were away from the Major League dugouts and the post‑season would roll around, did you ever wonder to yourself if you would be in a situation in a game like this again?
DAVEY JOHNSON: I never really thought about it. I like to watch a lot of games, and I'd think, oh, I can imagine the question he's going to get from the writers after that game; I'm glad it's him and not me.
No, I enjoyed my career with USA Baseball, over in the Netherlands, even the Florida summer league. I love baseball. Up until I was called in to put back on the uniform, I'm comfortable in my skin about whatever I'm doing. I had a great run as a manager back for Florida clubs. I'm enjoying this one as much as any of those. This has been more rewarding and more fun to see this club do the things I know they are capable of doing.
It's good to see them get the experience of the big stage here in post‑season in front of packed crowds and with all kinds of questions flying at them. So I'm really enjoying it.
Q. Easy to overlook yesterday with all of the drama, but you guys didn't get anybody to second base or in scoring position all day. What did you think of the quality of your team's at‑bats?
DAVEY JOHNSON: Kind of reminded me of the first half, we had good pitching, but our offense was sputtering. We were missing Werth and missing Morse and a lot of the young guys were playing, and we would scratch out a win some way. But our strength was our starting pitching.
That was ‑‑ the first three games was not indicative of what we did the whole year, because our strength has always been our starting pitching, keeping us in ballgames and then getting key hits to win games.
So it was really great to see Det, the youngest, rookie guy on the club give a quality start and gave us an opportunity to win, and not many hits ‑‑ what was it, six games in that game the other day?
That's this time of year; when you have good pitching, you hold down good hitting, and I was glad to see that we finally started doing what we are capable of doing yesterday.
Q. This is the third time Gio and Wainwright have met head‑to‑head; how much of an edge does he get, do you think, in a tough match like that of being at home? How much different is that coming back here for him?
DAVEY JOHNSON: Well, I don't know ‑‑ he's been pretty consistent on the road or at home. His year has been phenomenal.
I like him going out there whether it's here or anywhere, against anybody. He's a competitor with great stuff. He's had a phenomenal year. He's going to be right there in the Cy Young voting. I can't think of a better scenario for a big game than having him out on the rubber.
McCatty was saying, "How cold is it going to be?"
Not any colder than what it has been in Oakland in April Oakland can be one of the coldest places in the world. I'm looking forward to watching him go out there and pitch.
Q. With all of these series going to the five games, is there anything more than coincidence in that? Does it say something about the Major Leagues?
DAVEY JOHNSON: No, I think it says that there's a lot of parity, that a lot of clubs have really done a good job putting their teams together. There's a good balance in pitching and hitting in both leagues. You know, I think it's great for baseball what's going on, especially here and Baltimore. I think that's great. This could be a nice, historic day for this area.
Q. When you look back over this season, for you, what stands out most about this group? What makes this team different than other teams you've been around?
DAVEY JOHNSON: I've said that this is really a year where a lot of rookies stood up and actually played out of position and did a heck of a job keeping us in there.
Starting pitching and youngsters; and I tip my hat to the organization, the Lerner family, for having some good drafts and getting some quality people and getting them to the big leagues.
I had a first baseman playing left field and a second baseman playing left field, and they did a remarkable job for being rookies in the pennant race. I think that and some awfully young pitchers doing the things they are capable of doing right out of Jump Street and all the way to the wire has been our key to success. So it's just been fun as a baseball man seeing guys do that.
That's really the joy in managing is seeing a young talent come up and show that they can play up here.
Q. How is Morse's wrist doing and is it any more of a concern in the cold?
DAVEY JOHNSON: He's fine. I mean, everybody goes through the training room. Lee Kuntz, our head trainer, says everybody's fine.
I think the ownership and front office people are in worse shape than we are; one's got a bad foot and the other's got a bad hip and they are falling apart. But we are hanging in there (chuckling).
Q. You guys won 98 games this year. How much better can you get?
DAVEY JOHNSON: Well, I think that ‑‑ I mean, we still, a lot of guys haven't really hit their stride. There's still a bigger ceiling for a number of players on this ballclub.
You know, Zimm, Stras, Det, this is really their first full season in the big leagues. Espinosa, he's still learning how to make adjustments up here. Certainly Harper, same thing.
So I think ‑‑ and we lost our No. 1 catcher, Willie Ramos, and he's going to be back healthy next year. So I think we have got a way to go; we can still improve to be a lot stronger and more consistent ballclub.
Q. Can you tell me why the Cardinals have been able to contain Bryce Harper?
DAVEY JOHNSON: Well, knowing Bryce, the conditions in St. Louis were pretty tough. It was hard; pitch recognition was very tough there in the shadows. And with Bryce, when he doesn't do something spectacular, it's hard to believe, but he tries harder; and trying harder is not always better. And that's part of learning how you handle situations. That's part of experience.
He's done great. I mean, the tension of a pennant race in September, he played like a veteran. But he still expects a lot of great things out of himself and even one ballgame, if it doesn't go where he does a lot of good things, he's going to just try harder. And he's going to expand the zone. But I look for him to ‑‑ I mean, he's had four games now, so he should be calmed down tonight. He should be all right.