Oct. 13 Justin Turner, A.J. Ellis postgame interview
Q. Justin, what's the condition of your knee? And do you think it's going to affect anything the rest of the series?
JUSTIN TURNER: It's still on my leg, so I will be good to go on Thursday.
Q. You know, I know your time here you had a lot of friends and still do have a lot of friends here, but it was also the anonymous person who questioned your hustle on the way out the door. Knowing that person was in the building tonight, what kind of satisfaction do you get to have a big hit like this and have the series you've been having?
JUSTIN TURNER: I'm just glad we won. That stuff's all in the past. Has no effect on me. I'm a Dodger. Happy to be a Dodger and glad to take the series back to La for Game 5.
Q. A.J., since that first inning when the Mets kind of made Clayton work a little bit, three three-ball counts. He gets out of it. Was that really the tone setter for him?
A.J. ELLIS: Yeah. He was really amped up coming into the game. You could see that in the first inning. He warmed up great, which is for me a big indication, especially on short rest. Strength was there. Command was there. But I think when he got out there on the stage he was a little amped up. Breaking balls probably weren't as crisp in that first inning especially. But he made some pitches and got out of that inning, which was huge. Cespedes with the groundout to end things there. Then he kind of settled in from there.
Threw some good breaking balls the rest of the way and was really on top of his game, which was really impressive.
Q. I think you went to the mound twice in the seventh inning, and I know ordinarily when you get out there, there's not like a bouquet of roses waiting. What sort of conversations were you having at that point? Was there a sense that you were getting him through that final inning?
A.J. ELLIS: There's no secret the seventh inning has kind of been a tough spot for him these past few postseason outings. So the flood of emotions that happens after Cespedes' dribbler down the third base line. Just trying to keep the positive thoughts in there. Negativity is going to creep in, "Here we go again." Keep him focused on the task. Talk about the next hitter and how we're going to attack him.
And then with Flores coming up there, just kind of wanted to remind him of the game plan. And just give him a breather, too. He got a little tired in that seventh inning. He was kind of wearing down a little bit, and the command wasn't quite there. But he gutted his way through it and fortunately we had a really rock-solid third baseman over there to get us out of that inning with a great play.
Q. A.J., it seemed like a lot more outward emotions from Kershaw tonight in the dugout before the game. Did you notice it and when did you notice it?
A.J. ELLIS: I didn't really see that too much. It was pretty normal today, pretty normal routine. We were a little more talkative today earlier in the game. We were watching the Cubs-Cardinals game together, and having a dialogue about that, which is kind of rare for him to be chatty, but just trying to keep things loose and focus on the task at hand. He definitely wanted this badly, and I'm so proud of him. I'm so proud of what he was able to do tonight, especially getting those last thee outs, which were the toughest for him tonight, and I'm just thankful and blessed that I was 60 feet away from him and got to be along for the ride.
Q. A.J., Donnie was saying the entire team really feels it for Clayton in a game like this. Everybody kind of rallies around him, understands what's at stake and all that.
A.J. ELLIS: Yeah, because we see what this guy does behind the scenes. We see this guy when nobody else does. And the consistency he has as a man and as a teammate and his work ethic, he deserves this. He deserves this moment. He deserves to be on this stage. The great postseason performances of the past, and hopefully he has a chance to really relish this for this plane ride home. And he'll be at the field tomorrow getting ready for hopefully another start.
And you know, I think he's got the respect and the confidence of every man in that room and every person in the organization, because we see behind the scenes and how badly this guy wants to be great, and what he does and what it takes for him to be great.
Q. Justin, can you take us through kind of the evolution of your game since you were here in New York. Is it opportunity? Have you done something different to have the success you've had so far in LA?
JUSTIN TURNER: You know, meeting Marlon Byrd in 2013 was a huge part of my career. I started talking to him about hitting, and really kind of turned my year around in 2013 and finished feeling really good. And then that offseason, going to hit with him, and his hitting guy kind of changed my outlook on how I was approaching things. In the middle of your career, 29 years old, it's kind of scary to change everything you've done your whole life, and I'm pretty thankful that I trusted it and went with it, because I've felt pretty good ever since.
I guess I gotta thank the Mets for bringing Marlon in here.
Q. Justin, A.J. mentioned the play to end the seventh inning. Could you just walk us through that, however brief it was, and reactive. And then for either of you, just having survived tonight and now with Zack going at home on four days' rest, just how you're feeling about your guys' chances?
JUSTIN TURNER: Yeah, we were in a situation, no doubles, a lot more towards the line than I normally would be with Flores hitting. And slider? Yeah, and slider, Seager let me know the off-speed pitch was coming, so you're a little bit more ready for the ball there. And he hit a hard ground ball a step or two to my left, and my main thing was making sure I keep it in the infield. And caught it and got up and made sure I threw a strike over to Gonzo.
You know, felt pretty good to make that play and get Kershaw through that seventh, and like A.J. talked about, I felt pretty good about it.
Q. Your guys' chances now in this situation?
A.J. ELLIS: Yeah, we get a chance to really relish and celebrate this win as a team, get on this plane. We know we got a huge mountain still to climb with an amazing starting pitcher coming against us in Game 5.
Couple fortunate things though is we got an amazing pitcher, too, in Zack and we get to play at home in front of our great fans. Really excited to be going home and having Zack pitching Game 5 but also understanding it's going to be a really, really big battle for us, because Jacob showed us Game 1, just how talented and special he is.
Q. A.J., was the argument on the Wright ball in the 8th inning that it had been a foul tip you thought?
A.J. ELLIS: Yeah, I believe it was clearly a foul tip, but in that situation, I don't blame Chris behind me. The noise was pretty loud, obviously, and but I don't really react like that. I've never been a guy who tries to steal things or take things away from somebody. In my opinion it was a foul tip. Fortunately Kenley was able to bear down and get us out of that inning.
Q. And Justin, not asking you to knock anybody here but can you appreciate and enjoy how much your journey has gotten to the point where and the fans are giving you so much respect they're booing you at the end of the game?
JUSTIN TURNER: Yeah, I appreciate it.
A.J. ELLIS: We appreciate it, Bill. We're happy they didn't like him anymore and he was able to come to LA because the guy's been the key cog in the middle of our lineup with Adrian. We're not here without those two guys on the corner.
He doesn't want to talk about himself. I already know that, but this guy can hit all different types of pitching, righties, lefties, it does not matter. There's nobody else, him and Adrian. They're the two guys when you get runners on base, we're really confident in our dugout. Not the result is going to be great, but you know the at-bat's going to be quality and professional, and that's awesome to have on your team.
Q. Your hit gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead for the second straight night. Did this lead feel different than it did last night?
JUSTIN TURNER: No, it felt the same. The difference is Clayton went out and had a shut-down inning and that's what we wanted.
You know, hopefully we can continue and get another 3-0 lead on Thursday. I'll feel pretty good about that one, too.
Q. A.J., you said you guys were very happy for Clayton, obviously, to get this important win. Did you sense it was really important to him to get the one thing that some people might have thought was missing from his resumÃ©? Like did you sense from him personally he really wanted this more than any other game?
A.J. ELLIS: You could. And you could sense some relief after he came out of the game. He finished that strong, strong outing, and then to celebrate after the game and have a few moments just to really enjoy what he just accomplished. I'm so happy for him, and you know, it doesn't change who he is as a person, who he is as a pitcher. I think everybody knows how great he is, and hopefully we can get him the ball a couple of more times this month.
Q. A.J., the curveball tonight in the middle innings seemed to be just a great, great pitch, and early on it looked like maybe a little looser. I'm curious about, A, how it went tonight, and how typical that was bullpen to first inning to fifth inning or whatever.
A.J. ELLIS: Yeah, I think he was just a little overamped with the breaking ball early in the game, especially the curveball there. That's a good point you made, but he did. He came back and used it to make some big outs, struck out Duda. The big one in the sixth inning. He threw a really loose one in a 1-2 count to Granderson. Then he backed it up. I was glad he had the confidence to throw another one, 2-2, struck him out.
David Wright has been a guy who really gives Clayton tough at-bats. The one thing we have seen with him is he kind of takes that breaking ball and expects it to be down below the zone.
We talked about it in the dugout before that at-bat that we were going to try to throw one in the strike zone with two strikes, to see if we could get him to freeze on it. For Clayton to execute that with two strikes and have the confidence that he was going to get a free take there, was a huge pitch for him to do it and especially in another 2-2 situation.
So to get those two strikeouts in the sixth on breaking ball were really crucial.