Oct. 15 Bruce Bochy pregame interview
Q. In 2010 you guys won the first game of each series. This year you've lost the first game of each series. Is that just coincidence?
BRUCE BOCHY: That's all that is. You like to win the first game. It didn't happen against Cincinnati. It didn't happen last night. And it's over. In this game you have no choice but to come back and try to get the series even. It didn't happen with Cincinnati. We lost two home games.
So we'll do all we can to see if we can even the series and head off to St. Louis. But ideally, sure, you'd like to get the first game, particularly when you're starting out at home. But it didn't happen and that's behind us.
Q. Also, does it bother you that for whatever reason you've lost three straight games here at home in the postseason?
BRUCE BOCHY: Does it bother me? I mean, we certainly don't like losing three straight here at home. We have tremendous support here. You hear the fans out there. When we took off to Cincinnati we were all disappointed we lost two games, especially the way we lost the second game. I mean, we got beat on pretty good. But some things you can't control, it happens. And what's important is how you handle it.
The tough game last night, our bullpen did a great job, we held them there. We couldn't come back. Their pen did a good job. You have no choice but to come back out tonight and try to get the game and even the series.
Q. You've managed some superb catchers, some All Star level catchers, and you're going up against Yadi. Can you share some traits that you see that make up an exceptional catcher, and what it means to have these guys ascend into the MVP conversation from that position and how they are there?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, first of all, you have two really good teams going at it. And what I think adds to the series is you have two best catchers in the game, I believe. And we know what Buster means to us. And we saw what life was without him last year and the remarkable talent that he is, both catching and swinging the bat.
And their guy, Yadi, I have the utmost respect for what he does as a catcher. He's out there every day. He really has emerged as one of the better hitters in the game. He's always talked about his defense, and that's always going to be there. His game calling and throwing, the way he handles the staff. But he's made himself into one of the better hitters.
And it's really amazing to see two catchers put up the numbers that these two guys did. There's a lot of wear and tear that goes on behind the plate. You can't ever drift mentally back there. For the most part that will take a toll on a catcher. But yet you have two guys here that have put together remarkable seasons and two guys that are being talked about being the most valuable player this year. That's added to the series. And I appreciate the gifts and talents that both of these guys have.
Q. Of the four teams still in the postseason, all four are managed by former catchers. Can you talk about the insight that develops from playing back there?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, we talked about this I think the first day. What I said was I do believe it's an easier transition going from catching to managing, because in essence that's what you're doing back there, you're managing the game, you're handling a pitching staff, 11 or 12 different personalities. You have to know all the plays. You're getting signs from the manager. You're the one guy facing everybody. So that's why you probably see more catchers making that transition to managing. It doesn't mean we're always the best at it, I just think it makes it a little bit easier because of what we do as a player. That's how I feel.
But there are some great managers out there that weren't catchers, but it's just easier for a catcher to become a manager.
Q. Aubrey Huff is playing a very different role now than he did in the 2010 postseason run. What's he giving you that makes him a valuable roster addition right now?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, anytime you can have a proven left handed bat come off the bench, that's a nice quality to have. And that's what he gives us. He got a big walk last night. He's got the experience from DHing, from pinch hitting this year to enable him to control those emotions when he goes up there and give you a quality at bat. He's dangerous; he can hit the ball out of the ballpark, he can draw a walk or get a base hit. That's why we want to keep him on the roster. And he did a great job in the month of September coming off the bench, coming through with some big hits.
Q. Especially in the National League, very few starting pitchers have gone past the 6th inning. And that's because they're worn down or because of the stress of the competition or because of the nature of the opposition?
BRUCE BOCHY: I wish I could give you a good answer on that one. It's usually, I don't think, the case. I know with us we haven't had a quality start, a guy go six innings.
You look at all the variables that you just mentioned, I think that's part of it. You're in the postseason where guys have logged a lot of innings, a lot of work. The competition you're facing, they're trying to make great pitches and they're probably running deeper in the counts, and that may be catching up with them.
But you look at some of these guys, look at the American League, those guys are going deep in the game. Sometimes you're forced in the National League you have to make a decision, you have to take a pitcher out. That's the difference in the game. But with us if you go back to 2010 we were getting those quality starts. I just think it's this year more than anything. It's the reason it's happened. More so than guys are tired or the competition you're facing. I think every year is different. And this year I think starters are having a tougher time getting deep in the game.
Q. Last year in the NLCS we saw the Cardinals get more innings from their bullpen than from their rotation. And last night happened and it was the same thing for both teams. I'm wondering if that is a realistic way to win or if last year is a fluke in that way or can teams kind of compete with getting more innings at this time of year from their bullpen?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I think a lot of that depends on the bullpen that you have. They have a great bullpen. They had a really good one last year. And Tony did a great job of how he worked his bullpen last year. And that's what makes that work, that you have the guys down there that can get it done for you. And last night our guys got it done for us and they have in this postseason, because their starters have not gotten as deep in the game.
Ideally if you talk to any manager they would want that starter going seven or eight innings, if not completing a game, it would make life easier. But it hasn't happened. And part of it, too, is you've got to have trust in that bullpen. There's times you don't want to take out your starter, but you're a run or two down, and you have to make that decision. If you don't have the trust down there, you're probably not going to do it.
But teams now have done a better job, I think, overall, if you look at the bullpens, there's some great arms coming out of there. They can come in one inning and let it go. And that's what happened last night. So you're getting a fresh guy out there one inning, and that's where I think the game has evolved a little bit. I do think you'll probably see more of that in the future, too.
Q. Matt's going Game 3, but when you're looking at Games 4 and 5, what kind of variables are you looking at and discussing?
BRUCE BOCHY: I think you have to talk about Timmy, how we use him, Lincecum I'm talking about. Pitched two innings last night. Told me last night he's good to go today if needed. That will determine what could happen. But we have Timmy and Zito ready to go. I can't answer that right now until we head to St. Louis.
Q. About Lincecum, whenever he's been interviewed he's been gracious about his role, saying whatever they need me to do. Is that something he's had to work on or something you've had to work on with him, that team spirit?
BRUCE BOCHY: No, it's not something he's had to work on. The first time we brought it up to him he was all in on it. He said whatever you want me to do to help this team move on, I want to do that. If it's in the bullpen, let's do it. He's had a great attitude about this. And I think that's one of the reasons why he's thrown so well. He didn't hesitate when he said I'm good with that.
You have to accept your role to be good at it, just like a role player during the season. Some of them want to play every day, they're not happy on the bench, you probably won't get good production. Same thing with a pitcher, he wants to start, and he's in the bullpen, he's probably not going to be content with that. But Timmy wants to do whatever he can to help us win.
Q. Can you talk about what Hunter Pence has done with his motivational speeches, have you had a hand in helping him out with that?
BRUCE BOCHY: No, he doesn't need any help. He's got that one down. I really can't hear him. I'm in the background, so to speak. But starting in Cincinnati, he gets pretty excited, charged up, and I know the guys have had fun with it. It's a little different in baseball, but it certainly helped in Cincinnati. He plays with a lot of passion, emotion, and he speaks the same way. He's full throttle, that's his nickname, that's what we call him, how he plays and the same way when he gets the guys in a huddle.