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Oct. 15 Dave Roberts pregame interview

MLB.com

Q. Can you talk about the decision to put Kike in the roster and then the lineup tonight as well?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, Kike, his athleticism, the versatility, the ability to play essentially anywhere on the baseball field, and I like the potential slug. So with Kike, it was a tough decision with Charlie, but I think to have Kike, to get him to start tonight at second base, I think it could play a huge benefits for us.

Q. Was it a complicated decision to go with Clayton for Game 2, or did you just have to make sure he was ready to go?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think for me it was more the conversation, and it's not complicated in the sense of if he feels good, then it's a no-brainer, it's just more of just getting assurance that he feels good physically, which he does, and so it's one of those things, obviously, when you get a chance for Clayton to pitch Games 2 and potentially 6, that's a good thing for us and, yeah, it's full go.

Q. There's only been one other time this season that Kike has started where he's at tonight and Kendrick has started where he's at tonight. The other 17 times they were the opposite. Why is that?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think that -- I like both guys, and that's one decision that I toiled with on where to play those two guys. I basically reached out to Howie, I texted him and said, Where do you want to play tonight? And he said, I want to play left field. So that kind of sealed it for me. So with Kike, I like his range, I like the arm strength, and so he's played a lot of second base throughout his career, and I've asked him numerous times this year, is there any preference for him on the baseball field, and none for him.

Q. The .213 batting average against left-handers, did you see that in Spring Training, was it something you wondered about, would we not have balance, and how has that kind of evolved over the season?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, it's kind of -- did I foresee it? No. I thought it was actually going to be a strength for us, because last year for this club, with essentially a lot of the same guys, it was. We lost Scott Van Slyke early and Trayce Thompson, but guys just aren't having their typical years that they have against left-handed pitching, so I think that it happens, but I think that in this isolated game, we have got a tough left-hander on the mound and we got to go out there and compete. And if he's executing, it's going to be a tough night for us. But if he makes mistakes out over, then we got to take advantage. So, in this one game, I really don't think that we're putting any kind of weight or anything into this season.

Q. Where are you in your thought process as far as who can start Game 3 and Game 4?

DAVE ROBERTS: 3 it's going to be Rich, and we haven't decided on Game 4.

Q. You spent some time on the base pads in your career. Curious, the Jon Lester-first base thing, how much game planning for that tonight? And it doesn't seem to have impacted the result of the game for Lester, obviously, but it doesn't seem like teams put an awful lot of thought into that, they just go about what they do. Do you have thoughts regarding that?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, Lester, he's an elite pitcher and he's certainly dominated us this season. So, to the question about offensive, on the base running kind of thought, it's more of you got to be committed and, obviously, he doesn't feel comfortable throwing to bases, and everyone knows that. He knows that. But he's got a very good catcher in David Ross, but there's something to trying to get in the psyche a little bit. And I think that that's individual driven, because I think that a player who is going to take a chance on taking a bigger lead or getting -- stealing, trying to steal a base, you got to be committed to it, because if you're halfway, it's just not going to work. I think that's kind of what's happened a lot as we have advanced Lester and the Cubs. Guys have kind of been not all in.

Q. Joe was in earlier and said he still manages this game like it was August 15th or September 15th. It seems like there's been more urgency in your managing. How do you view a game, this sort of time of year?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think that it's -- for me, it's not August 15th and/or September 15th, and I think that we understand that there is a sense of urgency, and we're okay with that. So, to act like it's Game 5 in the Division Series or Game 7 in this series, it's not. But I have shown to be a little bit more aggressive, obviously, in the postseason, and I feel that with our club I have the luxury. So however this game unfolds, I'm going to manage accordingly, but with the understanding that we're going to do everything we can to win this game.

Q. If Clayton had said that he couldn't have started tomorrow, who would you have picked?

DAVE ROBERTS: That would have been a different conversation. And at that point in time, it would have affected potentially the roster. Guys that we have on the reserve, on the taxi, it could have been somewhat of a collection of arms that we have done before. So, fortunately, we have Clayton.

Q. You chose to put Alex on the CS roster as well, Alex Wood. Was there any decision between Alex and Brett Anderson who is obviously here but not on the roster?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think that for us ultimately I like the way Alex can get a left-hander out, a right-hander out, and so I love the ability to throw a strike and I think Brett was more of a guy that gives us length, and if something does happen by way of injury, then to have him is certainly a luxury. But I think with eight pitchers in the pen, the added need for another length guy just didn't make a whole lot of sense since we already have Strip.

Q. To follow-up on the bases running topic, would all the guys have the green light to run whenever they want, or would that be something you would call?

DAVE ROBERTS: I don't see Chooch or Gonzo having the green light. I trust them both, but I don't know if I want to see Adrian trying to steal a base. But you know what, I trust those guys so I think that we're still going to -- you don't like giving up outs on the bases, but I do think that there's something to trying to challenge Lester and get him a little uncomfortable.

Q. Speaking of Chooch, what were the key factors in deciding to have him in the lineup tonight?

DAVE ROBERTS: For me, the at-bat quality has been top notch, even through September. And I wanted to get him not only at-bats off the bench but to get him a start to prepare for a game. And it's nice when you've got Yasmani still off the bench and you got Chase and Toles and Ethier. But I think, for me, I don't think Kenta has a problem with it, and Chooch has been on this stage. So I think for me give Yasi a couple days, and then he'll be back in there tomorrow.

Q. Following that question about the Dodgers against left-handed hitters or pitchers, could you talk a little bit about the importance of Yasiel Puig having some good at-bats today and talk about the challenge of him not playing that much lately and having this opportunity to play today and probably not much in the series.

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, Yasiel didn't play a whole lot in the Division Series, and I think that's just kind of the way it played out with starters and who I decided to go with off the bench. Howie started the same amount of games but got more at-bats as far as coming off the bench. But, yeah, I've got Yasiel hitting fourth. So he's a big part of what we need going tonight. I trust his defense. I know he's prepared. He's got a really good look in his eye. I think, going forward, I haven't made decisions on the lineup for Games 2, 3 or 4, but he's ready to go, he's been working hard, he's waited for this moment, so I expect him to play well tonight.

Q. Not having Austin Barnes going with the extra pitcher, how does that restrict you, how does that change what you can do in this series compared to the last one?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, it just doesn't give me as much coverage as far as from a catching position, but in light of where we're at in the season, I think that there's bullets that need to be fired at certain points of the game, and I'm willing to do that, if it makes sense. So, as we have one backup catcher and Yasmani is on the bench, if there's an opportunity for Yasmani to help us win a baseball game in a certain spot that I like the pitcher-batter matchup, then I'll fire that bullet and trust that Chooch is going to stay in the game. And if not, then you might see Puig back there.

Q. Can you talk about the decision to put Kike in the roster and then the lineup tonight as well?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, Kike, his athleticism, the versatility, the ability to play essentially anywhere on the baseball field, and I like the potential slug. So with Kike, it was a tough decision with Charlie, but I think to have Kike, to get him to start tonight at second base, I think it could play a huge benefits for us.

Q. Was it a complicated decision to go with Clayton for Game 2, or did you just have to make sure he was ready to go?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think for me it was more the conversation, and it's not complicated in the sense of if he feels good, then it's a no-brainer, it's just more of just getting assurance that he feels good physically, which he does, and so it's one of those things, obviously, when you get a chance for Clayton to pitch Games 2 and potentially 6, that's a good thing for us and, yeah, it's full go.

Q. There's only been one other time this season that Kike has started where he's at tonight and Kendrick has started where he's at tonight. The other 17 times they were the opposite. Why is that?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think that -- I like both guys, and that's one decision that I toiled with on where to play those two guys. I basically reached out to Howie, I texted him and said, Where do you want to play tonight? And he said, I want to play left field. So that kind of sealed it for me. So with Kike, I like his range, I like the arm strength, and so he's played a lot of second base throughout his career, and I've asked him numerous times this year, is there any preference for him on the baseball field, and none for him.

Q. The .213 batting average against left-handers, did you see that in Spring Training, was it something you wondered about, would we not have balance, and how has that kind of evolved over the season?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, it's kind of -- did I foresee it? No. I thought it was actually going to be a strength for us, because last year for this club, with essentially a lot of the same guys, it was. We lost Scott Van Slyke early and Trayce Thompson, but guys just aren't having their typical years that they have against left-handed pitching, so I think that it happens, but I think that in this isolated game, we have got a tough left-hander on the mound and we got to go out there and compete. And if he's executing, it's going to be a tough night for us. But if he makes mistakes out over, then we got to take advantage. So, in this one game, I really don't think that we're putting any kind of weight or anything into this season.

Q. Where are you in your thought process as far as who can start Game 3 and Game 4?

DAVE ROBERTS: 3 it's going to be Rich, and we haven't decided on Game 4.

Q. You spent some time on the base pads in your career. Curious, the Jon Lester-first base thing, how much game planning for that tonight? And it doesn't seem to have impacted the result of the game for Lester, obviously, but it doesn't seem like teams put an awful lot of thought into that, they just go about what they do. Do you have thoughts regarding that?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, Lester, he's an elite pitcher and he's certainly dominated us this season. So, to the question about offensive, on the base running kind of thought, it's more of you got to be committed and, obviously, he doesn't feel comfortable throwing to bases, and everyone knows that. He knows that. But he's got a very good catcher in David Ross, but there's something to trying to get in the psyche a little bit. And I think that that's individual driven, because I think that a player who is going to take a chance on taking a bigger lead or getting -- stealing, trying to steal a base, you got to be committed to it, because if you're halfway, it's just not going to work. I think that's kind of what's happened a lot as we have advanced Lester and the Cubs. Guys have kind of been not all in.

Q. Joe was in earlier and said he still manages this game like it was August 15th or September 15th. It seems like there's been more urgency in your managing. How do you view a game, this sort of time of year?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think that it's -- for me, it's not August 15th and/or September 15th, and I think that we understand that there is a sense of urgency, and we're okay with that. So, to act like it's Game 5 in the Division Series or Game 7 in this series, it's not. But I have shown to be a little bit more aggressive, obviously, in the postseason, and I feel that with our club I have the luxury. So however this game unfolds, I'm going to manage accordingly, but with the understanding that we're going to do everything we can to win this game.

Q. If Clayton had said that he couldn't have started tomorrow, who would you have picked?

DAVE ROBERTS: That would have been a different conversation. And at that point in time, it would have affected potentially the roster. Guys that we have on the reserve, on the taxi, it could have been somewhat of a collection of arms that we have done before. So, fortunately, we have Clayton.

Q. You chose to put Alex on the CS roster as well, Alex Wood. Was there any decision between Alex and Brett Anderson who is obviously here but not on the roster?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think that for us ultimately I like the way Alex can get a left-hander out, a right-hander out, and so I love the ability to throw a strike and I think Brett was more of a guy that gives us length, and if something does happen by way of injury, then to have him is certainly a luxury. But I think with eight pitchers in the pen, the added need for another length guy just didn't make a whole lot of sense since we already have Strip.

Q. To follow-up on the bases running topic, would all the guys have the green light to run whenever they want, or would that be something you would call?

DAVE ROBERTS: I don't see Chooch or Gonzo having the green light. I trust them both, but I don't know if I want to see Adrian trying to steal a base. But you know what, I trust those guys so I think that we're still going to -- you don't like giving up outs on the bases, but I do think that there's something to trying to challenge Lester and get him a little uncomfortable.

Q. Speaking of Chooch, what were the key factors in deciding to have him in the lineup tonight?

DAVE ROBERTS: For me, the at-bat quality has been top notch, even through September. And I wanted to get him not only at-bats off the bench but to get him a start to prepare for a game. And it's nice when you've got Yasmani still off the bench and you got Chase and Toles and Ethier. But I think, for me, I don't think Kenta has a problem with it, and Chooch has been on this stage. So I think for me give Yasi a couple days, and then he'll be back in there tomorrow.

Q. Following that question about the Dodgers against left-handed hitters or pitchers, could you talk a little bit about the importance of Yasiel Puig having some good at-bats today and talk about the challenge of him not playing that much lately and having this opportunity to play today and probably not much in the series.

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, Yasiel didn't play a whole lot in the Division Series, and I think that's just kind of the way it played out with starters and who I decided to go with off the bench. Howie started the same amount of games but got more at-bats as far as coming off the bench. But, yeah, I've got Yasiel hitting fourth. So he's a big part of what we need going tonight. I trust his defense. I know he's prepared. He's got a really good look in his eye. I think, going forward, I haven't made decisions on the lineup for Games 2, 3 or 4, but he's ready to go, he's been working hard, he's waited for this moment, so I expect him to play well tonight.

Q. Not having Austin Barnes going with the extra pitcher, how does that restrict you, how does that change what you can do in this series compared to the last one?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, it just doesn't give me as much coverage as far as from a catching position, but in light of where we're at in the season, I think that there's bullets that need to be fired at certain points of the game, and I'm willing to do that, if it makes sense. So, as we have one backup catcher and Yasmani is on the bench, if there's an opportunity for Yasmani to help us win a baseball game in a certain spot that I like the pitcher-batter matchup, then I'll fire that bullet and trust that Chooch is going to stay in the game. And if not, then you might see Puig back there.