Oct. 15 Joe Maddon pregame interview

October 15th, 2017

Q. Last Sunday, brunch, football on the big screen. No "Monday Night Football" tomorrow?

JOE MADDON: No. We're going to do like a very abbreviated encounter at the ballpark. As of right now it's going to be me and the starting pitcher pretty much, that's going to be it. If anybody wants to come out and do anything, that will be fine.

But that's not a bad idea. Although the weather won't be nearly as good as it was for the brunch. The brunch weather was spectacular.

Q. So the rest is more important right now?

JOE MADDON: Yeah, I really talked about it the other day. After the last several days I prefer the guys going back watching "Monday Night Football" in their own confines and not the friendly confines. I would take that, and I think the guys will look forward to it.

Q. So we've talked about it a lot during the year, the fact that if you guys don't hit home runs, how do you score? Is there anything different that you guys do? It's not usually in your DNA to try to change things. But does it get to a point during the postseason where it gets different?

:: NLCS schedule and coverage ::

JOE MADDON: Well, I mean, that last game in Washington got different, unintentionally. You've got to get base runners, first of all. In regards to being able to do different things, they retired us pretty much solidly after Albert's homer, I think. So you've got to get base runners. Of course, you'd like to do things differently, but already talked about how good Washington's pitching was against us. And once again, I thought we had decent at-bats against Kershaw, but their bullpen stifled us.

We've just got to get more base runners. You have to have guys out there to attempt to try to do different things. That's pretty much it. We have things in the old playbook, but, again, we've scored ten runs in five games so far, and then nine in one. Which has kind of been an awkward postseason. Being in the position we're in right now, based on the inconsistencies with the offense, is pretty darn good.

However, last year at the same time, we were kind of struggling offensively too. Then there was a bunt and then a bloop over the shortstop that eventually turned into homers.

So it's just about confidence and getting guys rolling back in the right direction. I have a lot of trust and confidence in our guys. So, yeah, it was one game yesterday. It's only one game. That's why it's the best out of seven, and we'll see what plays today.

Q. A few years ago I used to watch Billy Martin and Earl Weaver get kicked out of the game. You didn't act too much last night. You were kind of quiet a little bit.

JOE MADDON: Well, I didn't really have -- I wasn't angry with the umpires, that's the difference. I was angry with the rule. So when you get upset and in today's game with instant replay, it's very difficult to really get that angry. There's only balls and strikes and check swings to really get a manager upset anymore.

Back in the day it would be a call on a base, whatever, where the umpires -- you would scrutinize it more as manager. But right now you can correct everything. So I wasn't really angry, not at all, with the umpires. I was not upset with the umpires at all yesterday.

Q. You have mentioned all year when gets it all together, watch out, right?


Q. We know his numbers in the postseason right now. At what point do you look to try and possibly do something different at all?

JOE MADDON: As of right now, they have a lot of lefties pitching, so if you look at Javy's numbers against lefties, they've been pretty darn good over the course of the season. He's the kind of guy that it just takes one at-bat to get him rolling in the right direction.

Then beyond all that, we would not be sitting here right now if it wasn't for his play in the first inning against Washington with the drawn-in infield, with Turner running at third. Don't ever overlook those things. A lot of our success is based on defense, and Javy is so important to that.

So the lefty today, got a righty, first game back, and another lefty coming back after that. We'll see how it plays when Darvish pitches. We'll take a look at that. But we do not play tonight or yesterday without the play that Javy made in the first inning in Washington, and that's not lost on me.

Q. Every game is critical, but can you speak of the nature of how critical a Game 2 is when you're down 0-1, or do you not make too much out of that?

JOE MADDON: I don't. I really don't. I thought overall we played a pretty good game yesterday, actually. We worked good at-bats. And then, like I said, eventually their bullpen got to us.

We need to pitch better out of the bullpen. That's part of our success moving forward. We have to do better than two runs per game for five games. It's kind of obvious. Still, we're in a really good position. We haven't played our best offense, and we have not played our best out of the bullpen. If you look at our bullpen during the course of this past season, we were running second and third the whole year, and the Dodgers were pretty much number one.

We've been running pretty good out of the pen. Montgomery and CJ Edwards were involved in a World Series victory last year in extra innings. That's pretty significant. So when guys struggle, I know everybody wants you to open up a new can of relief pitchers, but that's not how it works.

These are our guys, and I have a lot of faith in our guys. I have to keep putting them out there in the situations they're supposed to be in, and you believe it's going to work out right. If you believe it, you have a much better chance of it occurring. So I prefer not being 0-2, but if it were to happen, it's not the end of the world.

Q. Kind of on the same vein, I was looking at the quote sheet from last night and you said you thought it was the perfect spot for Rondon. Why did you think that, just because he had missed the divisional series, and people wondered?

JOE MADDON: Yeah, because that's what he was on the roster for. Right, right, Taylor and then Turner. So you put people on a team for a specific reason, so why would you run away from that situation if it pops up? Then beyond that, had he gotten those first two guys out, I was definitely going to leave him in their the third guy, Bellinger, but it didn't play out that way. Then beyond that, you look at their stack of righties with their complementary lefties on the bench. You have to make a choice: Do you want to bring a lefty in to keep the righties in the game, or do you want to bring in a righty to keep the lefties off the bench? It's simple. It's not complicated.

So when things don't work out, people have a tendency to vilify the group that it didn't work out for, as opposed to glorifying the group that it did.

Give their guys credit. Give Taylor credit. He's been pretty good all year. That's where baseball is at right now. And that's where this whole thing is at. There is a tendency to not glorify the person that did well. There is a tendency to vilify the one that did not. That was Rondon's spot. It's going to happen again, and you're going to see him back out there again.

For us to be successful, we have to win eight games, one at a time, to get back and win the World Series. So it's really a bad mental process to think that you're going to do it with just one or two guys, or have your starters throw 90 to 120 pitches coming off of no rest, pitching 12 significant pitches in a winner-take-all game in Washington. So these are the kind of things that really I'm always amazed that people don't quite understand.

Rondon's situation was that situation. It didn't work, but that's because Taylor's good.

Q. What about the approach at plate tonight do you want to see that you haven't seen so far?

JOE MADDON: Biggest thing, man, we still have to stay in our lanes. We've got to make pitches, throw the ball over the plate. We have to stay -- when we're really good, and I think more recently when this real resurgence of the offense and the run differential occurred, I thought we were much better middle off field.

I think that's a big part of what we have to be. When we get into pull mode, most teams, not just us, when you get guys like Hill and you want to get in pull mode, he just lights up. Or Wood that's coming up next. We have to stay more centered. If you're seeing us two strikes or even early count oppo line drive, oppo hits or like an ugly hit oppo, I'll take it.

But the big thing is to not get off of that elevated fastball swing and miss, curveball in the dirt. We've got to stay away from that. Now, believe me. We're prepped. Now Johnny and Ske (Hinske) do a wonderful job talking to our guys before the game. But then again, it's about execution. You know? It's this time of the year. Everybody's -- it's a hot moment, and you have to be able to think in the moment properly.

So we prep right. We've got to go out there and execute the plan. But I'd like to see more middle oppo.

Q. Can you talk about your relationship with Dave Martinez? It almost seems like when you went off the field last night there was no concern you were handing the helm over to your bench coach.

JOE MADDON: Oh, easily. Davey and I have been together for a bit. He's really understanding of the game and in-game management. You give him a lot of latitude during the course of all the games during the season for years. He definitely feels comfortable and free telling me what he thinks, which is the way I want it.

So once I leave the dugout, I don't send little slips of paper down there, and definitely not via technology am I going to ever do anything like that. Back in the day you used to stand in the back there and like whisper stuff from around the corner.

I was with the Angels as a bench coach and sometimes manager would get kicked out, and the last thing I wanted was somebody telling me what to do from back there. I would never to do it to anybody else.

So Davey's very capable, and Davey should be a Major League manager soon.

Q. You've seen plenty of over the years. The last couple weeks, anecdotally speaking, it seems he has increased the amount of sliders he's thrown. He threw a lot of them last night for him. I'm wondering if it's odd to see a guy sort of semi re-make himself at this point, if it fouls any sort of preparation. Obviously, if he threw a bunch of sliders against the Diamondbacks, you would have seen that coming in. But any sort of thoughts on that?

JOE MADDON: You know, when that happens, there's one of two things, I think. One thing that stands out to me, maybe he doesn't feel good about his fastball command. Sometimes there are some pitchers that are able to command their breaking ball better in situations than their fastball. I don't know. I'm just speculating. The other part would be he's been really, really dominant against righties this year. And lefties, he's dominant against lefties too.

I don't know, is it a right or left-handed thing? I'm not a hundred percent sure. Is he pitching righties a little more breaking ball oriented as opposed to lefties? I don't know the exact break down.

I don't know more recently because I left that up to Johnny and the boys to study all that stuff. But a lot of times for me historically, guys that I've had that might start switching over, maybe they're not feeling their fastball as an example. And they feel much better commanding, and they get more chase possibly out of that.

But his fastball naturally cuts anyway. His elevated fastball is a natural cut. To me, elevated cutter, opposite side hitter is almost impossible to hit. Just elevated cutter in general is really an outstanding pitch. That's why these guys here are really into the ball up in the zone.

Like I said, always be aware of that pitching coach that wants to get guys down in the zone because that can really screw up a pitching staff. So for me, Jansen is spectacular. I don't know the exact answer to that except maybe he's feeling something different.

Q. You had the centerfield camera by then. So while you were watching, were thinking: Huh. Little different?

JOE MADDON: I didn't. I was so upset, I was not really focusing well on the game at that point.

Q. Last night was not the first time you've spoken with something less than endorsement of the catcher's rule. Is there freedom of speech in Major League Baseball, or do you hear from the commissioner, do you get fined?

JOE MADDON: Oh, I always hear. I always hear, and I should. I should. Sometimes I go over the top with my lack of affection. So it's appropriate. I expect it. But then again, if you remember back in the days with the Rays, I had a T-shirt that said "Tell me what you think, not what you've heard." I really like people that tell me what they think, and then I can deal with that after that. So for me to be disingenuous, I just couldn't have slept last night.

So I said what I thought, and I'll accept the consequences. You know what I believe. I've said it from the beginning. But I'm not going to walk away from what I believe in.

Q. Normally do they just say we disagree, or do they ask you to donate to the charity?

JOE MADDON: I've donated. I've donated. You know, it's good. The donations normally go to really good causes, like I think MLB players alumni or B.A.T. or things like that, which I'm cool with.