Q. We're just wondering if you can update us on some injury guys, Peralta and Fuentes and Sherfy.TOREY LOVULLO: Can you say your name, please?
Q. Steve with MLB.com.
TOREY LOVULLO: Everybody is going to be running through a series of tests today. Jimmie Sherfy is going to throw an
Q. We're just wondering if you can update us on some injury guys, Peralta and Fuentes and Sherfy.
TOREY LOVULLO: Can you say your name, please?
Q. Steve with MLB.com.
TOREY LOVULLO: Everybody is going to be running through a series of tests today. Jimmie Sherfy is going to throw an aggressive bullpen. That will take place after the workout on the field on the main diamond, and we'll get a feel for how that goes and how he feels.
David Peralta came in and said he feels very, very good, as did Ketel Marte. Very, very slight discomfort yesterday, and it was more my decision to make sure that, in both situations, that we got them off the field as soon as possible.
Did you ask me about another one?
TOREY LOVULLO: Fuentes, yes. Ray is about the same as David and Ketel. We asked them to get after it a little bit, test some things out. We feel very comfortable that they're going to be okay.
Q. (No microphone)?
TOREY LOVULLO: Chris is actually playing right now, and I haven't gotten the word back as to how he's done. I get that right after the game. I get a quick text about how things went. So just encouraged that he's back on the field. We know that he's working hard to make good things happen.
I know that we're trying to figure if he's a possibility for Wednesday. I don't want to say it's a definite no, but I want him to continue working hard with the thought of making something special happen.
Q. Torey, what's been your up close impression of J.D. and what he's done and the kind of person he is?
TOREY LOVULLO: He is as good a hitter on and off the field that I've been around. He obviously can walk up to the plate prepared and execute, which is a very impressive thing, but the thing that people don't see is what he does behind the scenes. There's notes in a notebook. There's video and studying. There's tendencies and habits. There's constant practice and perfection of the swing. And it translates.
I get a chance to sit next to him or stand next to him before he's going in the on-deck circle, and it's the exact same routine. He does it with his eyes open. He does it with his eyes closed. I know there's a lot of muscle memory that he has perfected. So when he walks up to home plate, it's just put things in automatic and let it happen, and it's been very productive.
What I also want to add is a tremendous teammate and a part of this family we developed here. He came here midseason, and it's hard for players to walk into that environment. He immersed himself into this culture, and he's become one of us.
Q. He fit right in pretty quickly, right?
TOREY LOVULLO: Yes, he did. The first couple days, I know his world was spinning upside down, and he was probably worried about getting clothes from one day to the next and moving into an apartment, but as soon as he got grounded here in Arizona, he became part of this family.
Q. Torey, do you manage any differently knowing it's a one-game, winner take all in the sense that you have to have a variety of plans? Let's say you had to use other starters. What's the dynamic when everything's on the line?
TOREY LOVULLO: Well, first of all, it's a one-game knockout moment where the chips are all in there. We know what the stakes are. And in baseball, I think that we're all adrenaline junkies. We love those moments. We live for them. We prepare for them. We know how to navigate through them. I enjoy feeling pressure.
So I feel like that entire clubhouse feels the exact same way. Emotionally, I think we'll be prepared. Will I change my strategy? Probably not. It's worked all year long here. We made it this far. For me to change and do something totally different, it's really not my style. But I can assure you that, if I do, it will have a strategy, there will be a reason for it.
And I've got some really good advice from two managers that have managed in this game, in Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost, and they said to simplify it, just manage the same. There are some moments, some crucial moments, but that happens with every game. Make sure you equip yourself for the right players you want, make sure the roster is complete for a couple of different scenarios that maybe don't pop up during the course of the year, and that's what we've been working on the past couple of days.
We're still trying to solidify that roster. It hasn't been named yet because we're still working through certain scenarios.
Q. Have you identified even how many starting pitchers you'd like to carry or how many pitcher position players you'd like to go with?
TOREY LOVULLO: We haven't drilled down to that. I will say this: It's either going to be nine or ten pitchers, and we're still trying to figure out the advantages or disadvantages in that.
What I'm planning on doing is walking through some scenarios with the staff and the front office and just having us bounce a lot of different things off of one another to where no situation will catch us by surprise, and that will help us understand where there might be a soft spot and we might have a need for an extra pitcher or maybe have a need for an extra position player.
That's one thing that Ned Yost did tell me. He said that it would be his preference, he would go with the extra position player. He felt like the starter was James Shields, he was going to have enough there with James, and Boch said the same thing. He said his starter was going to be Madison Bumgarner, and he felt strong he needed the extra position player. And we have a great candidate in Zach Greinke, too. So obviously we have a lot to work through.
Q. Have you made a decision about the catcher yet?
TOREY LOVULLO: I have not. Today will be a workday. Jeff Mathis did great for two consecutive days, something we wanted to see as a staff. I know he wanted to get out there and perform. I know the medical team wanted to see that. So he did that Saturday and Sunday. It's about his recovery today. I'll probably have a conversation with him early today or tomorrow to solidify that decision.
But we feel like we have two qualified guys with Chris Iannetta and Jeff. They've caught Zach and caught him well. Once again, it will come down to what I feel gives us the best chance to win the game.
Q. Can you talk about the pros and cons of each guy.
TOREY LOVULLO: I think statistically you can see the differences between the two batters offensively, but I think we want to prioritize the potential for stopping the opposition. So in my mind, pitching and defense is what wins you championships, and in this game, it's been my experience that every moment matters. Somebody gets on base, it's like red alert. And you're very tense for nine innings. So you're looking for the best strategy to work through and navigate on the mound.
I know the relationship that was formed between Jeff and Zach was very strong, and that's important to me. So that's definitely a pro, but it's not a con for Chris because Chris did a great job getting to know Zach over the past month, month and change, and they developed a relationship. So I've got to dig into that a little bit more.
But I'm going to prioritize the ability to get outs. That's going to be the most important thing to me.
Q. One of the guys said today that he didn't sleep at all last night. He doesn't expect to sleep until Wednesday, but he wishes -- and I'm not going to tell you who it was.
TOREY LOVULLO: Let me know.
Q. That he wishes the game was today, and he's probably not the only one. So how are you going to manage this adrenaline, this anticipation between now and Wednesday?
TOREY LOVULLO: Were his initials A.B., by any chance? I know Archie is pretty tightly wound.
TOREY LOVULLO: Okay. I want these guys to understand that something special is happening here. I think they need to know that they have done something that several other teams haven't. We're different. We're different than anybody else. We're not having exit meetings with players. We're preparing for a playoff game, and we deserve to feel good about that.
My message to them -- and I know I haven't said to them, but I know they listen to what I say. I'll tell them to embrace this. Embrace it, enjoy it, and it's very well deserved. When you go to bed at night, just know that tomorrow is going to bring another day of anticipation, and you can ramp it up and get everything ready for Wednesday. What they're feeling is normal. That's the most important thing. The nervous energy that everybody is feeling, the excitement that we're all feeling right now is extremely normal.
This is the greatest time of the year. October baseball, long sleeve baseball is the absolute best, and I want these guys to experience it, embrace it, and remember it. It's a good feeling.
Q. Torey, how would you describe the culture that you wanted to set when you came in here as early as your first talks with the guys on the phone?
TOREY LOVULLO: Well, I wanted to just establish a relationship with these guys, and I know mostly everybody in this room has understood what I've been talking about all year long. So I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself. But establishing a culture of togetherness and family and unity was the most important thing to me.
I wasn't afraid to talk about the word love. You know, baseball and sports, you just -- we're very macho people, and we feel that, but we're afraid to talk about it. So you've heard me say the word love. I think that the guys use the word love, and I think that we've developed a really special bond. So that was the first thing that I set out to do through my own actions and my own relationships, and I think that the guys caught on. I'm proud of that, and I'm honored by that.
And I think that they felt that it fit for what we were walking through day by day. And then the players played pretty good. So it was a perfect storm of delivering the message to try and change the culture, and then the players went out and executed every single day. They did that on their own. They performed. They grew. They cared about one another. And you could see where that landed us.
Q. Torey, could you talk to me about the offensive approach against Jon Gray.
TOREY LOVULLO: Well, I know that there's some familiarity with him. We haven't drilled down to that. I know that there's a lot of work that's going on right now as we speak for people that are going to be ready to talk about what Jon Gray has been doing over the past several starts. I know the players have a really good plan against him already. But he's a very capable pitcher. And we know that he's going to walk in here as their ace, their number one guy that they chose, much like we have with Zach, to give them the one chance to win a knockout game.
So our guys are going to prepare to the best of their ability, and that's by studying. That's by relating their experiences with one another, talking over approaches, and that hasn't happened yet. I probably won't get a chance to find out what that is until Wednesday afternoon, and I wish I could give you more than that, but I know that these guys are going to compare notes and do their homework and be ready.
Q. What do you see behind Goldie's tough September, and how concerned are you this is going to carry over?
TOREY LOVULLO: I'm not concerned about it at all. I don't think he is either. I think that he's been grinding away at it. We know that it hasn't been as productive over the past couple weeks because he's such a catalyst for this team and this organization. When your superstar doesn't hit, it's recognizable.
I know that he's probably working on balance, he's working on staying through the ball, all the common things you want to get to when you're maybe not having the results you want.
And I want to tell you something about Paul Goldschmidt. As the manager of the team, I work backwards with a lot of different statistics through the course of the last days. I knew I wanted J.D. Martinez to hit .300, and I knew that I wanted Paul Goldschmidt to hit .300. So I had some controllables in my favor.
I knew going in the last day that Paul Goldschmidt had to go 1 for 4 over two days to hit .300. I don't think he knew. Then I approached him about the idea a couple days ago, and what do you think he told me? Exactly what you'd expect. I could care less. I don't care about hitting .300. I want this team to win. I'll do everything I can possibly do to help this ball club win a game, win today, and I'm looking forward to Wednesday.
So that will tell you how hard he's probably working right now to make sure that he's working through this little hiccup that he's having.
Q. Torey, was there any sort of aha moment when you realized this was more than just a hot start, that this team was capable of going the distance?
TOREY LOVULLO: I believe there was enough here early that, if things got kickstarted the way they did, that we would have a chance to put ourselves in a position to believe that we could do this. But it's a long season, and it's not two weeks of a season and somebody can get hot and have an excited several games and have a good start. I knew that sometime in July, if we had that winning spirit and winning record, that we were going to have a chance.
For me, the aha game was the last game in Chicago against the Cubs. If you remember what happened there, several things happened on that day. I think there was a rain delay. It was an extra inning game. There was a lead gained, a lead lost. A hostile environment. A great gig in the bullpens during the rain delay. I mean, we covered everything on that day, but the bottom line is we walked off of that field on Game 3 the winner of that series.
When I got on that plane after that game, I thought, we can do this. We can definitely do this.
Q. Torey, can you discuss 24-game win turnaround in one season. It's not just family. It's not just chemistry. Can you give us a peek into the extreme shifts, the aggressive running, the pitch framing, and how Mike's department assisted in what was a very dramatic turnaround.
TOREY LOVULLO: I think it was a complete buy-in to a changing of the culture. I was talking about one small piece of it, where I was talking about these guys counting on one another, but behind the scenes, there's a lot that happens. I know that we're reluctant to release our secrets or what's going on behind the walls of our clubhouse and front office, but I do know that guys are working tirelessly to give us any type of advantage every single day. And it's statistical analysis. It's projection analysis. It's watching video and paying attention. It's getting the TrackMan and watching swing planes. A lot of things that we laid out for these players was so foreign to them.
I had some anxiety walking into Spring Training because I felt like some of them could shake their head at us and go, are you crazy? I'm out of here. You guys have no idea what you're talking about. But the players bought in. They bought in quickly, and it started to translate. So when certain things would happen out of nowhere, and you guys were like, hey, I wonder why that happened, you start to realize there's a strategy for why that happened.
There's a very powerful group that's put together up there that cares about the minutia of every detail, and it's translated, and there's been a total buy-in by the whole group.