BUCK SHOWALTER: Everybody bright eyed and bushy tailed today? I didn't know what bushy tail was until I saw a squirrel. You remember that? Your grandmother told you that, didn't she? No.
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with questions.
BUCK SHOWALTER: Sleep fast, this is why they have labor laws. What?
Q. Buck, as the season was winding down and you saw you were going to have this interim between clinching the division and the playoffs starting, and as you were deciding on what kind of approach you would take, as far as both keeping the team sharp, but resting people ‑‑
BUCK SHOWALTER: Trying to catch Anaheim.
Q. As well. What in your experience or in your research did you draw on to come up with the approach that you decided on?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Biggest parted of it is your players. Trying to know your team, know who you are. We talked about it all since the spring: What are we? Who are we not? Just trying to know their strengths. And not just because this is the way we did it all season. Those things change. You can't become a prisoner of that. So just trying to know where your strengths lie. We were fortunate enough to pass around the load all year, though. Andrew came as an appearance leader, but we got him out of that appearance leader at times. I don't know if he ended in it. I'm very proud that we didn't anybody in appearance leaders out of our bullpen. And that comes from having good pitchers, because I'm not passing around to somebody that can't do the job. But whether it was Brad or Tommy or Darren or Brian Matusz. T.J. McFarland had an era under three this year as a long reliever. I can't tell you how many times he allowed me to stay away from putting people in harm's way physically. That's why it's so painful with Brian and Mac, not to have them on the playoff roster right now. We hope, you know, we get another chance.
Q. While you're focused on this series and the Tigers', how much are you paying attention to what's going on in the other series?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Arizona and Oregon? Last night? I saw that.
Q. The other division series and projecting, Okay, if we're fortunate enough to advance and looking at only opponents?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Not much. All concentration is trying to figure out a way to win now two more games. That's going to be real hard to do. This is another area where you trust your people. And just like Detroit's got scouts and people out, you know, that's as a fan you watch it, somewhat, and you pay attention to it. We don't have that much spare time this time of year and, you know. But as a fan, you pay attention to it. Obviously I'm a fan of the game. How many games on today, do you know?
THE MODERATOR: All four today.
BUCK SHOWALTER: All four? Wow, that's a smorgasbord. This is tough on my mother. As you get older, 11:00 starts back home, I know where I got it from. She goes to bed real late and she gets up when she wants to. She says, I'm a grown woman, I can get up when I want to and go to bed when I want to. But this 11:00 start tomorrow is difficult. You have to be on her porch before 11:00 to get in the house to watch it. Anybody care? Okay. What?
Q. Buck, how early did you get here this morning?
BUCK SHOWALTER: What makes you think we left? (Laughter.)
Q. Did you leave?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I'm not telling. My guys packed yesterday, brought their stuff in. I thought we would have more guys spending the night last night, but, you know, we got families going with us today to Detroit.
Q. Did anyone spend the night?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I'm not telling. That's up to them and us. That's crazy. I used to have a Murphy bed, thank goodness I got rid of that thing. Not here, but in Arizona, used to have a cot, a lot of people do. Back then. By the time you get to the park, you pick up two hours' sleep by staying there. But I think most of the guys went home yesterday. That was a pretty quick clear out. Traffic coming in today, very seldom do you come in with the traffic of work, of the work force. That was some interesting red lights coming in this morning.
Q. Is there anything noticeable different when you get here before a game this early?
BUCK SHOWALTER: All the people standing outside the bars last night and, I wonder if they're coming today, there might be some bad heads, huh? (Laughter.) I don't know. I didn't notice. We're used to it. We played start times and we played I don't know how many 11:00 games. How many did we play this year?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Didn't we play one in Spring Training? Doesn't count in this time of year. You become numb to it. You worry sometimes during the season about the quality of play and the product, how much taxation you put on these guys with start times, but when you explain to everybody why we're having to do it this way... I do worry sometimes during the season with so many yo yo fluctuation and starting times. I always look for the part of the season where you play five or six days in a row at the same time. That's usually when a team really and I feel like a lot of the injuries really are when guys have that quick turnaround, it's tough, it's tough.
Q. When we pundants try to figure out analysis of the ALDS or whatever, you look at different things and one of the things that comes across is the bullpen and how strong your bullpen is
BUCK SHOWALTER: Comparably talking during the season you're talking about, but this is a whole different game.
Q. That's exactly what I was going to ask you. Is it different now? Are the bullpens more important or as important or is it a completely different thing?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think each series, we're going to find out. I know what it appears like on paper with their starting pitching and with this bullpen and this bench and this guy that plays first base, we're going to find out. It's fascinating to me to see if someone can continue that. We see things that the level of concentration that you you always want it to be at a high level, but it's just human nature. That's why you have innings like last night. The concentration level is nobody ever gives in. There is a relentless first at bat, there is not a wasted opportunity. Everybody is so engaged in the competition that what may have played away during the regular season may not and trying to grasp that as a team, as a player, as a manager, as a coach is important of who and kind of where you are. Boy, it's a never ending puzzle.
Q. Buck, you sent Matt Wieters off to scout the Tigers'
BUCK SHOWALTER: He was good last night. We'll see if he's good today.
Q. Did you find something? Were you able to use something of what he found in yesterday's game?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Was a plane ticket and the hotel room and the meal money worth it? He was getting that in Toronto. I don't know yet. Yeah, he brought back information. He said some things that we put into play, but nothing that our scouts that were there weren't on top of, too. I think any chance Matt gets to make a contribution, and he has, how many guys would have had surgery and maybe gone home fore a while. He's been engaged with the team and been a contributor with Caleb and Nick since the day he came back from surgery. Just another example of I think sometimes we lose sight how, not painful, how frustrating things like this must be for him and I know Manny and Chris. But he's kinda gotten over that emotion, kind of throwing himself into helping. We're lucky to have him. He doesn't have any ego, he's just like, What can I help with? And I tell you what, there is not many guys, there is not a blanket that you can ask anybody to go do that or ask if they would be interested in doing that and know what the answer was going to be. These guys, getting on a commercial flight he did tell me he had a birthday party for his son scheduled on that Monday and he said, If there is a playoff game, y'all are on your own, I got to get back for a birthday.