Oct. 4 Bob Melvin pregame interview
Q. When you're putting together your lineup, since in the postseason it's more about scoring and pitching, how much does defense play a part in the night?
BOB MELVIN: It does, and really I don't know that the postseason more so. We take a petty hard look at it every day, regardless. So depending on who is pitching for you, who is pitching for the other team, that may be a defensive day, too, but we try to factor everything in.
Q. You've used Lowrie and Donaldson interchangeably in the 2 and 3 spots. How do you go about deciding who is where?
BOB MELVIN: Flip of the coin. There are some days I just prefer Lowrie the 2 hole and some days Donaldson in the 2 hole, not a whole lot goes into that. I could have done either today, I just did it that way.
Q. Bob, from what you've seen of Sonny Gray, how do you think he will respond to the challenge of pitching in a Game 2 of a playoff series?
BOB MELVIN: I think he will do well. We wouldn't have put him in that spot if we didn't think so. He's pitched some games here, in particular the game that we clinched the division. It's going to have a little bit of the same type of feel, fans were pretty fired up for that one at noon that day real early that day, so it had a different feel that particular day.
But he's pitched in some big games, whether it's in the big leagues, whether it's at school, he's been in some high profile places and pitched in some high profile games. You insulate within your preparation and go out there and pitch whether you're an emotional guy or you're not, which he can be, and I think it actually helps him.
We think he will do well.
Q. Did Yoenis come in today and everything felt good or did you talk to him last night?
BOB MELVIN: No, it was today, and he told me yesterday he was going to be okay today. There were no decision making issues today based on how he came in and how he felt.
Q. Bob, veteran power arms are good all the time, but this time of year they seem to really be critical. Why do you suppose in October those are the guys who we see Wainwright, Kershaw, Liriano, we see them pitch well.
BOB MELVIN: I think they tend to pitch well all the time, but a lot of times you're talking about guys that have some experience. And I think if you're going to pitch to playoff type lineups, one, experience, two, power, play just about anywhere.
As far as Bartolo goes, he still pitches like a power pitch. He can pitch a little bit differently where you can put the ball in a different place on the plate with his movement, so I would consider him a power pitcher. I think they play anywhere, any ballpark, doesn't matter, and your better pitchers seem to step up in the postseason.
Q. How important is it to have Yoenis Cespedes play in the field, too?
BOB MELVIN: Anywhere we can get him in the lineup would be big, anywhere we can get him in the lineup and in the outfield. He has a lot of range in the outfield. He cuts down the running game out there. There is a lot more to his game than just the power portion of it on a national level maybe you know more about it.
Defensively he does a fine job for us, so anytime we can get an added defensive upgrade out there, we're surely looking to get him in the outfield.
Q. Bob, this can be a breezy stadium, but it seems especially windy today. Do you have a sense of the direction and how it might affect the game?
BOB MELVIN: Sometimes the wind changes here and we not don't get too many games where it's real windy. Today it's a little bit different. It kicked in last night, and today it was pretty windy.
As an outfield, you try to figure out what it's going to do during the course of a day. Similar to any ballpark, and I played in Candlestick on the Bay and it can change on you and swirl on you. I know there were times when I was playing in Candlestick and it felt like as a catcher, the breeze was in my face and I would ask an outfielder, and he would say "It's in my face, too."
So sometimes it can come in the stadium and circle around and swirl. So it's important in batting practice to get a feel for it. You're constantly looking at the flags to see what direction they're blowing to try to stay up with what the wind is doing over the course of the game. But it can affect things.
Q. With Daric Barton's emergence as an everyday player again, what does he give you offensively and defensively and how much of a weapon, talking about the defense side, does he give you there?
BOB MELVIN: In this ballpark, too, because there is a lot of foul ground and he covers a lot of ground with balls in the air, so his defense comes into play even more so here.
He's an all around player, and when he's playing well he does everything. He runs the bases well, he'll get big hits for you, and he plays good defense. All of those things combined when he's playing well makes him an easy option to put in the lineup.
Q. So you guys have always described yourselves as grinders, but as this week has gone along, is there any extra feeling of excitement or relief that the day is here and Game 1 has arrived?
BOB MELVIN: Relief. Yesterday seemed like too long, let's get goin'. You deal with an off day or two, but when you're on the verge of a playoff series like this, you start to get antsier and antsier as it goes along. And come yesterday, everybody was ready for this day to come.
So it is a very exciting day for us, obviously with our place sold out and pretty electric out there and everybody is looking forward to that. We wanted this day to come a little bit sooner.
Q. I just wanted to ask again about Sonny. Was there any thought with Game 2 and Game 3, was there any thought to the grounders he gets and maybe playing in a smaller park in Detroit or was it about comfort and putting Sonny in front of the home crowd?
BOB MELVIN: A little of both, but I think the latter. Detroit is a pretty big park, dimensions out in the big part are even bigger than ours. In the summer when it's warm, the ball will carry.
But I wouldn't consider either of these parks smaller parks. So it was more about comfortability at home at the end of the day when we had to make the decision.