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Oct. 4 Bud Black pregame interview

October 4, 2017

Q. Buddy, last night you had two guys that got squeezed or at least appeared to be getting squeezed pretty early on and things unravelled from that point. Do you have a certain way that you like, as a former pitcher, like to see this game called with these two

Q. Buddy, last night you had two guys that got squeezed or at least appeared to be getting squeezed pretty early on and things unravelled from that point. Do you have a certain way that you like, as a former pitcher, like to see this game called with these two pitchers tonight?

BUD BLACK: Well, to be quite honest, I did not see the first part of that game yesterday. So I can't comment on that. I think we were still on the field when the game started. We were still working out. Then when I came in, I didn't really pick the game up in my office until like the third inning, so I can't answer that question.

Q. If you could just explain your roster decisions here, what went into like Tapia and Tauchman, and also the pitching decisions with Estevez making the roster?

BUD BLACK: I'll try to do the best I can without going through all 25 guys, Thomas.

Well, I think what you look for, you know there is one game, and I think from a position player standpoint you try to give yourself as much versatility as you can, both with the bat, with the glove, and maybe with the legs. So that's part of the reason you see the guys on the roster. Whether it's Tauchman, his ability to play defense and run and also maybe an at-bat. Tapia, the same.

Alexi gives us versatility defensively and potentially at the plate. Hanigan gives us the versatility if we have to make some moves with the catchers.

So I think the offensive end of it was pretty straightforward for us, knowing one game we could come down from the usual 12 or 13 pitchers that we keep during the regular season. As it relates to the pitchers, we felt as though we're covered there in a couple different scenarios with length by keeping Anderson, having Senzatela there, having Rusin for some length. The guys who are on the roster on the pitching side are true relievers, for the most part, with the exception of Tyler. And Senzatela has pitched in relief for the last six or seven weeks or so. So, again, I think when we went through it, that makes sense.

Q. Everyone talks about Charlie Blackmon, LeMahieu, Gonzalez, Arenado. But what about the value of Mark Reynolds? He's almost unforgotten?

BUD BLACK: We don't exclude a lot of our players, as you know. It takes all of them to get here. You look at so many guys who make contributions from the start of the season, and he's definitely one of those guys with 30 homers and almost 100 RBIs. What Mark did, especially the first half of the season was outstanding. The second half he held his own and got some big hits for us in some big spots.

Statistically, you look at what he's done, and you realize his production has been very important for us. Over six months, Charlie and Nolan have been extremely consistent. DJ has. But you look at the contributions from Car-Go the last month, Trevor Story here in the second half, Ian Desmond has been banged up a couple different times and missed times, but when he's been healthy and on the roster, he's made contributions.

Gerardo Parra has hit over 300 most of the season, and usually hit in the middle of our lineup when he's in there.

So even going back to the early part of the year with Tony Walters and when Hanigan came up, those guys did a nice job. So there is a collection of everybody. So as far as us internally, we know all our guys are important.

But there's, obviously, nationally, there are a couple guys who get most of the acclaim.

Q. What went into your decision to start Gerardo in left as opposed to Ian? I know that was probably a decision you debated?

BUD BLACK: Yeah, that was a tough one. We thought long and hard over that. I think the simplest point was it was a little bit of a match-up thing with Greinke. More than anything we wanted a left-handed bat in there. Even in left field here with Gerardo's experience playing in this ballpark, and, you know, I think as the game moves on, having Ian on the bench is a weapon for us to do a couple different things. The versatility that he brings offensively with the bat, and also a pinch-run, and the ability to play the outfield or first base, I think that's going to be important as the game moves on.

Q. Nolan's been hitting third for quite a while recently, what about Car-Go going to third?

BUD BLACK: If you notice, we've been doing that a little bit more here in September with Car-Go three, and Nolan four. It's a function of Car-Go swinging the bat. Look what he's done in September. I like the fact that the lineup is broken up a little bit with left, right, left, right, a couple righties, and Parra. And I think that for me, it just looks right. That's how we envisioned it even way back when the season started. Whether Nolan hit four through Car-Go, whether, excuse me, whether Car-Go hit fourth and Nolan third, based on maybe a left-handed starter. But we've been doing that here for the last three weeks.

Q. Car-Go's name has come up, what's going on with him in September? What's clicked for him mechanically with what he's doing?

BUD BLACK: There's a couple things. There's been talk about how he was gripping the bat specifically. He can be a little bit more specific on that. But I think more than anything, and this is broad based answer, that there were times during the course of the year when he got off to the slower start, it looked to me like he was really expanding the zone in his desire to get hits and make contributions. So swinging at balls out of the strike zone, not being as selective as I've seen Car-Go, I just saw him swinging at too many pitches that are really hard to hit, and it just sort of manifested itself.

Finally, there were a couple times where I brought him in, and talked mechanics, talked some different things, a lot of times these changes don't happen overnight. It's a collection of weeks and maybe a month to have this all finally settle in. And there is a confidence factor too.

So as we got into late August, early September, you could see the on-base percentage start to rise via the walk. He started getting a few more hits, and I think that sort of compounded into confidence. It worked for him that he was swinging at strikes and taking balls, where I think conversely that wasn't happening early in the year.

Q. As manager and also a former pitching coach, based on what happened in last night's game, how soon do you know when a starting pitcher just doesn't have it, and how do you balance that? He probably could get it back an inning or two, but tonight's situation may not allow that.

BUD BLACK: Yeah, last night was, for me, a rarity in a playoff game. When you're talking two quality pitchers, I mean, two really good pitchers, to have that happen, I haven't done any research, maybe you guys have, on when that has happened, that type of game. But I think you really have to have a critical eye, obviously. For me it's not only stuff but it's command. It's seeing the swings the opponent takes. You're seeing is the glove moving a lot? Is he really missing his spots? Are they really locked in and not taking bad swings?

You know, I think the critical eye that the manager and pitching coach and other staff members see lead into this. But that's sort of my take on that, whether a guy doesn't have it.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

BUD BLACK: Well, it doesn't really happen in the first 20, 25 pitches. I mean, if you get into pitch 30, 40, maybe there are some signs. But you usually can't tell in the first 25 pitches. Also, we've seen it where if a guy does look to be struggling his first 20, 30 pitches, I've seen guys turn it around for whatever reason. They find it, and then there is a component of they're cruising. So, just, a lot of times you don't know. But in a game like this you can't afford, at times, to let a guy go. But there are signs that give you hope that a guy might turn around.

Q. Both you and Torey Lovullo are carrying three catchers for one game. Can you talk about your thought process for three catchers for one game?

BUD BLACK: Well, it's one game. If you've watched our games there's a component of us pinch-running for lieu croy late in the game. There is also the potential for an injury factor, and if that happens, we don't want to be hamstrung with one catcher in case we have to, again, pinch-run, pinch-hit for those two guys that are on our roster. So it allows us to keep the most versatility possible.

Q. You hung in with Story through a lot of offensive struggles this year. Is that primarily because of his defense, something else, and when did you see him turn the corner?

BUD BLACK: Yeah, I think primarily you could say -- I think it's two things. Defense was a component because he's a really good defender at a premium position. Through his struggles, even when he wasn't doing well, there was still that threat of power or an extra base hit. Then as the season wore on, we saw better at-bats, and what we've seen lately is more like what we envisioned out of Trevor. I think the thing for us, defense and this guy has power, and power is always a threat to the opposing pitcher.

Q. Bud, have you addressed the team yet today, and would you like to share what you said or will say?

BUD BLACK: I have addressed a number of guys individually. I have not addressed the team as a whole. We talked yesterday as a team.