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Oct 4. Torey Lovullo pregame interview

October 4, 2017

Q. Could you get into roster construction, Owings, Taijuan, that sort of thing?TOREY LOVULLO: Yeah, we walked through just about every scenario possible. We talked over things in detail and with contingencies and just what you would imagine we would do. We felt like time had run for C.O. to

Q. Could you get into roster construction, Owings, Taijuan, that sort of thing?

TOREY LOVULLO: Yeah, we walked through just about every scenario possible. We talked over things in detail and with contingencies and just what you would imagine we would do. We felt like time had run for C.O. to give us some of the answers we needed, so he's going to continue to progress. Hopefully if things go the way we anticipate he'll be available and be considered for the next round.

With Taijuan, we felt like he was the one candidate, and we felt like we needed to hold somebody back just in case, and we felt like he was the right candidate potentially to start the next game one in the next series. It's all common sense stuff we walked through. It was a tough decision. We felt like we had five quality starters. We felt like they could have all thrown out of the bullpen and done a good job.

But you have to prepare for today and a little bit for tomorrow. And I think that's what our front office did really really well. And we walked through some different scenarios and that's where we wound up.

Q. Archie was just in here speaking about how close they are as a family and they have each other's each other's back and the love they have for each other. Was that something that was apparent over the season or right away when you stepped in? And how much does that play into a high stakes situation like today?

TOREY LOVULLO: I think we all know what today means. When you walk into a situation when you're a team united, a team that cares about one another, that's playing together, that's going to make sure they can do everything they can possibly do on an individual basis but accomplish one common goal that's going to help you get through tough moments or help prepare you for this type of environment.

And I said it for the past couple days, I was not afraid to talk about loving, and sharing, and feelings, and these guys felt that from the first day that I had met them. Those were conversations that I started having early in spring training, and a little bit before that. So my conversations over the telephone, I could feel this was a group that cared about one another. They came up through the system together, and I wanted to expose myself to them and they did the same. It's been a perfect storm.

These guys fight together and like together, and I think that's one of the reasons why we're here today.

Q. Jimmie Sherfy, the way he threw during that live BP session that made you comfortable with him being on the roster, and the other question was the decision if you could talk about it between Mathis and Iannetta, it looks like you went with Mathis?

TOREY LOVULLO: Yeah, well, in Jimmie Sherfy's case, Sherfy was a little banged up. I've explained that to you guys. He had been working hard to make sure he was going to make himself available, and he showed us on that one day where he threw an aggressive bullpen that also turned into a little bit of a simulated game that he was healthy and strong and ready.

We looked at the velocity. We looked at the shape of the pitches, and we were trapping things the same way we would if you were pitching in a game, and it checked out. I think the thing that set it apart for me was when he walked off the mound, typically I'll have about a three or four-minute conversation, and he looked me square in the eye and said, I want the ball. For me that cinched it up right there.

Jeff Mathis versus Chris Iannetta, those are the things that would keep me up at night trying to figure out what the best solution was because they're both capable catchers. It's hard. Both of them want to catch, both of them deserve to catch. But it was my decision that the relationship that Zack had with Jeff the majority of the season was my priority. I felt like he was going to be able to work a little bit more effectively and efficiently with Zack. But I want to be mindful how I say that because Chris Iannetta did a tremendous job as well.

Q. You had mentioned over the weekend that maybe some of Goldie's struggles were he was pulling off the ball a little bit. What have you seen from the workouts over the two days and leading up to tonight, and how do you feel about him going into tonight that he'll be able to pull himself out of the slump?

TOREY LOVULLO: Yeah, I feel he's that type of player that knows his body and doesn't get in his own way half the time. That's what an established major leaguer is able to do. He's able to address it right away. On day one, he didn't even hit it on the field. He was hitting off the tee. The most elementary thing you can talk about. He was spending time by himself, trying to iron out some things.

Yesterday he transitioned into a normalized BP, regular BP. I felt like the ball was jumping off his back, and I wouldn't have noticed anything. It was documented that he wasn't swinging the bat very well, but I'm very comfortable in saying that he spent as much time as he possibly could to make sure today was a very productive day.

Q. Last night you watched the Yankee game. The way they constructed their roster was they had CC and Gray behind Severino. Yet when Severino got knocked out of the first inning Girardi went straight for the bullpen. Do you have any idea all the starters that you have available for tonight, and who is going to do what in what situation say Zack took a line drive off a hand or something early on?

TOREY LOVULLO: I do. I have a couple different scenarios in my mind. I don't want to give up the strategy, so I'm not going to talk about it. But, first of all, what Joe did was amazing. He figured out the flow, the tempo, and the rhythm of the game. He probably was responsible for the outcome of that game. The players played, but he made a tremendous decision, and that's having a feel for the team and a feel for the guys. I'm going to let something like that guide me too. I paid attention to what these guys do when they perform, what they look like, how they act, and how they walk. It's just going to be a moment where I'm feeling the best situation out. Whatever I feel like that is, I'm going to go in that direction. But, yes, I have about three or four different strategies depending on what happens with Zack.

Q. I know you had talked over the past week about maybe having a bat off the bench like Christian Walker. I'm just curious what played into the decision to maybe go with Negron, and whether Marte's hamstring was a hamstring in that?

TOREY LOVULLO: A little bit, a tiny bit. But bottom line is we felt like Kris Negron was the best back-up shortstop, and that was a separator for us. He's a pretty good baseball player. I don't want to make it sound like he made the team by default playing shortstop. He can pinch-run, he can pinch-hit, he can execute the small part of the game. He can be a defensive baseman anywhere on the field. So there is a lot of value to have someone like that. He fit a lot of the criteria we were talking about as we were constructing some of our extra player thoughts.

And Christian Walker came in here and did a great job for us. We felt like he impacted the ball the right way. He did exactly what we hoped as a pinch-hitter, and that was a hard decision not to have him on the roster. It fell between him and a couple other guys. He was one of the last considerations, and I expressed that to him. I told him he made the decision very hard for us.

So moving forward, does it change? It could. He's going to make sure he's ready if we continue to advance. But we felt like there were other candidates who could fill their roles and be a little more versatile. That was a strong, strong criteria that I was following.

Q. Descalso, how much of that is experience and defense for him to be there?

TOREY LOVULLO: You know, I said it all year long, the heartbeat, not getting glossy-eyed. You know what you're going to get. I love that type of player on the field. He's played in World Series. He's had big at-bats. He's come off the bench, he's started. There is so much variety to what he does, and he does it well. I felt like defensively, more than reliable, more than reliable.

Offensively, you know exactly what you're going to get. He's going to give you a grinding, put my nose into this at-bat type of feeling. So, to me, it was a no-brainer for him to get the nod tonight.

Q. Given the scenarios you're talking about, do you ever overthink situations over the course of the game?

TOREY LOVULLO: You certainly have enough information that's floating around on a daily basis that could drive you down into the ground. There is no doubt about it. That's my job to separate it, get it, and make the decision. That's the part of the game that I enjoy. I enjoy pulling a lot of different thoughts together, and also soliciting information from coaches about what they're feeling.

Ultimately, it's my decision. So we swiftly move through those discussions in the game. We have pregame discussions about usage. So when something pops up, it hasn't caught us totally by surprise. You're right, it can be numbing at times, but it's part of the game that I enjoy where you have to think fast on your feet.

Q. Beyond the obvious, or maybe even within the obvious, what is the difference between good Fernando Rodney and maybe ineffective Fernando Rodney. I assume command is the main thing, but, if so, why. Why does he get sideways when he does?

TOREY LOVULLO: I think the outings that he's had where he hasn't had success, you just made point number one, it's about fastball command and maybe not getting to his most effective pitch, which is kind of a wipeout changeup. And that goes hand in hand with anybody's success.

There have been five or six times this year where he hasn't been perfect but to me it's a pretty ratio. I think he saved 39 games. It was a tremendous year for him. But if I had to highlight one thing that wasn't perfect on the day he didn't have success would be the fastball command and teams just waited him out.