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Oct. 5 Terry Collins pregame interview

October 5, 2016

Q. Terry, when you're making out the lineup today, this lineup has really come together. You have a deep lineup right now, but only three of the guys are guys that were on the team Opening Day. Is there a moment when you make up that card and kind of

Q. Terry, when you're making out the lineup today, this lineup has really come together. You have a deep lineup right now, but only three of the guys are guys that were on the team Opening Day. Is there a moment when you make up that card and kind of take a step back and almost in disbelief as to the fact that this is the lineup and this is where you are and it's a pretty good lineup?

TERRY COLLINS: Well, that's what we've been seeing all along. We talked before about there have been a lot of nights I looked out on the field and saw one guy who was in the opening-day lineup at one time or one guy or two guys that were actually in the World Series with us last year, and that's why I'm so proud of these guys because this isn't a lineup that we came into Spring Training and said, boy, this is a good-looking lineup. And Sandy has done a tremendous job of adding the pieces. As guys were going down, we kept adding guys that could help us through. And we were looking at the job that James Loney has done, René Rivera has done, José Reyes has done. It's just been a phenomenal job of putting those pieces on the field.
When Neil went down, we brought up T.J. Rivera, and thought well, we'll back him up. We'll play Flores, and Kelly Johnson at second, and Flo goes down, and T.J. Rivera is now playing in a Wild Card game. So it's truly been amazing.
Q. What went into that decision, by the way, to start Loney tonight and keep Duda off the Wild Card roster?

TERRY COLLINS: One game, left-handed pitcher who is very dominant. Thought we'd play a guy that is certainly an outstanding defender for us, saved a lot of runs for us. I don't care what anybody says. Left or right, he's not easy to hit, so I thought I'd go with a guy who at least has played 100 games, instead of someone who has ten at-bats.
And I talked to Lucas about it. I know he worked very, very hard to get back and get ready, but this is an awful big challenge tonight for a guy that's just been back for ten days. So I went with James.
Q. A lot has been made of the pitches that have come up, and rightfully so. But when you look at your bullpen, what you have at the end of a game in a duo of Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia, can you talk specifically about Reed and what he's done to get you here?

TERRY COLLINS: Well, we went into Spring Training certainly with one thought in mind. That was we had to find somebody to help bridge the 7th inning to the 9th inning. Addison Reed last year came when he got him, pitched the 7th inning. We said, okay, going in we'll see how he works in pitching the 8th inning, he's been absolutely brilliant. As good as anything you could possibly want. Gets lefties out, gets righties out. Moves the ball around in the strike zone, commands the fastball, commands the slider. He's been more than we certainly could have thought of, and we are very, very lucky to have both those guys.
But as I've said before, there are a lot of nights when you look up and Addison Reed gets out 3, 4, and 5 in the lineup in the 8th inning, the knee of the lineup. So we're really fortunate that he's had that kind of year.
Q. Fans are really excited about tonight. Can you just talk about the appreciation you have for this game and this match-up?

TERRY COLLINS: This is the first time I've been involved, and that's where I was asked the other day what I think of the Wild Card, and this is exactly what you would hope. The energy it's created in town. I went through my daily routine this morning of going to read the paper and have a cup of coffee, and had ten people come up and say something they never have before because they're excited about tonight, and they should be. It's a great baseball match-up. This is two of the best pitchers in the game going head-to-head.
So it's going to be really fun, win or lose, and don't have to worry about it. Hey, let's set up and maybe we have another chance tomorrow. Nobody has another chance to get beat tonight.
So we're very fortunate to be here. We're happy to be here. We're excited our guys are fired up and it's going to be a good game.
Q. What role might Kelly have in a game like this? And would that be more valuable to have him off the bench with a home run?

TERRY COLLINS: We are a team where we're not like Giants where we're going to pinch-hit for anybody. So one thing Ty Kelly brings is a guy late in the game, and I've seen it in a the past with different guys I've had, where you can lead off with Ty Kelly in the ninth inning and he can get on for you.
He's done a great job of when he goes to the home plate of putting together a very good at-bat. He can get a walk. Yeah, the chances of hitting a home, not as much as Lucas Duda, but certainly he brings something to the table. Plus, we're a team that double-switches because we want to maybe get an inning and a third out of our relievers. So he gives us versatility where Lucas is limited to one spot.
So we just thought he was a guy with being a switch hitter. We don't have a lot of right-handed thump off the bench, so it really didn't matter where we were going to find it, because you know with their bullpen if Lucas Duda comes up, he's going to face a lefty. I know that. I know that's how Boch does it. So we thought it would be better to have a guy who has versatility, switch hitter, who gives you options.
Q. Is Josh Edgin more of a lefty specialist, and is that probably the reason why?

TERRY COLLINS: You don't know until the game goes on how you're going to use guys. You really don't. You could have six left-handed hitters. We're going to need another left-handed pitcher. You know, I see a guy in their lineup that might hit for, so, yeah, he's going to have to get a left-handed hitter out. And I don't know where it's going to be or who it's going to be. Yeah, I think so.
Q. You just mentioned a moment ago about right-handed thump. Specifically what role do you think Cespedes plays tonight considering he is in a slump? Are you worried about him not having much momentum coming into this game?

TERRY COLLINS: I am a little bit. But as I said before, when we got him back in the series against the Giants, he hadn't played in two weeks, and you would have thought he was red hot going in the way he played. He is so good. He, for me, is a guy who he knows what he's facing tonight and can flip it on. We need him to do that tonight.
Q. You've got some surprises in your lineup, some people you didn't think would be here. But having those four guys on top with their veteran experience in this kind of game, what does that mean?

TERRY COLLINS: Well, they're really a huge piece of why we're here. The job they did down the stretch of those four guys getting on base with Grandy getting hot, and even though Cespedes, some nights he was hitting homers and the next thing you know Grandy was hitting homers, and Jay Bruce got hot, so we think the top of our lineup, which everybody does, is very, very valuable. So we didn't want to mess with it. Do they play too well within that line? We certainly thought about maybe moving Cabrera around again like we talked about one other time, and I said they've been getting on too much. We've got to leave it alone.
But they've been truly, truly one of the reasons why we're here.
Q. When you look at Bumgarner's numbers and postseason, World Series, what he's done against you guys, how do you prepare for the guy? What do you look for? There's got to be some weaknesses you can exploit. What are you looking at doing? Is?

TERRY COLLINS: Well, we know one thing. We've watched enough tape in the last two days, he throws the ball, he challenges people. So you're going to get a ball to hit. You better hit it. You fouled it off, you swing and miss it, you're in trouble because now you're going to allow him to expand the strike zone. He's very difficult to hit. You can't chase. You've got to make sure he throws balls and strikes, which he will do.
Once he gets ahead, he's smart enough and good enough that he can move the ball out of the zone and you're not going to get something you can handle. So we've got to be aggressive and yet get strikes to handle because he's going to throw you something to hit.
I tell you, a lot of people think this guy is not afraid of anybody. I don't think he's going to pitch around people. I think he's going to come after you. That's his whole nature, and that's what makes him so good. So we've got to be ready for him to come after us.
Q. Obviously you focus on tonight and winning tonight. But having back-to-back years, you talked about people coming up to you. I'm just wondering whether after chasing after the postseason for such a long time and in back-to-back years, have you come to think of your career and your managerial career differently?

TERRY COLLINS: No. No, I've been blessed by having great players everywhere I've been. I've had All-Stars, I've had MVPs, I've had Cy Young Award winners, batting titles. I'm very lucky to have the talent around me.
This game has never been about me. It's been about trying to get my players ready to play. Trying to get them excited. Trying to keep them up. Trying to keep them happy, put a smile on their face and go play the game the right way. That's all I've ever cared about.
So I look back on what my managerial career has been about, and I've been really, really lucky to be in the spots I've been in. Because I've had one of the best compliments paid to me by manager. They said when we play your team, we know we're in a battle. And I hope the Giants find that out tonight.
Q. Considering you went through it a little bit last year, can you feel for Buck Showalter today, the second-guessing? And whether you agree or not, is it easier to handle the bullpen now as far as being on the home side for you?

TERRY COLLINS: Yeah, Buck's in a tough spot. And I've been -- certainly, I didn't watch that much to see the ending of the game. But I know that he's in a situation where does he save his closer if he gets the lead? If he uses him in the 10th, he's liable to get out of a jam and the game goes 13, they finally score, who is he going to run out there? And then he's going to be criticized for using his closer in a tie game.
You know, it's just the nature of the game. He's one of the best if not the best in baseball, in my opinion, of running a game. So I feel bad he's being heavily criticized because he knows what he's doing. Hopefully tonight I can give the ball to Jeurys Familia with a one- or two- or three- or four-run lead and not have to face that.
Q. You mentioned a particular player earlier in T.J. Rivera. Anything in particular, have you spoken to him with regards to how experiencing playoff baseball, this game in particular?

TERRY COLLINS: No, I haven't talked to him yet. I talked to him yesterday just to tell him he's going to play. Went around and talked to everybody. But as we walked around BP, one thing I tried to do is let them know it's just another game. Even though there are big ramifications, just go play his game. One thing you worry about with a guy named T.J. is what he's done. I always go by the theory, what got you here will keep you here, so go be the same guy.