Q. Seemed like it was clear just that one inning got to Keuchel. What do you think was the issue there and what was so critical about him getting out of the inning in terms of moving forward?A.J. HINCH: Well, I don't know if it was an issue as much as
Q. Seemed like it was clear just that one inning got to Keuchel. What do you think was the issue there and what was so critical about him getting out of the inning in terms of moving forward?
A.J. HINCH: Well, I don't know if it was an issue as much as it was just they put some good at-bats together and put him in some stressful situations right from the beginning. Young hits the double which is standard operation in this ballpark when's playing at home, and then the walk, and then he had to pitch through a lot of mess and got a couple punch-outs. Then they came up with the big ground ball base hit. So they made him work. He threw 30-plus pitches. But him being able to control that inning is really the definition of the game, or it was a difference in the game, because if he gets out of control there or the moment beats him, it's a completely different game. So after that, he bounced back and was in complete control the next couple innings with very low pitch counts and very much in the attack mentality. So it was a good outing for him.
Q. You guys went both games 8-2. 16 runs, 24 hits. And it's not just Jose Altuve. It's Springer and Correa, one through nine. Are we really seeing one of the best hitting team in baseball continue this in the playoffs?
A.J. HINCH: We're judged over 162 to get to this point, and we put up some pretty good numbers. We have a number of guys that have contributed. So obviously you're seeing what's possible when we link things together and the hitters start to feed off of one another. We have a lot of guys that are putting up really good at-bats. So where it fits in the whole spectrum is up to you guys, but we're pretty confident that when we put good at-bats together, we're going to score runs from a couple different spots of the order. Altuve still had a pretty good day. Four times on base. But other guys in our lineup are here to hit, too. It's nice to have that many threats throughout the order any given day.
Q. Would you talk about two things, one being up 2-0, the importance of that have, taking care of business here? The other thing is, since you guys came back from Tampa, it feels like just everything has clicked. I know a lot of stuff was going on. Would you just talk about all the stuff that's happened to the team since then.
A.J. HINCH: Yeah, well, as far as being up 2-0, it's just what we have done so far to play two games. It hasn't gotten us anywhere yet other than in a good position moving into Game 3. We won't take anything for granted. This is a team that's very, very laser focused on winning the series. You don't win the series with two wins, you win it with three. So our guys will have an off-day tomorrow, we'll workout at Fenway, and then we'll have the game on Sunday and try to close it out as fast as possible. That's the goal. As far as the other stuff, this has been a team that's gotten some energy and played very, very well since that return from that relocated series. Some of that is due to getting healthy and seeing what's possible at the end of the season. Some of it is the acquisitions that we made that gave a boost to that clubhouse. Some of it is simply our main goal is to win the World Series. And once we could start to focus on that in September, and we got to clinch the division at home, things have really clicked for us. So pinpointing it on one thing is probably unfair because of how much has happened. But I'm proud of our approach and proud of how we're handling it.
Q. With that said, can you talk about how everything kind of comes together. You talk about being healthy, the acquisitions, and if it gives you a bit of, while you're energetic, a bit of, like, calmness as you move forward to try to close this thing out?
A.J. HINCH: Yeah, we're a confident group. That goes without saying. Because of the attention to detail that we have, the preparation we have gone through, the attention to detail the work that these guys have put in, have really set us up to be very confident. We put a lot of wins on the board which brings confidence. We got guys with big numbers. It brings confidence then the more momentum you can get, whether you believe in it or not, it's real in that room. These guys believe we can't wait to get to the next game. We have an off-day tomorrow, we'll welcome that, but I'm sure most of these guys would just as soon play tomorrow just because of the energy that's created when you get a couple wins like this and you see that can you win a series. I think the mentality of our team won't change and we won't take anything for granted, like I said, because it's only two games.
Q. You haven't had to use Morton or Peacock or McCullers yet. Have you decided on a Game 3 starter?
A.J. HINCH: Peacock's going to start Game 3, Morton is going to start Game 4, if there is one.
Q. What did you think about the scenario where they intentionally walk Altuve to get to Correa, and he obviously comes through like he expects to do?
A.J. HINCH: Yeah, that's one of the dangers in our lineup is you got to pick which guy to go after, and sometimes you're right, sometimes you're not. It puts the other manager in a tough spot. I've learned quickly to manage your own team, don't manage the way the other guy would manage. It worked out the first time when he walked Altuve and Carlos got out, and then the next time Carlos got a good pitch to hit and comes through. Obviously it puts a ton of pressure on a lot of different people, some of it the pressure's on their own pitcher that leaves him no room for error and Carlos made him pay the second time.
Q. Did you feel like maybe Dallas was a little too wired, had a little too much adrenaline, and after the second, it was vintage Dallas?
A.J. HINCH: I don't. I don't think he was too wired. I think he was in duress from the very beginning. Lead-off double and then the walk and then there's action. It was just it's a good team across the way, so they're going to put pressure on him when they have an opportunity. The walk was a little uncharacteristic when he's usually locked in, but then he got the ball on the ground. Bradley hit the ball well placed up the middle, and they were able to do some things. But he collected himself and did a good job of getting a couple punch-outs against the top of the order, which Bogaerts and Pedroia are really tough guys, especially against left-handed pitching. So he didn't unravel, which is the biggest moments of the game were really at the beginning of the game.
Q. Two questions, why Peacock, and is Morton a hundred percent not available for Game 3?
A.J. HINCH: Peacock's really good, that's why Peacock. He's had an exceptional season as a starter. He's filled a couple different roles and he's earned this start. I think his effectiveness his calmness, his ability to throw strikes, he's got real weapons. He gets a ton of swing and miss. So his season speaks for itself, which is why we would turn to him in Game 3. Whether Morton is available or not in Game 3, I guess we'll find out.
Q. That sixth inning, they intentionally walk Altuve, Correa has a double, Gattis, on and on, what's that like from a manager's perspective where you almost can't keep up with it? The hits keep coming and the crowd's getting into it and it's almost peak Astros baseball out there.
A.J. HINCH: Well, crowd was the loudest I've heard on the Gattis double. There was a lot going on there and they were into it before the pitch, and then Gattis delivers with a bullet off the fence. So as a manager you're sort of removed from all of the emotion of the moment and the energy that's created in the building. Obviously it's we're moving things left and right and trying to make sure that we're on top of things, but there is a moment where you can enjoy your players stepping up and delivering. Obviously Correa's double, we're at the top step as soon as we get back to our seats or where we stand for the next batter, and Gattis kind of delivers the knockout punch of the day. There was still some stress later in the game, but we took control of the game in that particular inning and never looked back.