Q. Rick Sutcliffe likes to tell a lot of Spring Training stories about you. I don't know how much baseball you talked, but did you ever talk about this possible matchup? Both teams had good squads back then and did that ever come up?BRUCE BOCHY: First of all, don't believe
Q. Rick Sutcliffe likes to tell a lot of Spring Training stories about you. I don't know how much baseball you talked, but did you ever talk about this possible matchup? Both teams had good squads back then and did that ever come up?
BRUCE BOCHY: First of all, don't believe all he says, trust me, and you know him well, so, but, yeah, I think a couple times it's come up to where this could happen. And the way September was going we had a chance to get here. Of course the Cubs knew they would be here, so I know he brought it up a couple times, especially the last time we came in here that there's a good chance we could see each other again.
Q. What's the chess match like when you're going up against a manager like Joe and just how big an impact can that have in a series like this?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, Joe's done a terrific job. He's very, very well prepared, he's not predictable, you just got to be ready for anything. I'll say the same against most managers, you don't want to get surprised by anything. But as far as matchups, he's going to get his matchups, he'll be ready for them. You have to be ready for yours. But it comes down to the players is how this will be determined. The pitching, the timely hitting and all that. It will come down to that. I think sometimes too much can be made of what we're doing as managers, but it's going to be really up to the players to go out there and play well.
Q. With the October roll you guys have been on since 2010, the World Series you won and for you and the players that were there for that stretch, is there ever a feeling that now you're playing on house money and does it become an advantage, do you think that you've had that success in the past?
BRUCE BOCHY: Oh, I think so. I think you have to look at how we got here. And the great thing about the game right now is it's all new now. You start from zero. We both have the same record. So it doesn't matter how you get here.
But even with that said, the fact that we are here and at this point I think you can look at it as you are playing with house money a little bit. I think that it may take a little pressure off, but and I don't think these guys need to take that off. I think they play better with it. I think we showed that the last two series. When we had a fight to get here. It's a good feeling to be here, despite all the struggles that we had the second half.
Q. Do you have your rotation set beyond Johnny?
BRUCE BOCHY: No.
Q. You don't?
BRUCE BOCHY: No, no, I will tomorrow. I'll have all that set for you. We're meeting as we speak and once I'm done here, we'll continue our meeting and I'll have it down for you.
Q. Do you know which way you might go with the lefty tomorrow Lester, whether Span might play or Kelby might play for Joe?
BRUCE BOCHY: Same thing. I usually talk to the players and we have discussed our options as far as the roster and everything and of course the lineup and it's been a long day. We had a tough travel day today between the bussing in New York and the bussing here and of course the plane flight. So we're getting all that straightened out now and within the next hour I'll have all that for you.
Q. Back to Joe Maddon, we've been talking about you, he said that it's always interesting when you manage against a cowboy. That he embraces that. Do you like that kind of cowboy connotation?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I think that as managers we look forward to managing against guys that we know do such a great job and will be so well prepared and it makes you stay on your toes and make sure that you're ready and you're prepared. So, especially going against such a good club and he's got a lot of weapons over there and it's up to me to have these guys ready and of course have my moves ready.
But, no, it's great of Joe to say that. We're friends and this will be a great matchup. Last series we played here, it was a great series. They came out on top, but it was good baseball, good tight ball games and a lot of moves were made and I'm sure this series is going to be similar. Both teams have really good pitching and play well.
Q. Guys talk a lot about at this time of year about keeping everything the same. Do you have any superstitions as a manager or did you have any as a player and have you heard of any crazy ones with the guys you played with or played for you?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I mean some guys are really superstitious, just what they wear, either it's to the park or what they put on for the game. I try to stay out of that because it will drive you nuts, it will. You start saying, oh, no, I forgot to do this. We have no chance to win today. So you try to stay away from those if you can, but I know a lot of players have their own, including what meal they have. Vogelsong, I forgot his meal. What was it spaghetti?
Q. Chicken enchiladas?
BRUCE BOCHY: Oh that. I was almost close.
(Laughter.) But anyway, that's the way some players are.
Q. Some pitchers seemingly elevate themselves in the post-season, you have a couple of those guys on your roster, is Jon Lester also that kind of pitcher, do you think?
BRUCE BOCHY: I think you definitely have to say that. He's been in post-season, he's pitched well in these games. So good players, they seem to perform better under pressure. That's what makes them good or great players. We think we have those type players here and the Cubs do too.
Q. Bullpen performance has become such a major component of post-season play in the last decade or so. Maybe longer than that. It's been an interesting year for both teams in that regard. Things seem to be going better lately and both teams are at full strength, how do you see that matchup right now?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, it's going to play a big part in every series, I think. It's kind of nice last night it didn't play a part in it, but these starters aren't going to go nine every game. And you have to have your guys down there that you believe in, and which we do. Our bullpen, I think it's really settled down and it has done a much better job here recently. I think when you look at the back end of our bullpen with Romo helping stabilize things and calming things down a little bit, it's kept guys in their roles and they have done a good job, the lefties and the righties, and that is more who we are. We don't have just one guy for a 7th or 8th or 9th, we do mix it up I think a bit more than most clubs and it's worked for us. Second half we had our struggles. But first half, I mean it couldn't have gone better. We have kind of gone back to that.
Q. How do you look at momentum in a playoff series, having lived through the 1984 series that you played on and you saw what happened in San Diego momentum wise. Can a crowd, can a series of different events change a series or is it that pitcher that day?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I really believe that it's a pitcher that really sets that momentum. But it can play such a heavy role, I think, with your club and I look at our club and look at the struggles that we had the second half and believe me, we were trying a lot of things and then we go into the last home stand and we played very well. And we sweep the Dodgers to get here. Now that's pretty good momentum.
Now we go into a Wild Card game feeling pretty good about ourselves again and of course Bumgarner, the job he did, now that gives you momentum, I guess, when your pitcher goes out and throws like that. But I do think that it does play a critical role in your team's success, because if they believe, then that's all that matters. And if they have any doubt or self doubt, then that will creep in with any struggles that you have. And that's what you need to stay away from.
Q. What does it say about your rotation when you use Bumgarner in the Wild Card game but you still have Cueto for Game 1 of a division series? And are you -- I imagine you are much more comfortable with the depth of this rotation than you were the last time you were in the post-season when Bumgarner was almost like a one man show?
BRUCE BOCHY: No question. I think you look at Johnny and Bum, they're both number ones. We would be comfortable with them in any game. So the fact that we used our guy to get here and that we have Johnny, sure, that's a nice luxury and I like the way the rest of them are throwing. I think Jeff's been throwing the ball well, Moore's been throwing the ball well, so it's nice to have a rotation with this depth. And that's our strength. They're the guys that really are the biggest reason why we are here, because of our starting pitching.
And the Cubs, you look at their starting pitching, it's pretty remarkable what they have done and the numbers that those guys have put up. That's usually the case with teams that get to this position. If you look at their starters, they're usually pretty good.
Q. What are some of the biggest challenges your club will face in this series against the Cubs?
BRUCE BOCHY: I think like any challenge, when you're in the Postseason, you face good pitching, you got to find a way to score against good pitching. You gotta pitch well, you're facing a good lineup, they're very balanced. And really besides that, that's the biggest challenge. We feel we'll catch the ball, we'll play well, the moment won't bother these guys, but still, you have to go out there and find a way to get runs.
You saw a great game yesterday. We faced some stuff that you don't see very often. I mean, 99 and guys throwing a 93 mile an hour slider and a great changeup, but your guy's got to go out there and give you a chance and that's what happened.
Q. Do you have an update on Nunez?
BRUCE BOCHY: We're going to try to get a little workout out of him now to kind of see where we're at and we'll have to make that determination here by 10 o'clock tomorrow. Can he start tomorrow? No. But it's a five-game series, if we think he can help coming off the bench, maybe start the back end of this series then we probably would activate him.
Q. As you mentioned, all four games in the series here a month ago were one-run games. But the team batting average was like .105 in that series, the offense really was kind of at a low point. What do you feel about your offense overall and do you feel you're in a better place than maybe were you a month ago and if so, why?
BRUCE BOCHY: Oh, I do. Well, I think you have to look at the last five or six games that this team is finding ways to score runs. We're getting a timely hit. It's not just one guy. I think you look at certain guys in the lineup and I mean Connor stepped up, helped us with Nun-y went down, but we have some guys that are swinging the bat better. The numbers show that.
Our biggest struggle after the All-Star break really is because a lot of guys just went in a slump at the same time and you go in and if you think like that and they start putting pressure on themselves. But then we had a little success that last home stand and I think they're getting better swings off, better AB's, and they're drawing their walks and getting back to who they are.
Q. A pitcher like Madison Bumgarner performs well in big games, there are also good pitchers who don't have a good track record in the Postseason. Is that mostly sample size or are some guys just simply not wired to perform under the big stage?
BRUCE BOCHY: I think that it could be a little bit of both. I do. I mean, some guys feel the pressure, I think, a bit more than others. In this game you have to have the talent, but you also have to have that emotional control, that performing under pressure, and that's what the good ones have, the great ones have, and some guys put a little too much pressure on themselves. I think they try to carry the load a little bit too much. And not just pitchers, but position players. And they get out of who they are. But for the most part your great ones, they play better.