Q. You waited a long time to figure out who you were going to play. Now that you know, what's your reaction to facing the Giants?
JOE MADDON: They're good.
(Laughter.) I was looking at the record, I didn't even realize it was brought up in our meetings that the last time we played them those were all one run games. That's kind of interesting. It seemed like we had just played them in San Francisco but that was in May. I just couldn't remember going across the street to Morton's for a steak dinner that night and that was already May. That happened so quickly.
They're good. They know how to do this. A ton of respect for Bochy I known Bochy for a long time. You could see how well they reacted to last night. Bumgarner not only him, though, the entire group. They just know how to do this. They're formidable and it should be interesting.
Q. When you're going up against a manager like Bochy, what's that chess match like and can you describe how on your toes you have to be?
JOE MADDON: Well, I honestly don't think it's like any other night. I really don't. You just have to try to figure out what you want to do primarily and just know that they're going to have a lot of bullpen availability and that he's going to be on top of all that. So, the situations like this, a lot of times it's the reverse kind of guys that can be beneficial. In other words, the righty that's better against a left hitter, lefty hits better against the righty. You have to recognize those moments, but just know he's a cowboy and he'll do anything and when you're managing against a cowboy it's always interesting.
Q. Hot team or best team, does it really apply when you get to this point? Obviously you guys have been the best team all year. What's your thoughts on that?
JOE MADDON: It really is, I think, about who plays the game better at this particular moment. By being the best team during the course of the season permitted us to win a division and skip that crazy game last night. That's what it permits you to do. In a way, obviously, it permits you to rest, whereas when you're in that scramble to get there, you have to really push some guys. You don't know how that's going to play out when it comes over the next week or hopefully the next couple weeks where teams that had been extended, players that had been extended, I always think about relief pitchers in those moments. Those guys it's tough for them sometimes to be really pushed this hard to this point of the season. Players, again, if you're able to give guys rest, it should be beneficial, if not, if you have to push them, then again it can show upright now.
However, the difference is like for instance we played two games, then off two games, possibly a day off, so the days off right now do help guys gather a little bit.
So, it just is who is playing the game better right now. The body of work during the season, normally it indicates that you had a pretty complete team, you played well, you get to this point where you don't have to worry about the one game Wild Card game. But otherwise, man, it's pretty even at this point. I've been on the Wild Card team that's won a World Series, was on a Wild Card team last year that got really close. So it's really about right now.
Q. To follow-up what you said, history hasn't been really kind to teams with the best record or hundred-win teams now since the advent of the Wild Card and yet Wild Card teams have done so well. Can you figure out why?
JOE MADDON: Well, everybody's pretty good right now. It doesn't matter if you won the division or not. If you're a Wild Card team, everybody's pretty good. I don't know, sometimes maybe, this is just conjecture, I don't know anything, it's just the fact that you worked so hard to get to that point you get to kind of exhale, meaning like the Wild Card team and then you just let it fly. You almost feel like you're playing with house money a little bit, so you just let it go.
I know talking about the Angels back in the day, that was a real group that had just went out there and played and played it hard. I think the Giants are kind of like that. We were like that last year.
So I don't know, I mean it's just, you know what you read all the different conjecture again about getting to this particular moment, but it's about Friday night and how we react and how we, how Johnny pitches tomorrow night, we catch the ball, have good at-bats, it's who plays the better game of baseball tomorrow night. I always believed that.
So regardless of the success of Wild Card groups or not, the non-success of groups that have had the best record or not, it doesn't really matter. It's about tomorrow night and how we react to it and that's why we're sitting down going over the scouting information and really concerned about the Giants, but I'm more concerned about us. It's about how we play, how we react to the moment, how we execute our pitches or play defense or how we react in the batters box. So I think so much is made of who you're playing and the other side and that's wonderful but it's more about how you react at the moment. So the last couple days I've been more concerned about talking to our guys about us the last couple days. And as little about the other side as possible.
Q. For those of us who just rolled in on the bandwagon here, could you tell us why you chose the pitching order the way you did with Lester, Hendricks, Arrieta as opposed to the other way around?
JOE MADDON: Well, obviously Jonny's been doing really well and not that Jake hasn't, but Jonny's been on a real significant roll. There's a component of meritocracy involved I think, the fact that he's earned the right to be this guy. Plus looking at their team the Giant's right now, they're very heavily left-handed. Now, they could choose to do different things tomorrow, that's up to them. But we would have done it regardless.
And also the Mets are really good left-handed too. So it came down to the point that Jon, I'm not going to try to give you any kind of coy remarks. Jon deserved it. And then on top of that the matchup's really good.
Beyond that, Kyle is has knocked it dead at home here also. Both these guys have pitched really well and I've said it before, among all the guys Jake and John Lackey on the road, Lackey's numbers aren't overwhelming on the road but John Lackey has been in those particular moments before and I know it doesn't bother him where he's pitching, how big the ballpark is, whether he's throwing in or out, John's going to be John. So we thought based on those simple factors it was wise to go this direction. Actually as it turned out, like you said, Lester versus the Giants or the Mets would have been a nice first game matchup.
Q. How remarkable is this run the Giants have been on in the post-season, I think the record's 35-14, won 11 straight rounds and do you see them as playing on house money in this series?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, I think they have done it as a Wild Card before, haven't they won the won the World Series? Twice. So there there you go. Like I said, you look at their team and look at -- watch how they play, and I don't see one scared bone in anybody's body, they're just out there playing the game of baseball, trying to play it right. They are among all the groups left they're as old school as it gets regarding how they structure things, put things together, I don't know that sabermetrically they're even concerned about that. They just try to put the best baseball players out there as possible. I worked against the Giants for years. I know a lot of the people involved, I know how they put it together. So, I get it. And I think that this time of the year numbers are kind of cool, but it really comes down to individuals and players and heartbeats and things like that at that and I think they got all of that. That's why they have been so successful and purely simply that's it. I have a lot of respect for them and their coaching staff. Ronny and I go way back also, I know all these guys. They're good. They're really good at what they do. And they have a nice simple basic approach and they're at the end of the day, man, they're not afraid, to me that's the number one requirement.
Q. Before the All-Star break when the fatigue showed up you explained how it showed up. Now you're in the opposite situation you had a lot of rest. How does that show up? Is it laser focus 120 pitch counts, you're able to?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, we're going to find out. I thought we handled the last couple days well. The rain kind of put a little no pun intended damper on the situation tonight. Maybe it was intended, I just thought of it. So I think that our guys have done a really good job. We took Monday off Tuesday nice sim game was crispy, everything was cool, and then yesterday again they came out, we did some really nice work defensively, there's a great intention, attention to detail, what else could I possible ask for? There's no other way to prepare, you can't just bring the Washington Generals in and all of a sudden have a game for a couple days. You would love to be able to do that but that's not available to you. You could if there was an instructional league right down the street, which is something we did in Tampa, but all that stuff is not available. So you do the best you can.
And I'm really pleased with the way our guys have gone about their business, they have been wonderful. So tomorrow I want to be absolutely just like any other day of the year. We'll do our regular meetings at the regular times, batting practice will be optional, if they don't want to hit on the field they don't have to.
I would say that when you go into this particular moment I've always preached sameness and I think you're going to see that. Obviously there's a probably a little bit less patience when it comes to maybe doing something with the pitching during the course of the game, whether you have to pinch hit a little bit earlier, the using of the bullpen and in the latter part of the game can vary. Those are the variables I think at this time of the year compared to regular season. Otherwise, you see a lot of the same lineups, the way we set things up prior to this should be very similar.
Q. What do you say about they're rotation, obviously yours is very deep, but Bumgarner was used yesterday and now they still have Cueto able to go and they actually brought in three guys who weren't even around last year with Moore and is ^ March gentleman. What do you say about their rotation?
JOE MADDON: It's good. Look at Cueto's numbers it's outstanding what he's done. We have seen him a lot in the past and a lot of our guys have in this division, more than I have in the past, but he's really good. And he's got such a variety of things that he does and it's kind of probably the latter day Luis Tiant. I mean, what he's able to do, body control and different kind of pitches and command them all. So he's got that going on. Samardzija I have not seen as much, but I know he's been pitching well. Matty Mo, I actually worked with Matt and I know all about him and what he's capable of doing and then of course Bumgarner is going to be moved back to the third game, which that's the point of the Wild Card game, you hope to gain an edge by the fact that the teams have to use their best pitcher possible in that game, whereas then they could throw Cueto out the next day and anybody would like to say that Cueto was their number two starter, that's not bad. So they're good. Their bullpen is right and left-handed and they can like again Bochy is going to match it up and they're able to do those kind of things. They're thick. Very thick.
The part about it that's going to be interesting to find out exactly how they're going to construct their lineup, if they're going to have their lefties play against our lefties that kind of thing we'll have to wait and find out.
Q. When you acquired Aroldis before the deadline we talked about how it was kind of set up almost like a three closer bullpen and then Hector got hurt, Pedro got hurt and by the time everybody got back to throwing you had already clinched, in some respects you haven't really seen much of that bullpen in high leverage, high leveraged games and high leverage part of the season. So how do you feel about that group?
JOE MADDON: Great point. You're right. I don't know. We choreographed the bullpen the last week or ten days because you just don't know if those situations were going to arise to give these guys a regular work. Meaning Strop and Rondon, so we had to put them out. Obviously they weren't put out there in normal situations for them. And everybody knows that the high leverage bullpen dudes, they like that moment. They want that adrenaline flow. So, maybe we didn't see them as well as we could possibly see them in those moments. However, they're still going to be put in those moments now, we're going to find out.
My point that I was making a moment ago is he may have to be less patient with that moment. In other words, you might have to have somebody backing them up even from the first pitch they throw in a particular inning because you just don't know. They haven't had that normal level work. When it first happened it was like bullpen utopia, let's check this out, let's run them out there. It's one of those situations you don't care if there's right or left-handed hitters coming up, you feel they're very neutral, they get both sides out well and that was kind of a comforting thought from the bullpen perspective. But we didn't get a chance to really run through that.
So, you're right, that is that's an unknown right now. I've a lot of confidence and faith in these guys, but we got to get them out there and have them do that and that's going to be interesting.
Q. The way that you utilized three catchers on your roster for much of the season, what do you think the pay off has been to your club and how can having three catchers on your roster be a benefit in the post-season?
JOE MADDON: Well, I think the primary benefit is that none of the catchers are tired. The fact that they have all been able to work out, I also believe if we want to talk about Wilson Contreras specifically, he's definitely not fatigued. This is a young man that has not played this deeply into the year with these kind of ramifications, so both physically and mentally I think necessary pretty good shape.
The matchup component where they have had kind of personalized catchers, of course David and Jon have been outstanding together, and that just speaks to Jon Lester being the Cy Young award conversation, and that's a lot of it has to do with the marriage between those two guys. The work that Jake and Miggy have done has been outstanding, and then more recently Kyle and Contreras. So I think there's a lot of matchup components to that, there's a lot of comfort regarding pitcher catcher relationships. It's unusual. I've been on teams they don't like any of their catchers. And now you like three. So, it's kind of neat that you have all of this going on and the matchup is there and there's the comfort component of it and there's real familiarity between the two that speaks to almost this ESPN between the two of them that they're able to really think what the other guy is thinking and so it is kind of unusual. It's absolutely unusual. But you're going to see a lot of it continue.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you.