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Oct. 7 Clint Hurdle NL Wild Card interview

Q. Clint, why is Sean's glove more important than Pedro's bat to start this game?

CLINT HURDLE: Did anybody win the lineup pool? I've got one. I like the fact that there are only three of us thinking the same way. That means maybe you watched every inning of every game this year, as I did.

Really it's late baseball like this, fall baseball, it's all about pitching and defense for me. We're putting our best pitcher on the mound, want to put our best defensive team behind him and find a way to scratch out one more run than the other team.

There are some things in your control. From a managerial position, these games, there are some things that are out of your control. Once you send that lineup out there, they're out there. I wanted to make sure we gave Gerrit every opportunity to have the best defensive metrics behind him.

Q. You speak of defensive metrics. Is there a concern that Sean Rodriguez didn't play all that much first base in the last month of the season though?

CLINT HURDLE: No, it was kind of like yesterday. I think I got asked a question, I wasn't quick enough to have a better answer. But our catcher that's on the roster while he has no Major League catching experience, that's better than somebody who has no catching experience going in and having to back him up in a game of this magnitude. So I don't have any concerns along those lines, no.

Q. With Pedro and A-Ram both on the bench for this game, how does that affect what you plan to do offensively when you attack Arrieta?

CLINT HURDLE: I think it's great that you guys are going to be here to watch the game and see how we go about it. I do think we want to try to be athletic.

As I said before, I'm sure you guys looked into some numbers. We don't have a lot of good, hard numbers. Those two men in particular have had some challenges against this guy. So you want to hope on guys getting hits and then hoping that maybe not a lot of balls are hit to him. I mean, all depends on how want to look at it.

So as I said yesterday, we're going to try to be athletic and try to get some people to do some different things.

Q. I'm wondering, as you built a culture here of winning and have gotten here now three years in a row, what kind of asset a player like Neil Walker has been with his ties to the city, and also his experience with the team before this winning started?

CLINT HURDLE: Neil has helped along the way, being a No. 1 pick, being part of the core group that was in place here when I came in. It was actually the group of men that I watched play in 2010 when I was with Texas. He's added value in the lineup. He's added defensive dependability and stability. Been able to hit him in a number of different spots for some offensive versatility, whether it be protect people, get on base in front of people. So he feels, obviously, a different vibe to this whole thing, I imagine, than anybody else we have, which it might help at times, and maybe too can be a burden at times. I don't know, but he seems to have handled himself very professionally through it all.

Q. I know you've mentioned in the past that you don't agonize over decisions. But was this an easy decision for you to start?

CLINT HURDLE: Over Alvarez? You know, you're always interesting with your questions. No, it wasn't easy, and no, I didn't agonize.

Q. With a guy like Sean, who has never faced Arrieta, could that almost be a positive at this point just to try somebody different that hasn't seen him before?

CLINT HURDLE: We're going to find out. We're going to find out. I've got a whole bunch of guys that have seen a lot of him.

Q. It has been statistically proven that there really is no such thing as clutch. Do you believe that or do you think there are certain players who are more predisposed to slow things down and come through when it matters?

CLINT HURDLE: You just told me there's no such thing. But I'm trying to work on my kids still putting teeth underneath their pillows, so you're kind of calling me out here. I do think there are men that can slow the game down and find ways to produce and meet the demands of the game at significant times.

Where from my experience, there's been times the game sped up on me, and there have been times where I've handled the game and gotten it to slow down, so whether that's clutch or not, I don't know. It may all be about terminology. But I do know there are men that I've worked with from a coaching standpoint that have shown the ability to do far more impactful things than many other men in those specific times.

Q. Did Alvarez expect to start? How would you categorize whenever you delivered the news to him that he wasn't going to?

CLINT HURDLE: I don't know that. That would be a question for Pedro. As I've done with Pedro or anybody else when I've made a decision along this stuff, I call them in the office and I tell them. I look them in the face and tell them respectfully what my thoughts were. We're trying to win one game to move on, and that's what I told the men involved. We're trying to win one game to move on. Having that opportunity to move on, the volume of opportunities for everybody would change.

Q. We heard yesterday that Jung Ho is going to be involved in the pregame ceremony. Is it important to you as long as he's healthy enough and mobile enough to do it that he's involved with this team into the postseason?

CLINT HURDLE: Yeah, yeah. I was at least asked about it, and I was all for it.

Q. Under what circumstances might you use Liriano in the game tonight, and does having Happ pitching as well as he's pitching make it easier to have him as your back-up guy today?

CLINT HURDLE: Well, the one thing we try to really do about our club is we do what we believe we need to do. This was a big get for Frank because everybody thinks it's the easiest thing in the world for starting pitchers to run out in the bullpen and pick up starting innings and some men aren't cut from the cloth. I've known some personally. When they've been asked, yeah, I'll do it. But I've never done it.

So, yeah, right there, do you want to bet on that guy? Frankie was good with it. Wanted to do it. It's his day to pitch. He's pitched more innings than he has, I believe it's closer to being on turn. If our pitcher would get hit with a line drive in the first inning, something out of our control that would cause Cole to leave the game very early, that would be one opportunity for Frank to become involved, or if the game played on late into the night and you're looking for a pitcher to turn things around, get to the pitcher's spot and pitch, that could be another opportunity.

Q. What have you seen from Keon Broxton to give him the opportunity to at least be available for you tonight?

CLINT HURDLE: We've seen him maximize leads, get good breaks, do a very good job of getting the information that he needs in a very small volume of work. Fearless. Really happy with what he's done and the way he's accepted this role and responsibility. He can be impactful. He's by far and away in our minds our best base stealer in our organization. So to have that option, it could prove to be very pivotal for us.

Q. How important has it been for Josh to provide the kind of offense that he has the last month or so now that he's healthy again and back to 100%?

CLINT HURDLE: Josh brings a different vibe to our game. He brings a different vibe to our lineup, defensively and offensively. It was good to see him continue to work through some of the challenges he's had this year both physically and professionally from start until now, and respond so very, very well late in the season to have the strong finish that he did. He's in a very good place.