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Oct. 7 Dave Roberts postgame interview

October 7, 2016

Q. Obviously you guys have kind of used this formula in the regular season, relying heavily on the bullpen; how encouraging was it to see that work in a playoff game?DAVE ROBERTS: It was great. And that's sort of been our formula all year long, and you know, getting big

Q. Obviously you guys have kind of used this formula in the regular season, relying heavily on the bullpen; how encouraging was it to see that work in a playoff game?
DAVE ROBERTS: It was great. And that's sort of been our formula all year long, and you know, getting big outs. And you know, obviously tonight was not the start we had envisioned for Clayton, but for Joe to come in, Grant, Pedy, and obviously Kenley numerous times has had one plus innings, so that five-out save right there was big.

The thing I feel really good about is it's what we've done all year long, so those guys have been in some tough situations and have answered the be LPGA every time.

Q. You brought Blanton in to face Severino; was it just a portion of the lineup, that match up that you liked?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that for me at that point in time, Scherzer kind of caught his breath and got into a rhythm there.

And for me to get Joe to get Severino, and at that point in time, put it in Dusty's hands to decide if they want to hit for the pitcher, and I thought for me, if we can get Scherzer out of the game, it's a win for us. And I wanted Blanton to get through Turner.

At that point in time, you've got Harper and Jayson Werth and Murphy and I felt good with Grant there.

Q. Obviously Kershaw only going five, you have to do more mixing and matching in the middle innings and bringing Jansen in for five outs. How difficult does that bridge become and what was your thought process going through it?
DAVE ROBERTS: You know, those situations, we've done it all year long. And obviously not the days that Kershaw has started but the roles of guys bridging the gap to get to Kenley for a possible three-out or four or five-out save, we've done that all year long. Just happens it was a playoff game.

But for our guys and the group in the pen, those guys have done that all year.

Q. Again, this is how you've managed all year long. Is it tougher at all when Clayton is on the mound and you know what he can do for you?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I mean, it is tougher, and if I would have told you before the game that that's what we -- that was the formula that we would finish the game, I would have probably thought otherwise.

But those guys put good at-bats on Clayton from the first inning, and at that point in time, he went five innings and there were three, four stressful innings. To get to a hundred pitches and to kind of grind through it, I felt that, you know, to go to Joe at the bottom part of that order with Severino already seeing him; and tonight Clayton's slider wasn't where it has been. Just kind of getting the feel, the release of that slider wasn't there. The curveball wasn't as good as I've seen it. Fastball velocity was there.

But the three, four stressful innings, a hundred pitches, I felt really good about going to the pen at that point in time and really try to shorten the game.

Q. There was a lot of energy in the building in the stadium right at the start and to have Seager come in and hit that home run, what does that do for you guys in the dugout, and what does that mean for a rookie in that spot to get that hit?
DAVE ROBERTS: With Corey, nothing surprises me and I think playing on playoff teams, on the road, to get that first run, is huge. It gives guys in the dugout a chance to exhale a little bit.

You know, when you get a lead, it's a lot easier to try to shorten the game. But when you're on the road trying to play catch-up, it just changes the way you manage and you start to press a little bit.

So I think to get that first run was huge, and obviously the two-run homer by J.T., the hit by Jayson, we did a lot of good things tonight. Even Charlie Culberson coming in and digging the ball out from Grandal and getting that play, the Murphy stolen base attempt; we did a lot of good things tonight.

Q. What did you think of Grant's performance, and specifically his match-up against Bryce Harper? Is that something that you guys had talked about utilizing with him?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, we have, and you know, Grant is a guy that gets righties and lefties out, so I feel comfortable with him throwing strikes, and really rising to certain moments.

You know, when you look at the lineup card, you see Grant, Werth, Harper through Murphy, so even the Murphy at-bat was a good at-bat. He missed on a couple close pitches.

It's a kid that's coming up from High-A or Double A early on and wasn't in spring training, and to now be in a Playoff game and to be fazed, it's pretty special.

Q. Do you get a sense that Clayton was feeling anything in the back or had any other physical issues today? And also, have you thought as to whether or not he might pitch Game 4?
DAVE ROBERTS: Haven't thought about Game 4 yet. We'll kind of see how the rest of the series plays out.

But I don't think that the back had anything to do with his -- the way the game went tonight for him. He said he felt good after the game physically. Obviously he's frustrated, but I know he's happy that we found a way to get a win. And again, I think that you know, with the fastball velocity, the curveball, it's just the slider that just wasn't consistent tonight.

Q. The guys in there have talked about how when he went down and you guys were able to get into first place, that that was a turning point confidence-wise for the team. Winning a game like this in the playoffs, when your ace doesn't have that kind of start, what do you think that does? Do you think that could have a similar effect?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think so. This is a game that obviously in any short series you want to win the first game, and when your ace doesn't have his best stuff and you still find a way to win -- Clayton is going to take the mound again in this series if it comes to that. We always feel good with Clayton.

You know, in some sense you feel you steal one when he doesn't have his best stuff, because you know he's going to be throwing well the next time he gets the ball.

Q. In the regular season with Kenley, when you went to him for a four-out or more save, you backed off at a certain point because you didn't want to do it every day. Does that change in a short series like this?
DAVE ROBERTS: No. I've talked to Kenley all year long, and we've prepared for this moment, and so mentally, physically, he's prepared. And so if the situation calls for it tomorrow, then I don't think I'll hesitate. But obviously you want to, after he's playing catch tomorrow, you want to see how he feels. This is what he's prepared for. He's the best we've got back there. So if there's an opportunity to get him in the game to give us a chance to win, I'll do that.

Q. When we saw Ethier step up for a second and Kenley came in, was that just a little gamesmanship?
DAVE ROBERTS: A little gamesmanship. Dusty knew there was no way that anyone else was going to hit, anyone else was going to come into the game. I just figured, why not. Got the Big Fella down below and obviously they're going to walk Puig. He actually took a couple good swings. Couldn't get underneath that cutter. He was an excellent position player, but couldn't hit the slider.

It was something that you give the guy in the pen -- you play the game a little bit, but everyone in the ballpark knew Turner was going to go back out there.