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Oct. 7 Dave Roberts postgame interview

October 8, 2017

Q. Dave, when Kenta had come in for relief, it seemed like he was so strong. Was there any thought process into maybe keeping him out there longer for a longer relief? Or just take us through why he came out quickly? DAVE ROBERTS: I think that for Kenta on

Q. Dave, when Kenta had come in for relief, it seemed like he was so strong. Was there any thought process into maybe keeping him out there longer for a longer relief? Or just take us through why he came out quickly?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that for Kenta on this roster, he's a righty killer, and he's really dominated right-handed hitters. So lefties hasn't been as successful, and, again, he's on the roster to do that, and there was a run of righties, and he did what he needed to do. You look down the lineup, and there are three or four left-handed hitters coming up. We've got Tony Watson on this roster to do just the opposite, get lefties out. Got out of it and gave a couple ground balls. But Tony, trust him, like him in that spot against lefties.
Q. Forsythe, Kenta, Maeda, James Farmer had a great at-bat tonight. Do teams that aspire to win championships need games like this from their role players from guys that aren't your stars?
DAVE ROBERTS: Absolutely. And Kyle is a great story. First time in the big leagues. Got a little service this year and came in with some big hits for us. We like the at-bat. Guys like him. He understands the game, he's a great kid. Yeah, obviously haven't ever seen him, just competed right there. And Ray's a tough one. I don't know if it was an eight, nine, pitch at-bat, but we ended up scoring a run on a wild pitch that inning. But Kyle every time we get him in there, we like him. But, yeah, the role players. I think that everyone on our team contributed tonight. Austin Barnes, couple big hits, and just the quality of the at-bat. You look at the fifth inning that we put on those guys and stressed them, and Logan, big at-bat, Yasiel's continued to shine these first two games. All up-and-down the lineup. But tonight it was the bottom part of the order that really picked us up big-time tonight.
Q. I know the crowd embraces Yasiel, but is the team embracing him? Is he firing them up too?
DAVE ROBERTS: He is. He's full of energy and emotion. I was talking to the coaches, and this is as good as we've seen him focus on every single pitch in the game. When you combine that with the skill set that he has and the energy that he brings he doesn't only energize 50,000 people, he energizes everyone in the clubhouse. So when he's in the box, making plays with his arm, his glove, on the bases, it's exciting.
Q. In the past you said you were out to unlock Robbie Ray's code. What was the code and how did you unlock it?
DAVE ROBERTS: I don't know if I want to share that. He's a heck of a pitcher. And it's always a tall task trying to battle him and get base runners. But I think today he just wasn't that sharp. The fastball command wasn't like it has been against us, and I think that he couldn't strike the breaking ball, but to our guy's credit, we got the pitch count up and took advantage of that.
Q. When things were going on so well early in the season, execution and pressure were big hallmarks of this team. How familiar has it been in the last two games?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's the way that we put this roster together. There are a lot of -- our hitting coaches do a lot of preparation with the guys. There is a lot of buy-in. It's that team offense concept. Pass it to the next guy, have that good at-bat, that's when we're at our best. We can stress the pitcher early, get the pitch count up, get into the pen. Austin, situational hitting, really good. Putting the ball in play, not punching, taking the walk, and we did that, we've done that the first two games and we put some runs on the board.
Q. Forgive me if this has been asked, did you consider going for Kenta for longer or has the plan -- has this been asked?
DAVE ROBERTS: No, it's all right. I'll repeat it. That was the plan. He's on this roster to get righties out and the splits. He's really been a righty killer. So when you look at three or four lefties down in the lineup, though he was throwing the baseball well, I thought that it was a good spot for Tony, and I went with him. But Kenta threw the heck out of it. I thought Rich to start, as a starter really battled and didn't have his best stuff. But still found a way to keep us in the ballgame, made some big pitches. But Cingrani came in and got a big out for us and Kenta. And Brandon, Brandon made one bad pitch, but outside that was very good, and Kenley for five outs. So that's how we had to mix and match today, but credit to the entire team.
Q. On a night where Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, they weren't coming through with hits, what's that say about the depth of your lineup when the six or eight guys come up with hits?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's great. That's what we talk about as far as the length of the lineup. We've got a lot of good players, and a lot of good depth. There are so many guys in our lineup that can hurt you. I don't know how many times they were on base, but that 6, 7, 8 spot, these guys were on base all night, being productive, driving runs in. Cody will get on track. He's got to stay down a little bit, stay in the strike zone. Corey still got on base a couple times, had a nice one last night. But we've got a lot of guys that can hurt you.
Q. Speaking of Yasiel, how much has he matured since last year? I know in the seventh inning we saw him stop at third base. Last year he probably would have kept going. How much has he matured?
DAVE ROBERTS: He's really come a long way. He cares so much about his teammates, and I think the coaches have done an amazing job with Yasiel, just kind of loving on him, teaching him the game. Now you have the trust and the openness, and he's all about winning. He's a very talented player, but all he cares about is winning. There are 24 guys in the clubhouse that have that only purpose and care as well. So when you've got that with a lot of good players, it's a good thing.
Q. Talk about the team offense again, if I told you three days ago you were going to give up six home runs in the first two games and only hit one, what situation would you have thought you were going into Arizona in?
DAVE ROBERTS: Maybe not up 2-0. Yeah, I think the thing is as far as to the hitting coaches credit and the players, the offensive players, it's trying to use the big playing of the field, get that hit, take the walk if you need to. We'll homer when a pitcher makes a mistake. But I think to spoil pitches and to grind, that's when I think we're at our best, but we can homer too.
Q. I think you mentioned you had talked to Logan about being more aggressive in the zone. Is it as simple as that? It's kind of turned it around for him these last two weeks?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think so. I think so. Logan a heck of a baseball player. Had a huge night tonight. Plus defender in the box. He's really made a point to be aggressive and to -- that first get-me-over fastball, he's ready to fire on it. So I think it's important for him to keep those pitchers guessing and to his credit, he's trusted it and it's paid off.
Q. So the slump, you know in September, the slump that you guys had was very well documented. But towards the end of the season you guys were starting to play better ball. Do you feel like you guys kind of carried over that momentum in the postseason or just flipped the switch here?
DAVE ROBERTS: No, there is definitely no switch. I think that before, in the middle of September, I thought that we started playing better baseball and winning eight out of ten, I think that helped. Guys are healthy and the focus is certainly heightened. But we've been waiting for this moment for a long time. So our guys are prepared. A lot of guys have been here in this moment. And now we've got to go out there and play and we're doing a pretty good job of that.
Q. One point after Cingrani and Watson were both used and Wood went into the clubhouse, was he being considered for possible relief tonight as well?
DAVE ROBERTS: Who is that?
Q. Alex Wood.
DAVE ROBERTS: No, no. We've got plenty of good arms out there. He'll start Game 4 if there is one.
Q. You noticed that Robbie Ray did not have the command that you're accustomed to seeing him have. Was that kind of a tune to let's just grind out and take pitches and let him get into those counts? Was it something you felt?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think that it is something that he's got a good arm. I think that we saw the misfires and he wasn't as sharp. So I think that the group, the offensive group really came together and had a plan tonight. Being aggressive in the strike zone, I think that for the most part we did a good job of that and made him labor more than he has before against us.
Q. Up 2-0, is there anything you need to do or say to keep your team from getting complacent?
DAVE ROBERTS: That won't happen. I don't need to say anything to our guys. We're going to work out tomorrow, get on a plane, and be ready to play on Monday.