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Oct. 7 Dave Roberts pregame interview

October 7, 2017

Q. The three relievers that you used last night were pretty darn efficient. And I'm wondering how much that matters in the five-game series where you're obviously managing the bullpen probably different than the regular season?DAVE ROBERTS: It was very good for them to be efficient. Not as -- it's

Q. The three relievers that you used last night were pretty darn efficient. And I'm wondering how much that matters in the five-game series where you're obviously managing the bullpen probably different than the regular season?
DAVE ROBERTS: It was very good for them to be efficient. Not as -- it's always good, but not as important as it is in a seven-game series when you have the three in a row with the off-days here. In this short series I think that that's nice, but for them to be efficient and feel that I can go back to them and extend them if need be, that's a good thing. So, yeah, they were very good, all of them.
Q. Can you talk about the plan to manage Corey's innings this year and how fresh and strong he's looked lately?
DAVE ROBERTS: Corey -- I think we did a great job with as an organization. He might disagree. He would play 162 games if he could. But it was just more of trying to keep him strong through October, and obviously battling a little bit with that elbow and trying to manage it, and, again, I think the training staff did a great job. The communication with Corey was very clear. Maybe not agreeable at all times, but it was clear from our perspective. The way he swung the bat over the last, call it week before the season ended, and obviously yesterday he swung the bat very well, so I think it was a good thing. I think he's in a great place.
Q. Obviously you like what you got out of Yu Darvish during the regular season, but is it games like Game 3, is that essentially why you brought him here?
DAVE ROBERTS: It is, it is. I think it's twofold in a sense that you build from, in talks with our guys and knowing baseball and building to win 11 games in October, so to have that front-line guy to win a playoff game certainly that's why you acquire a guy like Yu. Outside of the first three or four once he came over, he's been very good and continuing to get better. Also the other part of it is not having to have your ace Clayton going short rest. So to feel good about having Yu pitch three on the road, Game 3, and having Alex Wood who has had a tremendous season to pitch a potential Game 4, I think sets us up in a good spot. So a lot of it was because of the acquisition of Yu Darvish, yeah.
Q. Did you guys have like a whole season of data on it? Do you have any firm explanation on Puig's reverse splits this year and maybe a way to correct it at this time of the year?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think -- we don't have the data. I know that he and Turner, and the hitting coach, are trying to figure it out. It's something that his entire life he's hit left-handers. Last year I think we were platooning him against lefties, and now he's a reverse guy and hitting righties considerably better. So it's something that certainly I don't expect to continue and we're betting it evens out a little bit more. It's not going to, obviously, but I'm betting there are some hits left against lefties.
So the last month I think he's been better as far as quality of contact. Actually this guy tonight Robbie Ray, he's put up some good at-bats against Robbie Ray. I don't know. I think some of it as far as if you're talking technical, a little bit of the direction that he has with the right-hand with the ball going away from him, with the direction, and the ball going away from him and coming to him that he's just not seeing as well.
But I do believe that with the lefty he has a tendency to get out of the strike zone more than he does a right-hander. So the simple simplicity of hitting is hitting strikes. So he does a really good job of that against right-handed pitchers.
Q. Given the fact that you guys got off to a good start last night and got the first one out of the way, I'm sure that it had a calming effect on the fan base. But what is the effect in the clubhouse to get that first one out of the way and get rolling?
DAVE ROBERTS: That's always good to score first and strike first. I think that it started with Chris Taylor, that at-bat, and Corey to earn a walk and obviously the big blow from JT. But I think that's just a byproduct of the process and the approach that we had last night against Taijuan who has got a big arm, and wasn't -- just missed with the fastball. Wasn't really striking with the breaking ball early. He's a tremendous talent. But I think that we just kind of outlasted him. And when he did make a mistake or had to give in, we made him pay and he had a good approach all night. So, again, I think we had a great plan in place and we executed.
Q. Can you talk about some of the lineup changes for today specifically Kiké and Austin Barnes?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, well, in left field, love Kiké's defense all over the diamond, and against left-handed pitching he's -- the last few years he's been a lefty killer. His slug on base, really good against lefties, so to have Grandy to potentially hit in that spot is a nice luxury if they bring a Bradley or a Sherfy, also Rodney at the back end potentially. For Austin, I think he and Rich have a great rapport, and Austin really has hit righties really well. He's had a tremendous season. But the at-bat quality that he gives us and to keep him in the mix, I think we've done a good job of trying to keep all of our guys relevant as far as getting consistent at-bats, and whether they start the game, there is a good possibility that they're going to come in at some point. So Austin's had consistent at-bats this year. I like them. His pitch framing, the rapport with Rich, they have a good rapport, and in the batter's box. Last night, came in there, pinch-hit, lines a ball to right-center field. So just kind of keeping those guys current.
We'll get Chase in there Game 3.
Q. Knowing Ray pitched through 34 pitches on Wednesday, even more important to work the counts tonight like you all did last night?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think so. I think there is a fine line between being passive as opposed to being aggressive in your zone. I think that the best hitters are aggressive in their zone. So, yeah, we understand the workload that he had a couple days ago and the stuff that he has. But we're going to be aggressive, but ideally, yeah, you want to be in your zone. When he's a slider, down, out of the zone or fastball above the zone, you want to be selective. But if he does make a mistake, you better jump on it. Because a guy like that doesn't make too many.
So I think it's that aggressiveness in your zone. But we're aware of it, for sure.
Q. Do you feel the need to talk to Cody and Chris about what to expect in a first postseason or is it one of those things for first timers that you've got to kind of experience it and see for yourself?
DAVE ROBERTS: I didn't talk to Chris. I think that Chris didn't feel -- I gave him a fist pump yesterday, that's about it. That was the extent of our interaction. Cody, I had a little talk with Cody, and just making sure that he's in a good place mentally. We had a little conversation. That was it, yeah.
I talked to most of the players. Some of the guys, obviously, you don't really need to have a conversation with, and Chris was one of those guys.
Q. Is Cody ever not in a good place mentally?
DAVE ROBERTS: It depends what's a good place. I think that's relative. So I think for the most part he's in a good place, but on the baseball field, he's in a good place, yeah. I like him. I like him in the batter's box. I like him on the field. I like him in a Dodgers uniform, but I won't go any further than that (smiling).
Q. Your left fielder, Ethier, would be a very good place to play him in left instead of the one you've been using lately.
DAVE ROBERTS: Is that right? Ethier, Andre is an asset on our ballclub. He gives you a professional at-bat when he gets in there. So to be able to use him in a certain spot I think holds huge value. So Granderson had a tough go of it last night but I still think with his past postseason experience, the guy hit 28, 27 homers this year. So the slug, the OPS is pretty good. So I don't have any plans on giving up on him just quite yet.
Q. Did you notice any tendencies from Yu Darvish his last three starts?
DAVE ROBERTS: Tendencies for Yu, I think the confidence has continued to rise. I think that he's simplified -- he's a guy that can go to all quadrants. He can pitch off the fastball, the cutter, curveball, the change, so I think that he's simplified a little bit of his pitch mix. I think it's just he's executing more. When we first got him, he was a guy with a bunch of different toys and didn't really know what to do with them. So with Rick and the information that we've given him, I think that he's found a nice little rhythm, and so how to attack guys -- it starts with his confidence. I think he's comfortable now with the guys. I think he's comfortable here in the city of Los Angeles. So with that, that's a big deal. You're talking about cultural. You've got to appreciate the cultural, the family moving, the adjustment, riding to the ballpark and knowing where to go to eat. So trying to assimilate with guys on the team too. Now you have to go out there and pitch and meet those expectations that a guy like him has to meet as a trade deadline acquisition.
There are a lot of things I know I can't appreciate. But I know that over the last few starts he's been very good.
Q. Given the off-day tomorrow, could you see Kenley coming in for maybe like a six out or five out situation night?
DAVE ROBERTS: I like the idea of Kenley coming in the game. I like that. It's a possibility. Stranger things have happened, we've seen it. But, yeah, we had the off-day tomorrow, so I expect to see Kenley in this game tonight.
Q. In regards to Darvish, when you said you kind of simplified his pitch mix, was there a back and forth with that or has he just been kind of pretty -- it sounded like at least for the first start in New York it was very open to what you guys were suggesting. How much back and forth was there or was it just you guys recommending things and him going along with it?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think it was more the latter. I think Yu was really open to information and what information allows his pitch mix to play the best against a particular hitter, left or right or any individual hitter. So a lot of it was him being open minded to what helps his stuff play the best. So he was receptive. So to his credit he's kind of executed.