Oct. 7 Matt Williams pregame interview
Q. I've got to ask you this: Are all hands on deck today?
MATT WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. Is that the reason why you're not naming your starter for Game 5?
MATT WILLIAMS: Yeah, we have a couple guys that would be certainly ready for Game 5. But we don't know how the game's going to present itself today. So, you know, we have to hold off on that to make sure. But, yeah, all hands are on deck today.
Q. Does that include Jordan? Would he be available today in relief, or only Stephen and
MATT WILLIAMS: It would be extreme emergency for Jordan. But Stephen's available and the rest of the guys certainly are available.
Q. Just as for Stephen specifically, would he be available more as like a piggyback in case Gio gets in trouble early, or could he be a seventh or eighth inning guy tonight?
MATT WILLIAMS: It would be all of the above. If for some reason something goes haywire, Gio gets hit with a ball or something you never know what can happen then Stephen could be available for that. He could be available late. He could be available if we get into a situation like we got into Game 2 where we play extra innings. The game will present how we go and what we do. But he's available for all of those, yes.
Q. Starters are such creatures of habit normally. How do you go about having them prepare for a possibility of pitching while still maintaining their routine for a potential other game?
MATT WILLIAMS: You talk to them and let them know exactly what the situation is and what the potentials are. They know their bodies and their routines better than anybody else does. You just talk to them and let them know what the potentials are. If he's got a chance to pitch tonight, then he'll approach it differently than if he wasn't going to pitch tonight. You know, working out and doing all the things that he would normally do today, as an example, will be different. But just let him know.
Q. Bryce gets a lot of notoriety for these monster home runs on the series, but how impressed have you been with both his defense and kind of his demeanor off the field, just in the dugout and in the clubhouse?
MATT WILLIAMS: I think it's been really good. Yesterday's game, the first play he made, that is certainly a momentum swinger for the other dugout, and if that ball gets in or gets off the wall, you're looking at a couple runs. With their ace going, it's an uphill climb. But the fact that he made that play allows us to relax a little bit and go about our business in a more traditional fashion, because he made the play. For me, the most important thing for Bryce is his patience. And yesterday facing Bumgarner, he was patient and he drew a walk. He hit a really hard ball up the middle that got a piece of Madison that they caught, but good approach, and he did everything he could possibly do to get a base hit in that regard. He ran the bases well. He played good defense. All of those things combined just proves what kind of talent he's got. But he's been composed. He's been patient and, you know, hopefully we get into tonight's game, he could be the same way and he could help us win it. And then, you know, beyond that, we'll see. But he's been really good.
Q. What did Gio do so well down the stretch to really come into his own and then be a steady force and a winning force over the last six, eight, however long it was to end the year?
MATT WILLIAMS: For me, it's the ability for him to throw all of his pitches for strikes. That's important for him. So his curveball he threw for strikes when he wanted to and out of the zone when he wanted to. Changeups were good to right handers, and he also threw them to left handed batters. And that makes his fastball, which is a great fastball, even better. So his command was good. His presence was good. His pace of game was good. He worked a little bit quicker, and that's a function of him having rhythm and having confidence and being able to throw the ball where he wants to. So that's why he was better; better in the last six weeks than he was in the first half, as an example. So we hope for more of the same tonight. He's going to face some lefties, which is good. Allow him to throw his curveball when he wants to. And, of course, his changeup is really important to righties, too. If he can have all those, he can give us a chance to win.
Q. Some of your starters, going back to the starters and relief thing, some of them have worked out of the pen before, whether it was Tanner, Jordan did it in the post season two years ago, does that experience, working in that role, play a factor for you? Stephen hasn't done that before. Would the past experience coming out of the bullpen for a starter factor into your decision of whether you use a guy in that role?
MATT WILLIAMS: Well, it's do or die tonight. If we don't win this game, then we go home. We don't get to play anymore. So it has something to do with it, but we don't know what the game is going to present. We don't know what kind of situation we're going to be in. And if Stephen is the right guy for that, then he's the right guy for that. We have to make sure that we account for him getting ready. I think the fact that guys pitch out of the bullpen, all it does for them is give them a sense of how quickly they can get ready to get in the game. If you've never done it, you really don't know. But we don't know how things are going to go. So he's ready and he's available, and if we have to go that direction, then we can. And we'll just make sure that he's allowed to get ready and be fully hot and ready to go if, in fact, he gets in the game. But at this point, we just don't know how it's going to play.
Q. On a bigger stage of the playoffs, there may be a tendency to press or be nervous, but what is your impression of Rendon and how he's handled this the first time?
MATT WILLIAMS: I think he's been the same old guy we've seen for the last six months. It started on Opening Day and has not subsided yet. He's patient. He understands what he does well. He works at bats and works counts. He'll hit early sometimes depending on whether he knows the pitcher well or he has a sense of what the pitcher is going to try to do. He hits the ball to all fields, which always helps, because if you can spray the ball around a little bit, you've got a better chance of getting more hits. So I just think his demeanor has been really good all year. You look at him and go, he looks like a 30 year old that's been in the League for six or seven years. We continue to forget how young he really is. But he's a professional hitter. He understands how to hit and what to do, and he's just continuing to do that.
Q. The Nats have won more games than any teams in baseball in the past three seasons. Does that accomplishment stand on its own, or do you need to win a series to validate that in your opinion?
MATT WILLIAMS: Well, this is my first go around, so I don't have experience in that regard over the last three. But I think you're ultimately judged on how many championships you win. That's ultimately how you'll be judged as a team or an organization or what have you. And it's important for us to continue to play well and be consistent, and I think that would probably speak to the reason that there's been so many games won consistency. It certainly starts with the guys that stand on the bump and take the ball in the first inning. Ultimately it gets down to can you win a championship, and that's what we're trying to do. And we'll be judged accordingly.
Q. So many players in this post season across the board are homegrown guys. What does that mean to you to see so many organizations with guys working their way up the system?
MATT WILLIAMS: Well, I think it's a testament to player development, proper scouting and drafting the right guys that have the ability to get to the big leagues. There are so many draft choices and there's a lot of work that goes into that and a lot of preparation into the draft alone. And then you get to the player development side of it, and they have to do the things that will allow these players to get to the Big Leagues and be good and have long careers. So I think it's a testament to certainly you see it with the Giants. Certainly we have a lot of players that have come through our system and throughout baseball. It's important to have homegrown guys be on your club and be productive for you. It's just player development. The guys that never get the credit they deserve. We know who they are, but most folks don't. They are the guys that work the hardest to get these guys to the Big Leagues.