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Oct. 8 Dave Roberts pregame interview

October 8, 2016

Q. What do you have on the weather?DAVE ROBERTS: It's supposed to be coming down light, and the window is it's supposed to stop between 5:00 and 8:00. So obviously we are not going to get on the field today. We'll know more as it comes. Possible delay most likely.

Q. What do you have on the weather?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's supposed to be coming down light, and the window is it's supposed to stop between 5:00 and 8:00. So obviously we are not going to get on the field today. We'll know more as it comes. Possible delay most likely. I'm just waiting to hear from Joe (Joe Garagiola).

Q. We talked about Rich yesterday and the potential for the blister to be an issue today. But does he do anything differently in preparation for this game, knowing it could be delayed at the outset?

DAVE ROBERTS: No, I think that, you know, with the Commissioner, they do a good job, the umpires, giving us a heads up on the game time with respect to the weather.

So you know, at that point in time, we'll know, and Rich will know, when to start getting hot. And I don't think anybody wants a delay, as far as a stop after a start.

So once we have a game time, you know, we're going to do everything we can, I know they are, to have continual play. And so Rich won't get started and stop, so they are kind of good about that.

Q. The catching position could be so demanding with the Dodgers, especially, a team with a lot of tradition of great pitching. Could you talk about Yasmani Grandal as a catcher and the things you may have seen in his growth in his second year of catching for the Dodgers?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I've known Yasmani for awhile, actually, because I had him in San Diego, and he's really grown as a player, offensively, defensively, and just the way he now has the ability to run a pitching staff.

The catching, the framing, the throwing, is elite. Just the game calling, which he's becoming more and more comfortable with and confident, and you know, no one works harder. So for a guy that can switch hit, that can slug, that defend the way he can, it's certainly a luxury to be able to put him in the middle of a lineup.

Q. The Royals bullpen last year was so big for them, and we all saw that, and you obviously used your different than Ned did, but do you feel that's an aspect of your team that can have a major impact on what you want to do in October?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's already had a huge impact. If there's one area that you could point to that's got us to where we're at, it's the bullpen. And yeah, I use our bullpen and have used it all year, certainly different than Ned used his three-headed monster.

But I think it's one of those things that it's still about putting guys in the best position to have success, and I think that's what we've done all year long. You know, we used that same formula last night.

Q. Just wondering what it's been like, getting to work with Kenta this year, and just knowing his first year in the majors and just the pitching schedules are obviously different in Japan, just working with him, the challenge of getting him the extra rest, or how that's gone along for you guys?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's actually been great. Kenta is a great human, and a great competitor. And you know, I think that you look at the season that he had, and what a special season it was, and to go through the adjustments that he had to make for himself on the baseball side, the family.

There's a lot of things that we really can't appreciate the adjustment that he's had to make on travel and learning where things are at and really making sure his family is okay, and also adjusting to the schedule and the usage, the workload.

But he's been open-minded to everything we've asked of him and it's been great. I think I've asked him, you know, how he likes American baseball, and he had a big smile on his face. His English is continuing to get better, but we love having him.

Q. Clayton packed a lot of pitches into a pretty short period of time last night. Did he show up today feeling okay in terms of his back? And also, you used some guys out of your bullpen. Everybody on board tonight, nobody's --

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, tonight everyone is available out of the pen.

And with Clayton, he came in today, did his normal post-start workout, and really, in talking to him, the training staff, the back's not an issue.

Q. Given the importance of Kenley to your bullpen, as we saw last night, why was he not instructed just not to swing, rather than risk injury with the exuberance that he swings with that we saw last night?

DAVE ROBERTS: I just don't think that, you know, for me, he's a big guy but he's athletic, and obviously I know his importance.

But I just don't really manage and see life in baseball in the sense of being overly cautious. I think he's a baseball, he's in the box and that could have really extended the game. He's hit before in his life. Even during the season, he's taken swings just to kind of loosen up his back, so for me, in that situation, I'm not going to just have him go up there and take for him of him getting hurt.

He's a baseball player. He's in the box, and he could have driven in a couple runs right there.

Q. When you were in San Diego, did you see Turner in camp, Trea Turner in camp that spring, and what were your impressions of him then?

DAVE ROBERTS: He's a great kid, good worker, can really run, defend, throw, and he checks all the boxes, wanting to learn. And we spent some time together, actually, on stealing bases and talking about the bunt game. You know, just to see him now, very happy for him, very excited. Not a surprise, because he's just so level-headed and a very confident young man.

You just see the strength. He's a lot stronger than I remember him. Sky is the limit, I think, for us going into this series. Keeping him off the bases was, you know, probably top of the list.

Q. Given the first-year manager, what's the biggest learning curve in how to handle a bullpen? Is it something only experience can tell you?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think it's one of those, you know, I got a lot of information and I have a great pitching coach in Rick Honeycutt that I lean on a lot. I think it's the combination of the great information I get, the conversations with Rick, and also just trusting my eyes and my gut.

And I think that that's something that I've been consistent with, right or wrong. But I think that that's kind of -- and every game, I'm always learning certain things, and I can get better. But I think that I've got very good people around me that have helped me along the way.

Q. With all the injuries in your rotation this year, how would you describe the value that Kenta has provided, taking the ball every fifth day?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's hard to quantify. You know, he's a guy that you talk about the medical, when we signed him, and you know, the uncertainty of how much -- how many innings he could give us this season, and he's been the one stalwart in the rotation.

He's probably 165 pounds dripping wet, but this guy is the ultimate competitor, he really is. So to give us that consistency every fifth, sixth or seventh day, whatever he's given us, really has been huge.

Q. More on the bullpen. How did your philosophy evolve as you took the job and then went through this year? Were you more conventionally-minded coming into this and then had to change?

DAVE ROBERTS: I was. I was. I was conventionally-minded in thinking that you're trying to, you know, replicate certain winners.

And I think that someone mentioned Kansas City, and you always try to see what people are doing with success, and you try to figure out your seventh, eighth, ninth inning guy, and that kind of goes with personnel. So the first month, that's what we did, and it just didn't go great, and I didn't have a great feeling about it.

So it kind of evolved into -- with conversations with the guys in the pen, of eliminating a certain role, and just classifying yourself as someone who is in the pen as a reliever, outside of Kenley.

And from that point on, it gave me and Honey the opportunity and the flexibility to put guys in the positions where we felt best for them to succeed.

And so from that point on, the bullpen really kind of came together.

Q. Following up on that, you mentioned about your gut, about decisions in the bullpen on when to go to Kenley for a five-out save and things like that. Does your gut feeling change in the post-season or do you trust your instincts from what you've done, what you knew as a player and what you've gone through in the regular season as a manager where you're making those kind of decisions?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think it changes in the sense that you act a little more aggressively and, I think you saw that last night. You know, from the people that I've talked to, you know, obviously every game is important in the post-season.

And you know, to get the baseball to Kenley at the back end for four outs or five outs, I think that I would rather err on the side of being a little bit more aggressive.

And Pedy was throwing the ball well. But for him and what he gave us and feeling good about his outing last night, to then carry over to tonight; but also for me, feeling really good about what Kenley doing something he's already done this year and getting the five outs, it was a little bit of the gut. But it's hard to go wrong when you give the ball to that Big Fella, but maybe a little bit more on the aggressive side in the post-season.

Q. What did it mean to you to have Sandy here last night? Did you guys talk before the game? What does his involvement mean when he shows up?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's great. It's always great when Sandy is around. He just gives a very good perspective on things, and he's watched a lot of Dodger baseball. He was in my office and we talked a lot about pitching and the post-season. Any bit of Sandy that we can get in conversations, it's always great, and he's always making it about us and not him.

So he'll be here tonight. He'll be here tonight. And we ended up talking a little bit about wine, too, so that's always fun.

Q. What have you learned about Justin Turner, having him play for you, that maybe you didn't know, being on the other side?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think with Justin, you know what, I always liked him from the other side. Even when he was a bench player, utility player for the Mets, I always liked his energy and the way he interacted with his teammates; and the at-bat he gave you coming off the bench or days he would start. So I always liked him.

But to then see him from the other side as a starting player, and you see the toughness and the compete, the success in the post-season when he had last year; and then to see him on the day-to-day this year, I think there's just more of an appreciation of his care for his teammates.

I think that's something where he's a guy that's getting team dinners together and patting a guy on the butt, having a little conversation to make sure the guy doesn't get too down. You know, hanging out with the clubhouse guys and making everyone feel included.

You talk a lot about Chase being the glue to this club on the position side. J.T. is right there with him.