Q. The word "competitor" is used a lot to describe Madison Bumgarner. I'm just wondering like how does that manifest itself when he's actually out there pitching? What makes him that competitor in your eyes?BRUCE BOCHY: Well, the person that he is. It starts with talent with him. Sometimes that
Q. The word "competitor" is used a lot to describe Madison Bumgarner. I'm just wondering like how does that manifest itself when he's actually out there pitching? What makes him that competitor in your eyes?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, the person that he is. It starts with talent with him. Sometimes that gets lost. This guy is really, really talented. He has really good stuff. Great stuff.
And like all good or great players, he's got a tremendous makeup. He's got the mental toughness to go with it. He's got that emotional control at performing under pressure that goes with great players.
So, with Madison, I think you look at the whole package. Sure, he's competitive, but you can be competitive and not have very good stuff and you may not get it done. So he's very talented, too.
Q. Along those lines, when Joe Maddon was talking about him a bit ago, he was going back to his youth and Kaufax and Whitey Ford and Gibson and saying how these players -- and he's comparing Madison right in with those guys. Madison's unfazed by all that kind of stuff, isn't he?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, he is. Very, very humble guy. Those names you just mentioned are great names. I think you look at Madison's body of work, he's been as good and I think better than any other pitcher in postseason, and that's how good he's been, I mean, what he did in 2014, but going back when he came up as a kid at 20 years old.
So, it's pretty incredible what he's accomplished, and I know for him being mentioned with those names, that has to be quite an honor. But for me, he's been as good as anybody.
Q. You faced some pretty exceptional pitching since the playoffs started, but in the middle of your order it appeared to struggle. How imperative is it you get some big hits from the two through five, six guys?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, usually those guys that are doing most of the damage. And when you're in postseason, you're seeing really good pitching. So the numbers are down a little bit offensively. They're going to be with the guys that you're facing. And those are -- the heart of the order, the guys you're talking about, are the ones you count on.
But I said this earlier, it seems like it's always somebody else that surprises you. They got a big home run from Baez. Not that he's not a good hitter, but he's not hitting in the heart of their order. Conor hits a three-run homer for us.
So you need everybody. Sometimes you try to rely on one or two guys too much. And that's not us. We need everybody throughout our lineup. We don't have one guy that carries us. We don't have a 40-home run guy. We need all of them doing their thing, moving the line, so to speak, or doing something to help score a run.
Q. How would you describe the mindset of your club right now? And in this kind of situation, do you give them sort of an extra pep talk, or over the years have you done that some times and not other times? How do you decide what to do?
BRUCE BOCHY: I kind of try to read, try to get the feel, the pulse of the club, where we're at. We have had meetings in postseason, and going back to Cincinnati, we had a couple meetings there when we get in that situation.
Now, this club has a history. That's what you like about what's going on now, of finding a way to win that game they had to win and moving on. And that experience, that's so vital to draw on. And if you don't have that, you may not have that belief that can you do it. Well, they know that they have done it.
And we're going against a very good club here. We have our hands full. Good pitching, balanced lineup and all that. But back in 2014, 2012, whatever, we faced very, very good clubs then, too.
So, it's all about believing. And if there's some doubt in there, no question, I'll talk to them, but I don't think there is. In fact, I know there isn't. We played pretty good baseball, I thought, in Chicago, lost 1-0, we came back as soon as they scored that second game, their pen did a good job on us, but it all comes down to you keep fighting, it's pretty simple.
Q. Did Nunez encourage you even more with his at-bat yesterday, and might he be ready for increased activity?
BRUCE BOCHY: He'll probably have the same role tomorrow. My guess is if this continues on that he could be ready in a couple days. He's making a lot of progress. He did throw out a nice at-bat. I thought his first at-bat was a pretty good at-bat off of Chapman. That's pretty good stuff you're seeing when you haven't hit for a week or so. So, there's a possibility he could start in a couple days.
Q. What about the rest of your lineup? Are you contemplating doing anything different maybe in an effort to kind of get the offense going a little bit?
BRUCE BOCHY: No, you know, it's what got us here, it kind of worked to get us here, going back to that last home stand against Colorado and L.A. And as a manager, you don't want to -- in a game that you know you need to go out there and win, start to really make -- trying to mix it up too much where they're going, oh, geez there's a little panic in the skipper here. So that's not the message that you want to send either. So it's going to be pretty close to what it's been.
Q. In terms of as you get later into a particular game, do you find yourself in a chess match with Joe and in terms of the moves that you need to make or that you feel that you should make? Do you prepare yourself any differently in terms of the managerial matchup with Joe Maddon?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, I mean, you know that Joe's going to have his matchups ready and set. He's done adjust a great job. He's a great manager. So, it's not going to be a case where he's not going to have his guys ready, I need to have my guys ready.
I think any manager that goes into the game, I mean, it's a chess match and hopefully you have the pieces to match it up like you want. But sometimes that's not the case.
This last game when your starter -- you take him out after two innings, kind of lose a little bit of that. Now you got to get through it. That's why you saw Bum hit and actually had a pretty good at-bat there.
But I guess to answer your question more direct, yeah, it's -- that's the way the game is. But both teams have good starters, and they're usually going deep into the game. So it's not as much as you think.
Q. Would you advise extra discipline at the plate against a guy like Arrieta who gets a lot of strikeouts on balls out of zone?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, you know, you do hear that a lot. You got to have discipline, don't chase pitches. But when you have a guy out there throwing 95 and he's got great stuff, it's a lot easier said than done. Obviously, you want your guys to lay off pitches and have that discipline, and we do a pretty good job of it, we do. We do get our walks.
So I don't think they're going to be amped up out there swinging at everything. That's kind of our deal. We don't try to do too much. That's why we're not a power-hitting club. We try to use the whole field and do show discipline.
Q. Obviously this Cubs pitching staff has been kind of a challenge for the entire league this season. Is there anything that you can point to that's made them maybe a little bit tougher on your lineup than other clubs that you might face?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, they're just really good. When you look at the numbers, you get two or three guys in there that they're talking about getting a lot of Cy Young votes. That's a pretty good starting rotation that they're throwing at you. With experience. And then you look at the bullpen, they have the left-handers, they have the right-handers, they have a closer throwing over a hundred. It's a pretty good staff.
That's why you win over a hundred games, it's usually your pitching. It's nice to have the lineup and score runs, but I promise you, if you don't have that kind of pitching, you probably are not going to win over a hundred games.
Q. When Madison is out there pitching as well as he has in this stage, what kind of feeling does he create in the dugout? Do guys feel more relaxed because he's out there? Or, I mean, even for you, he's done it so often, but can you still be impressed with it as it's happening in realtime?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah, well, I know there's a sense of confidence that goes over the club. Not that he's going to do it every time, but he's so good that I think they appreciate just the way he goes about his business and how he does compete, how hard he competes.
And he's such a tough competitor, as we mentioned earlier, that that's contagious. But he makes the team better and in the way he goes out there and he battles and competes. And so, sure, I think it makes guys even want to win more, play harder. I think good players do that, they make the rest of them better.