Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

Oct. 9 Dave Roberts pregame interview

October 9, 2016

Q. On a practical level, what are the biggest differences, you think, presented by playing this game today, as opposed to yesterday?DAVE ROBERTS: I think it's -- you know, obviously the anticipation for yesterday, to get up early, the day game; but I think all in all, it doesn't affect

Q. On a practical level, what are the biggest differences, you think, presented by playing this game today, as opposed to yesterday?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think it's -- you know, obviously the anticipation for yesterday, to get up early, the day game; but I think all in all, it doesn't affect the rotation. And I think the mind-set, guys were here early getting their bodies going.
Obviously now you're looking at three games in a row, but I think for us in this isolated game, where our pen is at, where we're at with our club, I think that we are in a good place. After tonight, then we'll be ready to go tomorrow.
But I think this isolated game, I don't think it really has any effect on us, the delay.
Q. After they called the game last night, it didn't rain again here at the ballpark. Any frustration over that, that you were not able to play last night even though it didn't rain?

DAVE ROBERTS: No, there was no frustration. I think there was obviously some talk about it, and people trying to ask why and questions. But I think that, for the most part, that kind of was put to bed and I think that it's out of our control, and the decision was made.
So then we refocused on today. So I think that, yeah, you wonder, but regardless, that's out of our control.
Q. There's a lot of wind today. As a former outfielder, what kind of impact can wind like that have on a game?

DAVE ROBERTS: Wind certainly affects, depending on -- I'm not sure which direction the wind is blowing right now. I haven't been out there yet. But it definitely plays a factor in the communication.
So we'll definitely let the infielders and the outfielders know. And as far as -- the wind direction is kind of the factor in who it benefits most, but obviously as a defender, it does influence you a little bit. You have to keep your eye on the ball, and communication is obviously most important.
Q. Could you please talk about Pedro Báez, what he has meant to you the past few years and especially this year that you have been managing? And your general concept on what a setup man has to be, because I understand he also pitches in some games early, and also when you don't have the lead.

DAVE ROBERTS: Pedro, he's a very physical, physical player, and he gives me a lot of flexibility, because he takes the ball any time. He can go multiple innings. He gets righties out, lefties out, and so for me, I used him in a lot of different roles.
You know this, season, where he started off really well, and really kind of struggled in the middle of the season, where we sent him out for a little bit to rest his arm and just clean up some mechanical things. Since he's come back, he's been lights out.
He's a guy that because he's so soft spoken, he gets overlooked a lot. But the his value and the trust I have in him obviously doesn't go unnoticed. So Pedro, the liberties and the flexibilities that I've had with our pen, a lot of it is because of Pedro's versatility.
Q. Not to harp on this too much, but when you said the decision to postpone the game yesterday was out of your control, obviously Major League Baseball meets with the umpires and representatives of both teams. Did you not have any input into that decision at all?

DAVE ROBERTS: No. It was a conversation, but I think that -- it was a conversation with us, the Nationals, the Commissioner and just trying to figure out what's the best course of action. And none of us -- with the information we were all given, we didn't know it was going to, the rain was doing to dissipate when it did.
So to have the option to stick around till potentially 8:00 or 9:00, or just cancel the game and reschedule for today; and I think that we were all in agreement that we should all just postpone and get the guys back to the hotel and get their guys back home and reset for today.
Q. With Puig likely taking on a more prominent role in Game 3, what did you see specifically from him different mechanically, and otherwise, when he came back from Oklahoma City?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think the one thing is, you know, mechanically, he was a little too static early with his stance, and I think that he got a little bit more athleticism with his swing.
And also, the approach, when he's going really well, he's disciplined in the strike zone, you know, whether ball's in, or ball's off the plate, and he's extra-aggressive with balls in the strike zone. So I think that's the fundamentals of hitting, and I've talked about it with our guys all year long: Take balls and swing at strikes.
So when he's good like any hitter, I think that's what he's doing. I think the one variable is he's gotten a little bit more athletic mechanically, but also, just you know, being aggressive in the zone.
Q. With the success that Baez had in Game 1, considering he's had past playoff failures, do you think that's something that can help him moving forward, to have the confidence of that success?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think that of course any success that you have recently, it's momentum. But I really -- I really don't care about his past playoff performances, good or bad. For me, it doesn't really play a factor in why I brought him in the other night or if I bring him in the game tonight.
But it is -- I know he's got a good taste in his mouth, and you know, he's made some mechanical adjustments and he's got a ton of confidence right now. So I think that you know, the only thing he's thinking about is preparing for tonight and those hitters.
But to your question, yeah, I think any time you can come in and throw, have a clean outing, I think that's a good thing.
Q. Your answer on Puig was interesting, getting more athletic in the box. Is that lighter on his feet? You used the word static; does that suggest to you a guy who just standing there trying to backfoot everything into the woods? What exactly are you seeing?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's more of having a little bit more rhythm with his swing, as opposed to being, as I said, static and still.
So there's a little bit more rhythm and timing. And with his hands and his shoulders, there's a little bit more movement, as opposed to, it's hard to hit -- one guy I can recall is Paul Molitor. You hit from a standstill and you just fire from your hand position; that's where you launch from. It's hard to do that, especially now that the balls moving late. And Moli was obviously a special hitter.
With most guys, there's got to be that rhythm and timing, and so now Yasiel as a little bit more of that.