Oct. 9 Jay Bruce pregame interview
Q. Going back to the off‑season as you saw pieces to this team coming aboard like Ryan Ludwick and Sean Marshall and Ryan Madson who got hurt, what did you envision for this team and how has it played out, do you think?
JAY BRUCE: I envisioned this. I envisioned success, sustained success and I think that what people may tend to overlook is ownership's commitment to being better not just for a year but for years.
I think these days, the way that contracts and free agencies have gotten, you have to do it the right way or it's tough to sustain success over a period of time. I think that the Reds ownership has done that, and I'm happy to be a part of it.
Q. What do you see from Joey right now? Doesn't seem like he's driving it like he has been, but he's still hitting the ball.
JAY BRUCE: I see that. I don't think Joey feels 100 percent, but he's a "hit‑getter." If you were to ask me who do you think the next person would be to hit .400 in a season, I would have to say him. I'm not going to say he's going to go out there and do that, but Joey has the ability and the talent level that not a lot of people have because he sets such a precedent with his offensive game. One year he hit 30 home runs, 25, 26, 29. I would consider that setting a precedent for a guy that hits like he does, hits 40‑some doubles.
But even when he's not able to do that, he can take the other aspects of his game and make them the best in the league. He got on base although a .470‑something percentage, that's an alarming rate.
He missed eight weeks and he walked almost 100 times. That's not something that a lot of people do, they play the full season and that's what they're best at. Joey's best asset is the ability to not make outs and doing that tends to help you score runs, and even when he's not driving the ball he's the best at getting on base.
It's something special to see because, like I said, you take a huge component of his game and he can almost transform himself into a different player, that's ‑‑ still the best. It's pretty exciting to have him on your team, you know? I tell you what, if you need somebody on base, he's the guy.
Q. Seems like for part of the year pitching kinda carried this team and for part of the year hitting did. Do you see both of those coming together now, and if you do how good can this team be?
JAY BRUCE: I would like to think so. Obviously I'm going to stick with pitching being the main component to winning championships, but if it comes together at the right time I believe we can win the World Series. Obviously we have to take it one step at a time and we have done well as of late, and we're going to continue to do that.
I think we go as far as our pitching, we have always hit and we always will, and we're going to try to continue to put the at‑bats and approach out there that's going to give us extended success over periods of time.
Q. With three games to get one win, is guess human nature would feel somewhat of a cushion to get this thing done. How urgent is it for this team to put this to bed?
JAY BRUCE: I would say there is a sense of urgency, not we have to do this tonight, but we have to play good baseball. We have to play good baseball and that's worked for us 99 times this year so far.
I believe that we're a very confident team and the fact that if we go out there and play our game that we can control it's going to work out fine. You can't get comfortable. You can't be complacent, and it's a good Giants team that we're playing that is more than capable of making noise and doing some things and we have to go out there and play tonight and take care of business.
Q. Along with pitching, the defense has been outstanding for this team. What's it like in the outfield playing next to Drew Stubbs who can cover so much ground, and how much pride do you guys take in defense?
JAY BRUCE: Playing next to Drew makes your job easy and you almost get forgotten about. In my opinion he's the best center fielder in baseball and that's not sleighing anyone, but to have that type of guy around helps you out and defense is something that you can control.
It's something that you can work on and get visibly better at and it doesn't slump. That's something that we take pride in because, you know, especially when you look at it from an aspect of the pitchers are out there working as hard as they can to get an out and that's a tough thing to do.
The least we can do is be there to play defense for them and help them as much as we can. That's something that we take pride in, we work very, very hard on, in my opinion, the hardest on, from day one of Spring Training and I think it shows on the field.
Q. Were you surprised not at being up 2‑0 but going into San Francisco and doing it the way you guys did, going into a pitchers' park, as AT&T is known to be, and going against Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, are you surprised? If so, in what ways, based on how you guys did in those first two games?
JAY BRUCE: I guess, I don't know if surprised is the way to put it, but the expectation that you really have no expectations, especially in the playoffs. You're going to expect to get a well‑pitched game from both sides, they're a team that isn't known for their offense.
We knew if we could get a good game out of our pitchers that we had a good chance and we were able to take advantage of the mistakes they made there and don't take it for granted, though, those were important runs and the lead has never felt safe. I think that's the way playoff baseball is.
It was a pleasant surprise to see that there because, like I said, they mentioned earlier the offense and the pitching clicking at the same time could make for a fun post season.
Q. Have you noticed any change from Dusty being in Chicago is he amped up ‑‑
JAY BRUCE: He's more svelte. I think he looks great, I really do and he's a good judge of what he needs to do physical and mentally to be healthy and like I've said a million times to you guys, baseball takes a backseat when it comes to someone's health.
Dusty has a life to live and he has a family that he loves spending time with and he's a guy that lives life to the fullest. He does a lot of things and he has a lot of interests. My hope from the beginning was he was able to be healthy for those reasons, but it's important to have him back and it was good for him to go back to San Francisco to where he has a lot of ties and it was comfortable for him, so it was good.
Q. What about Ryan Hanigan and what he has meant to this team as a stabilizing force in what he has done behind the plate?
JAY BRUCE: I think he is the epitome of the unsung hero. He had the lowest rating in the league and you don't hear about him, he's not going to ‑‑ as far as Buster Posey and Yadier Molina, he has had to earn everything he's gotten and doesn't take things for granted. He's a thinker back there, smart person and he understands what needs to be done day in and day out.
He takes care of his body and he's ready to play every day and he has had to earn the title of being a starter and first it was being in the big leagues. Then it was getting some playing time behind Ramon Hernandez and now in every sense of the word he's earned the starter role, and I'm happy to have him on my side because he's a huge part of our team.
Q. What did Latos show you in Game 1? And if he ends up being the Game 4 guy, do you believe he can do that?
JAY BRUCE: I believe he can. He's prepared for it all year, and I believe the whole coaching staff as ‑‑ really I think this is what they like to see happen, him being ready in situations like that. I think it's an ode to his preparation all year, both from the mental and physical standpoint.
It's something that you don't draw up, Sam LeCure walked out of the dugout not throwing a pitch, it was like something out of Little League. And Mat volunteered. He likes that stuff in the sense that I don't think he's very well liked in San Francisco. Don't know why. He's got some of the best stuff in the game. His stuff plays regardless of whether it's on short day's rest, whatever it may be.
He's got great stuff. He's young. He's ready. He likes having the ball, and I think that's something that can't be said for everyone. We have a couple of guys on this team that you can hand them the ball and say, "Hey, win us a game," and we have the guys that can do that and Mat especially, that was ‑‑ you talk about horses in the playoffs, guys you can up count on, that showed us a lot to the whole team, and everyone was watching the game right then, so I was excited for him about that and I was excited for our team as well.