Oct. 9 Joe Maddon pregame interview

October 9th, 2017

Q. These games have been grinders throughout, and you watch a pitcher, especially if the game is close; where is your first concern where your pitcher is going? Is it pitch count or is it speed count?

JOE MADDON: Velocity, you mean, the number on the board? Sometimes it's a combination of both things. During the course of the year, you get to know your guy, like at what number it starts going south for him a little bit. So you're looking at numbers sometime, actual pitch count but I will look at the board. I will look at the velocity.

I was talking about Q tonight, or this afternoon, starting out, to see the number that he's starting out at to see where he's at emotionally. If the number is too high, he might be over-amped a little bit and you might not get the command you're looking for.

But normally game in progress, I'm thinking about it right now, , I'll look at the number with Johnny, if that starts getting below 91, then I start to become a little bit concerned with his fastball, not his cutter. I'll look at Boz and Borzello, and say, what was that, because I wasn't sure if it was a fastball or a cutter.

I think that's where the gun is handy from a dugout perspective is sometimes you know your guy well enough, you know when he's losing something, or if he's over-amped, like he's all of a sudden you see 94, 95 on a pulled fastball, back off a little bit.

Pitch counts, normally this time of the year, it's not as important in a sense. It depends on what's going on, where the game's at, what you have in your bullpen because you're bringing somebody out of the bullpen that's actually better than this guy right now. I always try to consider all those different things. You're right, it's a combination of both things. Pitch count and velocity tells a lot both ways sometimes.

Q. You got Quintana a couple of weeks before the deadline after a really tough first half for you guys. What did that mean to you, and did you expect that move and the front office to be as aggressive as they were?

JOE MADDON: Did I expect a move? I was just talking to Theo and Jed. I knew it was possible. It came together rather quickly I thought, and of course we were all for it. We gave up some really nice players, some young, really good players. You know, good for the White Sox, they are going to enjoy those guys over the next couple years.

Our perspective, we thought where we were at starting pitching wise, we needed to augment it at that point and obviously we did. I think his numbers regarding his age and control were factors involved in all that stuff.

But I think it's just good, old-fashioned scouting. I've seen him in the past in the American League and always liked him, but I had nothing to do with the decision. I'm just saying I've always liked the guy, and when you meet him for the first time in the clubhouse and you talk to him and he looks you right in the eyeballs, man. And this guy is straight up, you love that immediately about him.

So being proactive, probably he was going to have a lot of suitors, did have a lot of suitors at that point. Our guys did a great job of jumping the gun there a little bit and getting him because he's been really exceptionally important to us from the time we got him to this point.

Q. When you think about your ideal pitching plan for any given game, is it still about getting a starter to go as long as he possibly can? Or with the quality of relievers now, do you actually look forward to getting to that time of game where you can start to mix-and-match?

JOE MADDON: It's a good question. I think it depends. It depends on your bullpen and what you have in your bullpen. The Yankees were built for that. That's what they have done. That's what they did in the off-season and during the season. Their bullpen is firm.

I still like our starters going deeply as they possibly can. I think that's where we benefit the most, and then if we're able to mix-and-match it at the latter part -- I mean, perfect world, seven innings always sounds good to me with the lead because then you have -- if somebody is having a hard time in the bullpen, you're normally able to back him up more readily.

So I don't know that we're necessarily built with the strategy of this guy is the sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth inning. I can't tell you that. Some of these other groups might be able to view the game differently with that.

I think we're built to have our starters go as deeply as possible and then turn it over. And like I said, six innings is great, like Johnny the other night was really good and we got Strop to C.J. and then hopefully Wade, which I felt good about.

When you start having to fill in the sixth inning a little bit, that's when it becomes more difficult. And it's not September where you have that extra numbers in the bullpen, either. This is normal numbers.

You have days off, I get all that stuff. But when it comes down to efficiency, you prefer six-plus out of your starter; I do.

Q. You mentioned the other night, you were comfortable with Edwards against Harper, comfortable with Montgomery against Zimmerman because they go left, right, left, right. Do you have to make that choice where you're not going to have the normal handedness?

JOE MADDON: Yeah, and that's what I've always talked about. I love reverse-split pitchers, too, guys that are able to get the other side out well. We have a couple of those. is actually that guy, too.

So you have to be cognizant of that as you're filling it out. But Montgomery, I like him against righties also because he's a heavy ground ball guy. Ground ball pitchers you like versus either side normally and that's what Mikey normally is. C.J. is good against both sides; his numbers are wonderful. He is exceptionally good against lefties and like I said, Wade is.

You look at Pedro, Stropy. I mean Stropy has been really good against lefties also this year, but his pitches really for me are designed for right-on-right kind of stuff. Duensing, he's kind of like an outlier. You would think you would like him better against lefties, which you do like him on lefties, but he's been really good against righties this year.

Neutral pitchers are the best. If you're going into the off-season and want to make acquisitions to fill up the bullpen, you want the neutral guy, the guy that's good against both sides. We have several of those guys overall. If you don't, I do like the reverse guys a lot because when it comes down to pinch hitting, he's going to get the better side normally unless the manager is proactive and stays away from that and goes right on right or left on left.

I like to try to do the same thing with our lineup. I try to stay away from left-left or right-right unless you think you're going to pinch-hit for the guy, and then it's okay to stack it knowing that you have a good pinch hitter.

Q. Thought process behind Zobrist to second and Javy on the bench?

JOE MADDON: Scherzer. That's just Scherzer, just purely the fact that he's so oppressive against right-handed hitters; more than anything, that's it. I don't like to play the game without Javy on the field. I said that from the first time I saw him in Spring Training in 2015. I said, man, we're a better team when he's on the field, and I do, I love having him out there.

For right now, if we can build some offense and grab a lead and switch to the defense in the latter part of the game, that's what we're going to try to do today.

Q. Would you want your guys to come out of their game and try to move Scherzer around on the mound, knowing that load leg is a little hampered? And two, how much did you battle yourself on LaStella knowing his numbers against him?

JOE MADDON: First of all, moving Scherzer, the guys that can, probably will attempt to do that. We don't have -- we've talked about this before. Even the other day, you know, with Johnny Lester pitching as an example, there's only certain things that you can do that's within your skill set. So the guys that are able to bunt, may bunt. But guys that don't bunt, why ask them to do that. You might just be giving them an easy out.

So it's just so hard. I think we'll watch him the first inning or two. You have a pretty good idea where he's at physically and then try to react or adapt to it. But we don't have a whole lot of really good bunters for hits on this team. That's number one.

Tommy, I wanted to keep either him or on the bench, and I thought it was smart to start Jon Jay today and it was smart having Tommy on the bench. It's important having his bat coming off the bench as a left-handed pinch-hitter. Knowing the numbers, Tommy hits a lot of good velocity well, right-handed velocity. But I wanted to keep one of the two on the bench, and I chose to keep him on the bench.

Q. You often talk about the culture of a workplace and keeping it loose and light. What effect does Tim Buss has on that, and especially before games with position players, they do that group circle activity together.

JOE MADDON: I think that's undervalued, underestimated. I think it's invaluable. I encourage it. I encourage it in Spring Training. I encourage it right now.

The way, before the actual work begins, it's good to start the work off in a light-hearted manner or way, I think and he's so creative. You watch us in Spring Training, what he does out there is really good and it really sets the tone for the workday. What he does in the weight room, what he does by having the masses outside, it's very entertaining and the guys look forward to it, they really do.

They gather willingly because they want to be there to hear what Bussy has to say today. So I love that. I've loved it back in the day with the Angels, Bill Meyer was really good at stuff like that and even Frankie Reberger, one of our pitching coaches. I always look for that comedic relief in the morning, something that lightens the mood before the workday. Bussy does it as good as anyone I've ever been around.

Q. In these playoffs, not your series but the other series, first-time starting pitchers have had a hard time. Is there something about Quintana, the start in Baltimore, his first one for you, or something that keeps you from worrying about this being his first time in this situation?

JOE MADDON: I mean, if I want to look for the common, a good thought or a common thought or the warm fuzzy in there, I think the start in Milwaukee helps. That was a really pertinent game on the road against a really good team that hits lefties well. I thought hopefully he's going to draw on that experience right there. To me that would be the separator, and we're going to find out.

He's really prepared. He's really a focused guy. I mean, just talking to him yesterday, he's just always right here. He'll lighten up more after he pitches today, but moving into the game, his game day, he's always really hyper-focused.

What Jon was talking about earlier, watching the gun readings earlier to see if they are too high, that be would something like a red flag, just maybe back off just a little bit. That's what I'm more concerned with. I think this game, like to get into the flow, is really going to be important for him, obviously but I want to believe the experience in Milwaukee is going to be helpful.