Oct. 27 Terry Collins pregame interview
Q. What is your understanding of the weather coming up tonight and what would you like to see happen if there is, in fact, some rain in the picture?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, looks like there will be rain early. I talked to MLB and they pretty much asked, Is it a big factor if we start in a slight drizzle? And I said no.
This ground crew here does a tremendous job. This field handles the rain very, very well. Obviously the thing we can't have is some big front moving in where we stop this thing in the middle of the game. That's the issue it comes to.
I think Matt will be fine pitching early. It's supposed to stop in the middle of the game sometime. But if it doesn't and we get some heavy rain or something has to stop the game, that would be a situation that both teams would have a tough time with.
Q. If the delay was long and he needed to come out, what would be your plan?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, we're really lucky, I've got two starters down there that are ready to pitch with Jon Niese and Bartolo. We've got a contingency if we need to get Matt out of there to go to one of those guys certainly.
Q. The way you attack the base pads in the LCS, what was the reason for that? I guess the question is why? What did you see to make you sort of come out of character? And how much of that can you do here against the Royals?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, I tell you, I don't like to hand out scouting reports. But we saw that against the Chicago Cubs that other teams stole bases. And we measured all of the pitchers' times to home plate. We measured the catchers throwing to second base. We took all that into consideration, and we have some guys we think are good enough baserunners that they can take advantage of those numbers, and so we did.
The numbers with these guys are a little different. And again, we are not a team that's a big base steal team. It's going to be perhaps a little different situation. Especially, again, if there's rain and the base pads get a little wet, it's probably going to affect them more than it might affect us.
Q. Uribe is on the roster. Can you tell me what he's brought to you, not only on the field but as a clubhouse leader?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, I can walk through the locker room, I can't find anybody that's got two World Series rings, except him. He brings that guy who's been on this stage and has not been affected by it.
Yes, he hasn't played in three weeks, but either has Matt Reynolds. But he's still got two World Series rings. I know when he walks up there he has a feel for what he has to do to get a hit.
And I always think, because I do the same thing, when Ned looks at that lineup card and he sees Juan Uribe's name at the bottom of it, that's got to get his attention. We think that's a big factor.
In the clubhouse he's exactly what you guys have all heard about: He's funny, he's upbeat. He never has a bad day. He's great with the Latin players. He's tremendous with the American players. We thought that was going to be a big benefit, again, to have somebody who's been here and has that personality to keep everything a little looser. Everybody thinks this is a pressure packed, tension thing. We need somebody to loosen it up a little bit, and he's one of those guys.
Q. Johnny Cueto was one of the pitchers most teams are looking for in the trade deadline. You are going to face him tomorrow. You have seen him many times. What are some of the things you see in him that makes him a No. 1 pitcher?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, first of all, command of his stuff is huge. And I know when he struggled this year, that was the whole talk, that he wasn't commanding his stuff as much as he has in the past. We know he can do it. We've seen it a lot. We've seen this guy a lot in the last three years. Seems like every time we played the Reds he was pitching.
Now with his new delivery alterations he's made, you better get your feet on the ground. Because this guy can quick pitch you. He can make you wait. So you better get ready to hit as soon as you get in the batter's box. That certainly is something unique to him.
But he's No. 1 because he knows how to pitch. He knows how to get you out. When you don't have a fear to fail, you're dangerous. And he's dangerous.
Q. Given how new Bartolo is to relief, do you handle him differently than other relievers? What's the value he brings in that role?
TERRY COLLINS: Again, you're talking about a guy who's played for a long, long time, who has been to Postseason. He just takes the ball and does what he does. He doesn't try to change anything.
The biggest factor in starting pitchers and putting them in the bullpen is can they get ready in time? He's ready in 12 pitches. Ricky Bones, our bullpen coach, has said this guy gets ready in a hurry.
But he's comes in and he is going to beat himself. He's going to make you swing the bat. He doesn't walk guys. For the most part if a sinker is working, he gets ground balls. He knows what he has to do to get outs.
Again, he's just got that great feel for pitching. And as he told me when we talked about him going to the bullpen, he said, Look, you don't have to worry about me, I'll be fine. And he's done that. He's pitched great. He's gotten a huge out for us in the Postseason.
And today if we need him to again bridge because of some weather or something, he might be the perfect guy.
Q. Just as an aside, the Sporting News announced their NL and AL Manager of the Year today, and you won in the National League. That's something voted on by your peers. What does that mean to you and what kind of feeling is that?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, it's a tremendous honor. I'm humbled by that, because there are some great managers in this League, very, very good ones. But I like to sit where I'm sitting. I like where I'm at, not where some of those guys are. I'm thrilled by it.
It's certainly, again, a great honor. But we're blessed as managers, because the only reason why I'm sitting here is I have good players. And I owe them everything, for any award that you get, you better look behind you and see the reason why you get those awards, because it's certainly the job -- their execution is what's helped.
Very special coming from the managers, and I'm honored.
Q. You guys to get here beat a number of Cy Young caliber pitchers. What does that do for a team's confidence offensively, with confidence being such a big part of this game and knowing you've conquered a pretty good run of guys to get here?
TERRY COLLINS: That was brought up yesterday in our offensive meeting that they have an outstanding pitching staff, a tremendous bullpen. And it was brought up, we faced pretty good pitching from the time we got in Postseason. And it's all about staying with what our game plan is. And that is, being patient at the plate and trying to get something good to hit. And don't get away from it. Don't change it up, because it's worked. And we're sitting here today because it has worked.
And so hopefully we're going tonight and approach the game the same way and hopefully get some mistakes.
Q. With everything that Flores went through this year, from the line situation to stepping in on short notice in the playoffs. What did you learn about him as a player and with the regard teammates may have for him?
TERRY COLLINS: If you know Wilmer Flores, he's got the face of a 15-year-old, which helps. Great smile and a good player. And very dangerous offensively.
When he got the shortstop's job, we knew that he was playing a position he hadn't played in a while. We were going to try to be patient with him. I think throughout the summer, all the things that happened his confidence built, got big. Now that we've put him back at shortstop, he knows he can play there.
He had some struggles, we moved him to second, confidence came back, started swinging the bat. We made some deals. Murph came back, David came back. And any time you put him in a game, you knew he was going to get the job done. This game's all about believing in yourself, and right now I think Wilmer's one of those guys.
Q. Talking about believing in yourself and confidence, your team has been extremely confident with a lot of young guys. Were you ever concerned going into the Postseason that they may be a little bit nervous on this stage, because so far they've looked like the moment has never been too big for them?
TERRY COLLINS: No question, especially with our pitching. We've got a lot of guys in that clubhouse, even some veteran guys, that have never been in the situation. We always look to our young pitching. The No. 1 thing is: Are they going to overthrow? Are they going to try too hard? Are they going try to throw the ball by guys? And they haven't.
So I credit some of the veteran guys in that staff, Bartolo, Jon Niese, to stay with them. Dan Warthen does a tremendous job. I think they've bought into the game plans of how to get guys out. Therefore, they know they can't overthrow, they have to make quality pitches. And I think it's all added up to them pitching as well as they have.
But going in, look, we've got to keep these guys calmed down here, and certainly tonight is one of those times.
Q. When you talk about a pitcher like DeGrom, who has had a heavy workload, and you wonder if fatigue is starting to play a role, where does that manifest the most, velocity, command, stuff, how does it change managing?
TERRY COLLINS: To me it's command. When you look at the job DeGrom has done, when he got up last year to where he's at right now, this guy lives and dies with command. He got up to the Major Leagues with a guy who pounded the strike zone with the bottom of it, with some sinkers, good breaking balls, he learned the changeup. About halfway through the season last year he learned how to change the eye level, threw four-seamers up here. Now he's at a stage where the ball doesn't have the life down, even though he has the velocity, it doesn't have the life it once had. He's been missing balls up in the zone.
For me, that is that release point, that consistent release point you have to make the pitches. If you start to get a little fatigued that hand just doesn't catch up sometimes. That's why we wanted to give him an extra day, because the last time we pushed him back a little bit he came out throwing great. We're hoping that extra rest is going to make a difference tomorrow night. This guy is as good as there is in the League.
Q. Back to the roster move for a second. After the injury, what was the discussion or what did you guys see that made you confident enough that if there's an emergency, that Uribe could come in and play shortstop?
TERRY COLLINS: As you guys know, one of the things I try to do, I try to trust my players with what they have to say. I went to Juan the other day and said, Here's what we've got to do, we're going to have some live pitching, and Monday night after we're done working out, you've got to walk in my office and look the other 24 teammates in the face and say, I'm ready to play. Because if you can do that, you're ready. This is big. We need you as healthy as you can be.
Last night he came in and said, Listen, I'm ready to play. I feel good, I have no discomfort. And again, I'm picturing that name at the bottom of that lineup card. And I said, You're in, because you're going to bring a lot to the table with his background.