Nov. 1 Terry Collins pregame interview
Q. I know in baseball you have to bounce back from tough losses so often. I'm just wondering when you step away from the ballpark, what's your mental and emotional routine for getting over them, and how well did that work last night?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, you're talking about two different -- I mean, put it in perspective. During the season you've got a lot -- depending on when it is, look, you've got to get over it. You've got to play again tomorrow.
Last night, you've got to figure out, because we're running out of time here, we have to figure out what tomorrow we can do to -- we've got to win today, that's where it's at. Whereas during the season you kind of figure -- obviously you can't worry about what just happened, but when guys have a day off or who don't we have the next day. Well, tonight we've got everybody, because there may not be tomorrow.
So it's a little different last night when I left the ballpark. It was pretty much about how are we going to set up -- if Matt gives us what we expect him to give us, how are we going to get through the end of the game? So that's kind of where it was at.
So I'm fine with it. Believe me, guys, as I just told our beat guys, I understand that there's supposed to be a lot of pressure in the World Series. Let me tell you something, the pressure is over 162 and getting to this point. This should be fun, and enjoy it. We're frustrated with what's happened, but we're not down about it. Our clubhouse is very positive. I walked through there a little bit ago, and guys were smiling, doing -- playing their games. Their heads aren't down, because it's an honor to be here, and we're going to approach it that way. We'll figure out tonight as the game rolls on what our best options are and we'll go with it.
Q. A manager told me this summer that he very rarely has to make a "gut decision", because all scenarios, pretty much all scenarios have been gone over beforehand. To what extent is that true for you?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, we did the same thing. Again, it's easy to sit back and say, You should have done this after it didn't work. Let me tell you something, we did that same scenario almost -- when we got Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed, we went 7, 8, 9. We won a lot of games using that scenario, and last night it didn't work. So, you know, after it didn't work, it's easy, "Well, you should have used Familia." Well, I used Familia in Los Angeles and I got crucified because I used him for a six-out save. And last night I got crucified because I didn't use him for six outs. That's the nature of the game. I'm not offended by that. That's opinions. But we went with what worked for us, and it didn't work last night.
Had we made a couple of plays, the game is over, we win the game, just like we did in Game 1. Jeurys Familia gave up a home run; he hadn't given up a home run from all year. Should I have not used him against Gordon? Should I have brought somebody in? No. You just go with what's been working for you. It's the same thing with the lineup. It's the old -- I don't know what the manager said it, but I'm going with the guys that brought me to the dance. And those guys last night were the ones that got us to this point.
Q. In this series there's been a lot of discussion about the Royals' approach offensively, but also about the influence that Kevin Long has had on a few of your hitters. I wonder what traits do you think make a very good hitting coach, make the best kind of hitting approach, and whether or not the approach the team has is a reflection of the team's buy-in in the hitting coach?
TERRY COLLINS: That's what a hitting coach does. He gets players to buy into what he believes. That's a great way to put it. And Kansas City they all buy into what their approach is. And the deeper you get in the count, the more you cut your swings back. We're going to put the ball in play. They play in a big park, and we know a moving ball is dangerous. So they cut their swings down. They put it in play.
We are a little different team than that. We rely more on the power. So we may strike out a little bit more, but we may do more damage. And Kevin's got the philosophy of hunt your pitch and attack it. And when you face pitchers who don't give you that pitch, you're going to probably get beat once in a while because this is a league where the best players play.
But I think the hitting coaches, if they truly believe in what they are preaching and the guys see that it works, they buy into it. And I think both sides buy into their hitting coaches.
Q. Are you able to put it out of your mind entirely that if you had made a couple of plays you could be up 3-1 tonight, trying to close it out?
TERRY COLLINS: Yeah, because again guys, I've told you before, I don't live in yesterday. I live in today. I don't know what tomorrow is going to bring, I only worry about today. Last night is over. We've got to get ready for tonight. The biggest game of the year is tonight. We have arguably maybe our best pitcher going tonight. We've got to go win. And we can't look back and say, "What if?" Well, we could do that all season long. We're not. We're here. So we've just got to move forward.
Q. Along the lines of pitching, Syndergaard, deGrom, available tonight if you needed them for a short burst, yes or no? What do you think?
TERRY COLLINS: DeGrom would be, probably. I doubt Syndergaard would be. But we have right at this particular moment have no -- I mean, they're not in the plan at the moment unless the game goes deep into extra innings, where you absolutely have to have somebody. Then they might come in, but probably not Syndergaard after the other night.
Q. Do you have a feel for the readiness of your ballclub going into tonight?
TERRY COLLINS: Yeah, I talked to a bunch of them already, and like I said, they're excited. This is a big game for them. They know how important it is. I'm going to tell you, they're not down. They're not down about Game 1 or they're not down about last night. They're excited about getting after it tonight and getting on the plane tomorrow and heading to Kansas City.
Q. Is Familia available for as much as a six-out save tonight?
TERRY COLLINS: Yes.
Q. With what you've seen from Wright, what he's gone through and as the captain of the team, do you think he provides the same level of expertise for this team that Jeter did for the Yankees?
TERRY COLLINS: That's a tough question. I only saw Derek Jeter on the outside. I didn't know his impact in the clubhouse. I have no way of knowing that. But I know David Wright has a huge impact on our clubhouse. So I would have to say the fact that Derek has a reputation he has, I'd have to say they're very similar, yes.
Q. I know the answer to this is everybody's banged up this time of year, but Cespedes got hit in the hand in September and had the shoulder injury; how healthy is he?
TERRY COLLINS: I talked to him last night after the game was over, and I asked him if his shoulder was bothering and he said no. And the hand I don't think -- it wasn't getting hit in the hand. He had a checked swing two months ago that he felt a little something in his hand. He's had it ever since and he's been red hot and he's been cold. I don't think either thing is affecting him right now.
Q. Do you think Daniel Murphy was overly vilified last night? I saw the back page of the tabloids. It did not look that easy a play.
TERRY COLLINS: Well, it was a chopper. He thought he had to hurry. I think that's what happened. Eric can run. Dan charged it and he just didn't get the glove down as low as he needed to.
Again, it was a play we wish he would have made. But we may not be sitting here if it wasn't for Dan Murphy, I'll tell you that.
Q. I understand most catchers get the opportunity to call their own game. I also understand that sometimes managers like to call certain pitches. How important is it for everybody to know the pitching staff, that the catcher is in total control? And how long does it take you get confidence in a catcher to say, Hey, you call the game?
TERRY COLLINS: I think the game is changing. We let the catchers call a lot, but we call a number of pitches from the bench. There are certain situations where due to the game plan that's written up by Dan early, there are certain situations where he wants a particular pitch thrown. When that happens, I've told -- I've instructed Dan personally to, Listen, I don't ever want to have a situation where you say, "That's the wrong pitch to throw there."
You know what, but the other thing you have to understand is the guy with the ball in his hand has to throw a pitch with commitment. And if he disagrees with what Dan wants to do there, he's going to make a mediocre pitch, because if he wants something else, that's the pitch he wants to make. But he's got to make the pitch that's called for, that he thinks has to be called for.
So there's a fine line there and obviously pitch selection is a trait because most of our catchers today, if they ever played in college, the games are called by the coach anyway. A lot of these guys don't have a feel for it. I think Travis does a good job of having a feel for the strength of his pitcher and what the situations call for.
When we have a discussion, there will be a discussion in two hours, about how to approach the lineup tonight. It's the same lineup. Same Matt Harvey that's already pitched them, but you have to reinforce it. Hopefully you execute the pitches. And if you do, you're going to have success.
Q. Steven Matz has kind of hit the wall in the fifth inning in the postseason starts. Is that because of the injuries or the time between starts?
TERRY COLLINS: No, I think that's exactly it. Because we saw what he did when he was in a consistent rotation, and coming up from Las Vegas, when he first got here. His first two starts on regular rest, and he'd been pitching deep into game in Triple-A. He went deep into games. I think a lot of it has to do with that he has not been challenged to have to go deep into games, because when he came back up and started, we needed those games. And we couldn't allow him to throw 105 pitches. We needed to win them.
So I think a lot of that has to do with the fact, just like you said the injuries, and the fact he just hasn't built up his endurance yet.
Q. What's your impressions of Perez so far?
TERRY COLLINS: Anybody that catches as many games as he has, you're a horse. And he's a horse. And still put up the offensive numbers, when you're catching 150 a year, that's impressive. I mean, I know he's a big, strong guy, but that big body gets beat up. He's had some foul tips already in the first part of this series that you wonder if he's coming back out and yet he does. He's a horse.