Oct. 19 Terry Collins workout day interview
Q. Obviously, Jake was light's out in Game 1 against the Dodgers, and in Game 5 he really had to battle. Could you contrast what he had in those two outings and how impressive Game 5 was if he didn't have the stuff he had in Game 1?
TERRY COLLINS: Certainly, we've talked about it several times about how impressive he was to work so hard and get us deep into the game like he did. He had to really, really mix pitches, and when he had to make a big pitch, he made a big pitch.
That's why I think this guy's really moving himself up the ladder. He's one of the elite guys in the game. That's something that's hard to teach. That's engrained in your system that, hey, look, I've got to do it now and make the pitch in big situations.
Q. Last night before the game you said you hadn't seen Harvey. How's his arm, and is he a go for Game 5 if there is a Game 5?
TERRY COLLINS: He's pretty sore and pretty swelled up. He, as we sit here today, is a go. But that could certainly change in next couple of days. He's on his way here, I think now to get some treatment. But he was -- I mean, I was pretty surprised at how swelled up it was yesterday. So we certainly are going to keep a really close eye on it the next couple of days.
Q. What is the alternative?
TERRY COLLINS: We don't know yet. We've got them. We obviously have alternatives with Bartolo and Jon. So if we need to put a spot starter in there, we certainly have them.
Q. When you said the swelling, is it discolored? How big is the swelling? You said there were stitches on his arm yesterday.
TERRY COLLINS: Well, when you have swelling, it doesn't matter how big it is, it's just there. Anytime you have swelling, it leads to stiffness. So as stiff as he was yesterday, we're going to be careful.
Q. Do you feel like this is something that could impact Matt's schedule down the road or is it a matter of he needs a few days?
TERRY COLLINS: Yeah, I don't think it's going to affect him down the road, but down the road is still three days away. So we'll just have to see how he is. I think the big time will be tomorrow, because that would be a day that he wants to throw anyways, so we'll have to make our judgments how he feels after tomorrow.
Q. The Cubs were both a good club at home and on the road all season. Do you anticipate them being any different in this ballpark than they were in New York?
TERRY COLLINS: Oh, sure. No question about it. Any team that's got good power, this is a good place to play. And they've got it. I mean, we watched the games where they walk up there and they're hitting balls opposite field, right and left. There is no safe place in this park. So certainly there will be a different -- and the weather will be different. It's not going to be 38Â°, it's going to be a lot warmer. So we certainly understand the dynamics of it all.
But we look at our lineup, and we think we've got some power too. Playing in Citi Field in that kind of weather negates a little bit of that. So I know they'll be a different club here.
Q. Can you identify ways in which your pitching coach Dan Warthen has impacted your staff, particularly his imprints on the young pitchers that you have?
TERRY COLLINS: First of all, Danny does a tremendous job. He's pretty complete. He's very, very good with the mechanical side of pitching. He gets to know these guys' strengths very, very well, and then he sits down a game plan to where their strengths can be applied.
It's always easy to say to a guy like Noah, hey, look, these guys are dead fastball hitters. Well, he's a fastball pitcher, so he's still got to make pitches. And I think that's where Dan's application is, look, let's use your fastball in this location, and then we'll use some off speed stuff. But we're not going to get away from using your fastball. So I think he does a great job on both sides, easy read when the game's going on. If he starts to see them change arm angle or release points or whatever, he addresses it immediately.
Before each inning it's about how are we going to get the leadoff hitter out? As we all know, that's a big out in any inning. So he does an outstanding job. I tell you what, our pitchers really rely on him.
Q. You guys are in such a good spot right now up 2-0 with deGrom going in Game 3. What have you seen from your team this year, though, that makes you confident they won't get too far ahead of themselves?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, that's exactly what they do. They don't get too far ahead of themselves. And I think that's why we've been as resilient as we have. When we've had an ugly game or lost three or four in a row, we don't get caught up in anything except for the next game, be it tonight or tomorrow or anything else.
So they are certainly aware that we're coming to a different park. The Cubs play very well here. We haven't won a game here in two years, so we understand that it's going to be certainly a different atmosphere. But I don't think they get caught up in anything except trying to do what they do best, and that is go out and play the game right.
Q. Are you considering or even committed to Kelly Johnson at second base and Murph at first base or you're not there yet and you want to stick with Lucas for a little longer?
TERRY COLLINS: I haven't written the lineup yet for tomorrow. I haven't even visited it. I haven't looked. We just found out yesterday afternoon it was going to be Hendricks and I haven't even looked at what the fit's going to be.
Q. You look at the pitching staff and you know how talented they are. Did you expect them to be as comfortable as they've been or is this a little bit surprising just that they've handled the big spot so well?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, I was pretty comfortable they were going to handle it. I think these guys have tremendous confidence in themselves and their abilities. They know what they have to do to get outs, and they just go out and try to apply it. I think the big stage helps. I think there is a little bit more intensity involved, so a little bit more focus involved, so I think that's helps a little bit also.
But if you believe in yourself and trust your stuff and your stuff's as good as theirs, you're going to pitch fine.
Q. Kind of along those same lines, these guys have all pitched more than they ever have before in their lives getting to this point. Why isn't there more of a fatigue factor for that? How can they maintain this all the way through? Is there any concern for you guys as a staff that that could happen?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, I mean, this has been the online question we've been talking about all summer long. We had those innings limits put on. Sandy and I talked about them in March. So as we got into the season, yeah, we could have certainly -- I mean, we talked about not having Matt Harvey pitch in April. That was a discussion.
I'm the one who said I don't think I can do that to this kid who has worked so hard to get back. He was ready to pitch last September. So during the conversation was, how are we going to manage the innings load? So we said, well, we'll cut him back during the season. So there were plenty of nights where this all could have gone one or two more innings and we didn't let him.
I'm looking at it now. Are they over the limits? Yes. But I think the rest that we've tried to allow them to have, push them back, watching the pitch counts during the games, I think it all adds up. The intensity level and the adrenaline on this stage, you're just not as tired as you think you are. I think a lot of that is added into the fact that we've tried to keep them rested, and I think it's worked out.
Q. Terry, looking back at deGrom's two starts against the Cubs this year, and I realize this is going back a few months, can you pinpoint the reasons why he wasn't as effective as usual, and any adjustments he needs to make?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, you know, first of all, the Cubs have a very good offensive club, and if you make mistakes -- and Jake ran through a period where the ball was coming up in the strike zone and he got to the Major Leagues with pitching down with two-seam fastballs and getting ground balls. All of a sudden that sinker was gone. It was gone for quite a while. And these guys, this ball straightens out, one thing we know about the Cubs, they're going to do some damage on fastballs, I don't care how hard you throw it. And he got beat giving up the long ball. That was something that he didn't do last year. He didn't give up home runs a lot last year, and this year he has. That was, I'm sure, part of the damage.
And what we've got to do is be able to keep the ball down in the zone, let the ball move, which is what has been the strength. And if you can get some, get ahead and then maybe change the eye level once in a while. But if you're going to keep pounding 96 mile-an-hour heaters letter high, they're going to do some damage on you.
Q. What is the confidence? Obviously deGrom, you lined him up against the Dodgers in Game 1 and Game 5 for a reason. Here you are 2-0 and you've got him going in Game 3. What confidence does that give the team?
TERRY COLLINS: He's a good pitcher. He's a very, very good pitcher. We have a lot of confidence. Any night that he pitches, we've got a good chance to win. But, again, it's all about, look, you still have to locate. You still got to make pitches. You just don't walk out on the mound.
Again, this time of the year the question was just asked about is there a fatigue factor? There may be. This is Jake's third game now on the big stage in a short period of time. So we're going to -- certainly, hopefully he's 1 00% ready and he's locating the way we know he can, and if he does, he's going to get people out. His stuff's that quality that he's going to get outs.
Q. The few times the Cubs squared up balls in the first two games, a couple of them were hit right at your defenders. It's kind of an overlooked thing this time of year. But how impressed have you been with your advanced work in setting up positioning? And how important is it the few feet left to right when it comes to positioning your defense?
TERRY COLLINS: That goes back to both teams where people are criticizing the offensive side. Hey, look, you're not hitting, you're not hitting. Well, the Cubs have had some people in the right spots too. But it's all about the work that our advanced scouts have done.
Tim Teufel absolutely spends hours putting together defensive alignment on different guys, depending on who is pitching, depending on situations and what the counts may be. He works very hard at that. It pays off. All that stuff pays off. There is going to be a time, which we've had this summer, where a ball was hit where if you were just in the normal -- you'd be there. But you're not. You're using all of these statistics to say, hey, look, we've got to move this guy over four or five feet because that's the percentages that are in our advantage.
Now, if the hitter does something -- now, again, I'm sure it's not intentional or guys would be hitting .500. But, hey, look, if they hit it over here, nothing you can do except tip your hat. But you've got to go with -- all these numbers dictate, gives you the best chance of having success, and our advanced scouts have done a good job of helping us.
Q. In terms of the two deGrom starts in the last round were both really impressive, but kind of in different ways. One he had his best stuff and the other one he didn't. Which of those two was more impressive to you, and which one told you more about who this guy is and where he's going?
TERRY COLLINS: I think the second one, obviously. When you go out on the mound and you do not have your normal repertoire of pitches that are working, you've got to work hard. And a lot of guys just throw their hands up and say, Geez, I didn't have it tonight. It takes that special guy to say I'm still getting through this game. I'm going to make the pitch I have to make, and that's what he did.
It was unbelievable how many times he was one pitch away from coming out of that game and he made the pitch he had to make, and that tells you exactly the kind of kid he is. His competition level is, without question, as good as anybody's. So he's not going to give in.
I looked at Zack Greinke. You sit on the side and watch Zack Greinke. He never, never gives in, and that's what Jake didn't do the other night. Even though his location wasn't there, and his stuff wasn't there, he just never gave in. He kept trying to make the pitch, and when he had to he made the pitch.
Q. With the two-game lead, do you wonder if the team realizes not to take their foot off the gas, not to let the Cubs back in if you don't have to?
TERRY COLLINS: Do we realize that?
TERRY COLLINS: Yes, very much so. Once again, these guys, the minute you think they're naive enough to think this is over, you're making a big mistake. They know exactly what they're facing. We've come in here a lot of games and had very well-played games here at Wrigley Field and gotten beat. So we are certainly aware that we've got to continue to push forward. We've got to swing better here. This is a park that hitting's huge. You've got to hit to win games here. So we've got to get ourselves going offensively and not worry about anything except winning tomorrow night.
Q. I know the preference was to get Matz in over the weekend and it didn't happen. So would he probably throw a bullpen session today? Are you concerned about the gap between his starts of late and how that might affect his performance?
TERRY COLLINS: He's not going to throw today. He got up twice last night and threw 40 pitches in the bullpen. So he's not going to throw it today. He's going to pitch in two days, so we have a little -- he's already been out throwing. They have that little thing where they just go through the mechanical side of stuff. He probably did that today. But I don't think he threw a full-fledged bullpen by any means.
No, I'm not concerned about the fact that it's been a while between times he's gone out there. It just seems like the way it's gone at the end of the year for him, he's had to do that each and every time, and he's limited the damage. He's gone out and pitched pretty well.
Now, Steven Matz, when it comes to Game 4, it all depends what Game 3 dictates. We've still got back-up guys and now we've got to look at Game 5. Who is going to pitch Game 5? We don't know yet. So there is a lot of dynamics when we go in there. But that's why -- I know you guys think -- again, you guys all think this is all etched in stone five days ago, and it's not. It will be decided each and every day who we have available, what is our best chance to win, who we need to put in when, and he might not. But I have all the confidence in the world that Steven Matz is going to pitch a good game.
Q. Hi, Terry, I was wondering what about managerial fatigue? What do you do? Is your mind at this time of the year going 24/7 on this?
TERRY COLLINS: Yes.
Q. It is?
TERRY COLLINS: Yes, sleep's the enemy right now.
Q. How much do you sleep?
TERRY COLLINS: Not very much. Not too much. You know, for the same things. There's something that's always going to crop in, be it, do you need to make a lineup change, do you need to move the lineup around? All right, Geez, Matt Harvey's arm swelled up, who do we pitch? How has he done in this park? And how has he done against this lineup?
So those things are always there. Unfortunately, they stick with you. Like the conversation level with my wife has gone downhill, so there's too many other things that take place right now for me, that's just me.