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World Series Game 4: A.J. Hinch postgame interview

October 28, 2017

Q. When you were talking to Charlie on the mound and he came out of the game, what was the conversation? And was there any chance that he could talk his way into staying in? A.J. HINCH: No, there wasn't a chance. I was taking him out of the game.

Q. When you were talking to Charlie on the mound and he came out of the game, what was the conversation? And was there any chance that he could talk his way into staying in?
A.J. HINCH: No, there wasn't a chance. I was taking him out of the game. What I was telling him was that he'd done enough to be done for the night. We'd really liked the Puig-Harris matchup; he came in and got the fly ball. And with Forsythe, Harris gave up the base hit. But Charlie had done his job. He'd had a little trouble in the 6th, and then obviously was misfiring a little bit in the 7th. In these type of games when it doesn't work out, you obviously look the out at what could have been. Charlie hadn't pitched that deep into the games much of the season and done his job, that's what I was telling him.
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Q. Those four late-inning guys were so good for most of the summer. How do you work with it now in keeping their confidence, plus doing what's best for the team?
A.J. HINCH: We've got to get 27 outs, you've got to keep trying to encourage them to do their part and come in and do well. It seems like right now for some of these guys it's one pitch and things unravel a little bit, that's what happened to Kenny in the 9th. Joe came in and was working his way through the mess that we had. And then one pitch to Pederson and then all of a sudden his night's ruined. It's Game 5 of the World Series coming up, so I think there won't be any need to press any buttons or let them know how big these outs are. But we've got to get to 27 outs and we're going to keep trying to piece it together.
Q. After the fifth inning, the Stand Up To Cancer moment, on a different topic. No. 1, you held up a sign to Kevin Towers. Can you talk about your thoughts on that, why you did that, and also the moment in general?
A.J. HINCH: No, obviously it's a moment that is special to all of our hearts, from the people that are on the card and also people around the country. And it's a great initiative that Major League Baseball started years ago, and will continue to be a way for us to bring awareness for people that suffer from cancer. In my particular instance, Kevin Towers, I've been in baseball a long time. He means a lot to me. He means a lot to the people within the game for many, many years. He's done everything in the game. I wanted to put someone on there that was a baseball person that has resonated across the game at so many levels for so many years, and we just keep rooting for KT to have a recovery.

Q. May seem an easy target but on Giles, how much of it mental, how much pressure? He's been on scored on 6 of 7 outings in the postseason.
A.J. HINCH: Obviously it builds in the postseason because there's so much attention on these outs. And when you're a back-end reliever, oftentimes -- unless you're extraordinarily dominant, you're only talked about when you suffer, when you struggle. So for him, he can handle it mentally, he can handle it physically. He'd been pretty good in that group. He hadn't faced those guys a ton, but they didn't have good swings against him in LA. One ground-ball base hit to start the inning and things sort of sped up on him a little bit, the walk after that. So clearly he's trying to push through the adversity that he's had. But to be a back-end reliever you've got to live on that edge of not carrying too long of a memory because of the things that can happen at the back of the game. But you have your ball in your hands at the most critical times because you have the best stuff. He can get outs, and he'll continue to get outs, but it's been tough on him.

Q. You just mentioned the series is now 2-2, coming up on a big Game 5. Talk about how even things are, and how difficult it really was in retrospect winning three in a row here?

A.J. HINCH: Well, they're two pretty good teams. I don't think that's overstating anything. So it probably doesn't surprise a ton of people that it's 2-2. How the games have gone, where we've won or where they've won can always be debated. These are big games. Every game feels like a Game 5 or Game 7, a critical game. You don't ever roll into a game thinking that you can get away with losing it. So obviously it's the best of three now, and two of them will be at their place, one will be at our place. I never really thought about winning three in a row; I worried about winning today. If we had won today, I would have been looking forward to winning three in a row.
Q. Can you explain what it's like for a manager to balance what you see in a game versus maybe how you draw it up beforehand, specifically in terms of pitching and when to pull the starting pitcher, if it looks he's going well?
A.J. HINCH: The context of the game is always important. And we know our players and obviously it's a result-oriented job for a lot of people. And for us as managers, you do the best to try to line your players up and get to know your players, get to know their strength, get to know their breaking points. And it's always in your best interests to take the pitcher out a hitter too early rather than a hitter too late. At least that's how I've gone about it. And I've always tried to give the reliever a little bit of a leash. I always try to give the starter a "job well done", when he walks off the mound. But the context of the game is always going to shift and change. You can draw it out perfectly and map it out, but you never know how the other outcome would have been. It's easy to say everything you do and it goes wrong. Everybody in baseball thinks that the other way would have been perfectly good, and we don't know. And our jobs are criticized because of outcomes that we already know and outcomes that we assume.

Q. Was there something different that their pitchers did tonight? Did you notice a different approach to your lineup?
A.J. HINCH: Wood is different in general - different arm angle, different mechanics, and we hadn't seen him before or a ton. But it looked like he was teasing the strike zone a little bit. We were a little aggressive. He pitches very well down in the zone. He threw a couple of high fastballs, but for the most part he really settles bottom of the zone, with pitches that move. He's got a little breaking ball, a little change-up, keeps you honest with his fastball. I don't know, he pitched a well-pitched game. I thought Morrow came in and threw well. Jansen came in and gave up a homer. Going into Game 5, there's not going to be a ton of secrets. Now we've seen Wood for the last time, unless he comes out of relief. But you're starting to enter a lot of at-bats where the hitters and pitchers have seen each other, and you make a few adjustments here and there. We had one hit going into the 9th, so obviously their pitching had done a good job.

Q. Springer had the tough Game 1, home run tonight, what is it about his personality that you think allows him to thrive?
A.J. HINCH: He's just been very disciplined in the strike zone, getting pitches to hit and doing a really good job of calming himself down and actually not trying to do much and he's doing more by just letting the game come to him a little bit. I think success often relaxes guys and you track the ball a little bit longer and you hit the ball to all fields. And he can do damage any given at-bat. His personality is upbeat. It was upbeat even when he was scuffling, especially behind the scenes. Frustrated on the field because he wants to do well for his teammates. His approach, his demeanor, his attitude, his approach to life doesn't change.