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World Series Game 5: A.J. Hinch postgame interview

October 30, 2017

Q. After Game 2 we asked you, have you ever been part of a game like that, and then we have Game 5. What was that game like from your perspective? A.J. HINCH: I mean, just when I thought I could describe Game 2 as my favorite game of all

Q. After Game 2 we asked you, have you ever been part of a game like that, and then we have Game 5. What was that game like from your perspective?
A.J. HINCH: I mean, just when I thought I could describe Game 2 as my favorite game of all time, I think Game 5 exceeded that and more. It's hard to put into words all the twists and turns in that game, the emotion, doing it at home, in front of our home crowd. Just exactly what you expect to come to the park with Keuchel and Kershaw pitching. Just a perfect setup game for a bunch of runs.
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Q. Could you just describe your top four hitters from the 4th to the 7th inning, basically didn't make an out, 11 of 12, and what's that like?
A.J. HINCH: Look, how do I describe it? I don't know. They're pretty awesome when they get going together. We talked about tandem ABs and putting one at-bat after another. We're relentless when we're good. There were some pretty good at-bats at the bottom of the order, too. We're hard to beat when we swing the bats like this. It was hard to get the last outs, obviously, and the Dodgers are pretty hard to beat, as well. But I think our guys, again, no matter where we they are in the order, feel pretty confident.
Q. With the bullpen struggling as it has been, how hard is to piece together these games with your starter coming out early?
A.J. HINCH: If you stuck out the whole four and a half, five hours, however long we've been here it's tough. These are hard-fought games. It's not against our bullpen, these are just two really good teams, just throwing haymakers at each another trying to outlast each other. As much as our bullpen, their bullpen, we all come in with different reputations and different confidence levels and different success rates, I don't know that anybody would have expected that. But we're going to keep piecing it together. Obviously there's a ton of energy in the clubhouse tonight after the win. And hopefully that will pick up some of the guys that had to pitch tonight that maybe didn't do well. Gregerson came up big, got a big strikeout. Musgrove pitched very well. Devenski obviously had a rough ninth inning. But I think we'll show up tomorrow with a little bit of energy. We'll get through the off-day and then Game 6 they'll be fine.

Q. Is there any point with everything that's going on in this game where you can be a fan at all and appreciate what is going on in the game?
A.J. HINCH: No chance. I'm the manager. I wish. I wish. Actually I'm pretty relaxed in that whole thing. Cora and I are sitting next to each other or standing next to each other had some moments where you can be in awe, but you never stop thinking. You never stop planning. You never stop trying to prep and play out all the game situations. And there were so many that came up that were unexpected, that it's hard to take a step back. But there's an appreciation with the emotion. One thing postseason baseball will give you is some dramatic pauses in the game where there's some delays one way or the other, so you can reflect on it. But the engine never really stops running.

Q. Alex has been in the majors really about a year, and he had the shot in Fenway in Game 4 to get you guys back in that. The game-winner tonight. What makes him so special in terms of his calmness and confidence at the plate, especially in those huge late-game situations?
A.J. HINCH: He's Alex Bregman, and that comes with a lot with him. I think he understands exactly what he does well, which he did from day one. And I think being calm in the moment is innate. I think he understands, has a confidence level, has an awareness. Even like the awareness to beat them a single. He's not trying the theatrics and dramatics, trying to hit a ball out of the ballpark, like he did last night. He's just trying to get a good single and get a good pitch to hit. If you talk to him about describing his at-bat, he'll talk about having a plan to stay on top of this cutter that Kenley Jansen throws. It's one thing to talk about and another thing to do it in the moment that he did it. But he is cool and calm and completely in control of himself in these moments. I don't care if he's been in the league one year or ten years, he's demonstrating some very unique traits in the biggest moments.

Q. September 1 you talked about, "We could see the finish line." Now you can see the real finish line. How do you deal with that? It's something you've worked for every day of your life in baseball.
A.J. HINCH: The first thing we're going to do is get some sleep. Have a quick turnaround and get on the plane to LA. We've got a long travel day tomorrow. It's still a one-game season. We're going to walk in and try to win the game in Game 6. We've got Verlander going. Coming off this big win. Our team is pretty good at building off this type of momentum. It's a singular focus on trying to win the next game. For our guys, we know what's at stake. They know what's at stake. This is Game 6 of the World Series coming up, how much prep work do you really need to get yourself ready to play?

Q. Going back to Peacock's section of the game, I know that he looked like he was maybe running out of bullets. Was there any thought of wanting to keep letting him go, since he's been so successful?
A.J. HINCH: Obviously it's hard. When guys are rolling, I still subscribe to the theory that taking a guy out at an inning or a batter too early, instead of a batter too late. When you get the matchups that you want, while not perfect all the time, and the guy behind doesn't always make you look smart, you've got to stay with your plan on what you think is best at the moment. I thought Peacock stepped up huge today. Just being available to pitch is one thing. Being available to pitch in a huge situation with the game close is another. So I thought he had just done enough. We had the matchup we wanted with Seager and Harris, and then he got Turner out, and then we went a different direction. But, again, one of the many plots and one of the many twists and turns is what to do, when to do it and how to outlast them.
Q. Can you talk about Springer tonight, how he came back, that play, and how he kind of, again, has kind of started something for you when you needed it?
A.J. HINCH: I've been in the game a long time, I don't think I've seen someone remedy a mistake faster than what Springer did tonight. He dove, he tried to make an athletic play, small desperation, trying to keep his body in front of it if he could somehow not catch it. And then feels like the worst feeling in the world. He feels like he made the mistake of a lifetime. And one pitch later he hits a homer. A lot of energy put back into the building, certainly in George. And we trust George every step along the way. And for him to be able to deliver, make up for the judgment that he made in center is, again, one of the hundred stories you guys can write about.

Q. The difference between having to win one on the road and two on the road seems really big right now. Obviously this is a huge win, but being able to get this one at home, what does that mean?
A.J. HINCH: Well, we don't have any more home games at Minute Maid. So there's certainly -- we sent the home crowd away from Minute Maid for the season in pretty good fashion. But, again, I don't think the team across the way is just going to concede Game 6 or Game 7. These guys are really putting a ton of effort into it. So obviously this was a huge game. We won, so I'm going to tell you we're just going to stay focused and we are going to play the next day. If we lost, I would tell you it's not the end of the world. We're going to play the next game. Our approach doesn't really change. The reward for winning Game 6 will change for us.
Q. Bregman is known as confident guy, what do you see about him and his composure in big situations?
A.J. HINCH: I want to say I'd rather have nobody else up there, but then I would be disrespecting Altuve, and Correa and Springer and some guys that are really good hitters. He's one of many that seem to feed off of one another. And we trust him in the big moments because he's going to put up a good at-bat. And he's going to stay composed and he's going to get a good pitch to hit. More times than not he feels like he's going to deliver, and that's hard to do at this level. But he's certainly doing things that are special.