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Dave Roberts World Series off-day interview

October 30, 2017

Q. Is bouncing back from last night's game any different from a regular season loss or because it's so hard fought and the tension and the energy they put in physically you have to check around the clubhouse to make sure the levels are all right tomorrow?DAVE ROBERTS: I think

Q. Is bouncing back from last night's game any different from a regular season loss or because it's so hard fought and the tension and the energy they put in physically you have to check around the clubhouse to make sure the levels are all right tomorrow?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that it's obviously different than a regular season tough loss. Obviously the emotions and focus and energy were at an all-time high. But I think that our guys, even on the airplane, just as tough as that was, just looked forward to today just having an off-day and being ready to win a game on Tuesday.
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So our guys, like I said before, are very resilient. And we played our tails off, however many outs there were, the entire game, and we got beat. So I know we'll come with that same intensity tomorrow.
Q. How do you, account for the metamorphosis of Joc Peterson after the experience he went through and now what he's contributed to you in the World Series? And I'm assuming he'll be back in the lineup against Verlander tomorrow?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, Joc will be in there tomorrow against Verlander. And I think there were a mechanical change. I think that you see now he's more set in his legs, and that's something that the hitting guys made that adjustment about a month and a half ago.
And I think for him it's just that focus on every pitch. And right now in the postseason you're seeing him stay in the strike zone. I think that we've all seen him during the regular season, when he's going well, he expands and gets out of the strike zone. These are the best at-bats I've seen him over a certain period of time in two years, and it's a credit to his focus and obviously that mechanical change.
Q. Do you think that the trip to the Minor Leagues was a shapening experience for him?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think so. I think that it forced him to mature as a baseball player. I think it forced him to mature as a man and a guy that has had so much success early, and to be optioned down to the Minor Leagues and telling him that right now what you're doing is not good enough, I think it was a wake-up call for him and he responded admirably.
Q. The other night you said you'd still rather have Kenley out there in that situation anytime. Given the fact that the Astros have gotten to him twice, have you considered how you might use him now?
DAVE ROBERTS: No, we still believe he's the best closer in baseball, and that was two innings, and Bregman hit a good pitch. It was a cutter down and away, and it was 78 miles off the bat.
But our confidence in Kenley hasn't changed. He'll be available tomorrow night, as this is an elimination game for us. And I think the most important thing is that his confidence hasn't changed. That's be for me, in talking to him last night.
Q. I know Joc took some criticism from fans and media on that standing and watching at the plate, maybe could have been a triple otherwise. And did you talk to him about that and is this a common thing with young players today that that's fundamental of keep going, no matter what it is, instead of watching the ball go, is something that happens today?
DAVE ROBERTS: I haven't talked to Joc about that. And to be quite honest, I was watching the ball and hoping for it to clear the wall, so I didn't see him at home plate. But if that was the case, I'm sure one of our coaches talked to him.
But, yeah, and as far as young players today, I think that's more of a case by case. You see other guys that are -- Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes, that certainly don't do that. So I think that each player is different, like in all generations.

Q. Does Rich Hill get a longer leash tomorrow under the circumstances? And how critical do you see that he'd be able to pitch deeper in the game after everything that happened in Game 5?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think if you look back at the Alex Wood start and what he did for us in Game 4, I think that it's kind of the same blueprint, where you obviously have to watch the game and see how he's throwing the baseball. But I look for Rich to throw the ball really well. And under the circumstances of Game 5, you've got to be open to pushing him, and I know he's up for the challenge.
But everyone is available outside of Clayton and Yu Darvish. In an elimination game, we are absolutely looking for Rich to go deep.
Q. To follow up, if Alex Wood is available, to be part of that group, how available is he? What could he possibly give you?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, you know what, that's a question I'll know more once these guys are on the field tomorrow playing catch and let us know how their arms are feeling. Obviously each guy is going to want to do everything he can to help us win a baseball game. So, again, more information once I hear how they're feeling.
Q. You were talking last night about how Morrow sort of convinced you that he was ready to go. He called down and said he felt like he wanted in the game. And I'm curious from your perspective this time of year, how difficult is the balancing act between trusting your players versus trying to protect them against their selves?
DAVE ROBERTS: There's certainly a balance, but I think that with Brandon, a veteran player, and talking to Josh Bard, Rick Honeycutt and also hearing it from Brandon that he wanted the baseball, feels good that he can get outs. And so I think that if you look at the workload and the days that he's pitched are more than he's ever pitched, but as far as the number of pitches and things like that, and so just hearing how he felt, there is a point where you have to trust a player. And also there is that balance. Obviously last night I trusted him and believed that he felt good, and just didn't get it done. But I applaud him to no end to want to take the baseball.
Q. You mentioned the mood on the plane, I guess, was fairly upbeat. How could you tell that guys had started to process things and move forward?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think it's just more of talking to Kenley and some of the guys. And as disappointed, and you're physically and mentally exhausted, but to look forward to catching our breath, getting back home and knowing what's in store for us with our fans, and knowing we've won two games in a row many times this year.
I think guys are looking forward to just kind of looking forward to getting back home. And knowing that we've got Rich on the mound. I think that we felt good that -- we've seen Verlander again, this will be the third time this year, that we can get to him, as well.
Q. On the home-field advantage, apart from the fans and the noise, do you feel that in future years managing in September will be a little bit different because of the value of having the home-field advantage and getting the best record?
DAVE ROBERTS: I do. And I think that you look at us and having the DH, playing at a place that we haven't -- guys haven't spent much time at Minute Maid. But there's an advantage, you look at the Astros, and you look at us in the postseason. And we knew it was important for us to get home-field advantage. And this is why we played 162 games like we did, for the opportunity to be at home and win two games. So it is a premium and for us it is definitely understated.
Q. Rich Hill pitched some pretty big games for you since he got here from Oakland. We may be overlooking him, and that maybe he'll end of being the story tomorrow night?
DAVE ROBERTS: I agree. This is a guy that's got an amazing story. He's been through so many things throughout his life, professionally, personally. And we talked about Clayton's preparation, Rich mirrors that. And just the big moment, he just has a way of just maintaining his focus. And I know that the guys in the clubhouse feel that and have confidence in Rich. And when you're in an elimination game to have him, his confidence, his demeanor, take the mound, that's a good feeling.
Q. Just curious about the environment, how much would it help you guys if you were coming out for BP and the building was shaking already, people were already outside yelling and screaming. What would that decibel level do for inspiration?
DAVE ROBERTS: It did. You saw those guys, and they fed off their crowd. We're going to have close to 60,000 people there tomorrow night wearing Dodger blue. And when you go to the ballpark and hear the chatter and get on to the field, all the soreness and things like that that you feel in a long season, I've been there, and they seem to dissipate when you have the energy of the crowd.
So we'll be ready. I think that those guys over there, the Astros, they played some very good baseball and it's been essentially an even series. We're down 3-2, we know we have to win a game tomorrow, and our guys will be feeding off the energy from the fans.
Q. Over the years other teams have had outstanding results in the regular season, only to fall short in the World Series. If you don't win it all, how much would that diminish the accomplishment of the regular season?
DAVE ROBERTS: It would certainly be disheartening and disappointing. I think the Astros won 101 games, the Indians won 102 games, we won 104 games. These are teams that had great seasons. There can only be one champion. Our goal at the outset of the season was to be the last man standing we still have that opportunity.
So right now I don't think we're thinking about the alternative. I think that our focus right now is only on winning the game tomorrow, and after that we'll see what's in store for us.
Q. With Gabe Kapler getting hired in Philadelphia. Your thoughts on that? And if you could maybe explain how somebody like somebody that does all of his work out of sight, out of mind, how that manifested itself in the team you have now in the World Series?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, you know what, I think that, yeah -- I mean, is it official?
Q. It is.
DAVE ROBERTS: Okay. Yeah, well, if it's official, I'm obviously very excited for Gabe, and I think he'll do a great job with that young group of players, a very talented group. But as far as with respect to our farm system and the culture that he's kind of instilled with the teaching, a lot of -- he's really impacted the guys that are with us right now.
It takes all of us, the farm system, baseball ops, scouting and obviously the Major League staff to accomplish what we've accomplished, but Gabe and his staff have been a huge part of what we have this year.