JEFF BANISTER: Well, I've had multiple conversations with a number of people that have been instrumental in me in baseball, in managerial styles, ideology, philosophies, ideas. Yes, the answer is yes, and I've made some of those phone calls already and some of them have come my way, too. I also have a tremendous staff that I lean on quite a bit here that I trust a lot. We've been together since spring training and have grown together, have really done some nice things, so I'll lean on those guys first.
Q. Over the last week, Josh Hamilton returned to your lineup, what did you see that you liked in terms of the evolution of the at-bats and the plate appearances?
JEFF BANISTER: Well, we liked the patience in their bats. Really, the timing of the swing on the fastball really and then the ability not to chase as much. Really, Josh is an extremely dangerous hitter when he's recognizing the baseball and seeing the baseball well. That's the thing we saw, we saw him get the foot down, and hold that back side and was able to leverage through the baseball and when he's doing that, he's as good as they come.
Q. From what you saw from a far with Prince Fielder in the other league and what you saw up close, what was your overall impression of who he is and what he contributes and what he can't contribute on the playoff off team?
JEFF BANISTER: The first part of that -- I mean, the last part of that first. What he can bring is just the overall experience and the calmness that he has as a hitter. He's the type of guy that can take over a game. We've seen that, we've seen that during the year, but not only take over the game with the power but just the ability to hit the ball the other way, drive the ball in the gap. When Prince is really going well, you see him drive the ball to the middle of the field. So we rely on that. Something that we've seen throughout the year. Look, over in the other league, when he was in Milwaukee, I saw him take over a number of games and single-handedly beat you with the long ball as well as the singles and doubles in the gap.
Q. Yovani did something that not too many pitchers have done this year, and that's hold the Blue Jays off the scoreboard for two consecutive outings. What allowed him to have success against this lineup and what's the best approach to get this lineup?
JEFF BANISTER: Well, if I gave away all my secrets you would be helping them out. Are you working for them? (Laughs.)
It's like any other ball club, you execute pitches that you have a greater chance of success. Yovani is a veteran pitcher who's not going to give in, who could throw strikes, he works out on the edges and throws just enough strikes to get you in swing mode and then he can go inside on you or he can go away. He can also work the vertical game as well. One thing that you can't do really is sit on any one pitch. Look, we know that that's a really good ball club over there. We look at the numbers, we've seen it. We hear everything that's being said. Dynamic ball club. Lot of power, they love playing this ballpark. We know that we've got to play well, we've got to pitch well, play well. We do that we've got an opportunity.
Q. Coach, those of us in Toronto have seen the effect of David Price coming to this team. Can you talk a little bit about the arrival of Cole Hamels to your ball club and what it meant?
JEFF BANISTER: I think a very similar situation. You bring in a pitcher the caliber of both these men and what they're capable of doing and what they have meant to their previous ball clubs. When you look at Cole Hamels, he carries the playoff pedigree also. What he's meant to our ball club is that initially we were underneath and we were below .500 and nobody was even caring where we were at and thought that we got Cole for next year and beyond. The reality is that there was a belief system inside that clubhouse and one that the front office also believed in what we were capable of doing and the core group of players that were playing every day. So when Cole showed up, there are two things for me. The message that he gave in his press conference as he talked about his previous team, the Philadelphia Phillies, and what they meant to him and his time there and just how thankful he was, which shows the integrity of the man and the character and things that we had already heard about. And then he started talking about our ball club and what he had seen and noticed and the grit and the passion and he couldn't wait to assimilate himself in side our clubhouse and start growing with our group of guys, which told me that there was still a lot left and a lot that he wanted to do, and he wanted to add value to our ball club and I think those are two things for me that he's been capable of doing very early. And you see it in the games that he goes out and pitches for us and how he pitches, just exactly how he attacks different ball teams. But really how much he wants to perform for this ball club.
Q. Jeff, could you share your lineup for tomorrow yet?
JEFF BANISTER: No.
Q. You worked with Russell Martin last year. What impact can he have defensively on a game, especially the base runners?
JEFF BANISTER: Russ can shut you down. Pitcher gives him an opportunity, he's as accurate a thrower from behind the plate as I've ever been around. Extremely quick. He's a shortstop playing behind the plate, is what he is. That's the athleticism that he brings, and enjoyed every minute of working with Russ and learning from Russ, but also helping add some value to Russ, and just not only what he does behind the plate defensively as far as receiving balls and blocking balls and the throwing aspect of it all, just how much he pays attention to hitters. The video that he watches, how he helps that pitching staff. But also, this is a guy who plays with an edge, who wants to come and beat you every single day and it's something that I absolutely love and really admire from players that want to show up and really play hard to help their team win.
Q. The methods that the veterans are giving the rookies, the playoffs are different but the game's the same. So you're a rookie manager. So you need to be reminded of that. Do you remind yourself of that? Is that something you expect to grapple with at all as you head out to manage your first game in the playoffs?
JEFF BANISTER: Well, I think I'm very fortunate and blessed to be able to have gone through some playoff games myself as being a bench coach and being able to watch one of the guys who I think is one of the best managers in the game today, one of the best people, a mentor of mine and a guy that I know is just a phone call or an instant message away from relying on and getting some information or some help. What I watch from him is that -- there's a statement that he says all the time, he says the game doesn't know that the game's important. Really doesn't. Still a game. You go out and meet the demands of the game, however it's played out in front of you as a player, as a manager, you go out and try to meet the demands of the game. The game will let you know what we need to do so we pay attention to it and we stay on top of it. We'll treat this game just like all the rest of them. It's one game, one game at a time. It's the only one we get to play. We've put a lot of importance on one game because there's no doubleheaders, there's just one.
Q. The only team that was as hot as the Blue Jays in the second half was you guys how would you describe the feeling in your clubhouse heading into the series?
JEFF BANISTER: I think it's full of energy, belief, confidence, but yet they're the ones that aren't being given a chance. I also think that there's a little different edge and I thank you all.
Q. You spoke a minute ago about the importance of executing pitches when facing this Blue Jays offense, but do you think there's another opponent you faced this season that is better able to punish any mistake that's made when a pitch isn't executed properly?
JEFF BANISTER: Than the Blue Jays?
JEFF BANISTER: Great group of hitters, they're a great group of hitters. You've got to give them credit, you look at their numbers and what they've done, they speak for themselves.
Q. Dovetail off of that question, your pitches per plate appearance on your team is equal to Toronto's in September, you led the Major Leagues in walks in September. How has this team's offensive approach changed and why is it all kind of spearheaded here into the last month of the season?
JEFF BANISTER: I think that's the growth of this ball club. That's the growth of that group of guys inside that clubhouse and on our team of, A, being able to accept a plan, put it in place and really be stubborn with it, and we talked about that earlier, about being stubborn with your approach and that's truly the whole sense of the phrase. One, you've got to understand what your approach is and be able to carry it out and then stick to it. We knew what our approach wanted to be earlier, we just had to match our want-to with our how-to and just stay stubborn with it. It takes a little while. It's a different mindset for a group of guys, but I believe that they understand the process and have seen the benefits of it all.