JOHN GIBBONS: Oh, shoot, he's -- you really just look where he's come back this year and the games he's pitched. Really, every game he's pitched since he's been back has been a meaningful game for this team. Getting us in for some big games along the way and he pitched a tremendous Game 2. I don't think it really surprises anybody that's knows him, that's been around him. He's got a great arm, he's got great stuff, whatever you want to call it. But there's something different about him, too, and I expect if anybody can rise to the occasion, it would be him.
Q. Everyone knows how effective Pillar is in the outfield, but how has he managed to bring that same kind of effectiveness to the plate?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, Kevin's had a tremendous year for us both ways really, offensively and defensively. I think a huge part of his success this year is the fact that he's in there every day. That's all he ever asked for in the past. He came up in kind of a platoon-type role. Now he's in there every day and he's confident, he grows. He's made a huge difference for this team with his glove. You guys have all seen that but along the way he's had some of the biggest hits in bat all year. And he continues to, he's a free-swinger, and I think he sometimes gets in trouble with that a little bit but when he tones it down a little bit and swings it when he wants to he's a good hitter, too. He's had a tremendous year.
Q. John, Loup missed Game 4 for a family matter. Do you expect him to be back for Game 5?
JOHN GIBBONS: Do not know, do not know.
Q. When Stroman went down with an injury in the preseason, did you ever think he would be starting a decisive Postseason game? Did you ever think he would be back here now at this time?
JOHN GIBBONS: No, I didn't think he was going to make it back this season. He did but I'm not sure anybody else did. It just started happening fast. He started moving and moving and moving, I remember Alex came to me. I don't know, it was probably in July, end of July or something, saying it's moving in the right direction. He may be back. Still thought it was farfetched, may have to come out of the bullpen or something. Alex was adamant about giving him a start if everything lined up. And sure enough, he took off. Two rehab starts in the Minor Leagues and he's here. He defied all the odds, that's for sure. I didn't expect it, but thank God he's here.
Q. John, when along the way in the process did you begin to think this is real, this is actually going to happen, we may actually get him back?
JOHN GIBBONS: You know what, I guess probably a couple weeks before he made that first rehab start for our A-ball team, whatever that date was. Yeah, then it was kind of, it was really starting to set in, okay, he may do it. Okay, I thought he might make it back and be part of the team and maybe eat up some innings in September. I didn't expect him to do this. So it's got the makings of a really, really good story here if this plays out the way we want it to.
Q. When's the last time you saw Stroman nervous or have you ever seen him nervous?
JOHN GIBBONS: You know, Gumby, I don't know if I can ever say I've ever really seen him nervous. Maybe his debut, I don't know if it would be nervous, but I think most rookies, I'm talking about when he first got called up and came out of the bullpen. Most guys when they get here for the first time, there's a little different look about them. Here's my opportunity, I've got to do something with it. Really, he didn't know his teammates as much at the time so he was kind of tiptoeing around probably a little bit. But then after a couple outings in the bullpen, he really kind of settled in. First couple outings were really good, and then he struggled a few outings, we ended up sending him down to gear him up to start, is what happened. Once he felt comfortable with his teammates and thinks, hey, I can probably do this. Then you saw who he is, it really starts to come out, but other than that, I don't think I've ever seen him nervous because I think he thrives on that. He's human, of course, but there is something different about him.
Q. John, they went with Hamels in Game 2, then they go to Perez, and then they go to Holland, back to Hamels again. Lefty, lefty, lefty. Is that a benefit to your hitting lineup?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, we've been good against lefties most of the year and we're basically a right-handed hitting team. Hamels is a little different, too, now. He's not your average left-hander either. From that standpoint it's not easy. But I think at this point, there's familiarity. We saw him once. They saw Stroman once. It won't be easy for either side, but we do know a little bit about him and we'll see who steps up.
Q. When you started Marcus at Yankee Stadium, did you assume he was going to start the rest of the year or was that sort of the test night?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, just seeing how he did. We didn't know what to expect. We threw him in that second game of the doubleheader because of the rain-out, and we thought this would be a good gauge. Pitched against the A-ball team, and was really good, and we expected him to be. Then pitched against Boston's AAA down in Pawtucket. And he struggled, he got hit around a little bit. We didn't know for sure what to expect. That game in New York, let's see how far along he is, and he did very well. So after that I think we all felt, you know what, we need this guy, let's see what he can do with it and he took off with it.
Q. John, compared to the first two games here in Texas, the team looked a lot more relaxed in their approach, a lot more like the team we've grown accustomed to over the final two months of the regular season. Is there something that you think led to this in terms of the team feeling a little bit more comfortable down in Texas?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, I mean, it's pretty -- I think people probably anticipate it would be just the opposite when you're down two games. But I've said all year, once I've gotten to know these guys, there's something different about this group, too. They don't lack confidence. Our back was against the wall, it's pretty obvious, but it's never been a group that really ran from anything, backed down from anything. Yeah, those two games in Texas looked a lot more like our team than we've seen all year, so hopefully that's a good thing going into tomorrow. But we've always been good at home. We didn't win any of the first two, but we always expect to win here.
Q. John, speaking of that in Games 3 and 4 there you seemed to take a more disciplined -- the hitters seemed to make a more disciplined approach at the plate. Was that conscientious or just a matter of, like you said, being more comfortable, and what's the key to having success against Hamels?
JOHN GIBBONS: I mean, we are a very disciplined team for a slugging team, we do have great discipline. I think the fact that the first game Gallardo, he can -- he can exploit some teams, especially some free-swinging teams because he can live on the corners of the plate. He throws that ball that starts in the strike zone and disappears. It's tough to be disciplined against a guy like that a lot of times, it's not an easy thing to do. Of course, Hamels is in a lot of ways the same way. They attack you and they get ahead, and they kind of force you to chase a little bit or come after their pitches like that. We're just the opposite. Martin down there was a little more wild and then, of course, we took care of Holland yesterday. So a lot of that has to do with the guys on the mound, if they're strike throwers and that's how they make their living, it's like Estrada, you know. When Marco's on, you have too much discipline, you're walking back to the dugout pretty quickly. The starter does factor into that. Where we're really good is we get somebody that's a little bit off and we take advantage of that, take our walks when we get them, force them to bring it over the plate and when they do, we hit them.
Q. One more on Stroman, if I may. You've been around a bit. What was your first impressions when you encountered this young, brass pitcher who thought he could take on the world?
JOHN GIBBONS: You know what, he's a likeable guy when you first meet him, no doubt about that. His parents did a tremendous job with him. He's smart, intelligent, he's got everything going. But he's cocky. He's one of those guys, you know, you think okay, he believes he can do it but let's see it. You're talking about this is the Big Leagues now. But I know, I'm sure our guys when they drafted him, they scouted him so heavily, they drafted him high. They knew there was something different about him, too, besides just how good an arm he had. But it didn't take long, he's one of those guys everybody gravitates to because he makes you feel good and he makes everybody play better. But with his -- I don't want to say attitude because it's not a bad attitude, but it's like okay, let's see it, you know? He's shown it.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
JOHN GIBBONS: You're welcome.