Oct. 15 Terry Collins pregame interview

Q. Most of your players in the playoffs for the first time this year. What value do you think that has for those guys moving forward in their career?

TERRY COLLINS: You can't, well, you know, we use it all the time, you can't teach this. You cannot teach this kind of atmosphere, this kind of noise, this kind of pressure. You can't do it. You've got to live it and experience it to be able to deal with it. I think for our young pitching staff, for Conforto, Flores, this is going to make them a better player, no doubt in my mind.

Q. To follow up on that, what have you learned about doing this so far?

TERRY COLLINS: Well, you learn that there's a huge sense of urgency. Every out means something. Every run is hard to get. So you just can't give runs away. Every day seems like it's the last. There is no, hey, look, get through the day. Just like tonight, you've got to break out anything you think might help you win this game tonight because tomorrow, if we don't win, it's all over with.

So it's been a whole different experience as far as game maneuverability inside. Guys when you're going to use, when you're going to use them. You might pinch earlier than you ever thought about doing because this might be the only chance. You face a Zack Greinke and you look up in the sixth inning and say, hey, we've got second and third, and one out and here comes the pitcher. Holy cow, this might be the only time we have a chance to score. So it's just a whole different mindset when you're running the game.

Q. Previous winner-take-all game you were involved in, whether it's a Game 7 or Game 5 as a coach in whatever capacity?

TERRY COLLINS: Well, I was coaching in Pittsburgh in '92 in Game 7 in the playoffs against the Braves. Didn't work out too good.

Q. How long does something like that last for you?

TERRY COLLINS: Well, we knew it was going to be really hard, because we knew we were losing Barry. He was going to be a free agent at the end of the year. We knew he was going to be gone. We knew Drabek was going to be gone. So at that particular time we thought this might be the only chance we'd have for a while in Pittsburgh, so it was really hard to walk off that field that night.

Q. The other day when you talked about leaning on your veterans in the locker room, that you were a little more hands off. Can you speak specifically to what David Wright has been like? What you've seen from him this postseason? From your perspective, what's what it's meant to be back here?

TERRY COLLINS: Well, it means a lot. He's the face of the organization. He's the captain of the team. He brings a presence in the clubhouse. He has that personality that he lightens things up in there. He's still joking. He's still handing out the barbs to guys and making it fun and trying to get the guys to relax. So that's necessary at this time of year. Hey, look, it's still a game. We've still got to relax and go play the game right.

But I tell you, when that game starts, he's some kind of intense. So once again, and again, I think the young players see how he handles it before the game, and how he gets ready. The guy was here today at 10:15 to get ready for tonight because he knows he has to be ready. So he sacrifices everything else because he knows in order to help his team he's got to do certain things, and if young players watch that, they're going to be better because of it. They know what they have to do.

Q. Staying with the old guys, I know he hasn't done much on the field, but Cuddyer, what's he meant for your clubhouse through this run? The fact he's not playing, how hard is that?

TERRY COLLINS: When we lost David Wright, Michael Cuddyer had to be the guy that really stepped up in the clubhouse. Grande, as Grande, he's got that tremendous personality. But Michael Cuddyer is the guy who is a little bit more vocal than Grande is. He started the Belt Award, the little award when the game's over when after we win, and made it fun.

And by the way, made winning more fun because of it. When the game's over, guys walk right in, sit down. There's no -- they want to see the ceremony. And I think that that leadership side of Cuddyer, the fact that when we brought Michael Conforto was here, and Michael was hurt. We got back and decided to platoon. Here's a guy we're giving a lot of money to who is becoming a platoon player, and the only thing he cares about is winning. He'll tell you that every day.

I have no problem doing whatever you want me to do. If this is what's going to help us win, I'm buying in. And you cannot replace that kind of leadership, because there are only a few guys that are that unselfish at this level. It's nice to have them around our young players.

Q. Jim Leyland and Tony La Russa leading up to a game like this would pick each other's brains and call each other. Do you have someone you like to talk to leading up to a game like this, and if so, could you share some of that?

TERRY COLLINS: Well, I was real lucky. Jim's been in New York the last couple days. So I just talked to him real briefly about what he went through. He just, one of the things he kept saying was he kept saying hey, look, talent wins, talent plays. Don't worry about the experience. Play the talented guys because they're the ones that are going to have the most success.

So I took that to heart, and that's why I'm looking at -- I had no problem putting Steven Matz was out there, because they've got great talent, just like tonight. I'm going with another young pitcher.

You look at it, Syndergaard's got three quarters of a year in the Big in '06 leagues. Jake's got a year and a half. We've got a young team and young guys doing big things. So we're going into tonight's game. Had no problem playing Michael Conforto because I think he's the best guy. He's a talented kid. So we're going to go with that, and if which play up to our capabilities, we'll be successful.

Q. Would that apply to someone like a Syndergaard in a situation tonight, the talent?

TERRY COLLINS: I just talked to our beat guys, it might, it might. But, you know, this kid has not just, his first year in the big leagues, he's never been in the playoffs. He's never pitched out of the bullpen, and is it fair to him and fair to our club? Is it the most successful thing to do to put him in the 8th inning when he's, you know, never had to experience it outside of the fact that he throws hard? And what's it going to do if he fails for his psychological moving forward?

So all those things. I take those into consideration when I make decisions. So we'll get together here in a little while with the coaches, and we've talked about it already today a little bit. We'll talk about it a little bit more, but we've got to make the right decisions as we move forward.

Q. You've been around a lot of great pitchers both on your team and against them. What puts deGrom in that category both stuff-wise and mentality-wise that you can give him the ball with confidence?

TERRY COLLINS: Stuff-wise and command. When you command that kind of stuff and you can move the ball around the strike zone, you're going to be really good, especially when you've got that kind of stuff.

The laid back attitude he portrays, this kid is a competitor. He really, really competes, and you've got to like that. He's not afraid to challenge somebody if he has to. He's got great confidence in his stuff. So that's why I think he's going to be really, really good. We've just got to make sure we can put him in the right spots and keep him healthy enough to go out and every five days he can dominate. He can dominate for a while. Tonight he's very fired up about this game. We got him an extra day's rest, so it should be fun to watch?

Q. Not too long ago you'd see a guy come up threw 98, 99, and half the time you wouldn't know where it was going. Now you've got your guys and some others in baseball that have great command and great velocity. Is that the wave of the future?

TERRY COLLINS: I think it's the wave of the future. These guys are getting tremendous coaching. There are the strength and conditioning guys in the organizations or privately are doing a great job of getting these guys, because they're so big, the coordination side to where they can control themselves. They can repeat their delivery. I've been amazed by it. Noah's a perfect example. The guy's 6'7" and never seems like he gets out of control, his body gets out of control. I think it's a combination of how hard they work in the off-season, and what these guys do during the season to maintain that. So you're going to see it. It's going to be the wave. There is no question.

Q. You talked about how tough it was in Pittsburgh knowing that there are pieces that weren't going to be there coming up. Now you've got a young team, but there are some pieces here that might not be here next year. Is there any element that feels the same as far as the urgency goes to keep this thing going because of that?

TERRY COLLINS: Well, there is. There is always that thought. Obviously, we know we've got some guy that could go after free agency. But this game, and I truly believe this, it's about having good starting pitching. If we get good starting pitching, it's going nowhere. That right there, that point probably makes this -- the future is pretty bright still instead of saying, wow, we're losing this guy and this guy and this guy, we're still going to run some pretty good pitching at you every night.

Hopefully we can get some guys back here and some guys signed. If not, go out and find somebody else, but we're still going to be able to compete.

Q. After Game 4, you talked about needing Lucas Duda to stop trying desperately to hit home runs. Have you talked to him in the past day or two? What did you one had with him since then?

TERRY COLLINS: Of course. We've just got to get Lucas to relax a little bit. Just, hey, look put the ball in play. When he gets it going, he's dangerous to all parts of the ballpark. So when you see him struggling like he is right now and again, this is only from what I'm seeing, it looks like he's trying to pull a little too much. And I know Kevin and Pat have gotten to him today and worked on some things to get him in a better position to use the field to hit because we've got to have him produce some runs.