NED YOST: Yeah, he's good.
Q. To play catcher in the big leagues, you have to be a tough individual. But where does Sal fit on that threshold?
NED YOST: He's up there. The toughest guy I ever saw was Jason Kendall. And Sal is right there with him. It's just amazing the beating that he can take and rebound every day, being in that lineup.
Q. Yesterday Eddie talked about how they changed the game plan, him and Salvy. How much authority does Salvy have?
NED YOST: Again, it was more Eddie's thought, I'm feeling pretty good, down and away, commanding down and away. Let's try that to start out with.
There's always a lot of conversation between Salvador and each starting pitcher, they do a ton of video work. They're watching their hitters, they're watching, you know, what do they do in crucial situations, how do they handle the breaking ball, the fastball, how they channel the change-up. And they'll get together in their pregame meeting and by then they both have game plans formulated. And then they go over it and get on the exact same page and go.
But you set your basic game plan to begin with, but if you get out there and something is not working you've got to change it. Or if something is working really well you've got to change it a little bit. They do a great job of communicating with each other so that they're both on the same page.
Q. Donaldson was saying there's a big difference between 92 and 94. And Volquez is hovering around 95, but then kicking it up to 97. Does that make a difference, 2 miles an hour?
NED YOST: With that kind of movement it does. It makes a big difference. He threw the ball really, really well in Houston for me. I thought it was one of his best starts of the year in Houston. He had great stuff, but he was commanding it. He was commanding all three pitches.
But he outdid himself last night, it was even better. His velocity jumped up 2 miles an hour, his curveball was unbelievable, so the command was great.
Q. Volquez, it's like a different guy.
NED YOST: It's hard to adjust, it's like a different guy.
Q. I'm sure you experienced this in Atlanta, Cueto in Game 5, Volquez last night, there's an added level of whether it's velocity, command, what is it about great starting pitchers?
NED YOST: I think what you have to kind of understand a little bit is that -- and I did see this in Atlanta, I saw Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. All were close. Glavine pitched a great game. Smoltzy was going to do the exact same thing. And then Glavine would go out and do the exact same thing. There was inner competition among the starters to go out and throw a great ballgame because the one before him did.
You can see that here, Ventura, Volquez, Cueto, they're all close. And when Johnny threw the game he did the other day, I was interested to see what Eddie would do, because they are that close. And Eddie came out and matched him pitch for pitch.
Q. You've got Yordano out there today. Do you expect the competition with him, those guys are close?
NED YOST: Yeah, exactly the same thing. I expect him to go out, and in his mindset he's like, Well, Johnny threw a great game, Eddie threw a great game, it's my turn to throw a great game.
Q. Do you have a starter for Game 4?
NED YOST: I do.
Q. Who is it?
NED YOST: I'm not sure yet, really (laughter).
But I'll give you a hint.
Q. Tall or short?
NED YOST: His first name is Chris.
Q. You're a bad guy. With a K or C?
NED YOST: You ask these questions, but right now, the first two days my mindset is I'm going to do whatever I need to do to win. Whoever is available for Game 4, they're both great options. For me to name a Game 4 starter today, and I need him to win today, doesn't make any sense to me.
Q. Luke has talked about how last year was special to him. But this year he can be part of it and not watch from the sidelines. What does it mean for you to have him here?
NED YOST: It's special. You watch these guys, especially like Luke, you know, the work that he did last year to rehab and knowing that, you know what, he was here from the beginning. Him and Alex Gordon, they were here from the beginning when we were really, really bad. He had to endure all that.
And we finally get to the point where we go to the playoffs and go to the World Series and he can't pitch. So probably the one thing that I was disappointed about last year was that, you know, I just wished that Luke could have been there to be a part of that. Finally, going through all the hard stuff and all the losing and get to a place where we're in the World Series, I really would have loved to have seen him do that.
To get back to the scenario where he can pitch in the playoffs is very, very special, I think to all of us.