Blue Jays Pregame Interview - John Gibbons

Q. Ben looked like he was grimacing a little when he was coming home on Bautista yesterday.

JOHN GIBBONS: He's fine, he jarred his back a little bit. It's been a long season, too. He's good to go, he got his treatment last night. There shouldn't be any problems.

Q. Do you believe in momentum in baseball, and do you feel like maybe some of the momentum was blunted by the fact that they scored some runs late?

JOHN GIBBONS: Well, I think I probably believe momentum during the game, in one particular game. Game to game is different. And really, you guys have all heard before, it really starts on the mound. You can be on a nice little roll and you run into a hot pitcher that's pitching a great ballgame, he can really shut you down.

In the middle of the game, in that particular game, yes. Game to game, I don't think so.

Q. Ned's described facing Chris Young as the invisible. How would you describe the challenge of facing the 6'10" soft-tossing righty?

JOHN GIBBONS: He's tough. He's been tough on us in the past. We saw him earlier in the year, we saw him out in Seattle last year. He's such a big guy, he's intimidating out there.

You talk about the angle in baseball, he's right on top of you it feels like. He's a pitcher, too. He's not necessarily an overpowering fastball, but it plays better than what you see on the velocity on the scoreboard. He knows how to pitch, he keeps it down, he'll elevate when he thinks he needs to for strikeouts or pop-ups. It's hard to catch up with that pitch up. He's pretty good.

Q. Another wall banger for Pillar last night. I don't want to say it's becoming routine. We've seen it so much this year. You've got to be fearless to do that. Why do you think Pillar is able to constantly pull off these kind of catches that most don't pull off?

JOHN GIBBONS: Kevin works at it every day. He's one of those guys that -- before he comes in and hits he'll take one round of defense out there. He works at it. He works on getting his jumps and reads. He's always done that, from a little kid on, ever since he was in the Minor Leagues, even before that. That's a big part of it.

He's not a blazing type runner, he's not one of those kind of speed guys, but as far as first-step quickness in his routes, there's nobody better, but that's because of hard work. That just didn't happen.

Q. What did Hirschbeck explain to you for throwing Tulowitzki out of the game?

JOHN GIBBONS: He really didn't give me a reason, necessarily. It's just hopefully trying to diffuse it. I think what he thought, he probably gave him his say at home plate and he did. Then when he carried it out to the field that's what happened. That's generally what happens if a guy takes it out on the field with him.

That's behind us.

Q. Escobar didn't get the result in Game 1, but still a decent outing. Any small adjustments looking to Game 5?

JOHN GIBBONS: No. You know what, he wasn't bad that first start. It was just Volquez was so good. He gave us a chance to win the game.

But they're a tough lineup to face, because they're putting the ball in play. He's been known to get some strikeouts, he wasn't necessarily getting those. But I thought overall he was pretty good. We just got shut out, really.

Q. How encouraging was it for you to get some guys in your lineup who had not been going, seemingly going the last couple games?

JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, we've said since we've gotten to the playoffs here, we need to score to win. You look at our season, that's what we do.

But the playoff baseball is not easy. You run into the best pitchers, the best pitchers are on the best teams to get to the playoffs. Even if guys struggle, that's not unusual. You look at the history of the game.

But the two guys you mentioned, they've also got a lot of key hits along the way. Last night's game I thought Goins, the big hit to get us on the board, give us a lead right away was huge. It was a great at-bat. Tulo, the second really big home run in the Postseason for us, and really when we had to have it, that our backs were against the wall.

Q. In terms of evaluating a knuckleball pitcher early on, what do you look for where in your mind you say he's got it?

JOHN GIBBONS: That's a good question. It's totally different than looking at your conventional guy. I think you just look at really how the ball is moving, the depth of -- really, what I've noticed these three years with R.A. is that he can come and go from hitter to hitter. He'll have an inning where it's untouchable and then a hitter where it flattens out. It's really tough to gauge sometimes.

A lot of times not necessarily number of pitches he throws when he's getting worn out, I don't think that's a big factor in it. It's really a lot of times the luck of the draw in how it's breaking and kind of the approach maybe the other team has, what kind of hitters, things like that. So really, in a lot of ways you're guessing.

Q. Get another crack at Volquez again tomorrow. What do you take away after digesting that outing and getting to see him again so soon?

JOHN GIBBONS: The whole story the other day he was just so good. He couldn't have pitched any better. I thought he had a couple balls early in the game on the barrel, and they were out. We had the one shot in the last inning, we walked the first two guys, and then worked out of a jam with a couple of big strikeouts.

Really, it was just that he was so good he dominated us. Not a whole lot you could do about it. Tomorrow if he's on, just like he was the other night, it's going to be real tough again. So hopefully he's not quite as good and maybe make a few mistakes, and hopefully not miss them. He was that good.

Q. In terms of your bullpen, Kansas City scores a lot of their runs late, if they get a guy on, they're a lineup that can turn it over and keep the momentum going. Does that change how you manage your bullpen late in the game?

JOHN GIBBONS: We have our go-to guys, hopefully it sets up the way you want to. They're dangerous, they keep coming at you. We haven't seen Dyson and Gore yet. Games haven't been that close where those guys come in and make a difference.

You enter the Postseason, and this is our bullpen, this is their bullpen. It's really what got you there. You try to match it up the best way you can. Hopefully you get a great outing out of your starter. That always makes things easier. You just roll with what you have. And you hope they do it like they've been doing it all year to get to this point, really.

Q. Estrada is a guy who pitches to a lot of contact and they're a team that makes a lot of contact. Is that something that works in his favor, as far as playing to his strengths?

JOHN GIBBONS: The Kansas City lineup, they're tough on everybody. There's something to be said for you put a ball in play, something good can happen. If you're striking out a lot, nothing is going to happen, right? They're tough on any style of pitcher, really. Whether it plays to Marco's favor or not, I'm not sure.

You hope when you face a contact team you get a lot of at-a-balls and quick outs that can usually allow you to stay in the game longer if you're getting good results.

But what's so dangerous about it is sometime during the game you get guys in scoring position, guys on third base, contact your enemy, that plays in their favor, it's tough to get a strikeout.

So as far as how it affects him, I'm not sure. If he pitches his game and he's on, we feel pretty good. But they're different over there, meaning it's never an easy outing for a pitcher, because they battle you, really.

Q. With your season possibly on the line over the next two days, what do you say to the guys or do you say anything at all?

JOHN GIBBONS: No, to be honest with you, I haven't had one team meeting this year. And that's a good thing because we haven't really needed it, to be honest with you. These guys know what's at stake. You're rewarded by being here and getting to the playoffs in the first place. Then you move on to the second round. We had a great series, that last one, and then we're here. It's a reward here anyway. Our goal is to move on, of course, to the big one.

But I think you've heard everybody that's been up here will tell you, it's a unique group, more so than other teams I've been around. They're very focused, they have fun together and they play to win. Whether you get down or not, it's not a team that really needs a whole lot of motivation.

Baseball is different than most sports; you're at it every day, sometimes the more you talk the less they listen, anyway. But it's not a team that really needs a lot of that.

Q. A lot of people have talked about, especially the players, they say the next game or the game tonight is the most important. Can you speak about the importance of not putting your backs against the wall?

JOHN GIBBONS: We win it, we're in real good shape, to even this thing up. If they win it, they're one win away. That's how important it is. We're at home. We always play better at home. So hopefully that helps us out again today.

There's three games gone, out of the way, so now you're getting towards the end where it's almost elimination time for somebody. And they're in the driver's seat right now. It's a huge game. Yesterday was a huge game. From here on out, really. You can't afford to lose too many more.