DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, right. Sorry for the white lie. Unintentional.
Q. The Cubs have gotten, as we talked about before, all the attention this postseason. They get the prime time games, the schedule is all based around them, it seems like they have gotten -- do you feel at all like you guys have been a little bit overlooked in the whole national narrative and do you think that your team feeds off that coming in here?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that there might be a little bit of that. I can kind of relate a little bit playing for the Red Sox in 2004, where it felt like the whole country was supporting us and was hoping for us to break the curse; and, obviously, the country's rallied around the Cubs. So, I don't think it affects us. We had a good feeling going into that last series and so we are here now and we're playing on prime time and our guys are looking forward to it.
Q. What can you tell us about your rotation for the series?
DAVE ROBERTS: All I know right now is we're going to start Kenta in Game 1. I'll let you know more tomorrow.
Q. Before or after?
DAVE ROBERTS: Before.
Q. Congratulations. A couple questions: Just how, what's the condition of your team, given how much you had to expend to get through the division series. And secondly, how big of a challenge is it to face a team that has Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in the middle of the lineup?
DAVE ROBERTS: The condition of our team, we're in a great state physically, mentally. I think we feel we have got some momentum. The day off is good. We're going to go out there and work out, get our legs loose, and get acclimated to Chicago. But we have familiarity with this ballpark, with this ballclub over there. And, yeah, those are two very good players, but you look at all the teams that we have played all year long and that team that we just played this past series had some good players as well. So, I think it's a little bit more complex than Bryant and Rizzo. But, yeah, those are two good players.
Q. You and so many of your players said last night after the game that you don't mind being the underdog, it really doesn't make a difference, the only thing that makes a difference is what happens on the field. How can that possible help you guys going into a series where everybody considers you the underdog?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think it's something that, from day one, this has kind of been our mindset. Whether people felt we were better than we were or not as good as we were or we were done in May or June or whenever it was, but I think that's the same thing going on. And for us, it's just a lot of noise. I think it comes down to 25 players playing against one another and it's the Dodgers and the Cubs. So it really doesn't matter to us, to be quite honest.
Q. You already mentioned several times just how you evolved from the beginning of the season until now, in handling the bullpen, but not just bullpen, but just overall as a manager. Just who have you looked to as models of people that you can look to as examples or for anyone that you've talked to that has really helped you a long throughout this season?
DAVE ROBERTS: I don't think that it's anyone outside of our organization, I think it's more internal, the discussions that we have had since the day I was hired and talking about our personnel and thoughts about how we feel it's best to manage the pen and the roster. So, these are things that we have had conversations with all year long. And with what happened with the starters this season, as far as injuries and different other things that kind of transpired for to us lean on our pen a lot like we have, it's kind of evolved into that. So I think that Game 5 last night was just kind of what we have done all year. So I think that certainly it's on the much more aggressive side, obviously, with Joe Blanton in the fourth inning and Kenley in the 7th inning, obviously, and getting up to 51 pitches, but I think the model of, as far as using guys in certain spots, we have done something similar all year. But it's more internal driven.
Q. Just two questions, kind of related from last night. How did Clayton come through and what are kind of the factors that you're thinking about for Game 2?
DAVE ROBERTS: Clayton came through well. I think that he, his teammates, were really excited that he got the last two outs of that game. Physically, he feels great. He's going to go out there and get a lift in and throw and run and do what he does. So, obviously, we're not prepared to make that decision yet, but he's tracking to start when we all think.
Q. Yeah, all right. All right. Will you at least have any input when he starts this time?
DAVE ROBERTS: No.
Q. Two quick ones. Kenley threw 51 pitches. What are the expectations for tomorrow?
DAVE ROBERTS: You know what, I talked to Kenley today and it wasn't the arm, it was more the legs that were really fatigued. He uses his lower half very well. So I think that, for me, just right now, I expect him available. But we'll see more after he goes out there and throws today. And I talk to the players every day and I'll know more tomorrow, but I do envision, in a one plus situation? Probably not. But don't hold me to it.
Q. What are the advantages to such a left-handed hitting lineup?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, the advantages are, if you look strictly at matchups, I think it puts our hitters in a better position against right-handed pitching. But, obviously, you've seen the way Joe managed his club against us and went to the pen early. And teams have done that to us. But with this postseason roster that we're thinking through, I like the way that we can combat a lot of different things.
Q. Kenta had a fantastic year, he's a veteran professional baseball player, but this stage is new to him. What are the things you think that he's going to take out of that first experience against the Nationals to use in his advantage in this game here and what are the things you would like to see him improve on?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, Kenta hasn't pitched, obviously, in this stage in this country, but he's pitched in a lot of big ball games. And I think he's a guy that, he's not scared, and I think that it's just about execution. I think that, for him, I don't think it's a nerves issue, I think that he's very familiar with the Cubs. And as far as the scouting, he'll be prepared and I expect him to throw better than he has the last three times he's taken the ball. We have a game plan for every team and he's going to go over that today, tomorrow, with Rick and the catcher and he'll be ready.
Q. Two questions for you: Number one, with the way Ruiz has swung the bat off the bench, to what extent is he maybe an option to start, especially against a lefty. And also, I'm just curious to ask, what your relationship with Theo has been like in the 12 years since he traded for you back in 2004.
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, Chooch is in the mix as well as I can't say ma knee, I haven't made that decision yet. There's familiarity with Chooch and Kenta, obviously. But I do like the at-bats that Chooch can give us against left-handed pitching. So I'm weighing through some things, but I can't say enough about Chooch and what he's done, not only in the two postseason at-bats, but what he's done for Yasmani, for Austin Barnes, for just everyone, the impact he's made in such a short time. And he's a guy that's performed on this big stage. So, that's certainly noted.
Theo, I kind of put Theo and Jed together and they're good friends of mine and there's a lot of, a little bit of banter, but obviously I've got the ultimate respect for those guys and they really helped me get a ring.
Q. Regarding your bullpen use, do you sense a change in philosophy in the way managers use and think about their closers? In other words, could you see a scenario in the future where bringing in your best relief, your closer in the 7th inning is no longer unusual?
DAVE ROBERTS: I can see that. I can see that. Obviously, Tito's done a lot of that. And guys around baseball are being more aggressive. And it's, I think, in theory it's phenomenal and it's really not outside the box, it really makes sense. But it's more of trying to -- and communicating with players to understand, to buy-in to accepting whatever situation is presented to them for that particular game. I think that, for me, that's something that I tried to communicate with our relief pitchers since day one of spring training. Fortunately, we have got such an unselfish group that the buy-in was there and for us it's worked out.
Q. I'm an optimist, so I'm just going to ask --
DAVE ROBERTS: You're an optimist?
Q. Yeah, you didn't notice that?
DAVE ROBERTS: Wow. Okay.
Q. What changes are you planning on the roster?
DAVE ROBERTS: We're, obviously, looking at the Cubs and potential for, obviously the one thing is it's a seven-game series versus five. We're probably going to go with 13 -- we're going to go with an extra pitcher in the pen. And we haven't identified who. And I think that, outside of that, we're trying to figure out what makes the most sense. So I think that, for right now, we know we're going to carry an extra pitcher.
Q. Kike is here. Is there anyone else who wasn't with the team who will be joining you either on the taxi squad or in any form?
DAVE ROBERTS: Brett Anderson will be here as well and so those are guys that we're thinking through. But we haven't made decisions but, yeah, Kike is certainly in the mix, yeah.