Q. What do you remember from Andrew Toles when you had him in Spring Training? And what do you make of his journey?
JOE MADDON: Nothing. I'm being very honest. I know he was there. I don't remember anything about that. He's been very impressive. He's been very impressive. Love his at-bats. Love the way he goes about his business. He's definitely engaged in the moment. That's what I see with this young man. But I honestly have nothing else to report, and I hope that doesn't sound pretentious in any way, but I have nothing else on that one.
Q. You've got Jake Arrieta obviously going tomorrow. At this point last year he had a lot more innings. How much of his usage this year was geared to have him at his best this time of the year, and how does he seem to you?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, we definitely had that in mind. Last year was a heavy year for him workload-wise, and he handled it extremely well, obviously. But going into this season, I had a conversation with him in the food room in Mesa in the very beginning talking about, listen, you're going to be upset with me sometimes taking you out of games a little bit earlier, but understand it's going to pay off in the latter part of the season. Our intention is play deeply into October and possibly into November this year. So you know what it felt like last year. I said you know what it felt like. So now going into this year, we have to be smarter at monitoring that workload. Because everybody feels invincible. Like the first time he's done it like that you're going to feel, my God, I can do this every year, and possibly can. Now that maybe last year and then this year going into next year maybe the workload can be greater again, but that was the conversation we had in the food room in Mesa, and he was on board, and we've been good all year.
Q. There's always going to be guys struggling at the plate in the postseason, you're facing good pitching. You've talked about managing with urgency the bullpen and might do a few things different. How do you balance decisions when it comes to the lineup at this time of the year when there might be some guys struggling, but it's only a few games?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, there's only so much you can possibly do when it comes to manipulating your lineup. I mean, these are the guys that got you. These your guys. We've got a bunch of All-Stars out there. So some guys are struggling, and you're right, a part of it, I think, is due to the fact that we've seen Bumgarner, Samardzija, Matty Mo, and Cueto, I mean, that's not bad. And then we saw Kershaw last night. There's a lot of Cy Young candidates among that group. So we haven't hit to our capabilities. However, we won a series against a really good October-tested team, and now we're 1-1 against a very good team coming back here. So you try to balance it out. You look at the pitching for the next two days. There are different things we possibly can do. There is no question about that. But when you talk about doing something differently, that's just going to be a small percentage, a smidgen of the whole thing. You just don't make wholesale changes.
Bullpen-wise, talking about that, it's about what the Dodgers are able to do. They have all these switch hitters in that lineup, the left-handed, right-handed combos that they're able to throw at you, and that requires a little more thought from that perspective. Thus your bullpen is not set up necessarily the same. So, yeah, there's all these little adaptations that you have to make. The other part is you don't have like 75 games left in the season to play where you can catch up from a bad moment. You have to try to make your best guess right now to take advantage of the moment. So, yeah, moving forward there are certain things we may attempt to do, absolutely. But it won't be wholesale.
Q. A follow-up to Tyler's question. You said from the conversation with Jake in the food room this spring, you said you've been good all year. Has there had to be any follow-up conversations at all? Was there a moment when you could see Jake was getting frustrated from getting pulled early, and you felt like you had to say something to him or did he ever get angry or say something to you?
JOE MADDON: No, the only time he got a little frustrated was in Pittsburgh when we were going through the last part of the season. We were trying to keep everybody engaged. We had the bullpen pretty much working off of a set plan almost like a Spring Training involvement. And there was a point there I wanted to catch multiple catches with him in the same game to get both guys used to him. Other than that, it's been pretty smooth. He has not been concerned about coming out. I think we've done a pretty good job of getting him out at the right time when it was amenable to both sides. I don't think there's been a really big dispute about any of that. But like I said, the latter part of the season was important to have him be caught by both Miggy and by Willson at some point, and that's what we try to do. That might have been the only uncomfortable day that he had was in Pittsburgh.
Q. Like a good general, do you count on your lieutenants and people below you to censor, get a sense of the room and what's going on in it right now? Or do you count on the main infantry guys that have been there, your leaders in the clubhouse to get a feel for, you know, if somebody needs to talk to somebody and you don't ever want to have a meeting? How do you go about that?
JOE MADDON: It's pretty -- you're right, it's pretty much the same as during the season, but maybe more so now I don't want to have a team meeting. I'm not into team meetings. I don't think they have the impact everybody thinks that they have in our sport. So, yeah, you do backchat a little bit, you know who influences who, or whom, whatever, in the room. You know this guy's going to listen to this guy. So you ask them to take the message if it's necessary. Honestly, right now, I probably have done that once or twice so far during this run. Last night I had a great moment on the airplane with our bullpen. I thought it was outstanding. So I know that they're rallied and ready to go tomorrow.
So sometimes I'll do it myself. There are some times you have to carry the message yourself, you have to. It depends on the so-called gravity of the moment. Otherwise I do like to have people do their jobs, and it's crazy, man. You perceive yourself to be one way but then again you are the manager, so these guys are going to look at you in a different way no matter what. So it's probably better most of the time to have somebody else, more of a peer situation or a coach, carry the conversation, because it doesn't blow the player's head up nearly as fast. It's crazy.
I mean, you would think that the guys would not feel that way towards you. You know we have a good relationship. But it's probably still best to have the coach or a peer player carry the message unless it's in a situation where you can't walk away from it. You have to have that conversation.
Q. Given the significance of these three games, how do you feel about Arrieta, Lackey, and Lester as your starting pitchers?
JOE MADDON: Honestly, we've been feeling great all year. I mean, there's nothing different about it right now. Jake has pitched well here in this ballpark and against this team. John Lackey, probably not his best performance last time out, but I have a lot of faith in this guy. I still think coming back from the injury, he's still getting stronger and better. And of course, Jon Lester, tried and true. But they got some good things going on their side too. In spite of the fact, Hill tomorrow, Urias the next day, and of course, whatever they want to do after that, they're pretty formidable. Also, I really think it's a pretty evenly matched up series. The fact that it's seven games, I don't know if that helps or hurts. I'm not sure. But it's pretty evenly matched. That's how I see it.
You saw their team on the field. They definitely get after it. The whole group gets after it. The shortstop is among the best players in the game right now at a very young age. So I'm very happy with our pitching staff, but I know that they are also.
Q. There's a certain belief that facing lefties in back-to-back games is good for a lineup because you kind of get that familiarity going with the two lefties in a row. Do you think that's still the case even though Kershaw and Hill are stylistically different?
JOE MADDON: When you say that, I think of Finley, Langston, and Abbott going back to back to back. And I remember talking to Duffy Dyer when he was coaching in Oakland, they didn't like that (laughter). So I think it depends on the lefty. It's like anything else. You're talking about two extremely different kind of pitchers, with Kershaw and Hill.
So, obviously, then why is it okay to have four righties pitch in a row? I never quite understood the rationale. It depends on the quality of the lefty and how well he's pitching on that night, always. So I've never worried about that kind of stuff. I've always found it kind of funny in a sense that if it's a lefty, it's going to matter, is it going to be a difference as opposed to if it's three or four righties in a row. And it just comes down to the quality of the pitcher, I think.
Q. Obviously the Dodgers, Kenley Jansen used to be a catcher. You've had some closers or relievers who were catchers too, Jason Motte and Troy Percival. Anything about that position that makes it a good transition? What do you remember about Percival changing over?
JOE MADDON: Wow, that goes back to Boise. That goes back I saw him play in Riverside when I was scouting over at ASU when he was playing in Riverside as a catcher. And I had him in Boise and in Instructional League. And when you're in charge of the Instructional League or the Minor League system, your job is to make it work for the scout. The scout was Tim Kelly, who signed him, and T.K. had him signed as a catcher. So in my mind's eye, the mentor in charge helps make this work. But Bob Alou, Bob Clear from the very first day insisted on getting -- because he couldn't hit. The ball would hit his bat and basically roll up towards his hands and eventually, talk about lack of negative exit velocity with Percy. So Bob Alou convinced us in Instructional League to make the change. And on top of that, it was an interesting point, don't give him instruction. Let him throw. So wind up and throw the ball.
Remember like the really high leg kick? You look at Jensen's windup. It's awkward. And you see how violent Jason Motte is too. So I think when you make that transition from a catcher, these are very, normally aggressive people. Let them go. Don't try to give them too much instruction. Let them play.
Because Percy was primed. He had good hook too, but Jensen had this devastating cutter. Motte was pretty much was let's go fastball, and so was Percy. He had the good hook.
But it might be part of their personality. But I know in a situation with Troy, it was Bob Alou that pushed it, and it was to leave him alone and let him develop at his own pace.
Then he's pitching in Vancouver, and I'm up there and everybody's worried about him blowing his elbow out. So part of the thought process was get him to the Big Leagues before this elbow goes, and then eventually it hung out for a long period of time pretty well. So there's no telling.
I think it's an effective, aggressive component of their personality that feeds into it; I think.
Q. Joe, everybody knows you spent time here in Southern California with Scioscia. Can you just talk about what that meant to your development, the things you picked up, and how that's part of how you go about your business?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, this happens to me way too often, but I go back to my Minor League experience when I talk about this stuff, because the Angel organization back when I was playing in the late '70s and early '80s, especially the late '70s, they were voted the top organization of the year a couple times. Mr. Tom Summers was in charge, he was the farm director. God, there was a bevy of great coaches at that time. Like I said, Bob Clear the best out of the whole group. And Jack Hyde, I had Jack, I had Del Crandall. I had Larry Himes. I had all these guys back in the day that were, Chris Cannizzaro, Jimmy Williams. It was a who is who of coaches at that particular time.
So I was really fortunate when I signed to be signed in this organization, because you were taught properly. You were really were taught the basics really, really well. And these guys are up your butt, man. If you screwed up at all, you heard about it very quickly. And I was very appreciative of that. So it really began, '70s, going into the '80s, and then it became the farm director -- not farm director, the field coordinator and hitting instructor. And again, Bob Clear, Marcel Lachemann is the guy that gave me my shot. And all these guys were the guys that helped influence and taught me what you see today. Absolutely.
I mean, and of course, working with Scioscia and the boys was outstanding and we had a great run. And the thing about associate, Sciosc is the guy that really teaches you fearlessness. So Sciosc is absolutely fearless in the moment. And that's what I really took away from watching him work. He was really good about it. He didn't cower to anything or anybody. He was pretty tough. So that's the thing that Sciosc showed.
But before that I had great instructors, man, all the way through. John McNamara was another one. It was dripping with really good baseball. It's Cookie Rojas, I can go on and on, man. These are the guys I learned from. And it's because that Angels organization, late '70s, mid-'80s -- if you look it up, between '84 and '94, the Angels put more players in the Big Leagues than any other organization. I heard that to be true.
Q. Joe, is there anything you've noticed you know 'Nique to Clayton Kershaw, whether in terms of the stuff or the delivery or just the mix of pitches that makes him so especially effective?
JOE MADDON: Delivery. Deception has a lot to do with it, even out of the stretch. He just falls. Like he comes in and he just falls towards home plate. He's got a good move, so you have to honor that. But the way he comes set and falls toward the plate, I'm certain there's got to be a deception.
He pitched with a fastball yesterday primarily. And I know he had to be really tired by the time he came out of that game based on what he had been doing prior to that. I was really impressed with his command and his velocity yesterday. I was anticipating neither to be that sharp or that good. I was hoping, but they were, and that was the differnece maker. Plus he's so competitive. He's hyper-competitive, and he's got a tremendous level of self confidence.
But yesterday his curveball really was a non-factor yesterday, I thought. And he threw some decent sliders, but he was stuffing a lot of them. He pitched with his fastball, man, so that was purely him wanting to beat us yesterday. We talk about that all the time. Nobody talks about just competing. This guy competes. That's probably his strongest quality.
Q. You've won so far with your three, four, five hitters really not contributing a whole lot. Would you shake that up at all? Are you pretty consistent there? And can you continue to win if they don't hit?
JOE MADDON: It will be difficult, you're right. And, yeah, I have considered different thoughts. There is no question. You're always trying to. Like I said, when you get to this point, you've got five games left to really make it right as opposed to 75 to make it right. There is a difference with that. There are certain things you'd do in the middle of the season in order to move something along, not just during the playoffs.
So, yes, you definitely would think, I am thinking about different things, yes. And we do need those guys to be good. After all, we've got a lot of RBIs in that first series out of our pitching staff, which is kind of unique. You know, Jake and Travis coming off the bench, that was crazy, and they continue to. Kyle, base hit up the middle. That was another two RBIs.
We have to do a good job consistently among position players to do what we're capable of doing, absolutely. But we have seen some really good pitching. I'll defend them in that regard.
Q. You said that you had a great moment on the airplane with some of your bullpen guys. Did they need some uplifting or is that just random?
JOE MADDON: They came and got me. I was dead asleep on my seat. My wife Jaye sitting next to me. I'd had enough wine to go to sleep, and Aroldis comes up and pokes me on the shoulder and said, "We want you in the back," which is a compliment and an honor. So I go back there, and when I've had too much wine to drink my Spanish gets a little bit better because you lose that trepidation about saying the right or wrong thing.
So went back there and we had a great time. All of them were sitting there, it was a lot of fun. And that was the second time Chappy's come and got me to walk in the back. And I'm honored. I'm totally honored when the boys call me back there.