Q. Can you talk a little bit about Adrian Gonzalez, and the importance of Adrian Gonzalez late in the season and in the playoffs, especially what he did yesterday? And are you going to have Julio pitching on Wednesday?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, Adrian, you know, he's a guy that's been around a long time, and he's had a lot of big hits in his career. No situation gets too big for him. Prime example, obviously, is is that left-on-left at-bat versus Chapman the other night, and just to kind of keep his post where it needs to be.
He's one of the leaders on this club, and gets overlooked a lot because of his consistency, but certainly not in our clubhouse, the value of a guy who posts every night regardless of the handedness of a pitcher or the spot. So, yeah, I mean, Adrian's been a huge lift to us. The consistent at-bats and the big hits when we need them.
To the second question, yeah, Julio's going to start Game 4.
Q. In the first round, Clayton was available on short rest in Game 5 if it was an elimination game. Given that it's a seven-game series, and Kenta could possibly benefit from another day, does the calculous change at all for that?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think right now, that's how we have it lined up with Rich, Julio and Kenta. So I think as this series moves on, you always have to be open to adjusting. But as it stands now, that's kind of how we're lined up.
Q. With the way your bullpen is functioning, how much use you've gotten out of them, is it conceivable you can win another series with only one starter giving you considerable length?
DAVE ROBERTS: You know, I think that we've kind of shown throughout this season that there is really no one way to win a division, to win a series, to win a game. I understand it's still the postseason, but I think for our guys it's really we're focused on each day to win that baseball game, and whatever way that game plays out, our guys are prepared to audible. So for me, maybe is it ideal? Probably not. But that's okay.
Q. With so many good pitchers on the mound for pretty much every team that's still alive at this point, how much can you do? What can you do as manager and as a coaching staff to sort of disrupt that, and does small ball become more important now than it did in the regular season?
DAVE ROBERTS: Does small ball become more? I think in some instances, but it's always about putting your players in the best position of success. So I think that with the situation to potentially get a guy over by way of a bunt, and I don't trust that he can do it, then I'm not going to ask him to bunt, even if it's the postseason. That's unfair to the player.
I asked Yasmani to bunt because I have confidence he can get a bunt down, so in the regular season would I have had him bunt? Probably not. So I think in the context of situation versus the players in those positions, I think those are things I kind of weigh.
Q. Your catcher believes the Cubs are stealing signs. Are you and your staff seeing evidence of that?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think when you watch baseball games and every team's going to try to get any advantage they can, so that's kind of the gamesmanship part of the game. That's why catchers or guys on second base give multiple signs and change sequences. So if they are, it wouldn't be a surprise, and there's many clubs that we've played against that do the same thing. That's part of the game.
Q. Looking at the two lineups, do you think it's optimal this time of year to have the young, exciting, athletic lineup or maybe the experienced lineup that has a lot of playoff games under their belts and knows how to take those great at-bats in those key spots?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think for us, I like the combo. I think we've got a nice blend of youth and a little bit of age or experience. So, yeah, I think that our guys -- you look at Adrian, you look at when Chooch was in there or you look at, obviously, Chase, Howie's been in there a lot. Guys, the way that they conduct the at-bats, I think it helps guys like Corey, and Joc kind of compose themselves. So I think combo, but I definitely like the energy.
Also we've got Toles in there as a young player, but I certainly like. You know, it's fun seeing young players go out there on this stage and still have fun.
Q. I know you had a certain perception about the guys in the clubhouse and you know your guys. But what do you think you guys have shown everybody by the performance that you've gotten so far with these grind-it-out, gutsy performances to win in a Game 5 against Washington and then of course last night?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that there's a lot of different adjectives, but our guys are tough. Our guys are tough. And I think that there's a lot of different ways and you could dig into that word. I use grit all year long, but it's just our guys are tough and they're not scared.
So I think all of the circumstances that kind of confronted us all year long, we've certainly answered a lot of questions that were posed to us outside the clubhouse. But this is something that over time you've got to still respond to some adversities in the clubhouse to really believe it, you know. And with what we've gone through this year, I think there's not a guy in there that has any doubt.
Q. You regularly substituted like four or five positions a game, mid-game. How much of a skill is it, if at all, to be able to regularly come off the bench and be productive or is it just sort of part of the regular tool kit?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's a skill. I think the first part is mentally you've got to buy in and accept that role when you're not in the starting lineup. That you still have an opportunity to impact the game. And we've done that all year long, and I think it's part of my kind of philosophy on trying to keep guys relevant that are on the roster and keep guys active.
So, you might not start, but you might be there in the fourth inning or fifth inning or whatever. So I think our guys have really responded to those certain roles. We have a lot of everyday players, and it might not be starting lineup every day, but I think we have a lot of guys, and I think we've done a nice job of kind of distributing the at-bats.
Q. Is it harder for a full-time player to learn that skill than a younger player, like a former full-time player?
DAVE ROBERTS: It is. But, again, I think it goes to just accepting a role, because a lot of full-time players that's all they know and that's all they accept. But when you get unselfish guys that are open to kind of a different role for the benefit of the club, then you've got something. I think that's what we have.
Q. You've called Kershaw the best pitcher on the planet, and I'm not sure many people would argue that. What is it specifically about him that you think makes him so tough on hitters, whether it's in terms of your delivery, repertoire or whatever?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think, well, if you look at just the skill of having three above-average pitches, plus command, a repeatable delivery, that in itself makes you a very, very elite pitcher. Now you take into the determination, the preparation, the fearlessness, the competitor and all those kind of things, those other intangibles, I think you kind of put that all together, that's why I feel he's the best.
Q. Anytime there's a 5 o'clock start here people like to make a big discussion out of the shadows. Because both teams have to deal with it, is that discussion kind of overblown, or because you're used to dealing with it in this park, does that somehow play into your favor?
DAVE ROBERTS: I don't know how much it plays into our favor on the offensive side. I mean, it's real. It makes it a little bit more difficult. But, again, both teams have to deal with that. So it's a few innings, couple two, three yip innings of that that both teams have to deal with it, so it's a level playing field.
Q. What do you expect from Julio on Wednesday? And what led you to pick Julio instead of Kenta Maeda?
DAVE ROBERTS: Julio, I think that we expect him to just go out there and compete, use his pitch mix and go after these guys. Give us a chance to win a baseball game. So it's what Julio's done all year long.
Q. I know when we asked you about Game 4 you brought up Rich Hill's finger blister sort of in the context of that and that decision. Is he totally good to go in that regard?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yes, he is. He's on regular rest. So as I understand it, the blister's not going to be a factor. But obviously he's dealt with it. We've dealt with it all year. With Richie it's an inning-by-inning thing, so we'll just keep our fingers crossed. Because all things being equal, the blister holds, I really, really like our chances.
Q. Whenever a series is tied, that swing game is always crucial. You weren't here last year when Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter. But you were there when you were the first team to beat him in almost a year earlier in Wrigley. So what do you guys, without disclosing too much, plan to tell your guys about how to attack this guy and beat him again?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, he's a very good pitcher, and obviously, yeah, we beat him over there, but it just seems so far in the distance, that outing that day in Chicago. But we're going to have our work cut out for us. And I think that I've said it pretty redundantly that if the opposing pitcher executes, it's going to be a tough night for us. But we've got to have an a approach, a plan, which I know we will, and when they do make mistakes, we've got to capitalize. So I think that's as simple as it can possibly be.
Q. From the standpoint of Julio's pitches, 75 to 80 probably the most realistic range for him there in Game 4?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that we've kind of monitored his usage throughout the regular season. But I think right now for me it's going to be -- it's not necessarily the pitch count. A lot of it is the stressful innings too. It's a big game. It's going to be a big game. So if he's throwing the baseball the way we expect, then I'm not afraid to push him to help us win a baseball game.