Q. You've been really aggressive this year, not just with your bullpen, but with substitutions off the bench as well. I'm just wondering, how much of that is a reflection of the roster you've had to work with, and how much of that is part of the philosophy you've brought to the job?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think it's partly the philosophy, but I think mostly it's because of the roster. I think that we've talked about the depth of the pitching, the position players, the farm system all year long, and I think that because of the depth there's a lot of trust that I have in everybody on the lineup card. So I think that for me to act aggressively early in games, to go to guys off the bench, or go to guys in the pen, I just feel comfortable with it.
Q. I don't want to get too far ahead of you, but Julio was just in here, and I was thinking about his Game 5 appearance. You saw him all year. Did you have any curiosity about how he might take that moment? And what did you learn, what did you see, what sort of conversation might you have had afterwards with him about his comfort level, et cetera?
DAVE ROBERTS: I didn't have any conversation with him after regarding that outing. Julio, as I've gotten to know him, he's just so calm and cool, and some of it plays to the youthfulness, the naivete, and just not really understanding the gravity of this moment, which is great. I think that it's a baseball game, and when he's asked to take the baseball, he does it. And he's going out there focused and trying to execute pitches. You look at Andrew Toles as kind of a similar thing. It's just these guys, the world around them, the noise, they just completely eliminated it. And it's just fun to watch these young guys go. But, Julio, I have no concerns about him taking the ball. I have complete confidence.
Q. Following up on Tim's question, Julio performed a lot better, obviously, the last several weeks of the season. Was that a matter of simply getting rid of the rookie jitters? Or what kind of evolution did you see in him over the last several weeks?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think the second half of the season he was actually very good, if you look at the numbers. So for me, I think he's been throwing the ball really well. Certain starts, the command might not be where it is. But he just has a way to still get swing and misses.
It's nice for a guy that has four pitches that he can attack hitters in a lot of different ways. And I know these guys have seen Julio a long time ago, and I think it was his second Major League start, so he's come a long way. But we'll have a good game plan, and I expect him to execute it.
Q. There is a narrative out there that the Cubs as series goes on they have more pressure than you guys because of history included and you guys are playing free and easy, almost playing with house money at this point. Do you feel there's anything to that?
DAVE ROBERTS: I can't speak to their clubhouse, but I do know that we feel very confident. And we expect to win the series, regardless of who the opponent was. Obviously, there is a lot of history that they're kind of dealing with and fighting and trying to overcome. But I do know the guys in the clubhouse, in our clubhouse, feel very confident.
Q. This is an unusual start time. Is there any -- just with whether the shadows or the sun setting, does that impact at all how maybe pitchers might -- their pitch sequencing or how hitters might approach their at-bats or in any other way?
DAVE ROBERTS: As far as there will be some shadows early, but as far as pitch sequencing, I don't think that that will have any effect because you just can't pitch to the shadows or what it might affect a hitter. I think their guy, our guy has a game plan, and they're going to try to execute pitches. As far as hitters, when it gets tougher to see, you're just really focused on trying to see the baseball. So outside of that, there is really nothing that changes. It's the same for both sides, and we've got to deal with it.
Q. As soon as the start of the Divisional Series, you were talking about Julio as an option to start. How much is a great job in that game in Washington influenced you to decide, okay, it's time for him to start now?
DAVE ROBERTS: That had something to do with it, to pitch in a postseason game and to pitch as effectively as he did. But, you know, even without that, we've had a lot of confidence in Julio, and we like the matchup versus him, versus the Cubs. I also liked it with the Nationals. But I think with him, like I said, his four-pitch mix, the way he can attack hitters, the way he's -- the way his pulse and he's calm in certain situations I think has a lot to do with why we're excited to have him take the mound in Game 4.
Q. Howie this year has played all over the field for you, being a career second baseman, he's played left field, third, and first. Now he's kind of been a little bit of a different role. I guess Toles has started pretty much every game against right-handers. Did you have to have a conversation with Howie being a veteran, and if so, how is he taking his playoff role?
DAVE ROBERTS: There hasn't been a conversation. I think that for me and for Howie and for everyone, everyone understands that you can be used at any point in time in the game. I've shown through September, I've used Andrew a lot against right-handed pitching. And Arrieta, for me, the effectiveness he has versus right-hand hitters is far more than left-hand hitters. So for me, I wanted the approach to beat the starter, so we're running some lefties out there against him, and I like where we're at against Arrieta. But Howie, as a professional, he's ready for whatever role or situation that I have for him.
Q. What's your view on how best to use Clayton Kershaw the rest of the series? And after doing it last week, could he go on short rest in Game 5 and be available out of the bullpen for 7?
DAVE ROBERTS: You know what? Honestly, we haven't gotten that far yet. Clayton feels good after Game 2. Things can change. But as I said, Julio and then Kenta, and I think for us we kind of -- as we've done all year long, things have changed, and it's just hard to have things scripted because it seems like it never plays out that way, and that's the way it's been throughout this postseason. So obviously the game, the series circumstances will kind of dictate what decision we make.
Q. If I can follow up on that. Have you asked him to alter his between-starts routine at all in order to be available perhaps in sort of those middle games?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, Clayton, throughout the last few years, he's pitched on short rest and has been able to do so. He's prepared for anything that we have for him. So, yeah, I think that there's a mindfulness of potential, but he's open and he's shown the ability to adjust his routine or regimen for whatever is best for our club. But I haven't had a conversation to specifically say change your regimen for Game 5 or you're pitching Game 6, nothing like that.
Q. I mean as a reliever?
DAVE ROBERTS: As a reliever, yeah, we haven't talked about him in the pen. The circumstance in Game 5 was an elimination game. It was something that he brought it to me. For me at that point in time it made sense.