Oct. 20 Dave Roberts pregame interview

Oct. 20 Dave Roberts pregame interview

Q. Dave, today with Howie in left and Kiké in at second, was that another text message with Howie, or how did you figure that out?

DAVE ROBERTS: No, no, there was no text message. I know that Howie feels really comfortable out there in left field. We've used him a lot out there. And obviously, Kiké, with his athleticism, he feels comfortable at second. I like him there. So, yeah, I didn't think twice. Felt I didn't need to text him.

Q. What have you seen from Kiké that makes you feel comfortable using him as your lead-off guy today?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think that against the left-handed pitcher, I think partly the at-bat quality against Lester his last time, the last time he faced him in Game 1. And I think that since he's come back for this series, his pitch recognition is much better. And I feel comfortable with him trying to get on base instead of worrying about trying to drive runs in and also to put Howie in the middle of things. I think that to be able to get a hit with guys on base, I feel very comfortable with that.

Q. What do you make of the fact that after everything that Puig has been through, he remains one of the biggest fan favorites? He got one of the bigger ovations on Tuesday night, and people seem to love him.

DAVE ROBERTS: I think the energy that Yasiel brings is contagious, and he's a very dynamic player. Even just coming in last night in a double-switch to make an amazing play in right field and the power potential, what he can do with his arm, a lot of things. The skill set. He's great with the fans. So I think he's certainly one of the fan favorites. So I think that, yeah, having him in the lineup tonight is going to continue to energize our fans tonight.

Q. What do you think has been behind Kenta's last few outings that haven't been as good?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think a little mechanics. I think that a little bit the flying open of the front shoulder, maybe trying to be too perfect. But just seeing Kenta last night in the dugout, this guy is a fighter, he's determined. And I just -- I've said it before, every time he takes the mound, I feel good. And this is no different. I think that he's going to rise to the occasion.

Q. Obviously you can have a lot of options for your lineup depending on lefty, righty. How much does that help you, and is it difficult in a way to have so many options every day?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's difficult if we didn't have guys who were willing to -- that weren't unselfish. Our guys are very unselfish, and understanding that Howie Kendrick didn't start the game last night but had three at-bats. Yasiel had two at-bats. But it's a pleasant problem to have because I think there are a lot of options that I have when I look at the lineup card and try to navigate through a game. So when you're in the postseason and you're managing against someone else and they're trying to play the matchup game, you're doing that. So it kind of always, for me, feels like when we start doing that, advantage goes to us.

Q. You did make some different choices in the lineup today. Is that a Lester thing? Is that a left-handed thing? What motivated you to shuffle up your usual lineup?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think it's the same eight guys, but I think that as far as where to put guys, it's more of a little bit of a Lester thing, a little bit of a left-handed thing. Again, I just felt that four, five, six, where I think that the difference is going to be, there's going to be some opportunities right there. And I felt that those three guys that I have right there, I feel really good to drive in a run.

So I think that what you're going to get with Corey and J.T., and I felt that just to have Kiké at the top of the order to focus on getting on base and potentially getting on a fastball early in a count, I like that. Also just to have Howie in the mix, and then obviously, Adrian. I feel good with him getting a two-out hit, if need be. Kind of in that area, that's what it comes down to a lot of times.

Q. Dave, there seems to be a large contingent of Cubs fans here in Los Angeles. Did you notice the roaring of the crowd here at the ravine? And does something like that impact the team?

DAVE ROBERTS: I did notice it, and I think it's great for baseball. That's a great franchise, and I think that the Dodgers, we travel pretty well also. But I don't think that had any impact on the game. Yeah, no.

Q. Going through postseason as manager, do you think it would be easier or harder if there were fewer off-days and it was closer to a regular-season-type schedule?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think that I like the format right now because it does give you a little breather. I think that in the regular season when you're playing consecutive games, and obviously with the travel, it just doesn't make sense. We look forward to that travel day to kind of recharge. So today's one of those days that I know Joe and myself, we're going to manage this thing with the off-day tomorrow all hands on deck, sort of. But, again, the format, the 2-3-2 in a seven-game series, the 2-2-1 with the off-days in between, I like that format.

Q. Last time Lester pitched, we talked a little bit about bunting perhaps, taking perhaps a more aggressive stance on the base paths, things like that. I'm curious if you were satisfied with the effort in that direction in that game? And while guys did square, I think you only bunted once, and it was a two-hopper to the third baseman. Are you encouraging a little bit more getting after that?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah. I think that we all see that, and they know that, that he doesn't like throwing the ball. Whatever you want to call it, he just doesn't feel comfortable throwing the baseball. So obviously as good of a pitcher as he is, yeah, we're going to get huge leads and try to bunt on them and try to get in his psyche a little bit. So I think if we can get him a little uncomfortable, is what we tried to do in Game 1, we're going to do more of that. But obviously you've got to get guys on base. But he's going to try to make pitches.

But, you know, there is a little gamesmanship that I think you saw in Game 1 that I expect that we'll see more. But you've got to get guys on base.

Q. Along those lines, Jon Lester, just how tough is it to get in his head? When you look at other players, does he seem like a really mentally tough guy?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah. You wouldn't have the postseason success if you weren't mentally tough, so he's absolutely mentally tough. But I think that I do know that you look at the at-bat quality and him getting behind our hitters when guys got on base, and he was getting a little uncomfortable. So that was part of our approach.

But, of course, yeah, he's very mentally tough.