Q. Would your lineup vary from what you would start against Scherzer, as opposed to Strasburg, and how much attention do you pay to the advance reports right now and film that you might not look at quite as close during the regular season?
JOE MADDON: Right now, the lineup, pretty much probably would have been the same I think. I'm not 100 percent sure. I think so. There might have been one adjustment only.
Paying attention right now, I'm just reading about him. I mean, nothing really new to figure out. Strasburg has been really good this last month, obviously. High incorporation of his changeup; really becoming even a more dominant pitch. He's always had the wonderful fastball. He's a good athlete. Strike-throwing ability, everything's there. It's just, you know, you've just got to go out there with your best at-bats rights now. He's good. They are all good. Every player right now is good, all the pitchers you see are good.
So there's not a whole greater dependence or looking into information right now. Actually I really prefer just the exact opposite. This is the time of the year for simplicity. You don't need extra scouting reports. You don't need to dig any deeper. That's the trap, I believe. I believe you need to go exactly the other way. Now is when guys need to play. You've been since March, and now all of a sudden you're going to reinvent the method by which you prepare yourself for a baseball game. I think that's not right.
So moving forward, I prefer us keeping a more simple approach. Of course, you have your plan. Of course, you have your approach, of course. But you do that every game. And so it's no different than playing these guys a month ago, I don't think, in regards to prep.
So he's good. Our guy's good. It should be a nice game.
Q. Looking at that lineup and I know there's a lot of obvious known commodities from Harper to Zimmerman, but what do you think of Rendon, who doesn't get enough attention but might be as good of an all-around player?
JOE MADDON: I totally agree; he's that good. He's ascended in the batting order apparently, which means that the guy is doing really good. I've been a fan since I've seen him. Didn't know much about him before. Of course, the first time I saw here was last year I think. Anyway he's good. He's really good. He's a really good defender. He's a really good baseball player. He looks like he has a high baseball IQ from a distance. It's not lost on anybody in the League how good he is. You have to prep for him like you do for Bryce or Murph or any of these guys. They have a nice ballclub.
Q. Can you give us an update on Arrieta from yesterday? And will you let us know the roster tomorrow; is that correct?
JOE MADDON: Yes, and yes. He's fine. We'll let you know the roster tonight. There's the no-negative approach or report back from what he had done yesterday. Jake's fine.
Q. Given Kyle Schwarber's short, but impressive Postseason history, how do you balance working him into things with the best defense on the field?
JOE MADDON: I think a lot of times you'll see if you, in fact, if you like him in the lineup, you get him out there early and try to build a lead and then get him out in the latter part of the game, which, again, no different than the regular season.
He's been really swinging the bat as of late. This whole second half has been a dramatic improvement over the first half. No different. Yeah, of course, he's the kind of guy you normally put out there early on and you try to grab a lead and then you improve your defense, game in progress. He's got an understanding. Listen, this guy works really hard on all components of his game, but at the end of the day, you know on paper, and you know in reality, somebody is a little better defensively. Thus, when the game gets deeper, you move it. As much as he doesn't like that because that's who he is, he understands it.
Q. There's talk of a lot of similarities between you and Dusty, how you manage, strong opinions, players's manager; do you see the similarity between you two?
JOE MADDON: The thing about Dusty, if anybody would ever compare, I've always heard how good he is with his players. That's the thing that has always stood out to me when I first started doing this.
I didn't know Dusty. Worked against him in 2002 World Series. A lot of the guys knew him. There were always platitudes regarding his ability to connect with the group in the clubhouse, so that's always been -- and if I get compared in that way, in any way, shape, or form, I'll take it.
Talking with him one-on-one, it's always a real friendly, cordial, easy conversation with the guy. So you can see where that follows up with his players. I don't really know him that well. I'm not professing to know him that well. I just know the interaction I've had, it's always pleasant and that's what I've heard about -- players about him. Jackie Snow told me that years ago, and he's a good friend from the Angel days. If Jackie said he's good, he's good.
Q. Lackey went out to do some work. Is it safe to say that he's in the bullpen for this series?
JOE MADDON: We haven't announced our roster yet.
Q. Can you announce that part?
JOE MADDON: Nope.
Q. Following up on like maybe Bruce's lineup question, I think Strasburg was asked about the Cubs lineup and he was like, "I have no idea, they have so many guys." How difficult a week was it making a lineup for Friday night because of your depth and along those lines, having Schwarber come back, does it cross your mind that you could leave a lot of home runs on the bench? Does that come into play?
JOE MADDON: Of course, it does and you're absolutely right, you can. Listen, you just look at the situation, look at your opposition, and try to make your best guess. That's honestly what it comes down to. We have options; a lot of teams don't have the options we have, and we have them.
So you -- right or wrong, you'll never know if it's wrong, because you're going with one thing. And even if it doesn't work out, as you put those other people in there, that doesn't mean that would have worked out. That's just what we do as human beings, we're just not always perfect. I love the idea that we have this staff, and I love the idea that we can make changes.
Obviously when you make the choice, that makes your bench even stronger. You have a nice bench with the latter part of the game. You watch these crazy playoff games at this point and how their lineups flip, especially in the National League situation during the course of a game. So you have to have those kind of pieces, maneuverable pieces, for the latter part of the game which we'll utilize. You're right, you could leave some homers on the bench.
Q. What have you learned about Schwarber, having gone through this year and how he handled himself and carried himself?
JOE MADDON: What I learned is it pretty much validates what we thought about him, how he handled everything. When we sent him out, he sat there in my office in Chicago, and very straight-up, stoic, and he understood; I get it; I deserve it. I should go back and get this straightened out, but I'll be back with a vengeance, that kind of a thing.
Everything that we had thought about Kyle before this occurred, again, was validated in that moment. And just moving it backward a little bit from there, this guy did not play last year. He played Spring Training, he played a couple games, one game, whatever, in the beginning, or one series, and then a last series. That's it.
So I think overall, and I'm at the root of the problem: My expectations were so high based on projection and knowing the individual, he missed a season of baseball, and that's really not easy to do.
So once he got a requisite number of at-bats back under his belt, all of a sudden the talent started to show back up. That's what I think. It's not easy to do what he has done.
Q. I think last year going into Postseason, you told your team, you're going to find yourself in a bad moment, you're going to have to come through this. They found themselves in numerous bad moments, and same with this season, especially down the stretch winning the division. How much is that experience going to help them coming into October?
JOE MADDON: I hope a lot because it's going to happen again. I even brought that up in the meeting. Mr. Tyson said it best about having a plan until you get punched in the face. I think we're all, everybody has it figured out until that moment arrives and it arrives in all of our lives.
I definitely wanted our guys to be aware of that again, because it's going to happen. How we react in that moment is going to separate us once again. The biggest thing, from my perspective in a teaching moment, once it does occur, you've got to get to that next moment as quickly as you possibly can. That's what it really comes down to.
If you recreate or live in that negative moment way too long, then you're really giving that other side an advantage. That's what I think -- that's where the separate is. If you have athletes or players or people that are able to take a really bad moment and file it as quickly as possible and get on to the next one.
From your perspective, you want to be able to deliver the blow or the punch and hopefully the other team reels for a bit and you're able to take advantage. That's momentum. That's what momentum actually is. So I want it on the table, I want it up front; you know it's going to happen, okay, when it does happen, how do we react to it, and that's the separator.
Q. Is there a different mind-set coming into the Postseason this year as defending champions than there was a year ago with all that was going on?
JOE MADDON: I won't be disingenuous, of course there is. You've been there, done that, and I don't mean that to sound in a casual sense. I mean, you have, so how do you define experience and what is experience worth? Experience at least is worth knowing, what it took to do that last year. And I think coming into this Postseason, we have a knowing that we didn't have last year.
So I would want to believe that coming into this year, we have an eagerness about us without an anxiety about us. I think that's what it really comes down to. I think when you approach in a knowing situation, you tend to be more anxious as opposed to eager or excited about being in that moment. Because, hey, I kind of like this, we've done this before, I know what we can do. If this were to happen, we can react in an appropriate manner. I want to believe that.
We are going to find out in the next couple of days. And again, not in a casual sense, but the fact that you have done it before, should provide some knowing, which to me, is how do you define experience.
Q. Different format, but given how relievers were used in Wild Card games, how confident are you in your bullpen's ability to get the ball to Wade Davis?
JOE MADDON: Good. I like it a lot. For the most part, we've done a pretty nice job. We were pretty -- near the top of the NL bullpen for a long time during the course of this summer. C.J. has really grown up a lot. Strop has been solid. He's been really solid. I still say Duensing has been the unsung hero; Montgomery, all that stuff matters. That's not to say we won't go to Wade for more than three outs if it's necessary. But I think the guys, the experience that they've gained, I feel good about our bullpen right now.
It not a one-game; it's not the seventh game and the first game like you've seen the last couple days. That's a different gig entirely, so you can approach it somewhat differently but you don't want to give the other side any advantages.
So the one-game insanity of the Wild Card game is not tonight, but you still have to be more aggressive with your bullpen.