Oct. 8 Dusty Baker workout day interview

Oct. 8 Dusty Baker workout day interview

Q. Is it safe to assume that Tanner will pitch Game 4 in your plans right now?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, safe to assume, but you still don't know. If he's needed tomorrow, to play an extra-inning game, then you have to make an adjustment from there. You know, we can assume and that's our plan because he's going to throw a bullpen today.

Q. Even though Max has passed every test the last few days, he has said all along that he won't really know until he's on the mound and pitching for real. So what are you going to be looking for to know that he's okay?

DUSTY BAKER: I'm going to be looking for any difference of change of arm angles or if he winces or whatever. There are a lot of guys that are pitching hurt right now, you know. There's a difference between being injured and hurt, and if you haven't -- if you don't have something wrong with you, then you haven't played. You haven't pitched. It's almost impossible to go a whole year and nothing be wrong with you.

I can recall when I played that, you know, I was almost in a panic if I felt too good. If something wasn't wrong, I was like, man, this isn't right, because this time of the year, everybody has something. But we just have to keep an eye on him and you don't want him to favor that and end up hurting his arm or something. You know, his career is primary to any of this.

Q. Trea has not been on base obviously yet this series. How important is it to try to get him going just for you guys offensively?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, hey, he's a big part of our offense, big part of our team. You know, I talked to him today and yesterday, but you know, you can give them suggestions but they have got to pick it up on their own.

You know, what is he now, 0-for-7 or 0-for-8? That's not even what you call a mini-slump. You pay more attention now during the Postseason here, and so probably the person that's the most worried is Trea because the rest of us aren't worried. You know every time Trea goes without getting a hit, the law of averages is on his side that he's going to get a whole bunch when they come.

In the meantime, we're talking to him but you can kind of talk too much and put things in a guy's head and then you cease to be natural. Trea will be fine.

Q. Max is fiery and passionate, and he wants to be out there the whole time. How has he been the last couple days just not being able to be out there?

DUSTY BAKER: He's the same Max. I mean, Max, he's probably the most consistent personality guy, him and Tony -- him and Rendon on the team. Probably Zimm. But they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Zimm and Anthony are like mellow as they come, and Max is as fiery as they come.

So Max is the same Max. He's not talking quite as much, you know, so -- sometimes he'll get on your nerves talking, but if he's not talking, then you miss it (laughter).

Q. Did you face Max when you were managing Cincinnati when he was with either Arizona or Detroit? Do you remember the first time you saw him?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't -- no, because I don't think we faced him when he was in Detroit and Cincinnati because we faced Verlander. I remember facing Verlander. I don't remember facing Max. I remember watching Max on TV a whole bunch.

Q. What would you say you've learned about him from the time you got him to now that maybe you didn't know or surprises you?

DUSTY BAKER: Things I didn't know, I didn't really care to know, you know, because he was so far removed from my world.

Since I've had him, you know, he's a very likable guy. He's the same guy Sunday to Sunday. He's very -- same personality guy, very intense, highly motivated.

Trains probably, you know, like some of the guys I played with. You know, he's a runner, because when I played with like Tommy John and Sutton and Dave Stewart and Sutcliffe and these guys, they would run. While the modern guys don't run quite as much, they depend on, you know, some machine or something to train by, but you know, he's an old-fashioned runner.

I remember I had Spring Training in -- where was that -- with the Texas Rangers in Pompano Beach, and Ferguson Jenkins ran line to line for nine innings. And I kept looking back behind me, and he would stop and get a glass of water and he would -- he ran the whole -- and people wondered why he pitched 300 innings, four, five, six years in a row, whatever it is; he was a runner. Max reminds me of that.

Q. After you guys were eliminated last year, how closely did you watch the Cubs, and when they finally made it through, winning it, having been here a long time ago, did you feel anything for them or were you rooting for them or even watching?

DUSTY BAKER: Oh, I was watching. I watch every game. I like watching baseball. Doesn't matter who's playing, you know. I mean, I got -- I had some friends over there in Cleveland, too, and some guys that I know here, and guys that are here when I was here like Lester Strode and Dusty and some of those guys.

I was neither rooting for them nor against them. I was just rooting for a good game, because I didn't have any skin in the game, you know, and I'm not a gambler. I just wanted a good time, and that's what we got. We got some good games.

Deep down inside, you know, we were one out or one pitch away from that possibly being us, but you can't live in the past.

Q. Throughout the season, you talked about the importance of winning at home, every time you come back from a road trip. We heard that frequently, but you guys were the best road team in the National League. Now that you're 1-1, heading on the road, might be a position where some teams would feel a little uncomfortable. Do you feel maybe not quite as uncomfortable, given how successful the team has been on the road this year?

DUSTY BAKER: Quite frankly, I don't even know if the team knows they are the best road team in the League honestly. You know, I haven't addressed it, unless they look at the stats sheets. Most guys probably don't look at the stats sheets, except what they are hitting, most of the time.

The one thing I ask the team is that I want it to be a very good road team. I don't know if I remember I said I wanted to be the best, but since we are, you might as well be the best. It's difficult on the road, but you've got to do more things perfectly, to me, to win on the road.

But I always used to like playing on the road because there are less distractions on the road, you know. You don't have to go to the bank. You don't have to go to the laundry. You don't have to do anything but just get up, eat and go to the ballpark. You don't have to take the kids to school. You don't have to do anything.

So it was always in this hostile environment, and then you expect it to be a hostile environment and that kind of motivates you to a degree. Because sometimes the comforts of home are not really conducive to competitiveness as much as being on the road is.

Q. You're a big believer in the power of positivity, positive thinking. What do you think the psychological component can be from coming back and winning a game in the manner that you guys did last night?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, when you come back and win a game late, that gives you more, I think, positive energy than crushing the team or at any other time. Because when you come back, you're going to have to lean on that powers of coming back again and again. And most of the World Series champs that I've seen, you know, they have had their backs to the wall a few times and end up coming back and winning.

Come to mind, we were up 2-0 on the Giants, and then they came back and won, I think beat us 2-1. And then they crushed us and then they end up beating us, and then they end up going to the World Series and winning.

So you know, I told my guys, "You're going to have to dig deep and come back at some point in time." I don't know if that happened to the Cubs last year. I'm sure it did, you know, during this whole playoff run. You've just got to have a never-say-die attitude.

Q. Joe Maddon said if they had faced Scherzer in Game 1, he was considering a change, maybe sneaking in another left-handed bat, and now he seems to be set on that, although he didn't say which left-handed bat. How do you get ready for something like that?

DUSTY BAKER: It's probably Schwarber. I'd guess Schwarber. I mean, how do we get ready for what?

Q. An extra left-handed bat in the lineup.

DUSTY BAKER: He is getting ready for it. I mean, it's been happening all year. They always try to squeeze left-handed bats in on Max, always. So whoever that left-handed bat is, we just have to figure out, you know, whatever his Kryptonite is and how to get him out. That's what Mike Maddux is one of the best at figuring out, how to get guys out.

I mean, if you can hit, it don't really matter what side, the way I look at it. And if he can really pitch, then it don't really matter who he's facing really. I mean, he'd probably rather face right-handers than left-handers, but hey, man, like I said, if you can hit, you can hit. And you've probably been hitting for a long time. You probably just didn't start hitting.

Q. If you had gotten here a few hours ago, you would have seen some of what's become sort of the traditional Joe Maddon stuff with guys eating on the field and watching fastball on the big screen and wearing silly shirts. I'm wondering what kind of creative or out of the box stuff have you done along those lines to keep your team loose in your career, or is that just not your thing?

DUSTY BAKER: No, it's not my thing really. I mean, my thing is, number one, I'm an innovator of stuff. I don't copy other people. Most of the time, they copy me, number one.

And number two, that's -- they can do what they want to do. I mean, I really don't care honestly. So it seems to work for them, then seems our own thing seems to work for us.