Oct. 9 Dusty Baker pregame interview

Q. You don't have a lot of guys who have seen Quintana before. How much do you consider putting guys like Kendrick and Lind in?

DUSTY BAKER: You know, you just can't change your whole lineup. We've got scouting reports, there's nothing like the naked eye seeing a guy. I think the advantage most of the time goes to the pitcher if you haven't seen him. So we're relying on some of the guys who might have played with him and some of the guys who played against him.

Q. Regardless of how Jayson has played or looked on the field, how have you noticed him handling this last month?


DUSTY BAKER: He's handling it well. You really can't get a true reading on Jayson, I don't think, because he doesn't show a whole bunch of emotions. We realize that we're going to have to get Jayson at-bats in order for him to get ready.

He's hit the ball hard a couple times with nothing to show for it, and so you know, just continue to do what we've done.

Q. Everybody's about stats in this game today. Since Quintana came here, he's given up nine home runs, all of them to right-handed batters. Does that tell you anything with your lineup today?

DUSTY BAKER:
Well, that tells me that -- I'm not going to take Murphy and Harper out (laughter) you know, because they are left-handed. Sometimes you have to go with what you -- you've got to go with your best, right or left. But we've got other right-handers in the lineup. I mean, I realize that he's been tough on left-handed hitters, but our left-handed hitters, they also fair pretty good left-handed pitchers.

It remains to be seen. You know, the way that ball was flying out yesterday during batting practice -- I don't know what the weather is like -- well, I know what the weather is like, but I don't know what the conditions are like on the field today. You know, if you hit it good, right or left, it has a chance to go.

Q. How close of an eye will you have on Max, if he shows signs of trouble, will you have a shorter leash than usual, given the injury?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. Usually Max is pretty good at getting out of trouble. I have my eye on him as far as his physical condition. You know, we'll see.

You know, everything depends on the game. It depends on who the hitter is, who is the hitter coming up. You can't keep anybody loose in the bullpen the whole time or else you'll wear them out if you don't use them. So you know, a lot depends on the score, and I'll make that decision when I get there.

Q. You've spent a lot of afternoons here. What effect, if any, have you seen the shadows have at a game starting this time of the afternoon?

DUSTY BAKER: Usually they don't play too many games this time. Usually it's a little earlier or it's later. I mean, this is a tough time to play here. There are going to be shadows. The pitchers are going to be in the shadow, and then the hitter and the pitcher are both in the shadows.

Right field is a big-time -- well, earliest it's in center field and later it's in right field. But I haven't been here this time of year in a long, long time to see what the autumn, near-autumn sun is. We know what it's like in the summertime. It's a tough right field here in the summertime.

That's a definite home-field advantage, especially for Jason Heyward because this is his place, and you know, he's played the sun here a whole bunch of times.

Q. In facing Quintana, you talked about pitcher advantage and what information you could gather. Adam Eaton here with the club played with Quintana, will he contribute in some way in knowing how Quintana pitches and tendencies?

DUSTY BAKER:
I'm sure Shu has spoken to him, and since you haven't made that point to him, I'm going to make sure he does speak to him. (Laughter).

Quintana, I was told a long time ago -- I was told by Ned Yost about how difficult he can be to hit sometimes. I haven't seen him in other, other than on video or TV. This will be our first look at him, a bunch of players.

Q. You mentioned you haven't been here this time of year in a long time. What's it like being back here, not the park, but the city, this time of year, playoff time, Chicago? What's it been like for you so far?

DUSTY BAKER:
Yeah, you know, I've got a bunch of homies here, so I've got some backup (laughter). I feel very safe wherever I go. I mean, it's always nice to come to Chicago. I enjoyed coming here for years and years.

You know, it's a nice place to come. A nice place, you know, for us to try and get a victory.

Q. Given your experience managing here for so many years, particularly in October, in terms of the field conditions, what do you tell your players to watch for as far as the wind blowing out? How do you talk to your hitters about what they can expect as far as that's concerned?

DUSTY BAKER:
That's a good question. You talk to them to continually check the wind, and what you see earlier in the game may not be what you see later in the game.

I think that giant scoreboard in left center field has changed how the ball plays some out there, because it used to -- if the wind is blowing in or across, it used to knock everything down when it was open. But now it seems that it's blocking the wind, especially in that area.

I found it, contrary to popular belief, when I was here, it seems like the wind blew in more than it blows out, or at least it was a cross-wind. Most of the time it's a from left to right, and so yesterday during practice, we didn't hardly have any wind.

So you know, what it's like today, I don't know. It's a beautiful day out. It's short-sleeve weather. I'm sure it's going to be a good day for a ballgame.

Q. There are a lot of variables, but is there anything to momentum, offensive momentum, carrying over from what you guys did?

DUSTY BAKER:
Certainly. You know, we weren't scoring in the first game, and we didn't score until later in the second game. You know, momentum goes to whoever is pitching, you know, basically. Yeah, I mean, our club feels very, very good about itself. We've played well on the road.

So we've got a new guy that we haven't seen, so we're doing a lot of studying and a lot of film-watching, but you really don't know until you actually face him. It should be a good ballgame today, very interesting ballgame.

Q. To follow up on that, why does your team play so well on the road?

DUSTY BAKER: Tell you the truth, I really don't know. I mean, we make a conscientious effort from the time we left Spring Training to take care of yourself. You know, we got mostly clean livers on our team (laughter).

I really don't know. I mean, you have to really, really make an effort to play great on the road. Plus, you know, earlier in the year, we were stinging them early, we were scoring early and we were scoring big early. I'm hoping that that continues; that we can score early and get a lead.

Q. Yesterday I heard you talking about injuries; everybody's injured or has something at this time of the year. Your pitcher today, everybody has some concerns about his tweak or something like that. How do you talk to your team based on the fact that throughout your career, when you went from the Braves to the Dodgers, that first year, you were injured and you have had experience with that; how do you talk to a pitcher and tell him to come through these times?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, a lot of it depends on what we see. A lot of it depends on the trust factor that you have and what he's telling you, because I mean, this is hero time. Now earlier in the year, it wasn't hero time.

So you know, we've got a pretty good eye on things. Mike Maddux has a good eye on things. I tend to have a pretty good eye. If I can see a guy favoring something, or, you know, whatever, see if his control is not there when it usually is.

But you know, right now, like I said, if something's not wrong with you, you're either very, very lucky or you haven't played very much at this time of the year.

I try to pace my guys. I think all of our pitchers, I don't think anybody -- well, they had near 200 but they didn't have a whole bunch over 200, so we try to pace them. Ask them to be honest with me. Also rested guys at certain times, and we had that luxury to do so because of the lead that we came up with, and also the fact that our auxiliary second-line players did such a great job for us.

Like I told them, now it's time to go.

Q. You've seen Tanner have ups and downs the last two years. What have you learned about him in that time that he's been able to earn your trust to start tomorrow's game?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, Tanner, you know, is a guy that you would like on your side if you're in an alley and you're in a fight, because you know Tanner, he has that warrior mentality. He doesn't make any excuses or alibis. He just goes out and pitches, and this guy has not had an easy road, you know, from the beginning to get here.

And so you know, we feel very comfortable with Tanner on the mound because you know he's going to fight tooth and nails and do everything he can to win the ballgame for you.

I think, you know, Tanner didn't have many innings coming out of Spring Training, and that kind of got him behind the 8-ball, so to speak, because you know, he didn't have the innings. He was with the WBC and he didn't pitch very much, and so things get in your head when you're used to getting guys out and all of a sudden you're not getting them out.

So it's a new season now for Tanner, brand-new season, and this is what people are going to remember you by. I think they will really be impressed by Tanner's performance.