Oct. 1 Ned Yost off-day interview

Q. What led you to go with Vargas as your starter? What do you like about him against the Angels?

NED YOST: Well, Vargy is on regular rest for us right now. We like the fact that he commands his fastball. He's got an outstanding changeup. We like him pitching in this park. His ERA is two runs less on the road. We feel like Vargy can get us off to a good start.

Q. Who will you go with Friday?

NED YOST: Ventura.

Q. When you come back Sunday with Shields?

NED YOST: Yeah.

Q. Are you prepared to go beyond that?

NED YOST: No.

Q. What was your feeling on Ventura for Game 2?

NED YOST: What was what?

Q. What is your feeling as far as going with Ventura in Game 2?

NED YOST: Well, we like his power. He's on regular rest. That's his fifth day. Last night's game was like a side session for him. The last two weeks our starters have been sending to the pen instead of throwing sides in case we needed them. We've been primarily doing it with Duffy, Ventura, and have done it a time or two with James Shields in case we needed an inning.

So I think he threw 16 pitches last night like aside. So yesterday was a side day. Saturday will be his regular fifth day.

You know, the kid's got power. That's what we like about him. He throws a 100 mile an hour four seamer, a 96 mile an hour two seamer, 95 mile an hour cutter, a nice changeup and above average curve when he throws it for strikes, so we like his power.

Q. Hosmer's had kind of an unusual year. Had the slow start, picked it up, then he was hurt and missed a month, and now he's come back pretty strong. How important has he been to you this last month and also last night?

NED YOST: Well, he's been huge. You know, we talk about the middle of our order. We do things a little differently. We don't hit a lot of home runs, so we've got to play a little bit different style of baseball. We're really aggressive on the bases. We try to get guys on the bases, move them up to the next base and drive them in with singles and doubles.

But we know what type of hitter Hos can be when he's hot, and last night was a huge night for us. You know, to get us to last night, Hos plays a big part in that.

Since we've changed our lineup, the top of the order has been very successful with Escobar, Aoki, and Lorenzo Cain in the three.

We need production out of the middle of our order, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Hos, Sal, and those guys have been doing a great job with that too. So it just creates run scoring opportunities for the middle of our order and they've been picking them up.

Q. Any adjustments to your routine based on the late finish last night and traveling through the night?

NED YOST: No. You know, today was just kind of a low key workout where we came out and everybody got loose and played catch, took some swings, and now everybody can go have a nice dinner tonight, go to bed early and be ready to go tomorrow.

Q. Are there any challenges of the emotional roller coaster that you've been on in the past 24 hours and having everybody's focus back?

NED YOST: I don't think so. I think our baseball team took a giant step forward yesterday. An elimination game, the fans in Kansas City were absolutely phenomenal. The excitement of playing in a game like that was tremendous. You know, sometimes earlier we'd press a little bit in those situations. We didn't last night.

The confidence that these guys had even when we fell behind by four runs late in the game, we said we're not losing this game, and they stepped up in every way that they could step up last night.

I think that that's what it's all about. It's about being emotional. It's about having fun and enjoying the moment.

Q. What kind of unique challenges, if any, does Mike Trout present over a four or five game series?

NED YOST: Well, you sure don't like seeing him over a four or five game series, and Albert Pujols. Howie Kendrick has always been tough on us. But Trout is such a weapon. He's such a threat every time he steps up to the plate, so I mean, you have to make sure that you don't make a mistake on him. He's as good a low ball hitter as I've ever seen, and can power a pitch down and away on to the rocks in centerfield. You've got to pitch him aggressively, but you've got to pitch him carefully too because he can pop a ball out of the ballpark at any time.

Q. I know you said Jason's on regular rest and would have gone anyway. But the advantages and disadvantages of being familiar with their lineup and this park?

NED YOST: Vargy you're talking about.

Q. Yeah.

NED YOST: Vargy has gone through, like most of our guys, he's gone through really, really good stretches and then some struggles sections of the season. You know, he got here lately a little too rotational, and Vargy, what he does so well is commands his fastball in, commands his fastball down and away, has a tremendous changeup and a nice curveball. He keeps everybody off balance because when they start looking for the changeup, he'll pound you in. When you start looking in, he starts throwing you the changeup and mixing in his curveball every once in a while, and he got a little rotational in his delivery which flattened his pitches out. His last two or three side sessions have been really, really good. He's back to north and south, commanding his fastball, commanding his changeup.

We like the fact that he's a veteran guy. He's very composed and it's going to be a pretty electric atmosphere. We just thought that he was the right guy to start Game 1.

Q. With Jason, Yordano and potentially James lined up for Game 3, how do you plan to use Danny the next few days?

NED YOST: In the pen as a long guy. What you run into, I think, in the playoffs that you don't run into during the regular season is when you have starters on the mound and they start getting around the 85 to 90 pitch mark, if they go out and have a high leverage inning or a high intensity inning, they pretty much blow it all out at that point to get through that. So sometimes during the regular season that can be the sixth, that can be the seventh inning.

Well, in the playoffs, every pitch is a high intensity pitch, every inning is a high intensity inning. And I think you find more during the playoffs that starters generally don't go as deep as they do during the regular season. So you've got to have that depth. You've got to be a little bit quicker, I think, with your trigger finger so you've got to have somebody that can come in and pitch long in a situation, and Danny Duffy, with his stuff right now, we feel that he's going to fill that void.

Now we'll get down the road and see if a spot opens up for him to be a starter, but for the first three games, he's going to be in the pen.

Q. A question about the running game. In a situation like last night when you're down four runs a lot of teams will stop trying to steal because they're playing for the home run sort of thing. Can you talk about the philosophy that you have to go the other way and put the pressure on the pitcher and all those sorts of things?

NED YOST: Yeah, you've watched us all year long. We're not a home run hitting team. We can't sit back and wait for a three run homer or a two run homer. We've got to make stuff happen. We have to be aggressive on the base paths, and we have to try to take advantage of every situation to get into scoring position. When you do that, that's upsetting to the defense. It's upsetting to the pitchers. Now it's a distraction to the pitcher, and now he's trying to focus on the base runner. Even though they're four runs down, they still know they have to keep an eye on us, right?

So it takes some of his focus off the hitter and gives us a bit of an advantage. That's our style of play. We're a team that's aggressive, but we look for spots to run and pick our spots and try to make stuff happen.

Q. What kind of an a approach would you like to see your hitters take against Jered Weaver who really, today, is more of a pitcher than a thrower?

NED YOST: No, he's an absolute pitcher, that's for sure. We have to continue to try to get in hitter's counts. At times our guys, we don't walk a lot. We've got a lot of guys that put the ball in play, and it's worked for us to this point. We're in the Division Series. But just try to stay back and find ways to get on base, try to use the whole field, which we do pretty well up and down the lineup. Just try to get in hitter's counts. I know Weaver does a good job of getting ahead and changing speeds. He's a lot like Vargas, you know, you just don't know what you're going to get. He works the throttle. When you start looking soft, he goes hard. When you start looking hard, he goes soft. He's got tremendous command of his pitches.

So you're going to go up and try to have good at bats and get in a hitter's count, and when you get a pitch, you can't miss it.

Q. If you add up all the numbers, the Angels players have more than twice as much playoff game experience as the Royals do. You guys pretty much have Ibanez and Infante. Having come from the Braves and knowing what playoff series is all about, how does that factor into this series, do you think?

NED YOST: You have to get it somewhere. In Atlanta the first year in '91 it was amazing to watch guys that have never been to the playoffs and how nervous they got and how I don't want to say uptight, but how excited they were. You don't really understand the pressures of playoff baseball until you get in it. That's why I was so pleased with last night. You couldn't have had a more charged atmosphere, more pressure, more intensity than we had last night. Our backs couldn't be more against the wall than being four runs down against Jon Lester in the 8th inning, and they didn't fold. They kept fighting and getting after it, and found a way to win a baseball game.

You know, playoff experience is great, but what I saw last night, I was pretty pleased with.

Q. You got TBS on the banner back there. I don't know how aware you are of the harsh criticism Pedro Martinez made after the game and how do you deal with that kind of critique about the Ventura move especially in the spotlight?

NED YOST: I don't deal with it at all, really. Look, I've been criticized my whole career, right?

So it doesn't really matter. When we sit down and we formulate a game plan, again, we talked about Ventura with a 100 mile an hour fastball, 95 mile an hour two seamer. When we sat down and said, okay, if we get into a spot in the sixth inning, we're going to put power to the Oakland A's with Ventura, Herrera, Wade Davis, and then Greg Holland. All right?

And it got to that spot, and that's exactly what we were going to do.

Now you can look at this 90 different ways and hindsight is 20/20 and it's easy for everybody to look back. But Finnegan had a great couple innings later in the game, but our mindset was to go with the power with those young guys.

Now, could I have put Herrera in that game?

Yeah, I could have put Herrera in that game at that point and let him finish the sixth inning. But as soon as somebody got on in the 7th, here comes Ventura again anyway. Ventura was going to factor into that game somewhere. It's one of those deals where he comes in and throws a 94 mile an hour two seamer, he rolls over it, and I look like a genius. He comes in and of throws a fastball and hits I home run, I look like a dope. Okay, well, I was a dope last night for a little while. Just because it didn't work, doesn't mean it wasn't the right move and I wouldn't do it again. It was just one of those situations that happened and we covered it.

But the criticism doesn't bother me. There is so much as a coaching staff and a manager that we know that they don't know. I'm not talking about the player, I'm talking about situations, I'm talking about internal things that go on our team that help us make decisions that factor into our decisions that nobody knows. What they do is they take something that they can jump on and then jump on it and bark about it, and that's fine. That's the way it is, and that's the way it's kind of supposed to be.

If the manager puts in a player and he gives up a three run homer, it's the manager's fault. I put him in. It's something that we all deal with every day, and it doesn't really bother us too much.