Oct. 2 Matt Williams workout day interview

Oct. 2 Matt Williams workout day interview

Q: Can you tell us who's your Game 1 starter?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Stephen Strasburg will start Game 1 for us.

Q:  Followed by?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister into Game 3.

Q:  Just real quick, do you have Game 4?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Yeah, we do, but we'll wait for a later date to announce that one.

Q:  Have you decided on your final roster spots, the bench and everything?

MATT WILLIAMS:  We're going to get through today's workout and make sure that everybody comes out of that good and make sure that everybody is healthy and feels good about it, and then we'll be able to announce that. But we have to get through this workout today and make sure.

Q:  Are there any particular guys that you see or --

MATT WILLIAMS:  No, just total, get through the workout and make sure. Strange things happen in baseball sometimes, so I don't want to announce something until we're finalized on it.

But no, there's no concern.

Q:  Stephen has obviously pitched well the last few weeks, but in deciding the Game 1 starter, what was it that went into that decision for you?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Well, a lot of things. Over the last month, everybody has been really good. They've pitched really well. And so Stephen in particular has gotten stronger as this month has gone on. His fastball velocity has ticked up each month during the course of the season, and we all forget about the fact that he had some surgery last offseason, and it took him some time to get back to where he really wanted to be, and I think he's proven that over the last four to six weeks, that he feels good. His location has been good. He's healthy and strong, and he's looking forward to this opportunity.
All of those things combined contributed to the decision.

Q:  Over the past few days' workouts what have you learned about Ryan Zimmerman and what he's capable of?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Well, I think there's possibility for matchup within the series for Zim. He played in the intrasquad game yesterday with no issues. Took his at-bats, ran around, ran the bases with no problem, so I think he's fully ready to go, and we'll look for opportunity to get him at-bats, for sure, and then look at matchup opportunities, too, within the series.

Without having a foolproof plan at this point, he's going to get in there and he's going to be available for us.

Q:  Did he play third at all?

MATT WILLIAMS:  No, he didn't play third. He played left and got his at-bats and ran the bases and did all the things that were the tests for him. You know, we had to split it up. We only have a certain number of guys. With all the guys that were here on the September call-up roster, we kept them around and then made sure that we had enough guys to field two teams yesterday. And as it worked out, we had a multitude of infielders and we had to fill every spot, so he played left.

Q:  Back to Stephen for a second: From the beginning you had him as your Opening Day starter. All along did you think he would be the guy or was it in the last week or two when you saw how he pitched down the stretch?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Well, I don't know if you can argue that all of the guys weren't the guys over the last month. The last 13 have been 13 in a row with a sub-1.00 ERA from a starting pitching staff. So how can you argue?

That being said, I think he pitches well here. He certainly has earned the opportunity to go out there and pitch. Every game is important, of course, so Game 1 is important, but so is Game 2 and Game 3, and our guys are itching to go. Stephen is going to get the nod, and he's excited about that.

Q:  What are you planning for Rafael Soriano?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Well, we'll determine the final roster when we get out of this workout. Those decisions will be made and everybody will be aware of those when we go ahead and announce it, but we haven't announced that yet. That will be forthcoming pretty shortly.

Q:  You've been around a lot of really good staffs over the years as a player and a coach. I wonder how this staff compares, and is there something that happens with a staff, whether it's a young guy's maturing or bringing in a veteran like Fister, where it all comes together for a staff and all become a formidable group?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I think they feed off each other. I think there's good, friendly competition. If one guy steps out there and does a great job, the guys that follow him want to repeat that. I know that Stephen has referenced it and so has Zim, that they have learned things from Doug, being the first-year guy over here, the pace at which he works, how he goes about it. All of those things are important. They've learned that from him. He's learned from them, as well.

And I think when they get to the point in the season where they're collectively gelled, then they take pride in what they do as a group. We've seen that over the last month. It's been really, really good. So I think they feed off each other in that regard.

Q:  In what ways are short series, especially five-game series, different than other baseball, either playing in them or observing them, and what's important? Do you have to treat a Game 1 or a Game 2 almost like it's a season-ending game?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Well, nobody wants to fall behind, so our objective tomorrow will be to go out there and win. It's going to be boring again, but it's the way it is. Once it's done, it's done. You can't do anything about it.
Tomorrow we'll go out and play, and see if we can beat them. And then if we do, we do; if we don't, we don't, then we have another one the next day.

There's a lot made of it, but the game is the same as it is in the regular season. It is execution and it's throwing the ball where you need to throw it, making the plays, taking advantage of a mistake, getting base hits with guys in scoring position. That's the same formula that you use during the regular season.

The lights are a little bit brighter, that's about it. But our guys are itching and ready, and they're excited to play tomorrow.

Q:  Can you talk a little bit about the contributions of your catchers. And if you have seen any improvement in Ramos defensively?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Well, I think they work well together. They're very close. They feed off each other a little bit, too. Certainly Wilson, being the everyday guy, gets more opportunity, but José has a fantastic attitude about that. He's constantly ready to get in a game, if we have to have an opportunity where we pinch-run for Wilson; he's ready. He takes his craft very seriously, and we've seen it over the course of the season the amount of wins that José has had when he's behind the plate.

They work well together. They talk a lot about it, they formulate game plans with the pitchers and become one as a group, which is great, which is what you want.

Q:  What are your overall impressions of the Giants as a team, what they do well? And also over the past 12 hours is it any irony or coincidence that you'll be facing the team you came up with?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Well, with regard to the Giants, they're battle-tested for sure. They have been down this road a number of times, so they've got guys over there that have been here and done that. They do things properly on the baseball field. It starts with the guys they put out on the bump, and they give their team a chance to win every day.

You know, the opportunity to play in the playoffs is nothing new to them for sure. You can tell by their world championships, a couple of world championships recently. They know what to do in this situation.

With regard to playing the Giants, it's a nice feeling, but we'll try to beat them and see what we can do to accomplish that goal. They've got a good club. They do things right.

Q:  As a manager, how much respect do you have for a guy like Bruce Bochy and what he's been able to accomplish over the past few years?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it's great. It's fantastic taking teams to the World Series and winning it. It's very difficult to do. But Bochy is the consummate professional in that regard, with regard to managing. He understands his guys. They love to play for him. He's very calm, and that's kind of his natural demeanor anyway is calm. But in pressure situations, he doesn't show that there's anything going on with him, and his players respond.

He's one of the best in our game, and certainly it's nice for him to have those championships under his belt. He's worked very hard to get there, and his team has responded to all of that.

He's a very good manager. He's been doing it a long time. First and foremost and most importantly, he understands his guys, what they can and can't do, and he puts them in position to succeed.

Q:  How did you guys watch the game last night? Was it all together here?

MATT WILLIAMS:  No. No, it was an interesting evening because we got done with the game, the cleaning crew came into the clubhouse, so we really didn't have an opportunity. We would have had to lock ourselves in a back room to do it, so everybody just kind of went home. There's lots of families in town, of course, so guys got a chance to kind of disperse and watch it with their families.

Q:  Do you watch that with a scout's eye?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Of course. We have reams of information, but yeah, if you watch the game, you want to pick up anything that you can possibly pick up with regard to that team. You know, it comes down to executing pitches and playing good defense and running the bases and doing all the things that we need to do, if we're going to have a chance to beat them.

With regard to that, it was fun to watch. They played really well. Madison was fantastic.

We're going to have to play well to have a chance.

Q:  When did you tell Stephen he was starting?

MATT WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I think you can ask him that question. I'm not going to speak for him. You'll have an opportunity here shortly to get to ask him that.

I do know this: I know he's ready, and he's excited about the opportunity. So I'll let him speak further on that.