Oct. 2 Brad Ausmus pregame interview

Q:  Rajai Davis, what he's been able to do and why you decided to put him in the starting lineup?

BRAD AUSMUS:  We got here this morning, Rajai, myself and the trainers, about 8:30. He got some treatment doing and the strength trainer, Javair Gillette, took him outside, we do agility, explosive first moves, striding it out, and he looked fine and said he felt fine. He said he could play nine if he had to, and he said he could steal a base if he had to.

If we were in the middle of the season, we would give him a couple of extra days. But we're not in the middle of the season. We're at the start of the playoffs, and as a result, he's in there.

Q:  How much, with the uncertainty surrounding Rajai, made you go with 14 position players? Was there any consideration to go with 12 pitchers?

BRAD AUSMUS:  We considered all the possibilities and we did, a number of times, think about going with an extra pitcher or an additional pitcher, I should say.

But ultimately, we just felt like we would be fine with Raj, and we have enough protection behind him should something happen with a couple of guys that can play center field.

Q:  Brad, how do you describe Justin Verlander's season? He's pitched well in his last couple of starts. How is he different now than maybe he was mid-season or earlier?

BRAD AUSMUS:  Well, you know, it's certainly been a "down" season overall for him. I don't know if the surgery he had during the off-season played a role into the first few months of his performance, but certainly the last couple of outings have been outstanding.

I think he's the type of guy, the bigger the stage, the brighter the lights, the better he's going to perform as a general rule. And the fact that he pitched well late in September certainly played a factor in deciding where he pitched in the postseason.

Q:  Obviously, you knew what Max Scherzer could do as a pitcher before you took the job, but in managing him, what did you learn about him as a teammate?

BRAD AUSMUS:  I didn't know very much about him other than he was a very good pitcher. He's a really good pitcher, really good guy in the clubhouse, not afraid to laugh at himself or at other people, so the guys like him. I know when it comes to his pitching, he takes it very seriously. His preparation is very important to him. He takes it very seriously, takes his bullpen seriously. As you've seen, when he takes the mound, he can be very emotional. He's had two outstanding years back-to-back.

Q:  Could you talk about the challenges the Orioles pitcher will face against your starting lineup, your scouting report on Wei-Yin Chen?

BRAD AUSMUS:  I really don't want to get too much into Chen. We have to deal with Chris Tillman today. These lineups are pretty much right-handed, but I won't focus on Chen too much until the game is over.

Q:  Given how well Blaine Hardy pitched for you all during the second half, how difficult of a decision was it to leave him off the postseason roster?

BRAD AUSMUS:  Well, it was, and I went back and forth about it. Like I mentioned, they don't have a ton of left handers, they're similar to us. I think you also need to have a pitcher who's got the ability pitch multiple innings should something happen to a starter or should you go long, into extra innings. Certainly Lobstein gives us that, as well as being able to face a left-handed hitter if necessary.

Q:  Brad, I was just wondering, Justin Verlander's numbers in Baltimore, how much did that factor into your decision of Game 2 and 3 starters?

BRAD AUSMUS:  I looked at all the numbers when deciding 2 and 3, between Justin Verlander and David Price, and you could make an argument really in both directions. I looked at all the numbers, Comerica, Camden, postseason. You can slice them up. You look at career numbers against the Orioles.
But the truth is the lineups and rosters change so much, I don't think looking five or six years back plays too much into how they're going to pitch today or the lineup that they would pitch against today. Ultimately, the decision came down to Justin Verlander on 2 and Price on 3.

The thing about statistics is you can dice 'em up to say whatever you want to them say, and although they're important, they're not necessarily always the answer.

Q:  Thought process on Hernan Perez, and was there any consideration with the pop that Tyler Collins has in his bat and wanting him in Camden?

BRAD AUSMUS:  Yeah, and that was another tough decision. The bottom line there is they have two left-hand arms at the back of the pen there that are very good, so we liked the right-handed bat in Perez.

We're not a team that pinch-hits a ton. The lineup is pretty much what you see is what you get. There are a couple of times that we pinch-hit, but the reasoning is the back end of the bullpen.