So it's been fun watching them develop and being themselves. You can see they're a loose group. They like each other. They play hard for each other. They love to win together. And it's just letting them be themselves, I think. It was a big lesson that I learned.
Q. Everyone has a different story on how they got to where they are. You look at Lorenzo Cain and knowing that he didn't play baseball or own a glove until late in school. How do you explain someone being able to have no real knowledge of the game to where he's at right now?
NED YOST: Well, he's so athletic, that's what has enabled him to do this. He didn't play early, but he's a kid that I've had a chance to watch develop really from the beginning of his professional career.
He was in Milwaukee when I was over there. And had a chance to see him and Escobar when they were in A ball and Low‑A ball and come up. And you had a chance to watch them get better and better and better. And you could envision this kid with this skill set, even though it was raw early, that he would turn into one heck of a baseball player. He was always a little more advanced defensively.
But he's really learned how to hit at the Big League level. His speed is tremendous. His instincts on the bases are tremendous, and he gets great jumps on the ball. He gets great reads on the ball. And it's been fun watching him develop.
Q. In talking to Mike today he said when he was down in the .170s you'd call him into the office and say, You're doing all right, and things like that. Then other times talking to you about Billy, when he wasn't going to play in a National League city and asked if you talked to him. He said, No, he's a big boy, he knows what's going on. Just as an example of how a manager has to treat people different ways?
NED YOST: You treat them different ways. There was times I had Billy in my office talking about things with him, too. But, yeah, some of the younger guys they need a little more. Some of the veteran guys they don't need a whole lot.
I think the most important thing that you have to do is you have to get to know the individual. You have to learn about the individual. You've got to know how he was brought up. You've got to know his personality. You've got to know what makes him tick, so you can communicate effectively with him to get the best out of him.
Some guys need a little more talking to than other guys do. Some guys need a little more patting on the back than kicks in the butt. But it's just a balance.
But it all starts with understanding that each man is an individual. Each man comes from different circumstances, and have grown up differently. And trying to understand each individual player and how you address any situation with them.
Q. There's rain in the forecast for tomorrow night. Does that mess with your planning at all? Does it affect how you put your roster together?
NED YOST: We're talking about different things. But the one thing I've learned is I can't control the weather, as much as I want to or I've tried.
We're sitting back and looking at our pitching staff, which that would probably be affected most. But the guys we've got on our roster at this minute, we don't have to have it turned in until tomorrow. They're all guys that can provide length. So we'll just see what happens and go with that. But we're still looking at different scenarios.
Q. So much has been made about the young players on the team. Can you talk about some of the intangibles, what the veterans on your pitching staff bring like James and Jeremy?
NED YOST: Well, James and Jeremy have been huge for our young pitchers. But Raul Ibanez, Jayson Nix, Josh Willingham, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, these guys all were additions that we made throughout the year that have provided a pretty big impact for our younger guys.
You know, our guys, our young guys, the core of them have grown up together through the Minor League system and have been together and played together and won championships at A ball, Double‑A and Triple‑A together. But there's that period when they get to the big leagues it's hard to get yourself established and get yourself in a position without strong veteran leadership. Having guys in the locker room that have kind of been through it a little bit.
And coaching staffs and managers can talk to players, but it's just a different voice when you've got a veteran guy that's going through it with you right now and can sit you down and say, Look, I've been through this, I know what you're going through, this is what I got out of it. And it's just a comfort level that all the guys brought in the clubhouse. They all fit in immediately. The chemistry has been phenomenal with each and every one of those guys.
And when we look to make an addition to our team, that's one of the first things we look at is chemistry. How are they going to fit in? Are they winning‑type players, have they been winning‑type players? Are they blue collar type guys that work hard and their main focus is winning, so it can match up with the young group that we had here.
Q. Your answer to the first question, you said something about your first few years you tried to make the guys more like you. Can you expand on that a little bit?
NED YOST: When I came up I was the guy that I'd try to run through a wall. I was always hustling, I was always playing hard, I was always, you know, real disciplined. Because I grew up under Bobby Cox, too. When you grow up 12 years as a coach under Bobby Cox, Bobby had strict rules in the clubhouse, no music, no jeans on the road. You couldn't wear Oakley sunglasses for the first three years. You had to wear the flip‑downs.
They were just regimented, old school rules. And when you grow up like that under Bobby, we won 12 championships when I was there, it's got to work.
So you start your managerial career the same way, trying to set a rigid set of guidelines. This is what I want you to do, this is how I want you to act, this is how I want you to play. This is how I want you to act when we win. This is how I want you to act when we lose. This is how I want you to act on the plane.
And I think I came to the realization that these guys are all unique. They've got youthful enthusiasm and they come from a different generation than I came from. For me trying to mold them into something I want them to be, why don't I just let them be who they are. And then that frees them up to be who they are on the field.
You're seeing the energy, you're seeing the excitement, you're seeing the fun that they have playing with each other. And there's no restrictions to it. They know. It's a good group. They respect the game. They respect the process. But they have a lot of fun doing it.
Q. That parlays perfectly into what I wanted to ask you about. You've been to the postseason, your experience with Bobby Cox, but now you're the guy. You're the manager. How did that experience prepare you for this and how is it different for you?
NED YOST: Well, it's a lot different. Being with Bobby for 12 years and going to the playoffs and the World Series as many times as we did, you know, it's a lot easier when you're a third base coach or a bullpen coach. You don't have to deal with every time you make a move getting second‑guessed or turning on the TV and seeing your face because you did this or you've done that.
It's a lot easier doing it that way. But I think the thing that I learned most of all when you get in these situations ‑‑ and I've talked to Bobby about it numerous times. I talked to Bobby yesterday ‑‑ is that you rely on your coaches. You rely on your players.
You get to times where you get nervous about your bullpen uses. And it's like Bobby, I'm going to kill these guys. He said, Ned, when you go to the park, trust your players, if they say they can go, they can go. Don't use your own judgment. There's a lot of things Bobby has helped me with to make me feel better about certain situations. Our coaching staff has been tremendous. We discuss everything from the moment the game starts to the moment the game ends.
So it's just been a lot easier than I anticipated it being.
Q. There have been a lot of cases in the postseason with managers getting scrutiny and they're asked why did you do this. And they'll say this is the way we did it all year.
NED YOST: Yeah.
Q. How do you sort of feel about that philosophy versus in the postseason, managing with a different sense of urgency and amid the scrutiny?
NED YOST: Well, I believe that you have to manage with a different sense of urgency in the postseason. And we started doing it, I think, about two and a half weeks out. We wanted to try to get in postseason mode about two and a half weeks out before we got into the postseason so our guys would be ready for it. We've done things like we've extended Kelvin Herrera, we've extended Wade Davis. We had Holly [Greg Holland] up to come in the ballgame on the road in a tie situation.
We're doing things differently. We're defending a little bit earlier. We're pinch‑running more in certain situations to try to win baseball games.
The scrutiny is the scrutiny. I've come to find out I can put a player in the ballgame and if he gets a base hit or gets a big out nobody is going to say a word. I put that same player in the ballgame and he strikes out or gives up a hit, then it's all the second‑guessing that comes down on you.
I've learned that it's neither right or wrong, most of the time. You made the right decision, it either works out or it doesn't work out.
And again, the scrutiny, does it bother you? Maybe a little bit, if you know about it. So that's why I don't read the paper. I don't watch any of the baseball programs and stuff like that. I try to stay in my own little world with my coaching staff. Because we pretty much have a plan, every time we go into this game we know exactly what we want to do before the game starts. If we get in each and every situation, we've already considered all of our options and what we want to do when we get there. When we get there we put it into play. If it works out, then I look smart. If it doesn't, then I'm stupid. And that's just the way it works.
Q. If you had to pinpoint one thing that's gotten your club to this point, what do you think it would be?
NED YOST: The one thing that has gotten us to this point was I think the patience that Dayton and I had with this young group all year long, especially at the trade deadline where we felt like our team was good enough to win a championship. We allowed them to continue to grow and get better.
But the biggest thing that has gotten us to this point right here was the Wild Card game. To come back from those odds the way that they did, I think this showed each and every man in that locker room that we're capable of doing anything.
There was a lot of talk about our lack of postseason experience. But after that game, how much more experience do you need? I mean, being down 4 against Jon Lester in the eighth inning with the energy and the excitement that was in that stadium that night, for them to battle back and find a way to win that game, I think gave each and every man in that locker room tremendous confidence that, hey, we can accomplish anything.
Q. Do you have a Game 3 starter yet?
NED YOST: Not for publication, no.
Q. And with Hosmer, what is the biggest difference you see in him from now as compared to when he was really struggling?
NED YOST: When he was struggling his swing was longer. And now he's shortened up. And he's seeing the ball really, really well. And he's just gotten hot. He got hot at the right time.
Hos can go through streaks where he tears the cover off the ball. And he'll go through streaks where it's a little more difficult for him. But right now his swing is very short, very quick. He can hit the ball with power to all fields and he's seeing the ball really, really well.
Q. I saw you guys I think on the 20th of July in Fenway, and Lester, you mentioned him did so well, almost a complete‑game shutout. And what turned around from there to get to where you are now?
NED YOST: I don't know. You know what happened was, again, we talked about that veteran leadership. We ended up losing three in Boston and then went to Chicago and lost a close game.
And Raul Ibanez and Downsy and some of the guys got together and took the whole team back into the weight room and they had a players‑only meeting. And the meeting with Jason Frasor and a lot of these guys, new additions that came to the club, explained to our club that when I played for the Angels, when I played for Texas, when I played Chicago, we never wanted to face you guys. Do you understand how good you guys really are?
And I think that meeting helped them to understand, hey, we are pretty good. And then we went on a tremendous run from that point on. And that was just another little key I think that helped turn our season around.
We can talk as coaches and managers and tell them how good they are, how special they are, how we think they can win championships, but to hear it from their veteran teammates that have just come over from another team to understand what other teams think of them and how much they don't really want to play them, it struck a chord with them. And they just took off from that point.