Oct 11: Bruce Bochy NLCS pregame interview

Q. Bruce, can you tell us a little bit about the confidence you have today in Madison Bumgarner, [who] started Game 3 [of the National League Division Series] and [is] now back on four days' rest, starting today, Game 1 against the Cardinals?

BRUCE BOCHY: My confidence? Yeah, you have to have a lot of confidence in Madison with how he's thrown the ball for us -- not just this year, but since this young kid has come up.

At 20 years old, we threw a lot at him -- and here he is in the World Series, pitching a great ballgame. And, you know, he has a way of pitching very well when we need him to. There is not a bigger game than what we had against Pittsburgh -- and we needed a great effort, and he gave us more than that.

So, you know, we're facing a great pitcher, and it's nice to have our guy going, too, and it's a great matchup.

Q. Bruce, are you going to go game by game in left field -- and is it a little tough to think about [Michael] Morse in left field, considering he really hasn't played there every day for a good month and a half?

BRUCE BOCHY: You know, it is, because he hasn't been out there. Henry, right now, I would say more likely you will see Ishy [Travis Ishikawa] out there. And I've talked to Michael, and he got four or five innings in instructional ball, but it's been a long time since he's been out there. And defense is such a big part of the game in these series, because you usually play a lot of tight games.

So he will get some work out there, and we feel like we need to add a bit more offense, you could see him out there. But playing right now in the early going, use him off the bench.

Q. Assuming you had a voice in acquiring Jake [Peavy], was it in part for his attitude and what he brings to a clubhouse, almost as much as his arm?

BRUCE BOCHY: Sure. You know, when we talked about Jake, these are things that I was able to add for Brian [Sabean] before he made this trade. I'm sure for Brian, it was nice to have somebody who had some experience with him.

Watching Jake pitch over in Boston, he looked healthy, he was throwing the ball well. But it's always nice to have those intangibles that a certain player or pitcher will bring to the club, and he's done that for us.

I think he's helped guys elevate their game. He's turned up their intensity and, you know, he's a big reason why we're in this situation -- because of not just how he pitched, but the energy and the enthusiasm and intensity, which are all contagious, that he's brought to the club.

Q. Hey, Bruce, in that vein, when Jake was with the Padres, he said a lot, often, that [Greg] Maddux, Hoffy [Trevor Hoffman], they took him under their wings and they did the same thing. Do you find now that Jake, as an older player, with Tim Lincecum and what he's gone through this year, that Jake takes them under his wing and works with them to give back?

BRUCE BOCHY: No question. You see him all the time, he's talking to [guys] -- and it's not just pitchers, but position players, and not just in the clubhouse. It may be taking them out to eat or up in the hotel room, talking baseball with them.

Jake really has emerged as a terrific leader and a guy that wants to make other players better. It's a great quality about him, and he has been very good with these guys, spending time trying to make them better.

Q. Bruce, we hear from all your players about how they admire your ability to get them to believe every out is the most important out, every play is the most important play in the postseason. What are the exact words you use to them to convince them of that? If that's not privileged information, what are the exact words?

BRUCE BOCHY: It's pretty much what you tell them. ... It's the way the game should be played during the regular season, too. But, you know, you get into postseason -- every pitch, every play, every at-bat, they count.

You can't ever give up anything or drift mentally, and hopefully not be surprised by anything that happens. Hopefully for me or the staff, we have them prepared. But it's the only way to play the game.

But you have to turn it up a little bit in these games because, as I've said many times, that margin of error is not there and the last thing you want to do is have any regrets, you know, afterward.

Q. Bruce, I know you can't really overstate this, but can you talk about the importance of a guy like Buster Posey to your team? And after he was injured a few years back, was there any doubt that he would be able to come back to the level that he's come back to?

BRUCE BOCHY: It's hard to quantify what this guy means to us. I mean, we hate to think where we would be without our catcher. I think you look at any team that's had success, you look behind the plate and they're a big reason. Here is a guy that's hitting in the three-hole or cleanup for us, and we would not be where we're at without Buster Posey.

Now, I think you have to look at St. Louis, and they would say the same thing. That catcher is so important because of what he brings -- not just what he does behind the plate, but handling the staff, the leadership they bring and the offense that Buster brings.

No, I can't say there was any doubt that he would come back. Now, I will say, going into the offseason, I didn't know how much I would be able to play him and [it] really turned out a lot better than I anticipated, his recovery, I'm talking about.

So our doctors, our Spring Training staff, they were relentless in getting this guy ready, because he really did a job on his ankle there, knee. So for him to be catching and not showing any effects from that collision, is pretty remarkable.

Q. Bruce, I was curious. From your experience, where do you see the result of a good hitting coach's influence? It's not just numbers, obviously. Is it every at-bat? Is it the relationship he has with the hitters? Where do you see the effect of not just [batting coach] Hensley [Meulens], but from other hitting coaches?

BRUCE BOCHY: I think this goes with all coaching. You know, sure, knowledge, it's got to start with that, and your ability to maybe tweak somebody, fix their flaws. But [just] as important, just be positive, too.

If you can get these players to believe and really draw them, draw any negative things out of them to make them really believe that they can play up here and hit Major League pitching, because you're going to have some ups and downs in this game. You're going to hit your slumps, I don't care how good you are. You've got to be able to let these guys know this ... doesn't define who you are.

Let's have some fun with this. This isn't life or death, stay positive. And the only way to be resilient is to remind them how good they are. What's going to define them? Four or five bad at-bats? Their struggles or their ten previous good at-bats?

So I think that's what good coaches do, good hitting coaches do, keep these guys believing -- because this is a humbling game, and if you can have somebody stay behind you, the game is a lot easier.

Q. With all the postseason experience you've had the last couple of years, do you think that's taught you anything or made you better as a manager in any way? Has it reinforced anything that you sort of already knew going into it?

BRUCE BOCHY: It's given me a lot more gray hair, and I'll start with that. You know, I mean, this is what you play for. I'm fortunate, I'm blessed. It starts with ownership and Brian Sabean and all our baseball operations [people], to bring the type of players in that we have to give us a chance to get to the postseason.

And you try to have fun with it. Now, there's some stress. It's very intense out there. But you need to step back and appreciate what has happened and celebrate those moments, like winning the Wild Card or, you know, each step that you make. Don't forget how you got here, and that's because of some other people who helped make this possible.

Q. Considering the change of personnel from the 2010 team to this one, you have a lot of core players left from two years ago. Is there a common thread that goes through these three teams, as far as you're concerned?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I think so. I think the common thread would be the unselfish way in which they play the game. Over those years we've asked guys to assume different roles.

I'll start with Barry Zito, we took him off the roster, he never complained. Timmy, we took him out of rotation, we put him in the bullpen, he never complained. [Sergio] Romo, going to the set up role from closing, not once did he ever come in and complain.

And there is a lot of other times when we moved guys in the order or changed guys' roles in the bullpen, skipped a guy in the rotation, you know, they have been very unselfish about, you know, what moves we had made, and just thought about winning.

That's the only way I think a team can have success is guys set aside their own agenda and do what's best for the club.