Q. You don't know whether you'll leave Gordy in the five hole.
NED YOST: We're looking at all the options, I'll have the lineup for you tomorrow.
Q. I wanted to ask you about the Gold Gloves. You had four guys nominated this year: Gordon, Escobar, Perez and Hosmer.
NED YOST: Yeah. I was a little surprised that Lorenzo Cain wasn't nominated, but that's just me.
Q. I know you're very proud of your defense and probably have some good things to say about these guys.
NED YOST: Yeah. Sometimes people look at me crazy when I say I think we have the capability one day of getting five Gold Gloves on that field, you know? But I think it's a real possibility with our defense. I'm proud. I think Esky has deserved a Gold Glove for the last couple years. I would love to see him win it. I'd love to see Sal win a second, Hoz win a second and Gordy win his fourth. One of the highlights of my winter last year was I went to New York for that Gold Glove banquet, and it was a phenomenal time to celebrate this wonderful achievement.
I hope I get to do it again this year with multiple guys.
Q. It's been almost 24 hours since last night's game, and there was a little bit of a spark there in the sixth inning, when your club got out. What do you think the impact of last night's game could be going forward?
NED YOST: Zero. Zero impact. You're talking about the little incident?
Q. No, just everything. Winning the game the way you guys did, well, everything.
NED YOST: I thought you were talking about the incident. You know, for me, yesterday, it wasn't necessarily a must win game, but it was as close to a must win game as you can get. To have Ventura come out and pitch as well as he did, and get timely hits and score five runs in the sixth inning was huge. Great relief pitching by Herrera, which has kind of been our recipe.
But our guys are really confident. We've got a lot of confidence in Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas the next two games here, and we look for James Shields to bounce back in a big way.
So we feel pretty good where we sit right now.
Q. Going back to when you got Jeremy, coming off big numbers. I know you understood more behind that, but I wonder if you could reflect on what you saw in him and what's made him so effective now.
NED YOST: Well, when we made that deal we had Jonathan Sanchez, and was really struggling at that time. Dayton got a text one night, "Hey, would you be interested in swapping struggling starters?" Because Jeremy was really struggling in Colorado at that time. We looked at each other, "Man, let's give it a shot, right?"
But we got Guthrie and his first start, I don't think he won, but I was really, really impressed with the way that he commanded the ball down. At that point on our staff we didn't have anybody that could do that. We had a bunch of young starters and guys that were probably fourth or fifth starters. We didn't have anybody that could consistently command the ball down and change speeds like he did. And I thought, man, this guy's got a chance to do something. Dave Eiland looked at him and said, "Hey, I think I can make some adjustments in this guy's delivery, and this guy could be pretty good for us."
That's what they did. Dave and him made a couple little tweaks and all of a sudden he got on a roll and pitched extremely well for us. Signed him to, I think, a three year deal at that time, and he's been very, very solid for us every time he steps on the mound, for the most part.
Q. Since the Division Series you guys have been winning games without picking up many stolen bases. Is that an encouraging sign for you? Do you feel there will still be a game where that will show up for you again?
NED YOST: I didn't hear the last part, I'm sorry.
Q. Are you kind of waiting on a game where you can pick those up in bunches again?
NED YOST: Yeah, we're looking for spots. We're opportunistic in our base stealing. Baltimore had a great pitching staff that has focused on that all year long, really controlling the running game. But it still has its benefits. Because even when we saw in the Baltimore series, every time we'd have a speed guy on, even though guys were really quick to the plate, they still diverted some of their attention from getting the hitter out to the base runner. And that's the idea behind it. You want to try to divert some of the attention away from the pitcher's main focus, which is concentrating on getting that hitter out, and having some of that focus go over here. It helps the hitters. There is no telling how many runs we picked up by doing that.
It's still dangerous even though we're not in a spot where we could run, but we look for keys. We look for pitch counts, and if the situation is right, we take off.
Q. As someone who has been around for a long time and seen a lot of the superstitions, is Salvador wearing perfume one of the more unusual ones?
NED YOST: I think Esky started it first, and then Salvy did. I know they're sweet smelling on the bench, that's for sure.
Q. Is that one of the more unusual ones?
NED YOST: Yeah, that's one of the more unusual ones. But it's been effective, so it works for them.
Q. Since you put Escobar in the 1 hole about a month, month and a half ago, he's really taken off. Can you talk about what's happened with him since he started in that spot.
NED YOST: Well, I think it's a spot that he relishes being in. When we put him in the 1 hole he really liked hitting up in the order two years ago, when he had a really, really good year; really liked it in the second hole. Really came back last year and struggled. Dropped him back down to the 8th and the 9th spot and started there this year. But he's had another phenomenal year offensively.
For a shortstop to be able to hit .280 or .290 and drive the ball like he can to the gaps, hit the ball to all fields, it's important to be able to do that.
When we made this change, we were just kind of grasping at straws. We were really struggling offensively as a group, and you looked at the three guys that were swinging the bats at that time, it was Esky down in the 9 hole, and Cain in the 7, and Nori was doing okay in the 1. So we thought, okay, let's make some changes here and see if we can't shake something up. Put Esky in the 1, Nori in the 2, and Lo in the 3, try to get some speed in the top of the order for the power hitters in the middle.
The first day we did it, Esky said, "I love hitting I hope this isn't a one or two day deal." We said, "Esky, that's all kind of depending on you. If you can give us good at bats because that's where he struggled last year. He kind of lost his discipline a little bit, and he was swinging at pitches off the plate, where he could have been taking walks. "If you can give us good at bats from the top of the order, you're going to stay there," and he's worked hard to do that.
Q. As an AL club, can you speak to the challenge of maybe having that 8th place hitter, finding an 8th place hitter, that is ideally suited to that role in an NL park? And how beneficial is having a guy like Infante, who is that type of hitter and has had experience there?
NED YOST: It helps. I don't know if Omar is going to be hitting 8th or not, but it's a bit of a challenge. That's part of our job as coaches, too, is to coach these guys to a National League style of game. Whoever hits there, we're going to go over what we're looking for them to do out of that spot.
Q. This is kind of a follow up to that: The record of American League teams in NL parks in the World Series in recent years has not been good. But your team had a lot of success in NL parks in Interleague this year. Are there aspects to your team that you think make you suitable or maybe more suitable than your average American League team to these kinds of roles?
NED YOST: I think there is. Our versatility, our athleticism, our speed definitely helps, and our bullpen, you know? I managed in the National League for six years, so I'm comfortable doing it. Dale's managed in the National League, he's comfortable. Don Wakamatsu and Pedro Grifol are two of the best baseball people I've ever been around.
So as a group, we're not afraid of the National League game. We understand the National League game. We understand the value and when to double switch. So, I think that our club is more suited for it.
There are times you want to double switch with the player and you tell them, "Okay, get ready because if this guy gets on, we're going to double switch," and they're like, "What? What? What?" "Just run out to the field. I'll tell you which spot to go in and just tell the guy that's out there that he's got to come on in."
But I think that our club is well suited for the National League game. I mean, you lose a quality hitter like Billy Butler, but you also like I explained to Billy, and Billy understands completely, hey, you can win a ballgame off the bench in the 7th inning just as well as you can getting four at bats. So it's a crucial, crucial spot to be your No. 1 pinch hitter, your high leverage pinch hitter in a game like this. So he's ready for it.
Q. If you just go back to Jeremy Guthrie, maybe his personality off and on the field, how would you describe Jeremy as a person?
NED YOST: He's a great guy, man. He's got a lot of energy. He's extremely intelligent. He's very social, if you will. I mean, he loves the social media. He loves interacting with fans. He loves interacting with people. He's just a great guy to be around. He's not one of those guys that are really full of himself, you know? He's one of those guys that's a humble guy, but he works extremely hard, he's extremely smart, and he's got a great personality.
Q. You guys play in a big park, but this is a pretty big outfield. How much time will these guys spend figuring out the corners? And could it affect how early you go to Dyson and moving Cain into right?
NED YOST: Yeah, it could.
Q. Or could Dyson get the start?
NED YOST: I mean, we're looking at all of our options, and that's the reason for it. Guthrie and Vargy are both fly ball pitchers in a big yard with some weird angles, so we're looking at all our options.
But Rusty is the best outfield coach that I've ever been around, and he's already had them out there looking at all the angles. They were just standing there watching balls in BP, seeing which way they bounce off those walls. So after our workout, after our batting practice tomorrow, our guys are going to have a really, really good idea on what's going to happen every time a ball hits that wall.
Q. You talked about the lineup changes you made down the stretch and the double switches. Lots of people questioning your decisions and they're now calling you a genius. How do you account for that fickelness?
NED YOST: I don't account for it. I don't care about it. I understand how this game is, and I know that if something good happens, I'm going to look smart, all right. My players won a ballgame yesterday. You know what I did? Nothing. I took Herrera and put him in the ballgame in the sixth inning, and if that makes me a genius, then I'm a genius. But if I had taken Ventura out of that game and brought in Kel, and he gave up a three run homer, I would have been a dope, right?
So I don't really pay attention to when people say I'm stupid, and I don't really pay attention to when people say I'm smart because I'm neither. I'm not a dope, but I'm not the smartest guy on the face of the earth either. So I just let all that go. I don't pay any attention to it. I don't read about it. I just want our team to win, and that is the only satisfaction that I get out of anything.
Q. You have a very rested team, obviously. The back of the bullpen didn't pitch in the first game and you had a five run lead and you went to them; completely understandable. Would it have been different if maybe they had pitched in the first game and then no day off or were you just trying to nail that down?
NED YOST: No, it's absolutely going to be different. That's why we did it, because they had six days' rest. They didn't pitch the day before, and we had an off day today. At that point you're trying to find a way to win that ballgame. I was really convinced that starting in the sixth inning, whichever team scored the next run was going to win that game, and we were going to do whatever it took to not allow them to score that run.
Now, we're in a three game stretch, so things are going to be different. We're going to have to count on Brandon Finnegan, and Jason Frasor, and Timmy Collins, and Danny Duffy a little bit more to get us through the 5th and 6th inning, because Herrera and Wade, they can't stand up to a five out appearances every single night, especially multiple nights. You're going to have to really manage that pitching staff well, that back end of the pen well to keep them available for all three nights.