Kevin Cash recaps final game of season and praises players

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Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash recaps the game and praises the players for making it such an amazing and what he considers a very successful season.

- Successful. It was successful. You know, KK just talked to the guys in there, and I think it resonates with them that we should be very proud of the way we played this year with the things that we accomplished, the groundwork laid. But we're not satisfied.

Today was a big win. We had a lot of, you know, big things happen. Joey Wendle with the .300, Mallex with 40 stolen bases, CJ Cron got his 40th or excuse me 30th the other day. Ryan Yarbrough, I believe, broke the rookie record for wins, and then, you know, we should have a Cy Young award winner here to announce in a month or so.

But all of that is great, but secondary to us getting to the postseason and continuing to live in that postseason. So I thought the message that KK presented, I think, the guys buy into it and understand it. We need to go into this off-season and enjoy ourselves, take a month and then kind of get back after it.

REPORTER: I do think Tommy Pham just got on base again. He's been incredible.

- He has been incredible. And, you know, KK referenced that, you know, that we can't wait to see what he's capable of with a full season. He's kind of got enough knowledge of the pitchers in the American League-- American League and American League East. But he's a dangerous dangerous person at the plate. And we're looking forward to having him in there all year.

REPORTER: How cool is it seeing Mallex as well really take hold of that lead off spot today, another big catalyst in the game.

- Yeah. Look, when we got hot I think it kind of coincides when Mallex went to that spot, and it really helped ignite us. He's doing it whether he's hitting fifth, six, seventh, eighth, wherever it was. But to put him up there at the top I think he, you know, he took some pride in to it and really relished in that role.

REPORTER: I think I've heard you talk about this before, but 57% of the innings were covered by the bullpen this season. How indicative was today and really the last couple months of the season?

- Yeah. I mean, we learned a lot with that, I think. And knowing that if we do it right and we build up guys the right way, which Kyle and Stan have done, and Jared and Rick Knapp in triple-a have done. Everybody played a big role in that. And the pitchers, the buy in, we know that we can be, uh, we can benefit from that type of, you know, those stats or numbers or percentages. And I don't see us going away from that. We got a taste of it working, and we're going to continue to find ways to make that work and potentially add to it.

REPORTER: You know, you would've been successful had you lost today, too. But, is there some value in just getting to 90? It's a nice round number versus 89?

- Yeah. I mean, it sounds better to say you won 90 games as opposed to 89. But there's no doubt. You know, we wanted to get to a round number, or with a zero on it. And we had a couple of cracks at it. We fell a little bit short with the New York series. But, the guys, they've shown themselves up really really well throughout many parts of this season. And I think this series was really no different, that you know, we falter the first night and then finally come out and win two games to make sure that we're able to say 90.

REPORTER: Was it Kiermaier's top plan? Or was it something he just asked you if he could do? Or--

- Nah. No, it was more or less just what he does, what the guys do after the game. They have a pretty interesting celebration at times. This one was, you know, a little bit more-- a little bit more of a message. And I thought it was a good message.

REPORTER: Did you at any point talk to the team collectively? Or just kind of individual meetings sharing the same idea?

- No. Just a couple of individual meetings with guys, some messages. I'll do a good job or I'll try to do a good job of letting these guys get a blow for a couple of weeks and then start reaching out and talking to them, revisit some things. I certainly hope they know how appreciative that I am, and the staff is, of what they've accomplished and the effort that they provided for themselves throughout the course of the year.

REPORTER: How was Sergio's bat boy today?

- He looked good. Uh, he looked really good. I knew he was doing it. I didn't realize until the third or fourth bat that he had my Jersey on. So, good for Sergio.

REPORTER: Coach, you talk a lot about-- well, a lot people talk about how much a player has gotten better over the year. But third base coach Quatraro saw him on that sack fly to Wendle, he's shouting to get Pham back to third base. Seemed like over the year he's gotten better at third as well. What does that say about him?

- Yes, he has. And you know what I think? I think that in all fairness we challenge Matt Quatraro quite a bit. He hasn't done it in a long time. And the best thing about Q is that he asks constantly. He's always asking for feedback, and he's got a great person in Charlie Montoyo to sit there and discuss certain scenarios. There's no doubt that he has gotten much more comfortable and really become a tremendous third base coach for us.

REPORTER: What was going on in the dugout for that Wendle curtain call? What, did they have to--

- He wasn't in there. (LAUGHING) He was up in the clubhouse. Yeah. And then he came out. I don't know if somebody went and got him. But, pretty cool. Pretty cool by our fans to recognize the type of player that Joey was for us this year. And, you know, our fans probably don't recognize or realize the type of person he is and the type of teammate, but you're not going to find one better.

REPORTER: Pretty cool of a manager to make that substitution in that inning so you could get him [INAUDIBLE].

- You know, I wish I could take that idea. But that, you know, strictly that came straight from Terry Francona. I watched him do it with a lot of really good players. And when you grind it like Joey Wendle has done all year for us, and we've asked everything of him, that's a simple gesture to make him feel good.

REPORTER: And Bauers, I know he's been fighting it the last half of the season, but it's really good to see him finish on such a high note today.

- Yeah, it was. And doing it in a way to help us win the game. I mean, getting on base, laying down a bunt, and then obviously coming up with a big double to separate the game, there.