Mike Shildt on series win over Cubs: ‘It’s important for obvious reasons’

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Mike Shildt on Yairo Muñoz: "He's a good baseball player, this guy. He's just a good player — it looks like you can put him about anywhere and he's going to make plays."

- Huge, obviously for him. He's been taking good at-bats. We've talked about it, and, you know, got a pitch he could handle and really just drilled it. That was big for everybody.

REPORTER: You talked the last couple days how you've been really impressed with his approach and some things getting here. What specifically did you notice coming into today?

- We use the word consistency a lot. You know, he's really working with our hitting guys to try to get more consistent with what he's doing, how he's doing it, repeating what he's doing, coupled with getting good pitches to hit. So he was able to do that today. Put a good-- I mean, he's a big and strong guy, so, you know, he doesn't do anything special. He just gets a good pitch to hit, put a good swing on it. And he drove that ball. It was a fun swing.

REPORTER: What was the [INAUDIBLE]?

- You know, look, we talked before the game and guys were talking about taking what the team gives you, so you give Karp a lot of credit. He did that over at their place and scored a run to get us on the board, and did the same thing today, get us on the board, you know, start, you know, start a six run inning. So then Yadi saw an opportunity. Just about seeing what the game gives you and taking advantage of it and be prepared for it.

REPORTER: Miles got 18 outs today and 15 were on the ground. Is that a pretty sign of what it is going the right way?

- It's a fantastic sign, absolutely. Anytime a guys getting balls on the ground, it's a positive sign and another clean day of defense.

REPORTER: Are you pretty sure it was how well [INAUDIBLE] has been [INAUDIBLE]?

- No, I didn't predetermine it. You know, we had a discussion about maybe sending him back out, but we're looking at his workload. You know, he got a one inning stint as a start, so a little more bullets going into that start. Then he has, you know, the travel day day off. We had him up yesterday. He got his guys in the inning today and felt good about it, and went to the other guys to bring it home. But we had a conversation about what that looks like. And it'll be based on how he's feeling, his score, all those different things, but nice debut. That was pretty special stuff.

REPORTER: How long was he locked in to game mode coming off the field before he was able to kind of sit down and realize, OK, I can absorb what just happened?

- Yeah, may be a better question for him. I mean, he was locked in. He was completely locked in. You know, he got behind Schwarber. Then you saw him kind of regroup a little bit and just trust his stuff and attack. And that's a good sign. And he came in and, you know, if we'd maybe scored another run or two, we might have done something to kept him in there, but really after we talked about it, that was kind of his inning. But he was locked in until, you know, we told him that was it.

REPORTER: It's two games out of 162, but can you describe the importance of winning these two games, this particular time in the calendar?

- It's important for obvious reasons. I mean, clearly, we're in the process of, you know, chasing people. You know, so games are important. And you know, these particular games, I mean, really it's not necessarily all we say this, not about who we're playing. It's about how we're playing. And for me, it's about seeing these guys' process start to deliver the result they want. And you saw a lot of process take place today, including that first inning that went well. And guys went and executed their game plans, and just well played baseball game again.

REPORTER: The decision to go Jordan and then Bud again today, it's a non-save situation. Is part of that about win a series guarantee a split of these eight? Or is it just that's what was best for you today?

- It lined up to where we could do it. You know? We were going to throw Jordan in the eighth. We got a four run lead, and opportunity for Bud to come back. Both those guys had pretty efficient endings, one, two, three innings yesterday. They were efficient. You know, you go back and forth. Your due closer, and, you know, talked to Bud about it. He was fantastic. He understands. He's a gamer, wants to compete and knows the importance of nailing down a game and series. And it's not something we'll do all the time, but, you know, the opportunity presented itself where he was available and feel good about it. And we wanted to make sure we brought it home.

REPORTER: If it's a save situation tomorrow, do you envision that they both would or would not be available, how would that play out for you?

- We'll take inventory about that tomorrow. Like I said, not a lot of stress the last few days for either one of them. But again, they'll play catch and they'll let us. And you know, we'll plan accordingly for tomorrow.

REPORTER: You brought Myers in to some hot, high leverage situations. Is he a guy you would feel comfortable with in any like, back end ninth innings where it's [INAUDIBLE]?

- Absolutely.

REPORTER: Since Quintana threw so many pitches, 121, last Sunday, did you guys want to make him more [INAUDIBLE] in the first inning today?

- You know, Commish, one thing we want to do with every starter we're facing we're doing is we want them all to work hard. You know? And so it's really about getting a ball you can handle, put a swing on it, evident in the first inning on. I mean, really, really, really good at-bats. You know, Karp starts it off with a bunt. Yadi comes up, two strikes, nice at-bat. Then we kind of rolled from there. Of course, Ozuna got the big hit, so Martinez tough at-bat. Dejong tough at-bat. You know, they get fanned. Then Fowler starts it right back up. [INAUDIBLE] like the walk. Then, Munoz works a full count, start the runner, get put into motion. Now, he's, you know, getting another run in, so professional at-bats all the way across. I think we've been taking that consistently, regardless the starter.

REPORTER: [INAUDIBLE] play from Jose at third just [INAUDIBLE] the pay?

- Yeah, I mean, that's a hats-off play. I mean, clearly we don't want to make the third out at third, but you always want to think about pushing a little more when you've got the lead. And he had to make a, you know, I mean, a weak play. And he did to his credit, so not as big a issue in that situation.

REPORTER: Is Martinez suddenly getting better at first base?

- I would agree with that, Commish. I think-- I think it's a good evaluation. You know, he's starting to slow down for him a little bit. He's making more plays. He's moving a little better. So there is an improvement.

REPORTER: Munoz is second base. Seems as if he's played that a lot, but he really hadn't.

- No, he hadn't and he's a utility guy. So he's come up, you know, to play short, third, the outfield as we've seen, but he's a good baseball player, this guy. You know, he's just a good player. You can put him about anywhere and he's going to make plays. So he did a nice job at second. He's got some [INAUDIBLE] work with [INAUDIBLE] and [INAUDIBLE]. But he's a nice player and a guy you can kind of put anywhere, which as a baseball player, it's a big compliment.

REPORTER: Was [INAUDIBLE] OK? Yeah, came out [INAUDIBLE].

- Yeah, he's fine. He checked out. Yeah, he's OK.