How is Khalil's progress, and is there a chance he'll play in the series?
Bruce Bochy: There's a chance. Today he looked better. Swung the bat much better. I think he's getting more comfortable. Blum has done a great job. He did a great job in September. And when you have a guy that's 100 percent and playing well, it's hard to take him out. But we know how good Greene is, and there's a chance that he could get some playing time here. When, I don't know, but I know today I was very encouraged with how he swung the bat and if he felt this good the first game, then it would give me another option there.
Any lineup changes today, Boch?
Bruce Bochy: Walker at second base, Bard is behind the plate. Those are the lineup changes. Walker being three hole, and Gonzales in four hole. And Bard and you've got Cameron. Branyan and Blum.
Bruce, I don't know how much you were able to see this Cardinal team this summer on TV when they weren't quite hole, how much does it make for that team defensively with all their guys when they have Edmonds and Eckstein at shortstop and up the middle?
Bruce Bochy: No question they're a different club. They've got their starters out there, guys that played both sides of the ball so well. I'm sure it gave them a sense of confidence to have those guys out there. You're talking about the lead off hitter the catalyst, one of the best center fielders in the game, also a guy that provides a lot of punch for them. So you know that makes them a different club. Any time you have injuries, you lose your core players, it's going to affect the club. The key is hopefully the guys that come off the bench fill in and that's happened for us, for example, with Blum there. And so it's a different team. It's a very good ball club. Much better than what their record shows because they had to deal with those major injuries.
Boch, what went into your thinking on Walker and Bard?
Bruce Bochy: Probably matchups as much as anything. I think Walker, he's faced Weaver a lot more than Barfield, so that's the thinking more than anything. Both of them are very good players. Good hitters. I just went with the matchup today.
Considering the importance of this game, how long can you go with a starting pitcher if he's struggling?
Bruce Bochy: How long, it's hard to quantify that. But you know we're finding the bullpen, and something happens to Boomer or he's really struggling, I'm going to have to make a change. Hopefully that's not the case. But you know we know this is a very important ball game and we need to stay in the game and if it looks like Boomer for some reason has to come out, then you know I think we're covered in the bullpen. Guys are fresh. Hensley pitched long or middle relief, so we're fine there.
Looks like today you have eight left-handed hitters in the lineup, have you ever had nine in a game?
Bruce Bochy: I don't think so. You know because Barfield has been out there for the most part every day, but no I've never had nine. You know Bard being a switch hitter but we do have some right-handed bats that we can use off the bench today. It's a nice luxury to have and but there has been numerous cases where we've had seven lefties out there, counting Boomer, but I don't know if he counts.(Laughter)
Can you talk about the difference having a healthy Trevor Hoffman for you guys and describe a little bit what kind of season they had for you this year?
Bruce Bochy: One year I had to deal without Trevor Hoffman, I had a lot of fun. It's probably our toughest year. You know you don't ever take Trevor for granted, but when you don't have them you realize what you do have. I've said this many times: I consider myself very fortunate to have had Trevor Hoffman as my closer since I've been managing. So having a healthy Trevor does a lot for the ball club. Number one, it gives you an elite closer who is going to go down as one of the best closers of all time and what that does is give the team a sense of confidence and also puts the other guys in the role that you think they should be in. But Trevor's, he's saved us so many times not to plan on that, but when you have a game on the line, you want your best out there. And you want one of the best ever out there, and that's who Trevor is.