JOSE CONTRERAS: There's going to be no difference. You've got to prepare yourself the same way for every opponent regardless of who wins because if you start thinking about one team, then that changes, then you have a disadvantage. So I'm going to prepare myself the same way for both teams. Regardless of who we play, we have to battle. Both of them are great teams.
Don Cooper, your pitching coach, talked about how the experiences of your life coming out of Cuba and so forth have helped you deal with the pressure of baseball. Do you feel pressure on the pitcher's mound?
CONTRERAS: I feel no pressure because it's just a baseball game. It's not life and death situation. But I think pitching in the Olympic Games, Pan Ams, Central American Games, prepared me to pitch at the big league level, not saying that the World Series or the playoffs compare to that. This is larger and the players are better. This is the best baseball in the world. It kind of helps you out, pitching for a whole country, not just a team, and there's a lot more pressure there. So when I pitch here, I feel no pressure.
How much of a sense of pride do you have that Ozzie has named you twice to start the playoff series?
CONTRERAS: I'm more proud that we made it to the second round and that my team had the opportunity to give me a chance to have another start. And of course I'm proud that I got the second time start, considering that we skipped one of our best pitchers. But I think I have as much confidence out of anyone out there. I'm proud of my teammates and hopefully we'll stick together and go all the way.
What is it about Chicago and about this organization that's worked out so well for you?
CONTRERAS: The confidence I've received from my manager and my pitching coach Don Cooper and the confidence my players have given me, I think that my pitching coach and my manager have been really patient. The first time wasn't the best I ever had, and it shows me the patience and confidence they've had with me.
How does your style change with a little extra rest, pitching on six days' rest instead of your normal four days' rest?
CONTRERAS: I see it as an advantage because I've had much more rest. It means one more day of working out and one extra bullpen, but since I've gone seven and eight innings the last couple of starts, it's better to have one more day of rest, and I'm just ready to go tomorrow.
Why do you think you've worked so well with Don Cooper? What is it about him that you've been able to work so well?
CONTRERAS: Don Cooper is an incredible person. He's not only a great pitching coach but he's a great human being, a great friend. And he's a very funny guy. From the first time I met Cooper I felt really comfortable with him. I felt like it wasn't my job, it was more like a friendship. We get each other really well, not only him but our whole coaching staff, Ozzie.
(Question in Spanish) why was the first half different from the second half and what's different about this?
CONTRERAS: The comfort level comes from throwing strikes like I have in the past and passing the ball around in the strike zone and not walking as many people, and that comes from confidence. When you have confidence, you have success, and that's when you have wins.
Do you like the nickname the Bronx Titan?
CONTRERAS: Yeah, I like the nickname. I've had it for the past five, six years, and it's something that my friends in Cuba recognize me for that nickname, so it's something that I'm proud of, and yeah, I like my nickname.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.