Q. After your last start Cervelli talked about going to a plan B when things weren't clicking as well as you wanted at the start, how comfortable have you gotten over the past couple years and switching things up?
GERRIT COLE: I think it continues to get better. They talk a lot about how you need to get through starts without having your best stuff. It can be challenging at times, but I think you just keep trying, and keep trying to use what you have and learn from it every time you have an opportunity to learn from something. It starts to get better, and it starts to get easier.
But it helps to have catchers who can identify that kind of stuff and help pull the reigns back or kick you in the butt when you need it.
Q. Gerrit, how much do you relish and appreciate the opportunity of getting the ball in this situation and the pressure of having a game like this on your shoulders?
GERRIT COLE: I mean, well, it's a tremendous honor to be selected to pitch this game. Obviously we all know the gravity of the situation. It's one-and-done. There's a lot of hard work that went into preparing for the season and preparing for this opportunity. I'm thankful and excited that I have it.
Q. Gerrit, this might be another way of asking the same question, but last year this time when you didn't get a chance to pitch this game and pitched the last day of the year, what was it like watching Bumgarner without having a chance to do anything about it, and then how impressive was it what he did from there?
GERRIT COLE: Well, I don't really recall seeing anything like that other than Randy Johnson's postseason against the Yankees. It was frustrating for all 25 of us when we lost that game. I thought we had total confidence in Eddy to get the job done. He pitched his balls out there. And it's just the nature of this one-game Wild Card. It can be the most exciting game of the year, and for the other team it can be pretty disappointing. I think we've tasted both sides, so we kind of have a good understanding. There's.
A lot of luck involved, you know, but there's a lot of little details that matter. And the team that takes care of those the best comes out on top usually.
Q. Gerrit, not completely the same situation, but what did you learn from your experience in pitching in an elimination game that you can carry over into this one when you went against St. Louis two years ago?
GERRIT COLE: I don't know. I just didn't really -- I think I was more nervous for the second game of that series. I mean, you get into a situation where your back's up against the wall and you don't have any option but to go out swinging, so you might as well go for it. Treat it like any other game, and hopefully put yourself in a position to prepare for this opportunity, and I think I have.
Q. The lineup's not out, but providing that Alvarez is at first, is there a compensation that's done by you and some of the other infielders because of the defensive deficiencies by him? Have you noticed that this year? Do you feel that sometimes because you have to get over that you have to do some more when he's at first?
GERRIT COLE: Well, I mean, I like to be pretty athletic off the mound in terms of taking care of my job, which is covering first base, fielding bunts in certain situations, fielding slow rollers to the first base and having to communicate and direct traffic. So there is no game plan.
I think Pedro does a fine job over there, and I love having him in the lineup. He tends to hit a lot of home runs when I pitch.
Q. Is there anymore motivation or rush facing guys like Arrieta? Everybody knows about Arrieta now, but just to remind people that there is another great pitcher starting tonight as well?
GERRIT COLE: You know, I feel like -- I feel like when you're in these situations you want to face the best. You want to get the best measure and best temperature of the other team because you really want to earn these wins. You work so hard to put yourself in position to have these opportunities, and it doesn't feel any better than going up against the best.
On the flip side, I think you can sit here and say he's probably going to go pretty deep and he's probably going to go pretty low. So you're probably going to have to go pretty deep and you're probably going to have to go pretty low too. So you know what you're going to get.
Q. You haven't had the opportunity to play off the pitch at PNC. You've obviously seen the environment of the past two Wild Card games that you pitched in St. Louis on the road. The crowd and all those things, I assume at some level you want to block it out, and at some level you want to take it all in. Will that be an added adrenaline rush for you?
GERRIT COLE: The big part of playing in the last three games of the year and duking it out with the Cubs towards the end was to get this home-field advantage. There is nothing better than having your home crowd cheer you on and scream with you in big moments and get the crowd in the pulse of the game. It's an advantage for sure, especially when you have fans that can make noise like these ones can.
It can rattle some people. That's no joke. I think we saw that a couple years ago. So it's nice to have that competitive advantage with you, for sure.
Q. How much does it affect your preparation that you've seen these guys a couple times this year. You've seen them very recently as well. Is there any extra that goes into changing things up as far as making adjustments?
GERRIT COLE: I mean, no. I feel like if I didn't face them, you just don't have any opportunity to try to work yourself into a game like this. You've got to go right from the beginning. You've got to have all your different sequences and have four pitches working in the first as best you can. You've got to try to close every inning out, take it one inning at a time, one batter at a time.
I mean, the team that's going to win this game is the team that's going to win the most pitches. Be focused on winning the most pitches and take care of the baseball.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports