Oct. 7 Josh Harrison NL Wild Card interview

Q. Josh, from Chicago I know it probably seems like ancient history since you came up in the Cubs organization, but is there anything special about tonight as far as that goes?


JOSH HARRISON: Not necessarily. If anything, I think there's maybe one guy over there I play with, Starlin Castro, the other guys I've played against them, but I don't think I had a chance to really play with them. So for me it's not like I'm playing against a former group of guys that I battled with. But it's going to be an exciting night.

Anytime you have division -- we have three teams from the division, and that speaks enough for our division alone.

Q. Josh, what has you in a good spot at the plate right now? I know September treated you very kindly.

JOSH HARRISON: Just repetition, being able to go out there and do it. Coming off the DL was something different for me, never having been on the DL for an extended amount of time. Just with anything, just trying to get back into the flow of the big league game.

I played some rehab games, but truth be told, Triple-A rehab games, it's not comparable to playing in a stadium packed with 30,000 a night. You've got different pitchers on the mound and you actually know what they've got. It just took a while to get back into the groove and into the flow of the game and the field, at the plate, all of the above.

Q. The lineup card has come out, and Sean Rodriguez is in it. Can you talk about the confidence you have, No. 1 in him, but going into this game without Pedro's bat to begin it?

JOSH HARRISON: Pedro's a big bat. We know at some point tonight he's going to be ready to be called upon. But that's what makes our team so good is we've got a guy like Sean coming in, and we've got full faith in him as well. He's played really well off the bench. In my opinion, probably the toughest role on the bench for a guy like him, and he's done a good job.

Tonight we're going to roll that lineup out and try to put as much pressure on as possible.

Q. It's just us here in the room, so you can spill the secrets. Do you think you guys can maybe rattle Arrieta a little bit, putting the ball on the ground and using the speed game early in the game to breakthrough?

JOSH HARRISON: It's not a matter of thinking. We know we're capable of doing it. It's a matter of going out, sticking with our game plan and letting our abilities work for us instead of trying to do too much. Sometimes that's the name of the game. Sometimes you've got to simplify it.

Q. In your previous games against Arrieta, why do you think the Pirates had a tough time getting hits and scoring runs?

JOSH HARRISON: It's baseball. I mean, it's no secret what he's done after the All-Star break. He's made pitches when he needed to. He's had a good year. Anytime you win as many games as he's won or Cole's won, those guys are doing something right.

Q. What kind of pitches though?

JOSH HARRISON: I can't say for sure. The last two games I didn't start. But just watching, he was mixing pretty well. He was getting outs. That's the name of the game as a pitcher is to get outs any way you can.

Q. Josh, three straight years in this game for you guys, most of their guys are going to be in it for the first time. Is there any advantage in that? How different do you feel right now than you did before the Game 2 years ago?

JOSH HARRISON: Two years ago, I probably didn't sleep the night before, just excited, not knowing what tomorrow held. I'd never been in the playoffs. But the more you've been here, the more you realize, hey, we've played 162 games. This one-game playoff gets magnified to a win or go home. We know what's at stake, but we've got to continue to approach it like we did every game in a regular season. Let's come and take care of business and not try to get too far ahead of ourselves looking to what may happen tomorrow, what may happen in the fifth inning. Let's come ready to play and take it from pitch one like we usually do.

Q. So much talk about Arrieta and the season he's had. You guys have to feel pretty good about the ace that you're throwing?

JOSH HARRISON: Oh, yeah, for sure. There's been a lot of talk about Arrieta, but it hasn't been anything that we really paid too much attention about, because we know we've got Cole on the mound. At the end of the day, that's what makes our team so special. We haven't really fed into, oh, this guy's throwing. We know who we've got throwing on the mound, and we know who we've got in the lineup and on the bench coming out of the pen.

We're confident. No matter who we're going up against, if we stick to our game plan, we have a good chance to win any given night.

Q. Are there any special plans for the pre-game dugout dance for you guys tonight?

JOSH HARRISON: No, there's never any special plans any of the nights. We just kind of if we feel it, we go with it. But I can't say for sure tonight what the introduction is. We've got to see how that goes. But there may be some time in there where we get something going. It just depends on the time constraints we're under with the introduction and the anthem and everything.

Q. You've been one of the more aggressive base-running teams in general this year. How do you feel that's panned out, and what do you feel the result of that has been for you guys this year?

JOSH HARRISON: For us it's been a part of our game putting the pressure on the other team. Anyway we can get into scoring position definitely helps. We've got guys in the middle of the order that do a good job of driving in runs. We know if we get on base and if we find a way to get to second or somebody will get to third, which is the name of the game, any team wants to do that. But when you can steal bags with that, it definitely makes it a lot easier than having to move a guy over to second and giving up an out. Lot of times you can get that bag at second and not give up an out. Next thing you know you're at third with one out as opposed to two.

Q. You said you weren't able to sleep a couple years ago. Were you able to sleep last night and what was your routine like? Were you trying to do things to take your mind off the game? Or how do you approach this?

JOSH HARRISON: I would say I slept better, but still you're excited for what the game brings. For me, I just woke up with my wife and daughter. Just played with my daughter. She ran around and played with toys. She gave me a little pep rally before we left. She danced and I got to show the guys the video.

But just kept it as normal as possible like I usually do. Wake up, eat a little breakfast, and just hang out and watch TV before I come to the field.

Q. At what point did you feel that you had full strength back in your hand and your wrist, or is it still kind of a building up process even after this point?

JOSH HARRISON: There are times where it feels great. There are times where it may not feel as great, depending on weather and what's happened throughout the game, making the tag or just random things that may happen throughout the game. But I can feel -- honestly, by the start of, I would say, the first week of September was once I started to get a little more comfortable with the way the games were going.

It was kind of hard to do it in the Minor Leagues. Sometimes you get caught going through the motions or pitchers there, their movement doesn't move as late as guys in the Big Leagues, so I didn't have as many mis-hits this and that. So when I got up here, you have guys that know how to make the ball move a little bit more and a little bit later.

I would say probably around the first week of September is once I started to feel myself get adjusted and get over that hump of any little pain I may feel.

Q. 2013, the Pirates are kind of like the new kid on the block coming into the playoffs. This year that's the Cubs. What are your thoughts on being the other team in the marquis playoff match-up?

JOSH HARRISON: To be honest, I haven't really thought about it. We know where they've come from, and we could say a couple years ago we came from there. But one thing for us is we still feel we've got a good group, and they do as well.

But for us, we've been there. We've got a group that pulls for each other. And I think you're going to see two teams tonight who are both full of energy. You've got a one-game playoff, two good pitchers on the mound, two teams that are full of energy. It's going to be exciting. I'm excited to play tonight and hopefully come out with a win. We're going to do everything we can.