Oct. 7 Anthony Rizzo pregame interview

Q. What are the challenges for a hitter in facing Gerrit Cole? And on the other side, what do you think makes Jake Arrieta so dominant?

ANTHONY RIZZO: Facing Cole is going to be a tough task. We faced him all year. We get to face him a lot, so I think that's an advantage to the hitter any time you get to face a pitcher more than once, you obviously pick up a little more than that they have. He has electric stuff. He can throw any pitch any time.

Cervelli calls a great game behind the plate, so you've just got to play that cat-and-mouse game that you really only have one game to do it with them. So you've got to adjust real quick at-bat to see how they're going to pitch you, the way they're going to pitch you and go from there.

With Jake, we've just got to get him settled in and let him do his thing. He's been our horse all year, him and Jon, and we're excited for him for this opportunity.

Q. Obviously the focus is on tonight's game, but if you can step away for a second, can you describe the excitement of being part of this Cubs' nucleus that's young and talented and very well could be part of the playoffs for years to come?

ANTHONY RIZZO: Yeah, this is a really exciting time for Chicago. Obviously what the Blackhawks have done over the past five, six years with all those championships, and me being there for two of them, just seeing what the city was like when they won, it's something that you just wanted to be at. It's where you want to be.

And then winning this year is another example of being out around the city, hearing people overtalk, it's exciting to be part of this in this city, in Chicago, is something special.

But we have a lot to prove. We haven't proven anything yet. We are young. We have a lot of talent, but we have to go out there and take it.

Q. You were 13, 14 when the Cubs last won a playoff game. I don't think your parents were alive in 1945 when they went to the World Series. I won't go further than that. How little does the playoffs of the Cubs past even matter in the clubhouse right now?

ANTHONY RIZZO: I think it matters a lot with the former players. There's a lot of people that have put everything into this organization and this city, and they call the city of Chicago home. We want to make them proud. They left the jersey a lot better when they were done playing.

I know Ernie would be really proud of this team, Ernie Banks, and it means a lot for them. It means a lot for the fans too. But us players really don't put a lot of thought into that. We're ready to play today and that's our main focus is playing today on Wednesday. Like Joe says, this is Wednesday, October 7th or 8th, and we're ready to play, and we're going to have fun with it.

Q. Why were you so confident in January that you guys would still be playing now when really not a whole lot of other people thought that back then?

ANTHONY RIZZO: There's a few different reasons. Mainly we finished strong. We know what we have in the organization. Obviously on paper, yeah, Kris Bryant hit 50 home runs last year and did this and that, but once you get to the Big Leagues, you never know how someone's going to react, and he's reacted tremendously. He could gain a lot of MVP votes in my opinion. And having Addy come up, just the talent in the organization, and the way everything kind of shifted, and then setting the bar higher. Setting the bar higher in January and letting all the guys know that we're not messing around come spring. So kind of just sent that little message to set their mentality and get ready to go.

Q. Can you describe the nervous energy an athlete has and just being nervous, and how do you funnel it yourself?

ANTHONY RIZZO: Yeah, it's exciting. This is exciting. I keep saying it's a shame that one of the best three teams in baseball are going to move on to the Championship Series. The good thing about this is we're so used to playing Pirates, we're so used to playing the Cardinals, the teams that we have to play, that this is kind of like another game here. Obviously, it's on a bigger stage, win or go home. But we're so used to playing here, staying where we stay, going to the gym we go to in the morning, where we go to lunch. So it's like a normal routine day, and just can't wait to get it going.