Oct. 7 Collin McHugh workout day interview

Q. Trying to multitask here. Not easy. Collin, just some thoughts about what it means to you to be starting Game 1 of this series.

COLLIN MCHUGH: It means a lot. It's been a really fun couple years for me I've been over here in the Houston organization. I kind of traveled around a little bit before I got here. So to be able to have the opportunity to pitch every five days and really have the faith of the staff and organization behind me for the last two years and then kind of culminating in tomorrow, it means a lot.

It's, again, another game. You've got to go out. You've got to execute. You've got to try to make pitches and get a good team out on the other side. We're going to try to do that.

Q. You went through that tough stretch, I think, in May where not a lot of things went right. But you righted the ship second half of the season, really. What changed for you? What started work for you?

COLLIN MCHUGH: I don't know if necessarily anything mechanically changed or pitch selection changed. I think more than anything, I just made some adjustments. Just kind of refined a couple of times. Second time through a lot of these teams, they're going to make adjustments to you and you have to make adjustments to them.

So I did a little more research on each team, tried to focus a little more each game in my preparation both with my body and the game plan at hand, and we were able to execute some good pitches in some big situations throughout the second half of the season. Came out with some good results.

Q. You mentioned settling in with this organization after bouncing around a little bit. You must be kind of gratified that this organization maybe leans toward the more analytic side of things, because apparently one of the reasons you were signed is because the spin rate on your curveball was higher than most. I wonder if you've heard that story and how much that curveball means to you.

COLLIN MCHUGH: I've heard the story, yeah. I've talked to a couple guys in here about it. When they brought me over, they didn't really talk to me about that. They said that they had been trying to sign me for a couple of years. When I got traded from the Mets, they made a push there. When I was put on waivers from Colorado, they had an opportunity to claim me.

But more than anything, they just said we like what you have, we like your stuff, we like your makeup. Go out there and pitch. Go out there and prove us right, more or less. I've been fortunate enough to do that and fortunate enough to get an opportunity, second, third, fourth, fifth chance. I think 0-8 coming into the season last year, so to have an organization that's going to put some faith in you and give you a shot is huge. We've seen it with lot of guys over the last couple years and put together a pretty good season.

Q. What do you think this organization coming over here, to turnaround in such a short period of time from 110 losses to the postseason, what led to that? It's not very frequent.

COLLIN MCHUGH: I think there's a lot of things. I don't think there's a simple answer to my question, as much as everybody wants to have a good single answer.

But I would say from my perspective, more than anything, it's just consistency. A consistent kind of level-headed, "go about your business every day" type of attitude.

Not just in the front office, not just with the coaching staff, but with every player that comes in. I think this year especially, they've brought in a lot of guys who have been around, a lot of veteran guys who have been in this situation before and you combine that with some of the young guys that we have -- I say myself included. I'm 28 years old, so I don't consider myself a young guy. Inexperienced is probably a better term.

It's just been a good combination of personalities, of experience, of guys who really do bring a lunch pail to the park every day and know they've got a job to do and prepare really well, work really hard and kind of let the chips fall where they may.

Q. Collin, what did you guys learn from yesterday's game, like such a crucial do-or-die game, the makeup of this team facing the magnitude of the moment? And, on a second note, can you guys relate to what the Royals accomplished last year, being underdogs and making it all the way to the World Series?

COLLIN MCHUGH: So to answer your first question, I don't necessarily know if we learned anything new. More just validation. We know the talent we have in the clubhouse. We know the makeup of the group of guys we have and we've believed in ourselves all year.

A.J., from day one, said we've heard a lot of talk about rebuilding and getting prepared the last couple years, but this is the year we're going to hear win a lot more.

For us, we kind of took it to heart. From the get-go, from the jump we believed we had a good club and could compete with anybody. So to see yesterday, the juxtaposition of us versus the Yankees and their storied organization and everything they've accomplished in the game of baseball, to be able to go into their place and put together a complete performance like we did last night validated that thought and that belief we had from the beginning of the season.

What was the second question? Sorry.

Q. Whether you can relate to the Royals' run last year, the way you guys are going in as underdogs and Wild Card.

COLLIN MCHUGH: I think both teams have a lot of fun. I don't know if anybody else picks up on that or just as a fan watching what they were doing last year, what they've done this year.

You can tell they have a lot of fun in the clubhouse. They've got a lot of fun on the field. They kind of -- it translates into an exciting game that they play. Exciting brand of baseball.

I think that's probably the closest similarity I can see with our team. We're exciting too. We've got a lot of players that are fun to watch on a daily basis. This should be a really interesting series when it comes down to it.

Q. Collin, I know you've only faced the Royals once. How do you feel like you match up with them and how your strengths match up with theirs?

COLLIN MCHUGH: I'll say it again. They're a really good ballclub. We've seen that over the last two seasons. They're consistent. They put together tough at-bats. They play defense. They're aggressive on the bases. I think similarly to us, they put pressure on other teams in a lot of different ways.

So I think it's important for me to execute the game plan a that we have going in. Stay aggressive, throw a lot of strikes. You can't give a lot of people free passes on this team, because they'll tend to make you pay for it.

So that's going to be our goal going in. That's kind of our goal going in to every game. Stay within yourself, make good pitches and let our defense, bullpen and offense take the rest of the game.

Q. You pitched really well in that start here last year. How does that help you prepare even if the Royals have changed their lineup and added some pieces to their batting order this year?

COLLIN MCHUGH: It's always comforting to know that you're not standing on a mound for the first time. I think that that's been a big thing for me this year is I think with the exception of maybe Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, I think I've been in or pitched in every park in baseball.

So to be able to stand on the mound, take in your surroundings and not feel -- not have it feel like a brand-new place, like a brand-new scene, especially with the great atmosphere they've had here for the last couple years. The fans are going to be excited and ready to go tomorrow night. I'll take a little comfort from that. Being able to throw well against them last time leaves a good taste in your mouth.

Q. You mentioned that team's self-belief. Was that in any way reinforced by the fact that you lost your lead in the division and then you basically were out of the playoffs with about a week and a half to go or so and you righted it and won big games coming down the stretch? Does that even further enforce that?

COLLIN MCHUGH: I think we were out of the playoffs for one day. I don't think we put a whole lot of stock into the fact that we didn't -- we weren't going to make it. I think we believed we were going to make it from the jump and took the lead from April or May. We held it for a long time.

Obviously, you're going to go through ups and downs throughout the course of the season. We made a good push there at the end. Tough six games on the road to finish the season. We did what we needed to to get in. Then yesterday, it's kind of a coin flip. It could go either way. We are fortunate enough to come out on the right side of that, put together a good performance.

But, yeah, I think for us, we're excited. We're ready to go. Like I said, we've been through some ups and down those season. We've seen some adversity. We've handled it and grinded through it and gotten to the other side.

So we're going to go out and play our brand of baseball and see what happens.

Q. You said you were 0-8 coming into last year and people just found out about you last year. This year, you win 19 games. There's not a lot of talk about your body of work. The focus is on Dallas, for good reason. Do you feel like you're underrated? Do you feel you've got something to prove?

COLLIN MCHUGH: I was talking to Dallas joking with him the other day. He won 20 games, and that's an incredibly impressive thing. Not just the fact that he did, but the way he did it, being as consistent as he was. I said you win 20 games with a 2.5, you're a good pitcher, you win 19 with almost a 4 and you've got a really good team behind you.

That's been the case all year. Really has. Our team's supported me when I struggled and then when I've had to hold the line, I feel like we've been able to. Catchers, I can't say enough about our catchers this year. I don't know if they get enough credit. I really don't. Jason and Hank have done a really, really outstanding job with a young staff with some veteran guys, being able to handle a lot of different types of pitchers. I don't know if me and Dallas could be more different pitchers in a lot of ways.

So to be able to seamlessly go from one to the other, our catchers have done an outstanding job. Our analytics department puts together really good game plans.

At the end of the day, it's just a matter of going out and executing. I've been really blessed and fortunate this season to be able to come out on the right side 19 times. But like I said, that means we've got a really good ballclub.

I couldn't be happier playing with these guys and having them play behind me.