THE MODERATOR: Welcome to John and Carter, our buddy over there. If you have a question, Bennett will get you the microphone. Who's got the first question for John?
Q. John, your overall thoughts of facing the Cubs tomorrow?
JOHN LACKEY: Going to be a challenge. Great team. Really good lineup. Obviously pretty familiar with each other, you know, being in the same division. So yeah, it's going to be a tough one.
Q. Hi, John.
JOHN LACKEY: Howdy.
Q. Jon Lester, you met him before?
JOHN LACKEY: That's my boy, yeah.
Q. Can you just put into words how crazy it is that this is one of the biggest stages a person can pitch on and you're against a dude you know so well?
JOHN LACKEY: I'd like to say I was surprised. But I'm not. He's good. No accident people running into each other this time of year.
Q. What makes him such a dominant guy at this time of year?
JOHN LACKEY: Yeah. He's good this time -- he's good all times of year, but especially this time of year. In '13 when I was playing with him, he was probably best on the planet going through the playoffs that year. It's just his preparation. He works hard. He's ready. I mean his stuff is obviously, obviously really good. But he knows how to compete and he knows how to handle this time of year for sure.
Q. This is going to be I believe your fifth Game 1 in the post season.
JOHN LACKEY: I have no idea.
Q. I think it is. Does Game 1 have a different sort of feel to it? I mean I know when you're on the mound you're just pitching, but in terms of Game 1 versus a 4 or 6. Is there a little different sort of feel going into it?
JOHN LACKEY: Man, I think I've done 1 through 7 probably. So I guess I mean it's not a deciding game. So I mean one way or another you get a game 2. But it's definitely -- it's definitely nice to be the guy to kind of start things off and hopefully get things rolling in the right direction, and you know, hopefully build some momentum for the team to carry it through the series.
Q. John, you've obviously been around for quite a long time. This rivalry, Cubs, Cardinals, does it mean anything to you or does it stick out as something special or beyond?
JOHN LACKEY: Yeah. I mean it's obviously special. I mean you can definitely tell, you know, the importance of it and the way people feel about it throughout the Midwest, for sure. I've done the Yankees-Red Sox thing. I've done the Dodgers-Angels thing out there. I've seen a couple of pretty big ones. So I think I'll be okay.
Q. How big, how essential to your game is being able to have the inside strike, being able to throw inside successfully?
JOHN LACKEY: I don't really want to get into any locations. I mean that's -- I need both sides of the plate to -- but they got too good of a lineup to attack one place. I'm definitely going to have to be all over the place, changing speeds and hope for the best.
Q. I guess along those lines with the way the series is between the Cubs and the Cardinals and Maddon's post-game comments about the vigilantes and players being hit, I'm guessing you're not going to back off of throwing inside or being aware of anything like that?
JOHN LACKEY: I think everybody even on their side knows I'm not going to back off coming inside. I think I've got enough reputation, they know what time it is.
Q. John, where did you get that fiery demeanor, and how important is that in the post season, you know, from the regular season?
JOHN LACKEY: Probably have to blame my parents for that. I think I've had that forever.
Q. What's the biggest difference just from pitching in Game 1 of a post season from a regular-season game?
JOHN LACKEY: Being able to -- you hear some guys saying it's just another game. It's not. You gotta accept that you're going to feel something different. You gotta accept that you're going to be a little more amped up and you gotta use it in the right direction because it can make you a better player.
Q. How old is your son, and do you get some idea for whether he understands the magnitude of what daddy is involved in right now?
JOHN LACKEY: He's 6, and all he really wants to do is go sim in the SwimEx right now. I'm going to go do some contrast and he's going to swim. That's all he's really waiting on. So it's all good.
Q. Are you and Jon Lester similar type personalities? Is that one of the reasons you've hit it off so well, off the field as well?
JOHN LACKEY: I would say so. I think we definitely have some similar likes and dislikes, I guess. I mean I have nothing but respect for him. I mean me and him are going to be friends long after this thing's over, and he's my boy. Wish him nothing but the best, but I'm going to try to get after him tomorrow and I expect nothing but the same from him. I know he's going to be ready to go. It's going to be a challenge.
Q. I guess just kind of a fun way, what are some similar likes that you and Jon Lester share?
JOHN LACKEY: I don't know. Country stuff probably.
Q. What's an example of country stuff?
JOHN LACKEY: Country music.
Q. For us city folk here.
JOHN LACKEY: Country music, hunting, trucks, you know, stuff like that.
Q. Thank you. John, John Mozeliak said yesterday that since Adam Wainwright went down you've been like the leader of the staff, you know, the guy that's taken the ball. What does that mean to you as the GM says that and you're about to face Lester in Game 1?
JOHN LACKEY: It's nice, I guess, to hear it but my thoughts are other places right now. I'm trying to get ready for a big start tomorrow, and I definitely take pride in throwing innings and being a guy you can rely on throughout the regular season, and I think that's probably one of the reasons I'm sitting up here today. So you know, my past, you know, post seasons aren't going to help me tomorrow. So I gotta prepare and gotta go out there and do it again.