Q. I'm just curious, you've been here for a bunch of years where the bullpen was more frustration than anything else, and to have a closer like Jeurys Familia this year, what it feels like impact-wise, both first half of the year where you guys are trying to stay afloat and he's banking those victories for you when you get the lead, and also second half when you guys take off and the part he's played?
JON NIESE: Yeah, being down in the bullpen the last part of the year made me realize that it's not easy, and I have a lot of respect for the guys that do do it on a consistent basis, especially him. Usually when he's in the game, obviously the game is on the line, and he does a great job of finishing it up.
Can't say enough about him yesterday, last night, getting six outs. I know that's something that he's not used to doing, but he stepped up and got it done.
Q. Obviously it's been a long time since the Cubs won the World Series and a lot of discussion about them goes back to old curses and crazy stuff that's happened in the past. Are you guys aware of any of that history, the curse of the billy goat or the black cat in 1969, and does it ever come up? Do you joke about it, think about it, talk about it?
JON NIESE: I haven't. I really haven't thought about it. I just -- I know -- I've thought about when we played them earlier this year, they beat us seven games, and then I got to thinking, well, our team is a lot different now than when we played them earlier in the year.
It's going to be an interesting series. We've got some good pitching with Harvey starting us off, and you know, our bullpen is great. You know, obviously we're anchored by Jeurys down there. I'm really looking forward to it.
Q. Terry talks about this clubhouse, and he says one of the interesting things is guys are competing for playing time with other guys, and yet the guys that take the playing time are helping the guy that's doing it because it's about the team. You've been kind of a little bit of a victim of that. You're in the starting rotation and now you have to take a different role. Can you talk about how rare that is in baseball, and what's the mindset in the clubhouse that makes that work?
JON NIESE: Well, we've got a lot of young guys, a lot of veteran guys, and yeah, you're right. I mean, me personally, I'm down in the bullpen now, and the last three or four games of last series I got up in the bullpen two or three times to get in the game. Obviously Bartolo did a great job getting a double play, Noah got JT out yesterday, where otherwise I would have probably been in the game.
At any given time, the guys on the bench are looking to contribute, and we've just got to be ready.
Q. We know that Citi Field is very spacious; Wrigley Field is not. Do pitchers come in not just worrying about the Cubs' hitters but the venue that you're playing in? Does that adjust the strategy and how to pitch?
JON NIESE: For me, you know, I'm a ground ball pitcher. I'm trying to work down in the zone, elevate on occasion when I need to. The rest of the guys, the majority of them are strikeout pitchers. For me, I pitch a lot different than they do. I think at Wrigley, you have to pitch down in the zone more and get ground balls because any day when the wind blows out, you hit a fly ball and it can travel a long way.
Here, again, it depends on the day. Sometimes it flies, sometimes it doesn't. But you know, yeah, it doesn't really change my philosophy. I just try and get early outs, pound the bottom of the zone.
Q. You've been here about as long as anybody other than David Wright. Talk about the excitement of hosting the National League Championship Series here at Citi Field.
JON NIESE: It's great. Like I said before, it's been a lot of years, a lot of hard work, a lot of patience. You know, Sandy did a great job putting this club together, and they had the patience. I can't thank them enough for sticking with me and a lot of the guys and giving us multiple opportunities to get this thing right.
Like I said, it's fun to be a part of this ballclub when it's all come together.