Oct. 7 Jeff Samardzija pregame interview

Q. When you pitched here in September was there a nervousness factor at all about returning here that you hope you got out of the way before going out in what's going to be a kind of an intense situation tomorrow anyway?

JEFF SAMARDZIJA: Not really. For me I was excited, I wanted to pitch, first inning didn't go as planned. But, yeah, I thought after that I settled down and felt real good. Got some outs. I would like to have kept pitching, but we were in a situation where we had a big bullpen, had a lot of guys and so we made the move. But, yeah, obviously everything's a little different when you pitched in one place for so long and then have you to go do it on the other side. But really not worried about that too much. I'm just excited that I'm getting an opportunity to pitch in a playoff game, which for me they have been few and far between with going in 2008 and then going briefly in 2014. Yeah, for me I'm excited to have that opportunity and never matters where it's at or what time of day it is or it's just the playoffs are the playoffs and you want to have a good showing.

Q. That start you had here, 47 pitches in the first inning, I remember talking to you afterwards and you really didn't feel like you made that many mistakes. Does that just sort of tell you what you're in for in terms of this Cubs lineup and how they can fight you tomorrow or what's your recollection of how that start went?

JEFF SAMARDZIJA: Yeah, I don't think I've ever thrown 47 pitches in an inning, let alone the first inning. So the only time I saw that was in Atlanta, one time. So it was just one of those days, man. Baseball's a funny sport and all you can do is prepare as well as you can prepare and hit your spots with your pitches and let your defense work behind you. So, I have to go back and watch it again to really break it down. But the way I went after that, the way I felt for that game, I felt great and then the kind of run we went on after that was nice, too. So, you're just looking to build on positive performances and I felt good out there recently and look to continue doing that.

Q. Is it maybe overblown that you're going up against your former team now because there's not as many guys there that you played with two years later, it's turned over quite a bit?

JEFF SAMARDZIJA: Yeah, I think it makes for nice headlines, but like you said, outside of Riz and T-Wood, and a couple other guys, it's essentially a new team. So, a lot of the young guys weren't up in the show when I was there and so I didn't get to know them. I got to know Baez a little bit. He's a great kid. I got to know Kris a little bit when he came into camp and then we sent him out. So, yeah, it was a lot of new guys over there and outside of Tim Buss and Bos and Borz, it's pretty much new guys. But it's a -- it's the playoffs.

It doesn't matter who you're playing, the team is going to be a great starting lineup and a great bullpen and great pitchers, so you got to minimize your mistakes and give your team a chance to win the ballgame.

Q. Are there things you know about the pitching in this ballpark from your experience here that other pitchers don't know? What would in just general type stuff. What would that be?

JEFF SAMARDZIJA: Look at the flags? It's really the only thing that matters. I think they redone the surface since I was here. So it looks like the infield is playing a little truer than it was. But, yeah, you look at those flags and you kind of go from there. I think a lot of times it affects the hitters a lot more than pitchers because you're going to go out as a pitcher and do your thing. As a hitter it can be terrible, you step up to the plate and see the flags whipping straight out or straight in you might change your approach. But for me I throw sinkers so I'll probably throw some sinkers.

Q. Is that inning by inning how the flags are?

JEFF SAMARDZIJA: No, usually it stays pretty true to what it is in the beginning of the game. If anything it dies off as the game goes on.

Q. You met with Theo last year during the start of free agency, how serious were you about that or was there any possibility of you coming back to the Cubs?

JEFF SAMARDZIJA: Yeah, I think over my experience with being in the big leagues there was a handful of teams that I could see myself playing for with the direction they were going. The strength of the division. The guys they had in their Farm team. So obviously the Cubs checked all those boxes. I had good relationships with the people that were there, just unfortunately when it came down to it we were kind of looking for different things and I think you saw that with the money that allocated to Heyward and things like that. I think they were looking for a little something different out of the pitching staff. But yeah, I think as a free agent when you get some time in this game there's a handful of organizations you really admire and really respect the way they do things.

Q. Bochy could have gone a lot of ways with how he aligned this rotation, Moore's been throwing the ball very well, also Game 4 is an if-necessary game, but he chose you for this Game 2. Just what kind of statement do you think that that is and what do you take from that?

JEFF SAMARDZIJA: Well, I don't really second guess too many choices that Boch makes. Man, he's usually pretty spot on with what he does and his reasoning behind it. We didn't really get too far into depth why he made his decision or for what reasons. I'm going to take it as he has confidence in me and I'm not going to let him down. So when a coach goes out of his way to do certain things to leave you in a game with 110 pitches or start you on short rest or whatever it may be, essentially he's saying something to you about how he feels about you and you want to go off and do your part to live up to his opinion of you for sure.

Q. I was looking at a few of your recent game logs and your variance has changed a little bit of how frequently you throw certain pitches. Has that mostly been feel or scouting reports and going into a playoff game does one weigh more heavily than the other?

JEFF SAMARDZIJA: Mostly on feel. I think scouting reports at this point are pretty much set with how many times you've seen this guys hit off righties, whether I use sinkers and where I use sinkers, sliders and splits, so, ultimately it comes down to feel. And for me my split was working in the last handful of starts and so I was able to use it early to get guys off my fastball, but that's again that's day-to-day. We go out in the bullpen and warm up tomorrow and see what's on and see what's not and then just kind of mix and match along the way with how we're facing guys. So, we'll see what it is tomorrow. Odds are I'm going to throw some sinkers and then we'll go from there.