Q. I know you expressed some thoughts about facing or going against the Giants and Madison Bumgarner the other day. As you watched Bumgarner, what makes him so effective in the postseason as you watch?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, he's a tremendous pitcher. He's got a lot of deception. He's got plus stuff. He really knows how to pitch, and he's a guy who really seems to shine brightest in the postseason when the games matter the most.
So he's been one of the best in the postseason for the last several years. We have got a challenge ahead of us, but we put ourselves in a really good position, obviously taking care of business at home with the opportunity to close the series out in three games and get back to Chicago and prepare.
So, he is tough, but at the same time we have got pretty potent offense that he has to try and neutralize. So, it's going to be a good one.
Q. When you're a young pitcher growing up, do you envision these type of opportunities as you're coming up through the Minor Leagues and into the Major Leagues, and have you already played this game in your mind, these closeout games a number of times?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, yeah, you think about it a lot. As a kid, you put yourself in those positions. Bases loaded, two outs, you're at the plate. That's kind of the way I envision it as a kid playing whiffle ball or whatever the case was. Just kind of day dreaming about situations like this in Little League and now a moment like that is here for myself and for us as a team once again.
So, I've had these moments in the past, and it's just something you really want to relish and try and embrace and enjoy as much as you can because you play the long season, regular season to get to this moment, to have these types of opportunities, and you prepare and you move forward accordingly and try and talk care of business. That's what we're trying to do.
Q. There was a lot of talk about the comparisons with you last year and this year, but how do you process this year with still, if you look at it overall, 18 wins, a good ERA, you took the ball every start. How do you process the regular season that you had this year?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, from a numbers perspective, I would have liked maybe to be a little bit better. But at the same time, like you said, took the ball every five days, had a lot of great things throughout the season to be excited about. Some things that I've wanted to work on to improve on, obviously, especially in this point in the season.
But at the same time, I've prepared the same way from start to finish and really like the process and trust the stuff moving forward and know that it's more than good enough to have a lot of success for this team in the postseason.
Q. An interesting wrinkle to any time you face Bumgarner is the fact that both as pitchers you are capable of doing a lot of damage with the bat. When you face him both on the mound and with the bat in your hands, is there like extra incentive or anything because you know he is also can come back and get you back?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, he's one of the guys that you treat like a typical position player. Obviously he can swing the bat very well; he has, I guess, I'm assuming, throughout his whole career in the National League. He's a great athlete. He can handle the bat well.
So really you just have to approach him like you would any of their other eight guys in the lineup. Try and mix things up and obviously try and neutralize his power, because he's a guy that can leave the ballpark at any time. So I feel like we'll attack each other accordingly and not take it lightly.
Q. What did you learn last year from your experience in postseason?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, this time of year pretty much every game is extremely closely contested from start to finish. You rarely see any blowout games. Being able to get four runs on the board early yesterday, you still want to try and tack on, so there's really I think a sense of urgency from the get-go to try and get things rolling in your favor and get on the board as early as possible.
So I just think the games play out a little bit differently. Obviously just the magnitude of each pitch and everything that's riding on each pitch every inning is much more important and requires just more -- a lot more focus to allow yourself to use your abilities and not let the moment kind of dictate the way you handle it and try and do it vice versa, try and keep your composure and just execute pitches.
Q. Obviously you guys would like to win anywhere, but is there any extra relish if that's the right word, to win in the opposing park, close them out here and quiet the fans?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I think that winning the first two games at home puts us in a great position. Obviously, we would like to finish the series off tomorrow and not have to play a Game 4 or Game 5. That's, obviously, ideal for us.
And I think we're lined up extremely well to be able to accomplish that. Again, it's not going to be -- they're not going to roll over. It's not going to be easy for us. The first two games weren't easy.
Obviously the way Jon pitched was crucial for us to get to the moment for Javy to hit the home run and then had to overcome some adversity last night. Our bullpen was 5 2/3 scoreless or something like that, I think, no walks, six or seven punch-outs.
So, to lose a starter like that, to have the bullpen step up, pitch the way they did, was really big for us, and we're going to need each and everyone of us tomorrow night to finish this thing off.
Q. In your clubhouse everybody talks about Javy Baez's instincts. Is there any game or moment or even a conversation you had with him that jumps out that like how sharp this guy?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I think it's more so just watching him play, rather than conversations. Like last night when he read that ball off the bat of Hendricks really without any hesitation. Just those instincts, they're hard to teach and he's a guy who has tremendous athletic ability, combined with some pretty high-level baseball acumen.
So, to see him develop and grow, even from where he was last year, is really exceptional. And he's only going to get better. So, just really watching him play the game and playing it in a way where he's not afraid to make mistakes. He's one of the best at pushing the envelope when the moment calls for it, and he's done a lot of special things for us this year.
Q. Kyle and Travis last night got a lot of attention and credit for their hitting, but I think you hit in the .200s. Hammel doesn't like to hit, but he had his share of hits. Just how much work do you guys actually put into hitting, because it's helped you win quite a few games, not just last night.
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I think that the mindset for us is we don't want to go up to the plate and just be a free out. That's why we put so much time into it. On the road we're hitting in the cages during our normal batting practice for our position players. And as you guys know, at home we hit on the field just about every day.
So, there's a lot of time and energy put into that to just to help carry our weight. There's plenty of situations where we'll come up with guys on base, less than two outs, and those are opportunities for us to help ourselves out. We have done a really good job of that, getting some really good bunts down, obviously some crucial hits in big situations, obviously with Kyle last night. Being able to handle the bat really can put a lot of pressure on the other side.
Q. Your group of starting pitchers, you seem like really a collaborative group, a lot of regard for one another, you seek advice, offer advice. Have you had that dynamic elsewhere in your career, and did you need it really last year, because you were so locked in? Have you leaned on it more this year?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I think we have always had that connection as starting pitchers. There's always information to be shared and passed around amongst the group. Even with a guy like Lester, who obviously he's left-handed and basically attacks guys quite differently than I or Kyle or Lackey or Hammel. But there's a lot of insight there that can be learned from guys like Lester and Lackey and even Hammel and Kyle as well.
So, there's little tidbits of information that we share with each other, and that starts with guys like Chris Bosio and Lester Strode and Mike Borzello, who put a ton of energy and time into creating our scouting report. So, we try and access that information as much as we can and try and share thoughts with each other when we need to.
Q. All season long this team has really had different guys step up at different moments, but I feel like something come the postseason you wonder how that's going to play, and to see that it was Javier Baez, Travis Wood has it done anything for the mentality of the team, the mindset at this point in the year?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I think it shows that it doesn't have to be the MVP candidate in Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo to win us the ballgame every night. Guys step up, like you said, like Javy, a timely hit from Kyle, a huge home run from Travis. Everybody contributes and to be able to have that contribution from up and down the order versus just a couple of guys really makes us a dangerous ballclub, to where, if certain guys get pitched around, we know the guys behind them can handle the task of providing offense and help picking up the guys in front of them who weren't pitched to.
So it's just really nice to see the growth and development and the continued development of these young players at such a high level on such a big stage.
Q. How do you like pitching in this park? I know you pitched here before, but like how do you like it?
JAKE ARRIETA: I enjoy it. I enjoy AT&T Park very much. It's a great city. The fans here are tremendous. Obviously the home crowd's going to be really, really amped up and extremely loud, and that's expected here. You love to see that. Especially in this atmosphere in the postseason. With what this team's done, there's a lot of excitement. And it's going to be -- there's going to be a lot of adrenaline flowing tomorrow, and the crowd's going to provide a lot of that. You just look forward to moments like that.