Q. Jake, you've pitched here at 5 o'clock before and the shadows didn't seem to bother you. How do you deal with them?
JAKE ARRIETA: Typically, I think the shadows have more of an effect on the offense. I really think it can be difficult to pick up spin, especially, you know, once the shadows kind of creep in between the mound and home plate. So really from a pitching perspective, you want to be aggressive early because of the fact that it is a little bit more difficult to pick up some rotations and spin on pitches when the shadow's kind of in between, and as it starts to creep out to the mound. So I think really it's an advantage for the pitchers early on in the game.
Q. I know it's been a while, but you did throw your no-hitter your last time, or one of your no-hitters your last time here. Does that come into your mind at all when you come back here?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, it's going to be a different game, different experiences all the way around. But, you know, I'll use some of the experience from my last time out here moving into tomorrow. But at the same time, it's completely different game, obviously, with being in the postseason. It's going to be a little different feel. But at the same time, for the most part, it's just about the same lineup.
You try to tackle them accordingly. Use some knowledge that I have from the past to kind of help me tomorrow. But it's just another game on a big stage, and we're all prepared for it.
Q. How do you feel right now physically compared to the same time last year? You obviously had thrown a lot more innings last year, you headed to the Wild Card game too. How does your body feel now compared to this same time last year?
JAKE ARRIETA: Better. I think last year I was also more so than I think being drained physically, I think the mental side of it. You're drained in that aspect as well, just from last year, the Wild Card game and, you know, getting past the Cardinals in the Division Series, I think that weighs on you a lot mentally as well.
So I think going through that last year has prepared myself as well as the rest of the guys mentally for a longer run this year, and I think we've been able to handle the moments mentally a lot better as well as physically. So personally moving forward, I think I'm in a much better place, and I think a lot of our guys are as well.
Q. So much is made about their flock of left-handed hitters, but your splits are virtually identical, righty versus lefty. Any explanation for that? It just speaks to your repertoire of pitches?
JAKE ARRIETA: I think so. And I think your sequencing is really important. When you face a string of left-handed hitters as good as they are, you have to do a lot of different things. I think falling into patterns is sometimes what gets you beat against guy like Adrian Gonzalez and Seager, a lot of these talented left-handed hitters. Also on the other side they've got some great right-handed hitters as well. So just having a good mix and not falling into predictable patterns is why I think I've been able to do well against left-handed and right-handed hitters.
Q. Can you talk about Dexter coming back? I mean, I know you guys are tight, but just what his return meant to the team?
JAKE ARRIETA: You know, he's one of our leaders. Obviously he's got a really big personality. He's got a great smile. He's a great teammate. He keeps us loose in the dugout before, during, and after games. He's kind of the catalyst to our offense as well. You know, he gets things going for us quickly most nights. Whether he gets on base or not, he puts together a tremendous at-bat. He's just a veteran presence to have in centerfield. He pretty much patrols the entire outfield for us. Especially playing at Wrigley, there's not many balls that fall in front of him, and he's good enough going with his back to the field, to the infield, to make great plays in the gap. So he does it all.
Bringing him back, I don't think we'd be in this situation without him or a number of our guys. So to have him back as a huge part of our lineup, obviously, a guy that jump starts our offense at the top of the order, has been tremendously huge for us.
Q. In a best-of-seven, it's always obviously a race to four. 1-1 now, three in this ballpark. What is the mindset of the team going forward?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, we knew last night was going to be tough. Obviously going up against Kershaw. The only run scored was on a solo home run, so that's, you know, something that you kind of expected. You knew it was going to be a low-scoring game, and when you've got a guy like Kershaw on the mound, you're just trying to somehow get his pitch count up and maybe get him out of the ballgame early. You know, we just had a tough time doing that, and rightfully so. He's probably the best pitcher on the planet, and he has been for a long time.
So to be even here, we like our chances moving forward. Obviously our lineup stacks up just about as good as anybody's, against any guy that's on the mound that day. So I like our chances. We've got our health with us, which is great. We like playing in this park, and tomorrow's going to be a battle.
Q. Jake, you mentioned your lineup, but also you guys are one, maybe you guys and the Giants, that went into the postseason with your starting rotation set, and now you're here 1-1, and you have three veteran starters to pitch in these series or in this series out here. How significant is that?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, having the past experience of pitching in postseason games and in big games really helps us moving forward. Obviously the emotions that are involved in games like this at times can be hard to deal with. But when you've been in these situations before, it makes it a lot easier just to kind of take that deep breath, focus on your execution and go from there and not really allow the outside crowd noise or whatever's going on within the atmosphere to kind of get the best of you, you know.
So like you said, myself and then obviously we've got Lackey, and then we've got Lester coming back. So guys who have pitched a lot of meaningful innings in the postseason, so that bodes really well for us.
Q. With your delivery at this time of year between starts, do you find that you have to do more work to keep your body in shape and ready to repeat that many times, or do you have to kind of back off to make sure that you're fresh and able to do that?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, at this time of year, it's really just muscle memory. I've been doing it for 32, 33 starts, whatever it is now. You know, I say this to people a lot, but if you haven't found your timing or locked in your delivery at this point in the season, you might not find it, you know. But I actually pick up a ball a lot less this time of year. I really rely on the past past starts and muscle memory and just being athletic out there and not focusing on mechanics, but just as long as I can get my timing, I'll be able to be athletic enough to have a sound delivery from start to finish. So I think less is more at this point in the season.
Q. What about Dodger Stadium? You said you enjoy playing here and this team enjoys playing here. A lot of people talk about the mound. Is there something different about this mound that puts you in a comfort zone?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I think just the environment, the weather overall allows for just a tremendous playing surface. The grounds crew does a great job of keeping this place pristine and ready each and every night. The mound is one of the best in the league.
You've got to give credit to their crew for doing such a good job and making sure that thing's ready to go and consistent pretty much every night. So hat's off to them for creating such a great playing surface for us to play on here every night. You know, when you feel confident about your positioning or your footing as a pitcher or a position player, it really helps your confidence that night.
Q. Now it's your second playoff season in a row. How can you define the joy of the moment and then the hard work and the intensity? Can you separate the two, or are they all just combined?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I think you try and enjoy it as much as you can without putting any pressure on yourself. Obviously we've gotten to this point, and we deserve to be here based on what we were able to accomplish throughout the regular season, and this is really the fun part. This is where you actually get to enjoy and reap the benefit of performing well throughout an entire season.
So I think the mindset for us is we just want to enjoy ourselves, enjoy the moment, not get too ahead of ourselves and just try and stay focused on each and every moment individually. And I think if we stay there, stay present that way, we've got a great chance to come ahead in this series.