Q. Have you been able to do any reflecting at all about pitching in independent ball 14 months ago and now pitching in the National League Championship Series?
RICH HILL: Not really. Now that you bring it up, I guess. Yeah, I think it's just I always talk about the moment and staying in the moment and trying to make the most of the time that we have and be as productive with the time that we have at that moment. So not getting out of that scenario is what kept me focused and locked in to each and every game from Spring Training to the beginning of the season.
But every game is its own moment. Every pitch is its own moment. So it's really taking that clichÃ© of pitch-to-pitch process, but that's really what I've been able to do and was doing that and that started in Long Island when I was in independent ball. So that just carried over with that mindset every single opportunity that I've had. Every single outing that I've had. And not getting outside of that is what I believe has made me successful.
Q. I know you don't like to look back, but I'm going to ask you to turn around and look back at the two starts in the NLDS. How do you view them? How do you think you did?
RICH HILL: Yeah, I mean, I think we look at -- I don't know. It was 6 and 2/3, 13 strikeouts, does that sound correct?
Q. Sounds about right.
RICH HILL: So if you look at that as far as if we want to talk numbers, to me that's an indication of what is there. You know what I mean? So that's the ability and everything. That's been proven out over the last year and a half, especially this year, you know, so it just carried over from last year.
But also I think in that Game 5 scenario, when I do look back at that, it was a win-or-go-home situation, and let's say if that was a regular season game through two and -- I don't know. What was the inning? 2 and 2/3 with six strikeouts, you're looking at continuing on in that game. I mean, if you want to play it out and just do fantasy baseball and see where we're at, I mean, we could be talking six, seven innings, 15, 16 strikeouts possibly. I mean, that's not far to fathom, right? That's pretty accurate. You know what I mean? As far as if we look at a curve.
So when I look back at that, it's just, again -- but it all goes into you've got to look at the situation. You've got to look at where we were at in those games and, you know, for me looking back is putting us in a position to succeed and win those games, and that's all it's about in this situation at this point in the year. It's not about anything else but that, but winning at the end of the day.
For me, I go out there and give everything that I have, that's it. That's the bottom line. Your effort is everything. Your ability to go out there and stay in the moment and execute pitch to pitch and do the best that you can, that's it. Let everything else fall where it may. But the W at the end of the day is all that matters.
As you could see in Game 5, everybody contributed, everybody was there, and it doesn't matter how you get there, it's just that you get there.
Q. In the short time you've been a Dodger, has this started to feel like a home field to you? How much in general are you a believer in home-field advantage in baseball?
RICH HILL: Yeah, yeah. The first part of the question, yes, L.A. feels much like home. Am I believer in home-field advantage? I can't really -- I want to say no, just because of what we did in Washington and the way we handled ourselves last night in Chicago. Because if we take care of what we need to do and everybody takes care of their job and passes the baton to the next guy, I believe that the results will fall more often than not in our favor.
With that said, the crowds, the intensity of the crowds is -- I can say this: When we went to New York, for example, and the fans, the Dodger fans came out. I don't know if you guys remember that, that was great. As a team we loved it and it was amazing. They brought the huge L.A. flag out that covered half the section, a huge part of the section. For us as players, that was great. That was amazing. And that felt like home-field advantage in New York, which you don't usually get that, right?
So I want to say home-field advantage is kind of more of a comfort level when you're out playing in Dodger Stadium because you're used to the confines and the surroundings. But overall it just comes down to executing in the moment and whether that's in Chicago, Washington, L.A., a back field in Arizona, it doesn't matter, because you have to just stay in the moment and execute, and that's it.
Q. Rich, can you carry any momentum over from a performance like last night? Is it inspiring to you when you see Clayton Kershaw and Kenley do what they did?
RICH HILL: Absolutely. Yeah, that was 100% inspiring. This guy with Clayton and Kenley what they've been doing the entire postseason has been incredible. They're setting the tone for myself to go out there and the bullpen has been outstanding this entire year. I don't think we're in this position, obviously with the help of the entire team and everybody stepping up in different individual aspects throughout the season, however the bullpen has been unbelievable.
With that said, what Clayton has been able to do throughout this postseason, I don't know. I was telling my wife, I said after the game, I said, I think Clayton's going to go back to the bat cave and we're all going to hop on the plane and go back to L.A.
But he's been unbelievable. Yeah, absolutely inspiring to go out there because of his effort and the way he competes. You know, he's got the stuff, right? You can't argue that. But then there's another level. There's another level of that competitiveness that comes out where if you're on the other side and you're down on one knee, he's going to put you away. That's something that when I see that, you just never quit, you never give up, you continue to attack.
Q. Having come up with the Cubs, does that organization have any special place in your baseball heart just because you came up with them? And the second part, going back to the independent league, were there any humbling moments? Because you've been to the big stage, and going back down there, where you talk to guys or you kind of gave advice or didn't give up? Any humbling moments in the Independent League for you?
RICH HILL: So the first question about coming up with the Cubs, yeah. I think if you talk to anybody and you know everybody has a story, everybody has background to how they got to this point or how we got to this time of day to day. And sure, there's definitely, when I look back to going through going through the Minor Leagues, the coaches, the time and the effort that was put in by those coaches to make myself the player that I am today or be able to take some piece of advice that they were able to pass on and I'm able to implement that into my game, sure, there is definitely obviously a tie there that will last throughout my life.
With that said, in the Independent League, sure, there was a lot of advice that I was able to give, but I don't like to give out advice unless somebody asks for it. I'm not just passing out -- I don't believe in that. I think if people want to ask questions and learn from other people that have had success in any realm of this life, that they would go ahead and seek the advice, right?
So, sure, there was advice that was passed out and absolutely humbling parts of being in the Independent League, whether it was traveling from Sugarland, getting into Long Island at a 6:00 a.m. flight in the morning, being at the airport at 4:30. You know, whether it was no bathroom in the dugout and peeing in a bucket. I mean, you know, things like this that you have to take into account where it's like you're playing the game because, A, you love it, but it's perseverance that you want to continue to get back to the highest level and not give up and continue to grind. And I think that's what I've continued to do.
Q. First to piggyback off of what he said, is it like Karma in nature that the team you got your first playoff start with and then kind of became a reliever and now they're the team standing in your way tomorrow to go to the World Series as far as the Cubs? And the second part, I asked you about pitching on three days' rest before you're about to do it. Now that you've done it, did you notice anything in your routine or physically or the body or the blister a little bit different than now that you're back on normal rest?
RICH HILL: No, with pitching against the Cubs, I think it's just coincidence and here we are. Again, it could be any team, right? But, obviously, when I look at it, I don't look at it any differently than any other team or any other -- going into this situation as far as having the opportunity to execute what I need to execute my game plan and how I'm going to go out there and, again, stay in the moment and not think about things that I can't control.
What was the second part of the question?
Q. Physically did you notice anything?
RICH HILL: Oh, right. No, I just I think at this part of the season you're not going to have any complaints about anything that might be physically ailing. You're ready to pitch every single day. Doesn't matter if you threw 140 pitches the day before or you haven't pitched in a week, everybody's ready to play. I did not see or feel anything different going into that Game 5.