Q. The Dodgers clearly tried to disrupt Jon by taking large, secondary leads, almost dancing there on the basepaths at some points. Did you see anything though tonight that you haven't seen this season?
JOE MADDON: No (laughter). There's always plotting going on. And like I said before, the most important thing is that Jon throws the ball well to home plate. That's the most important part of this. That gets overlooked. And I don't want him to get caught up in the minutiae of everything else. Do what you do best. What he does best is he throws pitches very well, up to 94 miles an hour where he wants to, and then he has a great cutter and a curveball. So why would I want him to get mentally infiltrated with trying to hold runners if he's not comfortable. So we have other things in place to take care of that, and he was glad he went out and pitched tonight like he did.
Q. Forget about holding runners. He did seem too engaged with the gamesmanship, or whatever you want to call it. I wonder if it was in a good way, a helpful way. He was pretty intense. He was lunging for balls and trying to field the balls he could.
JOE MADDON: That's all normal. I just liked the one hopper to first base on the one ball he was able to get, the bunt by Pederson. One hopper to first, nice play. Really close to first base with the tag when they eventually did steal and got their run. I think David had a shot at second base, but didn't come out with it clean. So the Javy -- the fielding of the bunt by Javy was spectacular. Like I said, we talk about things in advance, and at the end of the day, if Jonny's pitching and executing like he can from the mound to the plate, the results normally pretty good.
Q. How does it feel to be one win over Clayton Kershaw or somebody else away from the World Series?
JOE MADDON: Obviously, it feels good. You'd much rather go home under those circumstances than any other, and you want to get it done as quickly as possible. It's going to be a formidable event. Our guys will absolutely be ready for the moment. I promise you that. It's great. The city of Chicago has got to be buzzing pretty much right now. I expect a sellout at Wrigley. It will be a lot of fun.
Q. Joe, can you talk about how clutch Willson Contreras has been all year, and especially in these playoffs? I think he has something like six hits in these two series?
JOE MADDON: He's working good at-bats. He's not just pigeonholing himself, deploying the baseball. He's doing the proverbial taking what the pitcher gives him, and using the whole field. And he plays with that energy. You've got to love the energy that he plays with. Everybody does. Not a surprise at all. And I definitely wanted him in the end of the game there, because there was a chance to have Chappy pitch two innings today as opposed to just one. So that's why I made the switch. And he had the at-bat, and had a great at-bat for David.
Q. Following up on Phil's question. You know what you're going to be getting with Kershaw and perhaps Hill after that. Is there any way to attack those two considering how successful they both were earlier in the series?
JOE MADDON: If they're on top of their game -- let's start with Kershaw. If he's on top of his game, it's going to be another very close, low-scoring game. We just have to do our best to eek out as many runs as we can. And on the other side you have to pitch better than good pitching to win. You've got Kyle going. Kyle has been outstanding also. Nothing has been decided obviously. We have to go back there and play our A-game to beat these two -- or the first outstanding pitcher, and hopefully that's all we have to face.
Q. There seemed to be a discussion with you and the umpires, Contreras after the game. Could you tell us what was going on?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, there was just a little bit of controversy, yeah, regarding Willson. Willson tends to be temperamental. And, again, we talk about you don't want to coach the aggressiveness out of somebody or the instinct. With him, you just have to continue to speak with him, because he's passionate. He's passionate about everything he does. He's passionate about his morning cup of coffee. This guy's just all about it. So that's all that was. I had a nice conversation. Everything was cool.
Q. Joe, the team that scored first in every single one of these games has won. How important has it been, especially with the pitching that we've seen in this series, to put that pressure on early?
JOE MADDON: Well, that's been our mantra all year, to score first and to win innings. It's big. It is big. The winning percentage for that team normally over the course of a long season is heavy, heavily in their favor. So that's one of our goals. We're able to do it, and of course when the other team gets up, there's always their percentage that you beat the team that scores first, too, sometimes. We've got to go there mentally. But that's our goal on a nightly basis to attempt to score first.
Q. On Adrian Gonzalez's bunt, where was Javy positioned, exactly? Do you ever think that somebody's going to try to bunt past the mound on that?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, but not him. You just don't expect that out of him. Adrian's a really good baseball player. He's able to do a lot of different things. That is a magnificent play. He's playing back on the grass. He's actually way out there. To make that play bare hand and throw him out, again, I keep saying this about him, the minority of the Major League players can make that play. That was outstanding. So give Gonzalez credit for a great play. But give Javy even more credit for the play that he made.
Q. As mentioned earlier, you guys are one game away from the World Series. And there is some weight of history with the Cubs about that, even though you weren't here. But you've said embrace all along. Is that something else that you can embrace, being that close and openly talking about achieving that one goal?
JOE MADDON: Of course. That's been our goal all year, and now that we're very close to it. Again, I want us to go out and play the same game, like you saw tonight. I anticipate our guys going to pitch well. I anticipate their guy is too. We need to catch the baseball. Like I said, with pitchers like Kershaw, score runs with outs, if you have the potential to do that too. You have to take advantage of every opportunity when you're facing that level of pitching.
So, yeah, we're not going to run away from anything. It's within our reach right now. But I do want us to go after it as though it's, again, hate to say it, but Saturday. Let's just go play our Saturday game and see how it falls.