Q. When you look at their lineup, what jumps out at you, if anything?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Just top to bottom I think, the strength. They are one of the best lineups in this league, but I think we're right up there with them, you know. So as far as myself trying to attack that lineup, you've got to make good pitches. You've got to be locked down every single pitch. Every one of those guys has a chance to beat you, so just got to get the game plan ready, make sure you attack and make good pitches.
Q. What's the difference coming into this season compared to a year ago?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Yeah, I think it happened a lot different for us last year. We clinched so early, down the stretch, we were just kind of playing to get ready for October in a way. This year, a lot different obviously. It was a grind for us from the start of the year, ups and downs through the whole year. But down the stretch in September, we played a lot of meaningful games. We're going to try to use that to our advantage. Hopefully we're ready.
We used these last few days more to rest just because we have been playing these meaningful games, hopefully use that advantage, come in and play the same baseball that we've been playing.
Q. How about coming in last year with 108 years of curse on your shoulder and this year coming in as defending champion?
KYLE HENDRICKS: I guess there's pressure either way. We weren't here for all those years, I guess. So we felt the roar of it from the fan base, but we just focus on the group of the guys in the clubhouse. I think from that standpoint the confidence is the same and the level of pressure is the same.
In the playoffs every pitch is important. That's really the only way we look at it. As far as the history and trying to repeat and all that, we're just trying to win ballgames.
Q. What do you think you've learned this year?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Yeah, I think we learned even more about our team. We learned a lot when it was all going well, but when things start going bad, that's when you learn more about yourself. We had a lot of those moments this year, and we didn't turn away from any of them. Every rough patch we had, we were able to bounce back from, and we had guys step up and make contributions all year long. We learned about the depth of this team and kind of the resiliency all year long.
Q. When you go into Postseason, do you change your mentality about going up against a team or going up against another pitcher, because you know, we talk a lot about the starting pitchers and you're going up against Strasburg, who is one of the great pitchers in the game. Does your mentality change about your approach and who you're facing and what the job at task is?
KYLE HENDRICKS: No, not really. I think the last part, you said, the job at task, all you're focused on is making pitches. That's my job and it never changes, no matter regular-season game, Postseason game, no matter who you are facing on the other side of the mound.
My focus is to go out there, make good pitches, rely on my preparation which I've done all year long. But when it comes down to it, when those lights turn on, you just have to execute pitches better than the other guy.
Q. When you take a look at this lineup, what do you feel like your biggest challenge is?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Yeah, I would say just staying locked in every single pitch from top to bottom, even guys at the bottom of the order, they have a chance to beat you. In the playoffs, sometimes it's one pitch. That's the difference in the ballgame.
So I would say just staying locked in from pitch one all the way until you're taken out. Maintain that level, really; if you can do that all game long, you'll be all right. But if you slip up for a second against these guys, they will take advantage of it so you've got to pay attention to the running game. They can do a lot of different things out therae. They can hit and they can run, so you just have to pay attention all the way through the game and be ready for anything that.
Q. Your teammates have all said there's nobody better they would want on the mound tomorrow night for a game like this, a stage like this. What does that mean to you to have that kind of backing up and down the lineup?
KYLE HENDRICKS: That means a lot to me. Like I said before, our focus is always that group of guys in the clubhouse, we are a real close-knit group. So for that to come from them, means a lot for me. Big confidence builder. But on the other hand, really with this staff, any of us could be making this start. I think it's more some injuries played into it with Jake a little it, kind of a matchup to their lineup maybe.
I'm just taking it as an opportunity to go out and have fun and have my team behind me, and there's nine of us going out there to start Game. So I just have focus on my task and what I can do to help my team win the game.