RICH HILL: I've noticed (laughing).
Q. Have you got a theory on why that is, and also Go Green?
RICH HILL: Yeah, big weekend for Michigan, the state. Yeah, I don't have really a theory on it. I think the one thing if you look at the playoffs, I've heard from multiple front office, players, and this is all going back to former playoff outings and performances, that they wish they had looked back, and they look back now and that they wish that they had enjoyed it instead of kind of looking at the occasion as it is. But I've said this before and somebody told me the occasion rises to you instead of you rising to the occasion.
And I can't really put, obviously, a theory to why pitchers are getting out or it's just not going the way for starting pitchers. But I think it's going to come back to if you're going out there and you're aggressive and you're pitching with conviction, it's not -- I don't want to make this sound incorrect, but it's not about the outcome, it's about how you go about getting to that outcome, and I firmly believe that. I think that at the end of the day if you can look at yourself in the mirror and say I gave it everything I have on that day, then you can look back and feel good about it and don't have any regrets.
With that said, I think that it has been a great playoff series, these series have been incredible. And I think when you look at it in that perspective and you really enjoy it, and you can see the passion and the guys that are playing in these games right now, and you'll see that tonight from us.
Q. From the start of the season, any particular reason or theory why the Diamondbacks have played so well against you?
RICH HILL: I think, you know, they have a great lineup. They have an excellent pitching staff. Obviously with Torey at the helm, he's one of the best managers in baseball. I think knowing him personally and playing for him and understanding his beliefs as manager and as a player, he really has a lot of pride for wearing a Major League jersey. So I know that's been conveyed to the guys over there in the locker room that you're playing for the name on the front of the jersey and not the name on the back of the jersey. You know, to me he's a first-class guy, and I think that's obviously carried over from the other organizations he's been with.
But with that said, I think that back to their lineup and back to the way that they go about their business is extremely professional and that's what makes a team, a special team. Every team, these teams that are in the playoffs here, all are extremely special. It's going to be a very difficult road to complete this task that we want to at the end of the day. But, you know again, it still comes back to that consistency of effort and playing with a certain level of intensity.
Q. How would you explain Dave Roberts on a second lap through? He had his first season, but now it's a second season, a second trip to the playoffs, so much has happened to you guys as a team and a franchise in the last year with the highs and the lows and records and the skit and all of it, what has that second year meant to him?
RICH HILL: Well, from my perspective and what I've seen is that his consistency as manager has been very -- the day-to-day process has been very consistent. So the message has been strong throughout the entire season of the commitment to this process and what we want to achieve at the end of this playoff run. One thing every day he's reminded guys of is that process and sticking with everyone's individual routine, making sure that we're getting our work in.
I also think the one thing is at the end of the day, when you looked back last year, it wasn't so much about not completing the task and finishing the goal that we wanted to get to, which was winning the World Series, but it was gaining the experience that we can have for this year going into these playoffs.
So when you look at Dave Roberts, manager of the year last year, extremely consistent from a day-to-day basis, positive, consistent attitude, and guys feed off of that. It shows all the way through this roster, especially when we were in a downtime in late August and September. You saw that everything stayed very positive. Nobody was pointing fingers at a certain group or any one individual. Everyone stayed together, and that was something that defines a team to me, and it was extremely important to see that happen.
Q. As hitters there are at least conversations about swing pads and launch angles and things like that. An awful lot of scouts and evaluators are now talking about pitchers going north-south versus east-west. Fastballs up, curveballs back into being something that people really like again. You're a bit ahead of that. I don't think that was your intention, necessarily. But how do you feel like it's playing with your stuff now and are you honing further that whole strategy?
RICH HILL: Right. So, yeah, I think I was maybe ahead of the curve by default because that was my style of pitching. Fastballs up, curveballs down. Before we got into this time of track man, spin rate, depth on fastball, depth on curveballs, and really reading release point, height, so there was something that I had prior to all these metrics coming out and being able to quantify it.
I think with that said, it was pretty cool kind of seeing how all these things come out and all these metrics come out saying, yeah, I'm already doing that. This is really neat and talking to someone a couple years ago, like Brian Bannister with the Red Sox, and him really opening up my eyes to these metrics and to the understanding of how to use your spin rate, breaking ball to your advantage and really the simplicity of it is throwing your best pitch more often and understanding that if you do that, you're going to have more success.
I think with that said, it's also in comparison to a hitter taking their best swing more often is going to lead to consistency in their success. Seeing guys do that now and answering questions from other guys around the league, and finding out that they're interested in what I'm doing is extremely humbling, but also innovative at the time where we can, as baseball players, have this creative process open up. So I think it's very cool in that sense where you're seeing the creativity from pitchers expand. Instead of saying, okay, you have to do this, you have to do that, or you have to -- these pitches have to be -- there is no set rules. It's when you're out there and you're playing you improvise and you use that creativity to your advantage. Especially in environments when you can do that, so here in L.A., with the staff that we have, the front office, it cultivates creativity. Anytime you can have that in any realm, I believe, you're going to see people at their best and you're going to see people succeed.
Q. It's been ten years since you made your playoff debut, exactly. What do you remember about that day against Arizona? And what would you now tell that version of you?
RICH HILL: Have fun. Again, it goes back to enjoying the process of the playoffs instead of looking at it as result based. And I think the 25, 26, 27-year-old me would be more result-oriented instead of process-oriented, moment-oriented, and understanding that really it comes down to having the ball come out of your hand as many times as you want it to. When you can do that in any type of situation on this highest level, you're going to have more success than failure.
Q. You talked about pitching with intensity. When you guys were not only as a pitching staff, but the hitters as well, when you guys see Kershaw go out and do that he is especially in a Game 1, what kind of, I don't know if confidence is the word, but what kind of energy can you guys get from the way he pitches out there?
RICH HILL: It's great. Anytime you have someone out there exuding that passion for what they do, it's a magnet. You attract that intensity from other players. When you see that, you see a guy going out there and breaking through that brick wall of un-comfort and turning that into their comfort zone. Everyone else can sit there and say the result -- that's what I mean when I say the result is irrelevant. Because it's really going out there and just going and doing that and getting after it.
I get excited when you see guys like Clayton going out there and basically putting himself out there for failure. That's really what it is. You're going out there and you're putting yourself in a position to fail, but in doing that, you're giving it everything you can to succeed. So when you see guys going out there and whether it's a live performance of any kind, theater, music, baseball, whatever, a professional sport, you appreciate that genuine passion that they have, and that's what Clayton brings.
Q. Along the lines that we were talking about north-south, are you finding that umpires are beginning to follow along with that strategy? Do you sense that they're giving you a little more up, a little more down?
RICH HILL: I think the strike zone, from what I've seen, I think, has maybe shown a little bit more up, which is good. Because there is a top part of the strike zone, right? So we always talk about the bottom part of the zone, get the ball down, keep the ball down. Make Xs, sinker-slider, have a tight curveball. But if you can understand that there is a top part of the zone and being able to use the fastball at the top part of the zone and using the breaking ball at the top part of the zone, you know, that's something also that the umpires are understanding.
They know that. Another thing that's great and that's what makes baseball so great, you have umpires that are human. They're making mistakes, they're missing calls or they're making calls, either way, but to me that's what makes this game great. It's not so -- there's always going to be something there that we can still talk about and make replay and all of that. Now I'm not against replay, I dont think, because you miss those great arguments that we would all see. But I think that's something that you're seeing though is the upper quadrant of the strike zone as being established by pitchers and recognized by hitters and recognized by the umpires, and it's being used more.
Q. And the pitchers that rank games, are there extra points for postseason knocks versus regular season?
RICH HILL: We haven't talked about that yet. But I'm not going to ask Clayton today (laughing). But I'm sure we'll come up with something.
Q. In the meeting last night on the mound, it looked like you had a chance to speak to the team. Is there any part of your message that you could share with us?
RICH HILL: Yeah, it's been the consistent message that I've spoken to a lot of you after games and before games is go out there and bring that intensity, bring the passion, bring that aggressive attitude. So when you look back years from now, we're going to not look at it in regret, but look at it in I did everything that I could to succeed, and that's something that I think the playoffs bring out in everyone.
Again, whether we look back at the end of the day and we can call ourselves world champions or we go home knowing that you did everything that you could as an individual to succeed, and that's really it.