Q. How are you feeling?
DANIEL MURPHY: What, like physically or with Jesus or -- (laughter).
Q. You sounded yesterday when you talked to us like you were a little under the weather.
DANIEL MURPHY: I was extremely excited Game 2 of the NLDS when Bryce hit that homer and Zimm hit his homer. I lost my voice. I feel good, though, physically. Thanks for asking. (Laughter).
Q. This lineup you're using today was successful for you guys in the middle of the season. I know you like all the guys around, but what is it about this lineup that has made it especially productive?
DANIEL MURPHY: To be honest with you, right now, Jayson deserves more at-bats than I do right now. He's had really good at-bats, especially yesterday. So to slide him into the 2-hole, he's swinging the bat really well right now, and so it seemed like Skipper wanted to kind of get him more at-bats and slot Bryce in the 3-hole. And Zimm is swinging the bat well, as well, too.
And I think -- not that I deserve more at-bats than Tony right now, because he's swinging the bat well too and having good ABs. But I guess to stagger the lefties a little bit. We're able to go basically right, left, right, left, right, gets us to the 6-hole. Seems like what the Skipper wanted to do and hopefully we can go out and grind out at-bats.
Q. You mentioned like you don't think you've had the at-bats that you could; do you change anything pregame preparation-wise when you're struggling a little bit?
DANIEL MURPHY: No, I don't think so. I said it before. You just try to get a good pitch to hit and hit it hard. I haven't been doing either, so hopefully I can change that today and be able to get some traffic going in front of me and be able to cash in on that.
My hat's off to the Cubs pitchers who are throwing the ball really well. I've probably gotten some pitches to hit that I've missed personally but continue to grind out at-bats. The beauty of the Postseason is -- that I feel like Bryce showed us, and even Anthony yesterday, and Zimm -- is just one swing, it's such a small sample size, that one swing. Whether it be 0 for 3, 0 or 8, whatever it may be, not feeling good in there, you get one opportunity, and if you can cash in on it, it's kind of magnified in the Postseason.
Q. The Cubs talk a lot about their confidence. Just wondering if you can tell any difference between them and the team that the Mets beat a couple years ago?
DANIEL MURPHY: Only difference I've seen so far, scored more runs than the ballclub I'm on right now in the two out of the first three games.
You know, I think that you look at Anthony and Kris, their entire lineup, those two guys, have really grinded out at-bats and swung the bat well. Pitchers have thrown the ball well.
You know, I don't know if I would necessarily say I see a difference. I mean, they were both really good ballclubs. And so I don't want to demean one by praising another one more than, you know, more than the other.
Q. At this point of the series, how do you see the difference between when you talk about trying to grind out an at-bat, the difference between pressing, or talk about if you have pitches to hit and you don't hit them, to keep from chasing a pitch that isn't a pitch you want to swing at.
DANIEL MURPHY: Don't miss the one I get to hit would be a fantastic start for me personally.
You know, this is so much fun. Even in the midst of what may perceived to be some struggling, not only by me personally, but you lose a ballgame yesterday, and hats off to the Cubs for the way they grinded out that win.
But enjoy the moment. Like this is supposed to be fun. I'm fairly certain that a decade from now, none of you guys are going to want to talk to me about this kind of stuff, and they probably won't let me play in the game. So I'd really like to enjoy the moment, whether it be positive or negative, in my eyes, and hopefully that can give not only myself but our ballclub the freedom to go out and play with joy and peace, no matter how big the moment gets.
Q. Kind of a real general question. There's a lot of lefty relievers on both teams in the series. Is there any scenario where a left-handed batter would prefer a lefty on the mound over a righty at this level? Do you always want the opposite side?
DANIEL MURPHY: I don't necessarily -- yeah, it's kind of a general question. You know, I guess the easiest way to start is with the way the Cubs have been throwing the ball, you're kind of picking your poison a little bit. I've faced Brian Duensing before in the regular season, had two or three at-bats, and I didn't have any success.
Hendricks chewed me up and spit me out in the first series, as well, in the first game. Right-left, get a good pitch to hit, and don't mess it.
Q. All managers are criticized, but Dusty seems to be more of a lightning rod than anybody, especially in this town. How would you characterize him as your manager?
DANIEL MURPHY: I've truly enjoyed playing for Dusty. You know, he's very up front about what his expectations are, and as a player, there's really not much more you can ask from a manager than what's expected of you.
You know, he's got us prepared to play every ballgame. You know, we lose a ballgame yesterday 2-1, and we score the run on a missed play in left field and then Ryan gets the base hit. We've got to score more runs. The pitching has been unbelievable for us, starting and relieving.
Offensively, we've got to score. That's where it starts and that doesn't fall on the manager. He's got us completely prepared for every ballgame. We have to go out there and see if we can put up some crooked numbers.
Q. You mentioned Kyle Hendricks. What makes him so tough, and is part of it because you don't see a lot of pitchers maybe like him in baseball nowadays?
DANIEL MURPHY: The thing about Kyle that he does a really good job of, it's the two sides of the plate; he kind of can change the shape of his fastball as well, too. So sometimes he'll bring one off the hip and other times he'll straighten it out in the air. Or he'll start the one away that's a strike and walk you off the plate as a left-hander hitter or keep it on there. And he's got an elite changeup; that, you know, it's just tough to see.
I think the best thing about him is what he does is his ball has action so late. And so you have to kind of pick your poison: Like do I want to pick a spot and swing and hope that it does what I want to do it, and if it doesn't, you know, he may get my bat. He may break it. He does a really good job of working both sides of the plate, up, down, keeping you off-balance.
Q. Dusty said after the first game that he thought that you guys were a little bit too patient at the plate, or he opined something like that. With this game being a must-game, do you tend to find yourselves second-guessing the pitcher out there because you can't be patient any more, you have to make a decision as to what you're going to do. Is that prevalent among you guys right now; that you have been too patient?
DANIEL MURPHY: Yeah, I think -- what's your definition of patience? You know, swinging at an 0-0-pitch in the middle and getting a good swing off, to me, is being patient. I've patiently waited for a pitch in my zone and got a good swing off.
If I don't get that pitch in the third or fourth pitch of the at-bat, is that more patient than being ready to hit and getting a good swing off 0-0. I think it still boils down to executing a plan against Jake tonight, get a good pitch to hit.
I say this all the time, but it's really what it boils down to, be ready to hit, get a pitch in your zone, and get a good swing off. That would be 0-0 or 3-2 after 15 pitches. I don't necessarily think the 15-pitch at-bat is more patient than the 0-0 at-bat, personally.