Q. I was wondering, what do you think might or could be different for you, either in your approach, or your motions to this game compared to your first game against the Cardinals in the series?
GERRIT COLE: You know, I'm sure that there's going to be even more electric atmosphere over there at Busch. But for the most part, they have seen me now a few days ago, but at the same time, I've seen them, so it's just going to come down to executing a handful of pitches, and, you know, being able to hit the spot or execute the pitch when I need to.
Q. I was just wondering how excited you must be to be able to start in the winner take all game like this, is this a pretty exciting moment for you?
GERRIT COLE: Yeah, it's obviously, you know, a great opportunity for me to go out there and give my team a chance to win. This is obviously an exciting time, a high pressure situation, and you know, this is what you prepare for all year. This is why you work out in the off season, for moments like, this to be mentally and physically ready to go. Yeah, it's extremely exciting and I can't wait.
Q. If I could ask both you guys this, we hear a lot about clutch hitting, but not so much usually the term "clutch pitching," but seems like in playoff games, it's getting big outs that really matter, and it's what you guys have done so well in this stretch. Do you think there is a thing like clutch pitching?
CLINT HURDLE: There's a great question and that's a great perspective because that's something we talk about all the time. Everything in this game seems to be contagious. Everybody talks about hitting being contagious and not hitting being contagious. For me, everything starts off the mound, and we have pitched the ball extremely well this year.
The young man that's going to take the mound for us tomorrow, Gerrit Cole, has done nothing but get better throughout the season. He's been as good as anybody we've been able to run out there the last six weeks.
I do believe pitchers feed off one another, as well. The starters take it upon themselves to get us deep in the game so we can use the bullpen when we want to, not when we have to.
Those guys in the bullpen are always bound by a certain set of high level expectations they put on themselves. I mean, they would rather give up a small body part than let an inherited runner score, at least that's the way our guys look at it.
So I couldn't agree with you more about the fact that in the post season, you do see tremendous sections and periods of time where there is just nothing but clutch pitching going on.
GERRIT COLE: I think it ends up boiling down to a handful of pitches. You know, later in the game, that could swing the momentum one way or the other, and you know, it's just about putting yourself in a position to make those pitches and you know, not trying to do too much when those opportunities present themselves.
So I think there's definitely clutch pitching in the playoffs. I think it's really important for the team to come out on top and execute those pitches and to be able to keep the momentum on their side.
Q. In a series that's been as close as this one has, especially during the final two games, and a Game 5, what can make the difference?
CLINT HURDLE: There's no telling. Got to go out and play. And it can happen on the bases; it can happen in a relay throw. I mean, it's all aspects of the game are laid out there.
It will be our game No. 168. It will also be now the 24th time we've played the Cardinals. We've played them close. It has been a very respectful challenge series.
The game is going to be out there for somebody to win it. You've got to make plays; you've got to execute pitches; you've got to have quality at bats. And every once in a while, something completely apart from that could happen. You don't know, whether it be a rundown; that's what makes it so exciting, I believe.
Q. Once you guys yesterday volunteered the information without directly being asked about Wainwright, how he's one of those good pitchers that you have to get to early because he gets strong as the game goes along; with that mind set, are you planning any more aggressive tactics the first couple innings to take advantage of that tendency?
CLINT HURDLE: What I'd like to do is share my game plan with you, Tom, so you can get it on the airwaves before Wainwright takes the mound tomorrow night. I don't know how beneficial that might be for us (laughing).
We have got some things we might try. We have to get pitches to hit, we have to lay off the breaking ball down, and then we'll see what we can draw up in the dirt moving forward.
Q. Quick follow up on Wainwright, a sample size, but every time you've faced the same team in consecutive starts, it's only happened three times since he's came back from surgery since 2010, and he does have a difficult time the second time around. Is that something you've looked at, and once again, without revealing what, have you spotted some things where you can ratchet up your success against him?
CLINT HURDLE: Yeah, we have looked at that. Actually, we look at our pitchers all the time and that's where we got the idea, we'll look at our pitchers, whether it be Cole, Liriano and A.J. on appearances matched up, maybe one time here and then within a two week window, seeing them again frequently; it's happened to a number of our pitchers this year.
It is a number that will get your attention sometimes, because even on our staff, we have got some numbers where maybe a pitcher was effective the first time, and then we saw him again five days later or ten days later, and his second or the next start after that, he wasn't as effective.
Basically, though, you have got to look the at tape. You look at where pitches are being placed. You have to look at, maybe was the ball elevated; were there any more tendencies to jump into after he had seen you in a close period of time.
Again, he's going to throw some balls over the plate; some of them are going to be fastballs and some are going to be curveballs, and we are going to have to hit them respectively wherever they are pitched, hard, and make some thing happen when we do get on base.
We have got to lay off balls down and we have to get good pitches to hit, and we have to make him challenge us and get us out in the strike zone to a better degree than we did the last couple of times we faced him in St. Louis.
Q. Wondering with this being an elimination game, will any of your starting pitchers be available in the bullpen tomorrow?
CLINT HURDLE: We are going to talk to the guys. Liriano pretty much poured his whole tank out the other day. He's been dealing with with a little bit of the flu. I think he's better.
A.J.'s preparation is such that I don't know; we'd have to talk to him. But it's usually he's been doing this for so many years. He takes a nice routine to get in line to go. So I'm not sure. I do feel confident that we've got we've got the pitching we are going to need to play, but we are going to have that conversation again when we get to St. Louis.
Q. In your experience with winner take all games, like this have you found that the game is usually won by a team or lost by a team making a crucial mistake or two?
CLINT HURDLE: They are both the same thing for me at the end of the day. You've got to meet the demands of the game. The team that meets the demands of the game best wins the game.
I know in Colorado through the process, we just won games. We won seven in a row to get to the World Series, and four great games, we got out played by the Red Sox in the World Series.
In Texas, we played better than the Rays; we played better than the Yankees. We get to the World Series, and the Giants played better than us. And every time, getting to us that last game of the series, that's the way it seemed to play out.
I don't think I've been in a game where somebody just didn't show up. So from that standpoint to me, it always comes down to you have to play well to win the game and take the other team out of it.
Q. When Gerrit came up in June, I know there were some in the front office, and Neal was one of those guys, who would have preferred that Gerrit spends more time in AAA and his call up to the Major Leagues was in part because of injuries to Wandy and James McDonald. Looking back, and knowing what you have in store for you Wednesday, how fortuitous was it that that opportunity opened and he was able to get that time and spend the season developing?
CLINT HURDLE: Things work out for a reason; I believe when you do the right things, do you them for the right reasons, you make the right decisions at the right times and you take care of people.
We've always, since I've been here, we wanted to make sure that we are taking care of our players, getting them doing everything we can to put them in the best place to have success when we get here. We are not going to get a thousand on everybody as far as the due date. We don't hit a thousand on everybody on the expiration date.
But the opportunities to prepare and get him ready to play, and what we have seen since Gerrit has been here has been a young man that continues to improve. He uses his eyes very well and he uses his ears very well. The competitive edge that he takes on the mound is visible. The emotion that he pitches with, I think you've been able to see over the course of time, that's special and that can be significant. The flat out skill set, the no fear. He respects everything; he fears nothing. The volume of work has put him into place to have success tomorrow night, you know, that's my feeling.
GERRIT COLE: I was just excited to have the opportunity in June. I didn't know how long I was going to be up, because I did understand the situation with Wandy and J Mac. So I kind of took it one game at a time, and you know, didn't try to think about it too much. And then all of a sudden I felt like we were in September, and all of a sudden I had gotten, you know, a lot better and the games started to get more intense, and the race started to go down to the wire there.
I just realized that I had been taking the same approach since I did when I came up and just take it one game at a time, one start at a time and just take care of business in between those starts that I got on the mound.
So, you know, I think it's been part of my strength this year, just being able to stay really focused and stay in the present and not look too far ahead or dwell too much on the past. And you know, that's what I've done this week.
You know, we didn't make the announcement until last night who was starting and I just kept my head down and took care of my business. Now I know that I have the ball, I'm ready to go tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for taking the time to join us today. Best of luck tomorrow in Game 5.