Oct. 25 Joe Panik, Hunter Pence, Yusmeiro Petit postgame interview

Oct. 25 Joe Panik, Hunter Pence, Yusmeiro Petit postgame interview

Q. What's the fastest you've ever thrown a pitch? How fast?

YUSMEIRO PETIT: Like 90, 88.

Q. What is your out pitch?

YUSMEIRO PETIT: I've got both. I've got two: I've got a fastball and curveball.

Q. How would you articulate what Hunter Pence means to this team? It seemed like he was involved in almost every big play tonight, as is often the case.

JOE PANIK: Yeah, I mean, he's the guy that's a vocal leader on the team, and he gets guys fired up. And with his play, he's all‑out and gives everything he's got. It's spectacular to watch. He's fun to watch. He's really big to this team. He's in the middle of a lot of things offensively and defensively.

Q. Yusmeiro, you set the record this summer for consecutive batters retired. What you've done in October, do you think that's more important to you than what you've done in these three games in the playoffs?

YUSMEIRO PETIT: Yeah, because it's more important in the postseason than in the regular season. So for me it's more important right now to be concentrating, and throw the ball very well, like how I'm doing tonight.

Q. Joe, can you talk about how great the defense played tonight? Sometimes are you in awe watching that and seeing them in the outfield?

JOE PANIK: Yeah, there were some nice plays tonight. Juan made a nice play in left with Gordon leading off the inning, and Hunter you saw in the 9th inning, again, spectacular play. But I think the big play was in the 6th inning when Belt turned that 3‑6‑3. That was huge momentum. They had speed on the bases and for him to turn that like that, that was big for us.

Q. A question for both of you about Pablo playing sick: I guess he wasn't feeling well in the last 24 hours. What do you see from Pablo in terms of his willingness to play this game and the at‑bats he delivered, especially against left‑handed pitching?

JOE PANIK: I mean, he's a warrior. He plays with everything he's got, especially to come out with the way he was feeling and perform like he did. You couldn't tell, by the way, with his body language. You couldn't tell. If you didn't know he was sick, you couldn't tell. For him to come out the way he did was huge for us because he's one of the main guys on this team.

YUSMEIRO PETIT: For me, Pablo was hitting very well on the right‑hand side, and Kansas City is hitting well, too. So for me right now Pablo is a better hitter on the right side than the left side.

Q. One of the things that Bochy has talked about in the past is he feels more comfortable with you starting an inning than coming into the middle of an inning. Do you have a strong preference one way or the other?

YUSMEIRO PETIT: No, I'm ready for anytime. So if Bochy gives me the chance, whatever he wants. So I'm ready for anything middle of the game, the inning or initiate the inning. So I'm ready for anything.

Q. Joe, could you just talk about, I know teams during the season come back that are down 4‑1. Talk about what it says about this team, that you were able to come back and you didn't pack it in, not that you would in the World Series, but you know what I'm talking about.

JOE PANIK: Yeah, once we got down, we knew we still had plenty of innings to go. Going into this game, we knew how important it was. And we just never gave up. We scratched a run across to make it 4‑2, and then after that we had a good sense that we have a good chance coming back here, and like I said, we just never gave up. That's just the way this team is. We're going to battle and scratch and claw.

Q. For you being this is your rookie season, you've come up with so many big hits already. How do you stay so composed and not get caught up in the moment of how you've been able to do all of this?

JOE PANIK: Yeah, when the moment gets big, I just tell myself to breathe. I can't really let the game get too big. Sometimes you can try to do too much, but when that happens, you have to tell yourself get back to the basics of what makes you you. I feel like I was able to do that tonight.

Q. Yusmeiro, every one of these innings you've pitched, and you've pitched 12 shutout innings now in the postseason, every one of them has been you can't let up another run, because of what's gone on in the game. How have you adjusted to that? And Joe, if you would comment on what it's like to see him come into a game, and know that he's going to be able to do that?

YUSMEIRO PETIT: You know, well, I throw (indiscernible) in the postseason, so we got like two times, like three innings. But it was one stretch for nine days, so I had to throw like every two days, every three days in the bullpen to be ready for that moment. So I tried to work like how I'm working during the season because you never know when Bochy will need you, so I'm ready for that, especially in the World Series. I'm working every day for the command for when I'm needed there, so I can throw the strikes.

Q. And the pressure doesn't bother you?

YUSMEIRO PETIT: No.

JOE PANIK: I mean, he's been huge for us. We saw in the regular season and now in the postseason. Just he's built a bridge from Vogey to the back end of our pen. He's been huge. He's really been important to us in these tight games.

Q. Hunter, you've always been a guy who has sort of ignited this team. You had three hits, three RBIs and made a great play in the outfield tonight. Getting into the game tonight, did you kind of feel something big was going to happen for you and the team, even though you were struggling early?

HUNTER PENCE: Well, I think someone just told me that we had 11 hits ‑‑ different guys recording a hit. We came into this game asking everyone to come in attacking, going all out for each other. So when that was our message before the game is that everyone buy in, everyone pulling. 11 different guys recorded a hit tonight, and not only that, but Yusmeiro Petit, to me is the most unsung hero of our team this whole season, especially in the postseason. What he's done is nothing short of amazing. I think that's what gives me chills right now, just to be a part of that.

Q. First inning could have been a double play. What was in your mind as you're going down the line there?

HUNTER PENCE: "Run as fast as you can. Get there."

Q. Did you think it was a double play?

HUNTER PENCE: Honestly, when I hit it, I kind of slipped out of the box. I wasn't sure. I thought he might be going home because, I don't know, I'm confident in my speed to first base. I know I get there pretty quick. And a grounder to third, so I didn't know what was going on with the throw. I just knew to run as hard as I could to first base. That was all I was thinking.

Q. Hunter, all your hits were pretty much clutch tonight. Could you talk about how focused you were in each at‑bat in this game?

HUNTER PENCE: Really, all of my at‑bats were set up. I was put in all these great situations because everyone at the top of the order was getting on base. So I think getting that opportunity that many times is very rare.

When it was my turn to hit and in those situations, to me, I was just trying to be as free, as convicted, and as determined as I could to compete. See the ball, hit the ball. You've got to keep it as simple as possible and trust what we've worked on all year.

So I was very fortunate to have all those opportunities and that many base runners. It felt like there were boatloads of base runners for me there tonight, and that's a lot of fun as a hitter.

Q. This may be a similar question, but you've put up tremendous numbers with runners in scoring position this season, and you've been good throughout your career. Is there anything about your approach that you think makes that possible?

HUNTER PENCE: You know, that's like such a difficult question to answer because it's asked constantly. Everyone talks about hitting with runners in scoring position because it's such an important part of this game, and really I don't have it ‑‑ there is no specific way to do it. If I was to say the keys to my success, trying not to do too much sometimes. I think I had struggles when I was younger, and I still have a lot to learn and get better. But to me, sometimes I get a lot of infield hits even. Putting the ball in play gives you a chance to get a hit.

So I just try to see the ball, slow down, and get a good pitch to hit.

Q. It's been so much fun to watch you and the Royals play because there are a lot of similarities in terms of the personalities. Do you feel like the two teams kind of mirror each other even though there are obviously differences? How much fun is it playing in a series against a team, like yourself, that wasn't expected to be here?

HUNTER PENCE: I think that's a really good question because these two, there are a lot of similarities in both of our teams. We both have a lot of guys with free spirits, personalities that get out there and play the game hard. You see great defense, great base‑running, and strong pitching, strong bullpens. That's basically all the things that they always ask us about the strengths of the Royals, I feel like is our strengths. We have our bullpen and our defense is our key. That's our foundation. I wouldn't say "key", but that's the foundation of this club. Competing in at‑bats and putting the ball in play, that's kind of what they are.

So this is definitely an extremely fun series to play in. I think if you're watching it, it's been pretty entertaining because there is a lot of drama and it's tight. Every one of these games is pretty big.

Q. Is it sometimes in the back of your mind thinking, "I wish we could play these guys more often", maybe in the regular season just because of what's developing here?

HUNTER PENCE: I don't think I could ask for really much more. This is the biggest stage, to have two teams laying it all on the line. That is the ultimate in sports. We're in the World Series and we have two teams that are competing as fierce as you'll ever see, and that's a lot of fun.

Q. When you get down 4‑1 in a game like this as opposed to 4‑1 in a game in May, is there any difference in how this team reacts?

HUNTER PENCE: I don't really know. May was so long ago. I'm only focused on today. I think if I take myself throughout ‑‑ and I even go back to just my goals in Spring Training, literally my goals are to play each game as hard as I can to win. That's what I write down when I'm writing down my goals for the season. I want to give every single game everything I have to win, and the rest, the numbers will take care of themselves. So I try to focus that simplified.

But you can't deny that there is so much emotion that we've come this far. This is everything you've dreamed of. Obviously, winning the World Series was the other part of the goal, and that is kind of a result of being as focused as you can each moment to win each game.

Q. Hunter, you've played in literally every game this year. That is a far cry from ‑‑ back in the old days some guys did that, but not even recently it hasn't happened that often. Is that a big point of pride to you? Do you feel every day you should be out there? How do you manage to maintain your strength?

HUNTER PENCE: Honestly, I think after this year I learned some things about playing every day. It's definitely ‑‑ to me I only play because I want to make the playoffs. I want a chance to win the World Series.

I think I learned that a day off here and there could actually help me and make me a better player and be better for the team. So hopefully my ego and my pride didn't get in the way by trying to do that. Really, I think if I search myself and I ask the question, my true feeling was I thought I was okay, but I didn't realize until I did get that day off that it makes a difference from time to time. So I just didn't.

I got a lot to learn, and I'm still growing in this game. You never figure it all out. But I will say that I don't think that that brought out the best I could do on a baseball field.

But I know that my intention was not that. Like I just had to ‑‑ I figured it out, I guess, this year.