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October 28, 2016

John Lackey

Chicago, Illinois - Pregame 3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for John Lackey.

Q. John, you've been in this situation before, this atmosphere, is this a different feeling? And if so, how so?
JOHN LACKEY: It's a little magnified, I'm sure, with the history and the time has been since there's been World Series games here. Just driving into the ballpark, trying to get to the players' parking lot is an experience. There's a lot of people out there. It's really cool.

Q. A follow-up to what she asked you, you were fortunate enough to pitch in a World Series game. What does it mean to you personally to pitch on the biggest of big stages?
JOHN LACKEY: This is why you play the game. This is why I'm still playing at this stage of my career at this age. I'm trying to win championships and trying to be a part of something special.

Q. In the last few outings you've had a little more rest between outings than in a regular season. How do you handle this with your experience? Experience helps you handle this. And have you had to make a lot of adjustments to pitch in this kind of situation?
JOHN LACKEY: As far as the rest, yeah, it's kind of been a crazy schedule for me, for sure. I feel like I'm pitching every two weeks kind of deal. But I've thrown a little more on the side, off the mound, trying to stay sharp. But once you get into the game, you kind of fall back on the things you've been doing all season, and hopefully you do execute.

Q. You're one of the guys in the Cubs clubhouse that certainly knows what it's like to sign a high-profile free agent contract. What encouragement maybe have you offered or will you offer to Jason Heyward about the opportunity he still has in front of him to make a huge impact in this postseason, and of course all the years that are still remaining on his contract?
JOHN LACKEY: J's a great teammate, man. He's a guy, whether he's in the lineup or not, he's going to be on the bench cheering for the boys or ready to come in for defense or hitting, whatever that is. He's a professional and just a great dude, great guy you want to play with. He'll be just fine.

Everybody goes through some ups and downs in this game. It's tough. He'll come back and he'll be great.

Q. When you won Game 7 as a rookie, you've obviously had a lot of great postseason moments since then. How much did that particular one and the rest of them, knowing that you could succeed at the highest stage when you're just a rookie?
JOHN LACKEY: I guess it's exactly that. Once you've done it, you know you can do it. So I guess there's a lot of guys this time of year that are hoping to do it. But once you've actually done it before, I guess, it makes it a little bit easier. No matter what happens, nobody can say, I can't win the big one, you know what I mean? So that's kind of comforting.

Q. Having been a guy who has had to start on three days' rest in the postseason, how challenging is that to do in October? And do you feel fortunate that you guys have a deep enough staff that none of you have to do that this October?
JOHN LACKEY: Right. It is challenging, for sure. I think there's going to be a lot of adrenaline and that sort of thing. It's not really the tired thing. I think it's the fact that a good team is seeing you that quick for a second time has a lot to do with making adjustments and that sort of thing. Because you're obviously facing teams that are pretty good this time of year.

So I think it's probably the biggest challenge. I don't think fatigue or any of that kind of thing is a real issue, because there is so much adrenaline and so much of that going on.

Q. In contrast to Kyle Hendricks, who has virtually no history against anybody with the Indians, you have quite a bit, especially with a couple of guys. Do we tend to make too much out of that sort of thing? Do you prefer to face guys that you've faced before or are you fine facing new guys?
JOHN LACKEY: I like scouting reports. I like having a little bit of history. I'm a guy that studies film, studies reports, studies past history. So I think some of that information can help. But then again, you talk to hitters, most of the time they feel like a pitcher has an advantage over them the first time they see them. They get better as they see most guys. So it can work both ways. You've still got to execute pitches.

Q. When you looked at Hendricks maybe for the first time, did you say, "Okay, now I get it? I see what he's doing"? Or was there one thing that you saw that you might not have been convinced of or hadn't noticed?
JOHN LACKEY: He's been fun to watch all year. He's a great dude that's easy to root for. He's a good teammate. Doesn't hardly say anything, actually. He's on the bench, might give a fist pump every now and then, that's about it. He's a pretty quiet guy. Obviously a smart guy. Just the way he executes his pitches, the movement he has, the location, it's been a lot of fun to watch.

You see the game nowadays with all the velocity, all the power arms. It's fun to see somebody get it done in a different way.

Q. You touched on it a little bit, but I know you're trying to win it for yourselves and I understand that, but have you thought about what it will mean if you can bring a championship for the Cubs for this city?
JOHN LACKEY: Yeah, that was part of the sales pitch to come here this off-season. One of the reasons I did come here. I have a couple good buddies that were on the '04 Red Sox team, and kind of telling me stories about what it was like in Boston, and I could see probably a similar parallel to that sort of thing with the time in between championships.

Q. You obviously have a different pitching style and personality from Kyle, and you both have a different personality and style from Jon Lester, and all of you are different from Jake Arrieta. How much do all of those differences go into making a rotation that's as successful as you guys have been?
JOHN LACKEY: It takes all kinds. You're not going to have guys with all the same attitude, same personalities. But we have a great blend. We all get along well, root for each other.

As far as stuff on the mound, I think it's a nice mix. We're all a little bit different. So you come in and see us four, you're going to see four different things.

Q. From your standpoint physically, how has your body been feeling this time of the year? And how do you manage the extra rest that sometimes comes between playoff series?
JOHN LACKEY: Yeah, I feel great. I haven't been pitching a whole lot this last month, which has been a good thing. We were winning ballgames.

But like I said, you've got to continue your workouts. You've got to continue the off-the-field stuff, maybe throw a few more times off the mound in between to try to stay sharp. But once you get on the mound, the adrenaline, those sorts of things will take over. You'll be all right.

Q. You've been really effective here at Wrigley Field lately, your last seven starts. Is there just something you feel more comfortable here or is that just coincidence?
JOHN LACKEY: I couldn't tell you my numbers anywhere, to be honest with you. It's a great place to pitch. A fun atmosphere. I wouldn't say it's a great place to pitch, especially it's probably not going to be today or tomorrow. But the atmosphere of the fans, it's a fun place to be and a lot of energy. Trying to make some history.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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