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October 6, 2017

Kyle Hendricks

Washington, D.C. - postgame 1

Cubs - 3, Nationals - 0

Q. Kyle, I know that pitchers always say they don't pitch against the other pitcher; they pitch against lineups. But when you saw how Strasburg was dealing, did you feel you had to step it up or was your thought process totally independent?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Somewhat independent. I mean, you're aware of it. You know how well he's throwing the other side. You don't think you've got to step it up. You just have to know every pitch, you have to have your focus because one pitch could be the difference in the ballgame. Luckily we caught a break there and we were able take advantage of it. KB and Rizzo, two of the best in the game, our leaders, for them to come up huge was big for us tonight.

Q. How do you explain the added velocity that both Joe and Anthony talked about?
KYLE HENDRICKS: I think probably a little adrenaline-based. But my last five, six starts, it's been creeping up every start. My mechanics have really been clicking, so my timing is there, where earlier in the year, my mechanics were off so I wasn't able to let it go. So when my mechanics are there, it feels good, I let it ride and I think that's probably where it's coming from.

Q. Your defense played well today. Bryant, all your guys made great plays, bare-handed plays. Talk about that. Comment on that.
KYLE HENDRICKS: That's what we do, man, and it works well for me. I love those guys back there. That play by KB was huge, especially the leadoff guy, Werth, we needed that. I rely on that, pitching to contact and obviously I appreciate all that.

Q. Joe said this is the best he's seen you pitch. Do you agree?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Maybe not best ever but it was up there. Early in the game I was up, a few balls on the barrel. After the third inning I started dialing it in and after that I started dialing it in pretty good. Fastball command, changeup helped off it, it helps a lot, Willy and I were on such a good page and that keeps the flow of the game going, so that's a big part for me.

Q. That lineup has been pretty potent all year long. How does your style of pitching, especially with the changeup, help keep them off balance?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Yeah, you know, it's just going in with a good game plan. We have a lot of guys that do a lot of research behind the scenes here, so it's having good information and going in and changing speeds with my fastball going back and forth.

When I start hitting spots, that's when it really starts to take off for me and my changeup can work off that. I didn't throw many curveballs tonight, so really was relying on the fastball/changeup.

Q. How much did seeing them guessing as much as they seemed to be reinforce your scouting report and confidence?
KYLE HENDRICKS: I think definitely your confidence builds when you start seeing those swings. Early in the game like I said there was some balls on the barrel so I knew where I wasn't needed to be, get the ball down, refocus.

After that I started getting the bad contact, the bad takes and then you know you're in the flow of the game. From there, just keep feeling what they are trying to do to you really, keep mixing pitches. That's where Willy comes, in he really feels the hitters really well, too. We work well together and you just flow from there.

Q. Joe put a lot of confidence in you by starting you in Game 1 and not that anybody here needs validation or anything like that, but how good does it make you feel that you, you know, earn that trust and then came through again tonight?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Yeah, it feels really good, but Joe has always been there for me, his whole staff. They have instilled a lot of confidence in me ever since I came here. Even when I first came up, I had a bad year in 2015 and they stuck with me. So it's been like that way for a long time. But to get this nod for Game 1, just to try to set the tone for the team is huge. I just wanted to go out there, like I said before and just do my part to give my team a chance to win.

Q. You said there was adrenaline but to watch you, we wouldn't be able to tell. Walking off the mound after the seventh, is it hard when you do have the adrenaline to not show any outward signs of emotion?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Not really for me. I think I'm just a laid back guy but you're definitely feeling it. The energy there in the stadium and crowd was pretty cool but we've played some big games, even down the stretch in our division. We've had good atmospheres in where we're playing, so we were ready to take that adrenaline on and use it to our advantage.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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