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October 9, 2017

Tanner Roark

Chicago, Illinois - pregame 3

Q. You're from the nearby area. You grew up coming to games here. What do you anticipate the emotions being like tomorrow?
TANNER ROARK: It's pretty surreal to pitch in Wrigley, and just the history that they have here and everything. It's very exciting and I'm anxious to get out there.

Q. The WBC experience, will that help; that you didn't pitch much during that time, and anything you learned from that experience?
TANNER ROARK: I'm sorry, I didn't hear.

Q. Just putting things that you learned in that experience, if not pitching that much during the WBC and Spring Training.
TANNER ROARK: Yeah, pitching the WBC against Japan was, I mean, pretty crazy. Even pitching in Miami, it was the loudest I had heard any stadium ever. I think the experience will help out, because I know the fans here get rowdy and stuff like that. So I know that experience will help me calm my nerves and just relax out there.

Q. Have you learned that you want to use that energy and kind of go all-out, or do you calm down? What's your approach to these big games? How do you use that adrenaline?
TANNER ROARK: You've got to channel it. You've just got to channel it and know how to use it and not, you know -- the game tomorrow could start at 4:00 or whatever, or it could start at 8:00. You've got to channel that and hold the nerves in, hold the anxiousness and all that stuff in, and just let it come and let it happen, and that's what you've got to let it do.

Q. When you pitched here in the past, you've done pretty well. Is it coincidence or do you get jacked up for these games? Is there extra motivation being here close to family?
TANNER ROARK: I know the first year when I came here, it was a little -- it was definitely nerve-wracking and there was 300 people from Wilmington out in right center just chanting my name (laughing). It was pretty nerve-wracking to pitch in front of those, in front of everybody, and try to prove to them that I could stay up here and stuff like that.

I just think the atmosphere around here is amazing and to pitch here at Wrigley, and to hear the fans; I know they are going to be crazy, like I said, and just do what I do best, and try to keep them quiet.

Q. When the organization went out and acquired all the bullpen help that it did, did that change your approach to your starts at all?
TANNER ROARK: No. You know what I mean, you've still got to go out there, and my motto is like you've got to go out there as a starting pitcher and pitch as long as you can and pitch as hard as you can until Dusty comes out and takes the ball from you. I don't think you've got to pitch any differently.

Definitely upgraded in the bullpen and we're glad to have those guys and the experience that they have. So I just go out there and I trust myself, and not -- you know, just take it one pitch at a time.

Q. Wilmington is south of town; correct?

Q. Growing up, was there ever any question of which team in town you would root for, and among Cubs fans that you're friends with and in your family, is there any torn loyalty?
TANNER ROARK: My dad was a White Sox fan and a Cardinals fan. My mom was -- (laughter) a Cubs fan and my sister is a Cubs fans and my brother is a Cubs fan, and I used to be a Cubs fan.

Growing up, yeah, there was always some trash-talking in the house between us and my dad. You know, and throughout the town, I feel like there's more Cubs fans than there are White Sox fans.

Q. What makes Matt Wieters unique as a catcher compared to some of the other guys you've worked with in the past?
TANNER ROARK: You know, he's got experience. Mostly all of his experience is in the AL. You know, in the AL, obviously they have the DH, so you've got to face 1 through 9 hitters that can hit. You can just tell that he's always back there and he's thinking before he puts the sign down.

You know, he looks up at the hitter and see what he thinks that he wants to hit, and he changes it to the other sign. That's obviously a positive.

I've never thrown as unorthodox as I have, which has made me who I am, I feel like this year, is throwing every pitch in any count to any hitter. Doesn't matter if it's lefty or righty. Just when you think that I'm going to try to throw a two-seam, that's when I'm going to throw a slider into a lefty.

Just keeping the hitters thinking and keeping them on their toes and keeping them guessing.

Q. Do they present any sort of unique challenges in terms of preparing for them in the sense that their roster is so versatile and Joe has shown the proclivity for using a bunch of different guys in a bunch of different spots?
TANNER ROARK: Like you said, they have versatility. They have guys that can come off the bench that can do just as much as the guys that are starting. You've got to prepare for them. You know that they are going to bring everything they have got to the end. They are going to be out there diving around, jumping around, and this is who they are. They are defending champs, and we have to go out there today and tomorrow and show them what we've got.

Q. Command and feel for your two-seamer is so huge for you. You've had a relatively long layoff now going into tomorrow's start. How do you feel like that time will at all effect you and how do you feel like that pitch feels right now in your bullpens?
TANNER ROARK: I threw bullpen yesterday and it felt good yesterday. Everything felt good. Like I said, you just can't -- you can't get over-anxious and try to throw a billion. You've got to stay within yourself and know what pitch works for you at that time.

You know, when I'm throwing 95 two-seamers, and it's up in the zone, that's not as effective as 92 down in the zone at the knees.

Q. You mentioned 300 people here the first start. Have people been reaching out to you for tickets? Has it been kind of crazy the last couple days and how many people do you expect, family and friends?
TANNER ROARK: It actually hasn't been too crazy. I just have five of my family members coming, plus my wife and two kids. But nobody's really reached out. They are good about getting their own tickets (laughter) which is very good on me, and it's a lot less stress that I have to worry about. But I'm sure there will be a bunch of people scattered throughout Wrigley Field.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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