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October 11, 2017

Joe Maddon

Chicago, Illinois - pregame 4

Q. Since we have a habit of bantering, too old -- I had an interview with Trader Jack in Miami, and I asked him, "Where are you packed to go?" And he said, "I told our general manager after our meeting this morning, we packed to go to Chicago and New York honest to God." Where are you packed to go?
JOE MADDON: Well, you have to be pragmatic about it. We brought our bags. If we were not to win today, we would go to Washington tonight. And if we were to win today, we've got to leave tomorrow, so you've just got to pack your bags, man.

You never know what's going to happen in this game. It's just a pragmatic thing you do, otherwise you have to buy a bunch of new clothes wherever you go, which is not a bad call either. We're ready to go either way. Hoping it's going to be a positive result.

Q. Obviously your team knows Strasburg's pitching, but from a mental part of the game, it appears that your team doesn't really care who is pitching. How much does that Game 1 work to your team's advantage, knowing the guy had his best stuff and the first time they made a mistake, your guys were able to jump on it?
JOE MADDON: It really doesn't matter honestly because we're prepared for anything. It does shift our lineup a bit. You look at the numbers, Jason has had some success against Strasburg, and I did not want to run away from Jon Jay this time. Jon Jay has been playing way too good. It was Heyward for Schwarber was the trade for us, otherwise lineup is the same pretty much, batting order is just a little bit different.

This time of the year, you try to control the controllables. That is not something under your control, who they want to pitch, of course not. You can't let stuff like that bother you ever. There was an inkling that that might occur even last night as we left the ballpark. We just didn't know for sure, but you plan on work. Doesn't matter who Washington pitches. They are all good. They have a great staff.

Whoever you are going to face today, the last several days, you knew it was going to be tough games, and they were. And we have to pitch well in order to beat them. All that stuff, doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. I don't worry about stuff like that. Our players don't.

We'll tee it up at the right time. We'll go out there and do our normal -- hopefully our normal game, and it's about Jake, more than about what they are doing. I prefer thinking about Jake, where Jake's coming from. I think arm-wise he's in very good shape; leg-wise he's in very good shape right now. Mentally I think he's really ready for this moment. It's exciting from our perspective.

Q. When you said there was an inkling that might occur even last night, was that just a hunch or did you have some intelligence?
JOE MADDON: It was purely a hunch.

First of all, I have no intelligence, we already know that. Truly, it's something that you think could have happened. If, in fact, Strasburg was ill, and I believe that, there's ways to be un-ill the next day. You just can't count him out.

And so going back last night post-game, or post no-game, I thought there was a possibility, but again, it didn't matter. The only thing I had to prepare for was the difference in the lineup if that was necessary; we did that.

Q. What about the conditions today for hitters? Shouldn't that make any pitcher want to get on the mound?
JOE MADDON: Absolutely. It's tough. We've been through this before here. Pretty much blowing in, real wet. It's tough to really drive the baseball. So yeah, it's a pitcher's kind of a day.

You pretty much have to hit the ball on the line. Our experience is if you hit the ball well at the scoreboard, you might have a shot, left central. Otherwise, you just have to tonk it, it's not going out. But ball on the line, base hits become more the premium, execution more the premium.

Defensively, don't make mistakes, at a premium. Those are the things that are in play. It's two different ballparks. It's classically two different ballparks the way it plays. It's fascinating.

So today, yes, it's going to be pretty much -- it should be a pitcher's paradise.

Q. At what point in the season did you think your team got back into the really "take it one day at a time" mode you were in for the entire 2016 campaign?
JOE MADDON: What really helped was the first series in Baltimore post All-Star break. We swept that and had a really good post-Break run. I think that created some believability for the second half.

For those that aren't around us a lot, my concern was just fatigue. I thought, everybody talks about the hangover from a World Series, but I think what that means or equals is it's hard to generate the kind of adrenaline necessary to play at your top part of your game in April and May if you've just been through that the previous November.

So how do you -- how do you, you know, get to that point where that adrenaline rush is the same and you're ready to play and you're mentally on edge, in a good way? I thought we just needed to rest. I just thought it was wise to not push, and then, you know, post-Break, our guys came back and we did it.

Wade was the only guy on the All-Star Team and the coaching staff, so the players got a chance to rest. We came back out, and I think Addison's home run in Baltimore was a really big play. After that, it just seemed to start gradually becoming more believable again. Started seeing the same faces, started seeing the same energy in the game, and I really believe almost immediately after the break, and then kind of the moment overall is the series against Milwaukee in Milwaukee. I've talked about that several times.

The hangover thing is real. How do you define that? What I think I'm saying is, my take on it, it's just the inability to create that same kind of the feeling in the early part of the season after you come off such a high especially in this city after 108 years.

So I was trying to be aware of all that, and to this point it's played out decently. I think our guys are pretty much playing our best baseball right now. I think we have the best month or six weeks. We've been playing as well as we have all year, and it's much more reminiscent of last year and the year before. 2015 was pretty good, too. You take the latter half of 2015 and last year, this is pretty much a more familiar feeling weighs going on right now.

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