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October 16, 2017

Kyle Hendricks

Chicago, Illinois - Workout Day

Q. Is it a different mindset early on that "I've got to get through this"?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Not really. It's just another thing that's an extraneous factor. At the end of the day, you have to focus on what you can control. So for me, that's just making good pitches. Our lineup, I got the utmost faith in our guys that they're going to swing the bat well.

But, yeah, when you're struggling, a 0-0 ballgame, you just can't give in, I think, no matter what. You'd almost rather walk a guy than give in on a 3-1 count something like that. But you have to have a careful mindset, I think, because one pitch could be the difference in the game.

Q. You pitch tomorrow as if this is an absolute must-win?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Not really. I don't think -- our team doesn't really approach games like that. You hear the way Joe speaks about it. For us, this is just Game 170, I think it's going to be. So, yeah, we're down 2-0. Obviously we know we need to get wins at this point. But approaching it as a must-win is a little extreme. We've just got to go out there and play our brand of baseball.

Q. You've seen your command kind of sharpen as the game goes on. Is there anything you can do side session-wise to have that happen earlier or is it a natural process every time?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Yeah, I think now having a few playoff games under your belt and in that atmosphere, I think that helps with the adrenaline. Usually it's the adrenaline early in the game gets you a little up in the strike zone maybe. So now just being in this atmosphere for the last two starts I think is going to help that. Tone down my bullpen a little bit.

But on sides, you just simplify your focus. Simplify it to fastball command, that's kind of where it always lurks for me. So when I go out there tomorrow, definitely from the start, just have that focus.

Q. What was it like, the ride home? Was everybody sleeping?
KYLE HENDRICKS: There were a few sleepers. But it was a normal ride for us. The music playing, and same old stuff with everybody. Guys up in the back doing their thing. I got about an hour or two of sleep. We got in pretty late. But, no, it's business as usual. After any game, we've been through a lot of ups and downs, so it's really nothing; not uncharted territory for us.

Q. Is there any benefit to having faced these guys last year in the LCS and seeing them as much as you did?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Maybe somewhat, I guess, confidence-wise. But other than that, they're a pretty different team. Their lineup top to bottom, especially Adrian isn't in there, you have Taylor leading off. You just have different names in there. So it's going to be a lot different for me. At the end of the day, focus on making good pitches.

Q. Is there an attitude that you're down 3-1 to the Indians last year, you won. Been there, done that?
KYLE HENDRICKS: In a way, yeah. Since we accomplished that, we know we just have to take it game by game. Any situation, being down 3-1 even, we have to take it and worry about the next game. In that situation, we didn't think we had to win three in a row or anything like that. We just came to the ballpark the next day and worried about what we had to do that day.

So for us, that's coming in here tomorrow and playing a good baseball game and hopefully trying to get this W.

Q. Along the lines of the travel question, any kind of a feeling that given the crazy Game 5 in Washington and then the travel issues going to Los Angeles, the Dodgers kind of had you guys in a good spot over the weekend?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Maybe a little. You can think that in a way, I guess. At the end of the day though, we do this all year long. We're traveling from here to there. We get in late a lot of places, have to play the next day. So it was nothing new for us. We have a tough group of guys. Being through the travel last year in the playoffs, it's very similar.

So, you know, it doesn't feel that out of whack, I guess. And we're prepared. We were ready for those games. We had the lead in both of them, you know, we just couldn't come through in the end. That was it.

Q. What do you make of the general bullpen struggles this off-season, particularly since they've been pretty good the last couple of years?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Yeah, they've been solid, man. I think it's the teams we're playing. The Nationals-Dodgers, they're deep lineups. They work the at-bats. At the end of the games now they're taking advantage of some bad pitches really, that's it. Our bullpen has been solid, man. It's solid all year. They were our strength the first half while the starters were struggling. So we relied on them a lot, and we're going to rely on them going forward. I know they'll be there for us.

Q. I think throughout the entire playoffs one pitcher, two pitchers made it in the 8th inning, starters. Obviously, that seems like it's a shift from years past. Does that change your mindset at all? Do you leave it out there earlier than maybe you would?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Not really. That is how the game's going. It's going bullpening now, as they're calling it. But from a starter's point of view, you still hope you can get into the 8th, ninth inning. If you're throwing well enough, the manager will let you go that deep into the game. Our focus is keep it simple, make your pitches when you're out there, and whenever they come to get you, you're done.

Q. What do you think this team learned about itself and what it takes to come back from a series from last year's NLCS from last year's World Series?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Yeah, I think experience teaches you everything. Having accomplished it, to come out on the winning end of it on those occasions, I think it helps tremendously. But at the end of the day, that's just a feeling, you know? You have to go out there tomorrow and do it, play the game. So that's where our focus is right now. Just pitch to pitch, at-bat to at-bat, grinding out ABs, making great pitches. We know we've got to get some Ws.

Q. As you mentioned, their lineup has changed from last year, but they have a certain third baseman who can really hit the ball. How do you approach him particularly since he has great at-bats? He tends to foul off a lot of pitches? What is your approach to him?
KYLE HENDRICKS: Yeah, he's one of the best in the league. Like you said, he puts together an at-bat every time up there. Doesn't strikeout very easily. So you're not trying to strike him out. You're trying to get him to put the ball in play. Even if he hits a single or something, you're trying on get him in, get him out of there.

And with the rest of the lineup, you know, he's the guy you can't let beat you, even with Bellinger behind him, he's that guy for them. So you have to see where you're at situational, where you're at in the game, whether you pitch around him or whether you attack him. But it's a Kat and mouse game, for sure with him.

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