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NL WILDCARD GAME: ROCKIES VS CUBS


October 2, 2018


Javier Baez

Albert Almora Jr.


Chicago, Illinois - pregame

Q. How tough is it to put aside the disappointment of yesterday to get ready for this game?
JAVIER Bテ・Z: I'm not disappointed. We had a good game. You know, we fought. Everybody thinks we struggled because our bullpen is down, but like I said yesterday, we only had three hits the whole game. If we hit and score runs, our pitcher doesn't have to worry about throwing more strikes or whatever or the bullpen don't have to come and be with pressure I don't think.

Q. A lot of people say that it comes down to starting pitching, so how much confidence do you have in Lester, 22 playoff starts against Freeland, who this is the biggest stage he's ever been on?
ALBERT ALMORA JR.: I mean, we've got our horse going, and I think once you get to the postseason, obviously experience is key, and Jon has that. But at the same time, he's coming out, Freeland is coming out with a lot of -- he's from Denver, he's doing it for his hometown, so he's coming in with a lot of energy, and obviously it's going to be electric here in Wrigley.

It's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be a crazy atmosphere, but this is what we look forward to every year.

Q. Javy, the offense has been like this all season. You might have 10 runs one game, one run the next. Have you seen any reasons why you think it might be ready to break out today and maybe for the rest of the playoffs?
JAVIER Bテ・Z: Yeah, for sure. You know, we've got to stop worrying about other teams. We've got to go out there and have fun. We've got to go out there and compete. If we do that, there's no team that can beat us, and they know that, so that's why they run their mouth a lot, because they know we're the best. Even when we're struggling, we are the head of everybody.

We've just got to keep our plans and play baseball, go out there and compete. I don't want to say it the wrong way, but we've got to go out there and compete?

Q. Who do you think is running their mouth, you mean like Milwaukee?
JAVIER Bテ・Z: It doesn't matter, like everybody. Everybody, fans. Who cares? I don't pay attention to it, but it's around us, and if we pay attention, we get in their trap.

Q. David Bote has really come on as a strong contributor this year, is obviously from Colorado. What has made him such a special player on the field, off the field?
ALBERT ALMORA JR.: I mean, I've always said this, and I think our front office does a really good job of bringing guys together that are in it for the right reasons and are team-first guys. When Bote came in, obviously there were some injuries, and he came in and it was for the team. Actually it was in Denver, and obviously it was a special moment for him, but he busts his butt every day, man. He comes to work, puts his head down and plays the game hard. That's what we all want. That's what we all do, and that's what we expect from our guys is to come here and try to help us win a World Series, and he's doing that.

Q. What makes Freeland (indiscernible)?
ALBERT ALMORA JR.: Once you get into the playoffs it's a whole different ballgame, at least for me, I think, and honestly, if you want my opinion, I'm not trying to worry about what he's going to do to me, I'm worried about what I'm going to do and my game plan and trust myself. I'm a really confident guy when it comes to that kind of stuff. I don't care, he's going to throw the white ball over the white plate, and I've got to try to do damage. I'm sure that's what all our mindsets is at.

JAVIER Bテ・Z: Sure, now that you remind me, I'm 0-for-6 off him. He's got a pretty good angle of the ball, and I've been swinging at pitches inside, out of the zone, and he's been getting me with the plan that he has, but I've got a different plan tonight. Obviously you've got to get him in the plate and just get his mistake and make him pay for it.

Q. Javy, you were part of the 2015 Wild Card experience. I know Kyle Schwarber said it took years off his life, he felt like. What do you remember about this stage, and for Albert, what have you heard about kind of just this one game, one night experience?
JAVIER Bテ・Z: You said '15?

Q. Wasn't it '15?
JAVIER Bテ・Z: I think, but I don't know if my mind goes back that far. I remember I think it was Kyle's homer, right, in Pittsburgh? Yeah, still going. I remember that. I remember that homer. You know, that's a game that I remember that we were competing. I think it was Jake pitching, and if I'm not wrong -- but everybody was into the game. Everybody was in our plan, on the same page, and I don't think we are there right now, but you know, we're fighting to get there. And if we do that, we'll be together in every at-bat, every pitch, and supporting our teammates.

Q. As the two-out, two-strike approach been preached all year from your hitting guys, you guys both have had really good years, so is it something that you guys have tried to adhere to, or is it something that we in the media have made too much about?
ALBERT ALMORA JR.: Do you want me to answer his or still go back to Kelly's?

Kelly, I was not -- you said I wasn't a part of '15. I was actually watching that rooting them on. But I was a part of a Game 7 in the World Series, which is -- we were going to go home regardless after that game, but we wanted to go out on top. The only difference for me today is we've got a chance to keep playing. I'm not done -- I'm still not tired of seeing these guys every day, so I want to keep going, I want to keep winning until it's all over and said and done.

For Bruce's question, I think this last month for myself personally, every swing I've taken has been a two-strike swing I feel like. Just the wear and tear of the season, you're not trying to do too much. Obviously I finished the year with I think it was five homers, so my power numbers -- I'm trying to get on base for guys like Javy and KB and Riz to drive me in, I'm just trying to keep it simple and get on base however I can.

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