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October 13, 2018

Gerrit Cole

Boston, Massachusetts - pregame 1

THE MODERATOR: We'll open for questions for Gerrit Cole.

Q. Could you define what it's like playing with Alex Bregman?
GERRIT COLE: It's a lot of energy. It's a lot of confidence, a lot of good vibes around the clubhouse, a lot of preparation. He's kind of a tone-setter in his own way, going about his business. You know, just a real pro.

Q. What about the fun-loving part of him?
GERRIT COLE: He always likes to keep things loose, that's certainly for sure. He loves his teammates. He loves the atmosphere, I think, just as much as he loves us individually. He's a joy to be around. You're excited to go see Alex when you come to the park.

Q. You guys and the Red Sox, you're a bit of an anomaly. When you look at the LCS, you have starters that can go seven, eight, nine innings; you and Justin back to back, Sale and Price. What do you think about bullpening and where that's going with some teams from your perspective as a starter who can obviously go the full nine if needed?
GERRIT COLE: I mean, I certainly prefer starters. I mean, I guess you gotta -- if you think it gives you the best chance to win, as opposed to going out and buying somebody that can do the job, or if you can't do that and if you can't grow 'em, I guess you just have to collect a bunch of them.

Q. I know after the Astros traded for you they gave you some ideas about how they thought how you could improve. What were the key principles from your perspective, and how challenging or not was it to execute those suggestions?
GERRIT COLE: I think the key principle was, like, using a lot of the data and the information that they have to discern, like, what is your strength and what your best stuff looks like analytically. Right?

So you have a pitch that looks great on the charts and all the data, and then you have the film of the video and you're, like, okay, when the ball moves like this. Then you try to match that up and then -- and that was helpful because it's not like they were reinventing the wheel; they were just showing me what I did well and then allowed me just to attack.

And the environment I'm in, in terms of having other starters and other guys that have bought into that same kind of thing and made those adjustments successfully has made the transition easier.

Q. Did that lead to more curveballs?
GERRIT COLE: Yeah, just kind of reallocating, like, what's going to be my primary weapon. And, I mean, every day you go out there and something is different, but it's a general point of emphasis, like, this is what your fastball is going to be like. And this is what your best four-seam looks like. And if you do that more, we think that it's going to be better. So I said okay.

Q. What do you think the biggest challenges are with this lineup? And could you speak to it a little bit specifically about Betts at the top and how containing him might be a big key for you?
GERRIT COLE: When you started the question, the first thing I was going to say is Betts. But I mean just to touch on the lineup as a whole, I think -- I don't think that you win 108 games in this division against the type of quality pitching that they see without really staying focused every pitch -- having a plan and a purpose for what they're going to do in the box. They seem really convicted. They seem to know their strengths. They seem to play well as a team -- all the qualities, I guess, that you would be looking for when you're trying to win a lot of ballgames.

And specifically in regards to Betts, special talent, special pitch recognition and hand/eye coordination. So he's going to be -- I mean, he's going to be a handful, I anticipate. And a tone-setter.

Q. When you're coming off an outing like you had against the Indians, how quickly the next time out do you get an indication, internally like, all right, I've still got that same stuff?
GERRIT COLE: I'm not sure, because you know they were -- they didn't really give me a chance to feel anything out against them. So I really didn't start feeling comfortable -- they were swinging early and then they were at least convicted in what they were swinging at. Fortunately I was able to locate.

Some days it just comes out hot. Some days it doesn't. And so I mean you have a -- the bullpen here is a little different than the mound. So probably have a good gauge by the first 15 pitches or so.

Q. Kind of big picture for you, what's it like being here with this team at Fenway, championship series, coming off a strong division series start? In some ways thus far everything has completely worked out for you since you joined this team?
GERRIT COLE: I mean, everybody loves -- everybody loves to do well at their job. So I think that's nice. I mean, you certainly want to be coming into this hostile environment having just done your job well as opposed to having just done your job poorly.

So, I mean, it's exciting. It's what you work really hard for it and you dream about, you know, to come into situations like this. And when you're doing it at this type of venue, with this type of history and this type of -- I know what the atmosphere -- I haven't done it, but I have a feeling it's going to be just like buzzing the whole time.

And so, gosh, yeah, it's a lot of fun to play with, man. Play 180-some odd of these things, so when you get hyped up atmospheres it's pretty fun.

Q. Do you focus on Verlander's game plan when you're watching a start tonight more so than other pitchers? And how much do you quiz him after the game?
GERRIT COLE: Yeah, I'm not -- he's not going to be in the mood for a quiz, I can tell you that, regardless if he pitches well or not. He's not going to get -- I mean, who likes a pop quiz here, anybody? (Laughter).

I'm just going to -- I'm just going to watch the game, just like you guys are. You're going to have feelings. You're going to have instincts, as I'm sure it's what you guys, how you script your articles in the same way, how I'm going to try to craft my outing tomorrow. I'm going to try to feel how the series has gone in the first game and just try to take the temperature.

But at the same time, you've got Sale and Verlander in Game 1 of the ALCS. You can take a minute to enjoy that and I guess not worry about business for a second. At least for the first pitch or so.

Q. You hear people say that the Astros think at a different level than other teams. Have you found that to be true? And as inquisitive as you are about pitching, how perfect of a fit has this team been for you at this stage of your career?
GERRIT COLE: That's a good question. Yeah, I mean, I think they're at the forefront, not only with the actual system itself, but with the idea that we've created something here that -- it doesn't matter if you're a good player or you're a bad player. Doesn't matter if you're Justin Verlander or if you're a minor league guy in low-A, the whole deal here is to try to get each player better individually. So like everybody can take advantage of it.

And so it's less of a system of we want you to do this and more of a system of this -- instead of like -- we want you to do this to fit into the way we want to do things; it's more like, hey, this is what this is saying that your strengths are, and you're not leaning on them. Or this could be an avenue that you could perform better. And ultimately -- the player benefits first and then ultimately the team benefits and the organization benefits.

It's just like a player-first kind of philosophy, at least that was my impression of it. I mean, and it's just really special and there's a lot of special things.

I think Jim Crane is a pretty special guy. I think Justin is a pretty special guy, and the rest of my teammates, Dallas and Jose.

Just to be surrounded by those type of people has been a thrill. And just to get thrust into an opportunity where it's balls to the wall here and we're going to try to win another one. Regardless of what environment you come from, that's a hell of an environment to be just put in and it's really just everybody's dream.


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