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October 4, 2019

Gerrit Cole

Houston, Texas - pregame 1

Q. Gerrit, you were part of the same draft class with Glasnow in Pittsburgh. What do you remember about him back then and how have you seen him improve over the years?
GERRIT COLE: I remember him being taller than everybody, and he is really actually a joy to watch run. I don't know if you've ever seen him run, but he's a pretty special runner.

At that time, he was pretty inconsistent, but still saw him throw 99, 100 on the backfields, which being early in professional baseball probably some extra adrenaline. But hard to get adrenaline going on the backfield. So knew that it was something unique.

And it seems that he's just been able to think a little bit less and have a better identity of what he's trying to throw. I watched him a little bit at the beginning of the -- I watched him at the beginning of the year, and then he's been hurt for a majority of the year.

So I haven't seen him be that good for that long, but I'm really proud of how far he's come from meeting him in Pirate City about eight or nine years ago.

Q. Gerrit, what do you appreciate about how rare this opportunity is to be with not only these great players surrounding you but also these unique and wonderful people kind of all tied together for one purpose at this time of year?
GERRIT COLE: It's just a fabulous environment to be in. It's just been a blessing to come here and meet all these people and be able to learn from such masters of their craft and, you know, the talent in the room is second to none.

It's just -- we tend to inspire each other with our great play, and I can't really envision a greater environment to be in.

Q. Gerrit, some of the challenges of pitching against Tampa.
GERRIT COLE: The offense is tough. Some unique hitters with a lot of talent, an aggressive mentality, good awareness of the strike zone. Don't give up at-bats or give up pitches. Some uniqueness to them in the type of hitters that they have, and well coached and well prepared. It's going to be a tough battle.

Q. How special is it for you to be in this position with the chances this team has this year?
GERRIT COLE: You don't take these kinds of things for granted. We've put in a lot of hard work to get into this position, and now probably some of the hardest work is in front of us. But we've prepared and so it's time to go out and relax and trust and not really approach it any different than how we've been approaching it, because the way we've been approaching it has been pretty consistent all year with the mindset that our process will work in October.

So just kind of keep it the same.

Q. Gerrit, you talked about how much you can learn from being around so many masters of the craft. What is the most important thing you think you've learned from being around such good pitchers and what do you try to impart to them?
GERRIT COLE: I think it's not just the pitchers. I mean, I think we have one of the best managers in the game. I think we have some of the best hitting coaches in the game. We have some of the best -- certainly, some of the best position players.

So I think the common theme between everybody is communication and the willingness to just get better however small the detail is. So I think that's probably the biggest thing. I would venture to guess most good teams have some form of that. Certainly, all the best teams or some of the greatest teams have really cohesive feel to them and a really good level of communication.

Q. From a personal standpoint, you've been a great pitcher for a while, but this has been another level. What do you think you've done better this year than in the past?
GERRIT COLE: I just try to improve across the board with the command and approach and -- I just, I don't know, I didn't do anything different than the last couple years. Just keep getting better, I guess.

Q. Other than the comfort he gives you and how he controls the running game, what's made you and Maldonado work so well together since he's come back here?
GERRIT COLE: He has a raspy voice like me.


He, again, back to the communication, like we're -- and this is not to exclude Robbie or Stubby or any of the work that Max did. I think, obviously, he protects the running game quite well, which is why he's the manager's preference. He's so fun to work with, the communication that we have. We're very honest with each other.

He'll come in and tell me that, you know, You're full of it, that was a stupid pitch. And I'll come in and tell him, you know, You're full of it, that was a stupid call.

So, you know, to be able to have that conversation and be serious but have, like, some lightheartedness to it and know that it's not personal, that's pretty cool.

We can do that with Robbie too, but it just so happens I get Maldonado more often than not. As a pitching staff, we're pretty blessed to have two catchers that pour into us, like I said, without disregarding Stubbs or the work that Max did. Those two workhorses behind the dish are pretty special.

Q. Gerrit, this question has been pertinent for a while. What is it like to take the mound, when you haven't taken a loss since May?
GERRIT COLE: Well, (knocking on wood) I don't really think about it. You know, sometimes wins and losses are out of your control. So I love getting them, but my job is to go out there and just, with whatever I got that day, just give my team the best chance to win.

I feel I've executed that plan more oftentimes than not. Because we have such an unbelievable offense and we play such tight D, and we've just been working really well as a unit for the second half of the season, I think that statistic has taken off a little bit, for lack of a better word.

So I just guess take it as validation that my approach has been pretty solid and I just continue to try to keep the same thing and not do anything different.

Q. Gerrit, listening to you talk, you obviously have a clear focus on today. When did that come about and how long has it been because, obviously, you've got a future to worry about and things like that? How do you put everything in perspective to take this winning approach?
GERRIT COLE: Truthfully, it's been pretty easy. We have a really talented squad. The focus in the room is contagious. So I probably owe a lot of that to my teammates and my friends and so -- but when it's all said and done, when it boils down, you want to win.

So, like, regardless if your career is short or long, I personally would rather win more often than not. Some of the things that can contribute to winning are staying focused like that, for sure, and being in the present.

Like I said, when you kind of foster that environment here, like we have, and you have teammates that are encouraging and inspiring, it's just really not as challenging as it may seem.

Thanks, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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