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October 5, 2019

Gerrit Cole

Houston, Texas - postgame 2

Houston - 3, Tampa Bay - 1

Q. Gerrit, kind of a two-part question. One, what does it mean to have this kind of performance in this situation? Two, if you haven't been told, the things that you did tonight, third most strikeouts, tied with third most strikeouts in postseason history. Bob Gibson was the first one. Seventh pitcher to have that many strikeouts with no walks. Stuff like that.
GERRIT COLE: Well, I'm just happy we got the win. It was tight there at the end. I just was pleased with how we were going about our game plan tonight. We were executing more pitches than not. We put ourselves in a good position to go deep. We put ourselves in a good position to work out of a couple jams.

I thought Maldonado was fantastic. We played really sharp D. Carlos picked us up with a couple of amazing plays. Same with the outfield. George cut Meadows down to a single. Will picking us up late.

As far as the other stuff, Mark, you know how I answer these things. We've got a lot more work to take care of. There's a few months this winter that maybe we can sit back and have a drink about it. Right now, it's on to the next one.

Q. Have to try.
GERRIT COLE: That's okay.

Q. Gerrit, the ability with what you mixed all your secondary stuff, do you know early in the game when you have everything working like that? When did you kind of know tonight that it was all on?
GERRIT COLE: Some games, yeah. But, I mean, I made a couple of mistakes. I thought we set up well and gave us a little bit of leverage. But pitches can kind of come and go throughout the night. So it's more about just trying to pick good spots to miss in.

So I knew that we had some weapons that we could use, and we had talked about all four of the weapons, obviously, in the game plan early. So it was just about making good choices, and we did that.

Q. Gerrit, when you come out of the game, Hinch comes out and the teammates are around you, patting you, the crowd gets louder and louder, you salute at the crowd. What was that moment like for you? Might have been the strongest moment as part of the team.
GERRIT COLE: It's the reason why we played 162 and tried to win as many as we could, because we wanted to play in front of these fans. The ovation was pretty special. They were, like, they were standing, like, first strikeout of the game, like, three hours before that.

So there was some traffic on the bases and there was still some work to be done, but I feel like we have a good connection to the fans as a team. So it was just a special night. They were into it. I think we felt them out there as well as they felt us. Like I said, it's why we played our butts off for as long as we did, because we want to play as many games in front of these people as we can.

Q. Gerrit, what's the pride you take in getting consistently deep into games at a time when you have teams looking like one time through the lineup, whatever. What's the pride you take in doing it your way?
GERRIT COLE: I've always -- I grew up watching guys that did that. You know, I mean, there's like two dynamics to the season, right? There's 162 games, and then there's the playoffs.

And as far as the pitching staff goes, it's a collective unit. If certain guys get overused or, you know, you have to lean on certain people too often, sometimes that can spiral you out a little bit or maybe not put you in a good position to win games.

So if you have the ability to try to go deep and you do your homework to try to make sure that you get to the second and third time through the lineup, it's important to balance out the staff and kind of balance out the workload.

I feel like that's what we've been about here since I got here, and we've had guys like Dallas and Charlie and bringing guys in, Zack, throwing a bunch of innings for us.

I'm happy to play my role, really, and like I said, just get as deep as I can and save the guys for -- you never know when somebody is going to have a bad day, right? Like we're all human.

So, I mean, you don't take it for granted what Justin does the night before. You don't take it for granted that they haven't maybe thrown -- bullpen rather hasn't thrown as much as other bullpens. On any given night, you could need to go to them early. You want them just as fresh as possible for the situations because every game matters.

Q. I know we've talked about this before, but you had a career high 118 pitches tonight and then on the 116th, when you were still throwing 100, how are you able to consistently do that, like, late in games?
GERRIT COLE: God. Seriously. Been doing it for a long time. I just try and not mess it up.

Q. You mentioned Martin. Just talk about your relationship and the trust you have with your battery mate there?
GERRIT COLE: It goes through the whole staff. Go to three or four different guys this year and I picked up a win with every one of them. So it's not just Martin. It's Robbie, it's Stubby, it's Max. The communication between that corps and the pitching staff is really good. We try to get on the same page and try to just kind of pitch collectively as a unit.

I thought specifically this evening, Martin was, I mean, as locked in as I've ever seen him. Driving in runs, running the bases, I don't know how many leverage blocks he had in the last inning, maybe the last couple innings.

That's tough to do. I threw 118, Osuna threw 30, Will threw somewhere around 10. That's 150 pitches and he's dropping to his knees without any room for error after three hours, you know, with just high-leverage pitches.

I mean, to be that locked in is pretty special. He had one of his best nights back there, and it's a big reason why we won the game. It's a big reason why we pitched so well tonight.

Q. Gerrit, I just want to follow up on you throwing 99 or 100 in 115-plus pitches. I think that's viewed in the moment as you digging deep, quote unquote, in the moment.
But I wonder if you think of it as something you started doing in the middle of February or --

GERRIT COLE: I've been doing it since I was 17.

Q. Whatever it is that allows you to get to that tonight is more than just in that moment, right?
GERRIT COLE: It's just -- I don't know what to say. I just, it's a blessing. I mean, I don't know. I just do it. I mean, I did it all night. So it's just my fastball. I just throw it, and it comes out. (Laughter.)

Q. Gerrit, you talked about how you felt like you made a couple of mistakes. Can you talk about a couple of the really good pitches you feel like you made today and why you think they were so good?
GERRIT COLE: Yeah. Choi had given us fits and there was a really good fastball I threw him. Second at-bat, inside. I felt like it surprised him a bit. I felt that bought us some leverage throughout the zone.

Another pitch, let me think. There was another couple good curveballs to some of the left-handers, 2-2, Meadows, first inning, executed curveball. That was big for us. He was battling. He was having long at-bats all night.

Same thing, later in the game, there's a first pitch curveball to right-hander. I felt that set the tone for the at-bat. And those are some of the ones that stand out.

Just executed off-speed pitches in big spots and then, you know, it's fastball that is inside just kind of surprised him.

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