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October 7, 2019

Kevin Kiermaier

Austin Meadows

Tampa Bay, Florida - pregame 3

Q. You've spent many years in the Tampa area. You trained here in the off-season, and Austin. In conversations, you've developed a big appreciation for the area over the year. What was it like driving in today, just knowing it's game day, being able to play at the Trop in October?
KEVIN KIERMAIER: It's a great feeling, you know, to have a playoff game here at the Trop once again, first time since 2013. I hope there's many more days like this to come. But any time you play in front of your fans in an atmosphere like today, that's what it's all about.

I think I'm speaking for everyone. We're all excited about this opportunity. We know our back's against the wall, but, man, driving to the Trop for the playoff game, it's hard to beat that. And we hope to drive again here tomorrow.

AUSTIN MEADOWS: Yeah, it's definitely exciting. Seeing everybody, seeing all the support that we have.

For me personally, I just try to treat it as another day, normal day, not try to get -- to try to stay even keel about it. Just go out there and take care of business.

But, yeah, it's definitely exciting. There's a lot of excitement in the air, and we're just going to try to go out there and treat it like a normal game.

Q. To each of you, on the day that Charlie pitches, what sense of calm does it bring the clubhouse and how much does just his presence, beyond what he brings on the mound, help?
AUSTIN MEADOWS: Yeah, Charlie's -- the way he goes about his business is pretty unbelievable, the way he's just so consistent in his work and his presence in the clubhouse. Obviously, his experience in the postseason.

So we love when Charlie's on the mound and we go out and support him 100 percent. It's fun to be a part of, for sure. Charlie's a great, great person, great teammate. His presence is definitely, definitely really good in the clubhouse for sure.

KEVIN KIERMAIER: I'll piggyback on the same thing, pretty much. Same thing, just different words. We wouldn't want anyone else on the mound right now with our season on the line, down 2 games to none to these guys. Charlie's been our guy since day one. He's been our horse all year, and he always lives for that big moment.

There's been a saying around our clubhouse this whole year: Pressure is a privilege. And for Charlie to -- he's not going to put the pressure on himself for anyone today, not that he needs to. He's just going to go out there and go execute his game plan to the best of his ability and go out there and execute the pitches that he's done all year.

So we love having him on the mound. It's fun to play behind how he works and dissects each and every hitter. It's a joy to be behind him. Like I said, with what we're going up against today, we don't want anyone else on the mound, and he's our guy. And we expect a win.

Q. Speaking of urgency, guys, down 0-2 with Greinke on the mound, how do you balance the sense of urgency with not getting into a panic if you have a couple of rough innings to start?
KEVIN KIERMAIER: We don't plan on that, first and foremost. But it's one of those things where, like Austin said earlier, you have to treat this as any other game. And yeah, you know, we have to come out here and win today if we want to keep playing.

But at the same time, we're fully capable of that and we faced Greinke a month ago and got to him later in the game. We'd like to score early and often today and give us a little bit of breathing room.

But we know what's on the line. We're going to come out there ready to play, ready to go, and we'll see what happens. But we've had our backs against the wall the whole year, always dealing with certain things like this.

So it's okay. We're going to go out there and play to -- just go out there and play to our potential and see what happens. But like I said, we have Charlie on the mound. We've been playing great all year. Their guys threw great the first two games, Verlander and Cole. We're going to try to flip that momentum today and try to get something going in our favor.

Q. Kevin, you've talked to the team at various times this year. Obviously, the idea that you have to win three versus you want to look at it as one today, but what will be your message when you talk to the guys today or the whole team?
KEVIN KIERMAIER: I honestly probably won't even say anything. It's just one of those things. We all -- I said this a couple times already, we all know what's on the line today. We've got to come out here and find a way to win if we want to show up again tomorrow and then, you know, go from there.

It's all about today, and I'm not going to give a pump-up speech or any type of motivation. All these guys who showed up today, we know what to do to get ready for this game, and we're going to go out there and try to do everything right, the little things right, get on base any way we can and try to move runners from that point on.

There isn't going to be a motivation speech from me. We all know what's at stake. Come 1:05, we're going to be ready to go and, like I said, may the best team win. We're confident in what we can do.

This is a huge game for us, obviously. Like I said, if we get one and get that momentum going for us, we'll go from there. But it all matters what we do today.

Q. I'd like to get both of your thoughts on this, if possible. Is there any extra layer of challenge when it comes to just the day-to-day preparation for a pitcher going when you've seen two straight power pitchers like you've seen the first two days, to go into Greinke, who is also elite, but goes about it very different?
AUSTIN MEADOWS: For us, we're definitely going to build off those games in Houston. Last time we faced Zack, we did pretty good. I think we're going to go in there and have a good plan of attack. Greinke is a good pitcher, obviously a little different than Verlander and Cole.

For us, we're going to try to go out and put together good at-bats, look for mistakes, and see what happens. Like I said, Zack is a good pitcher. We're going to go compete. Obviously, if we win this game, we keep going. We'll go out and give it our best shot.

KEVIN KIERMAIER: Greinke is a much different pitcher compared to Verlander and Cole. Those guys having the high velocity and even their breaking pitches, you know, upper 80s, low 90s. Greinke, he's a true example of a pitcher. He's not out there throwing the ball; he's pitching. He used to throw harder. Now he might top out somewhere in the low 90s but has a fastball where he can just pick his spots, hit the corners, and use that nasty, deceptive change-up and mix in a cutter and a curveball.

He knows what he's doing. He has a plan, and he doesn't leave a whole lot of pitches out over the plate so we're going to try to capitalize on those today, hopefully.

Yeah, it's a totally different game plan where he's not going to throw 98, 99, but how he gets guys out is his location and placement of each and every pitch. We have to go up there with a good game plan against him and try to stick to that to each individual's preference, one through nine through the lineup.

So just get runners on and go from there. A lot easier said than done, but he's a great pitcher as well, has had a great year. Our work will be cut out for us.

Like I said, at the end of the day, we expect to win each and every day when we show up to the field, and we like the guy on the mound for us as well in Charlie Morton.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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