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October 7, 2019

Kike Hernandez

Matt Beaty

Washington D.C. - pregame 4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You guys have been in this position before, a chance to clinch, but also knowing that it's not the last game, as a player how do you approach a game like that?
KIKÉ HERNÁNDEZ: I don't know. I don't know how to -- I mean, it's the playoffs. It's a playoff game. I think every game is as important as the next one or as the previous one. Last few years we had a chance to close out some series and we have been pretty successful. I think, thinking about the last two years or so when we had a chance to clinch, we swept Arizona, went up 3-0 against the Cubs, lost Game 4, but won in 5. And then World Series, we were down 3-2 in the World Series and won Game 6 and lost Game 7.

Last year we were up 2-0, Diaz lost Game 3 and won in 4. LCS went to seven games and World Series was a different, we never had a chance to clinch. So I think being on the road, Scherzer on the mound, it's very important for us to put the pressure on first. They got their backs against the wall and if we are able to put some traffic early and score some runs early, I think we put them, we put their backs against the wall even more. And hopefully we can accomplish that.

Q. You guys have three rookies starting today and it seems like every year you integrate a rookie or two and they have a high impact. Whether it's spring training or wherever, do you understand that as a Dodgers that there's a big pipeline impact guys coming through and how do you integrate them so seamlessly into the team?
KIKÉ HERNÁNDEZ: Yeah, I think that's one of the things that we cover in our first meeting in spring training. We want younger guys to know that it doesn't matter how good our big league team is, what names you see around the locker room or whatever, there's going to be a lot of guys that are going to have a chance, the opportunity to come up and help us win some ball games like these guys have, like Matt has. He's come through big for us this year.

But, yeah, that's, we have been known for the past three or four years now that this is an organization that has a lot of depth and takes pride in that. And we have had a lot of injuries throughout the years and a lot of opportunities have opened up for younger guys and they have come up and come up big after the opportunity.

For us, for me, at least for me it's like the same way that they treated me when I was a younger guy. They welcomed me with open arms, they made me feel like I was one of the guys that had been there for a few years. And he can probably answer that question a little bit better than me. But for us we want them to be as comfortable as possible because if you're comfortable within the clubhouse, then you're going to be able to perform better on the field.

Q. We were talking about the way the Dodgers integrate rookies pretty seamlessly year after year. What has been your experience in terms of feeling comfortable here right away and putting yourself in a position to make an impact?
MATT BEATY: Yeah, since day one that I showed up, all the veteran guys, all the guys that have been on the team, they made us feel welcome. Kind of just let us be who we are.

No, it's been great. Just go out there and perform every day and to be alongside those guys that have done it in the past, the past couple years, and just to be there, it's special.

Q. For both of you, but more for Kiké. When you guys are not in the starting lineup, but you know you're going to get a pinch hit opportunity later, come in the game late, what is your routine once the game starts? Are you studying their left-handers? For you Kiké, are you in the cage every other inning? How do you guys stay hot?
KIKÉ HERNÁNDEZ: I eat a banana in the first inning. I drink coffee in the second. I don't know, man. This is my fifth year with the Dodgers. It's been my fifth year pretty much coming off the bench for the Dodgers. So it's a learning curve, it's a learning process. It's not something that you wake up one day and you're like, oh, I figured this out.

I think every year you figure out new ways, new routines and little things that are going to help you come in the game. And just I feel like the biggest thing about pinch hitting or coming in from the bench is coming in and feeling like you've been playing the game. Sometimes it's a lot harder than what it seems like. But, like I said, I've been doing this for five years, so I've found ways to figure it out and start sweating, stay sweating and stay ready for whenever, whether it's go in the weight room, ride the bike or hit off the machine or run some stairs or run some sprints, whatever it is depending upon -- you also got to listen to your body, depending upon how your body is feeling. And last night, probably going to do the same routine as last night.

MATT BEATY: Yeah, I think he hit it. It's a learning curve. Especially for me this year, just I don't know, watching Kiké, watching Freeser, watching Joc, those guys, how they come off the bench and stuff like that, just learning from them. Just watching and also just listening, asking questions about how to attack a pitcher, how to attack this certain situation. I don't know, I think the guys that we have had that have proven themselves in the past, I think they're pretty good to listen to, so that's just kind of what I've tried to do the most.

Q. Were you surprised or at least particularly impressed that Rich Hill put himself in a position to start this game for you guys? He spent a long time rehab'ing an elbow injury and then had a setback with his knee, like, really late in the year.
KIKÉ HERNÁNDEZ: No, not surprised at all. When it comes to Richie, his competitiveness, his edge, you can't ever count him out. There's a few of us vouching for him to be on this roster whether he could give us six innings or three or four, I don't know what the plan is. But I feel like Richie, he's a big-time, big-game pitcher. He always seems to rise to the occasion, he likes the big game. And in a playoff game when you got a guy like Richie that takes you one or two times facing him for you to, like, see what his stuff is doing and kind of get comfortable. By the time you start getting comfortable it might be too late in the game and you might be facing a different guy. But with Richie's competitiveness and the way he prepares himself, he worked his butt off to come back and be in the position that he's in to start Game 4. And it wasn't an easy road for him considering his old age, but, yeah, I'm really proud of the way he handled himself and worked back to be here and hopefully help us advance to the next round.

Q. We were asking David Freese last night about all the postseason success he's had in his career, and he said it's just a matter of opportunity. Do you think it's that simple?
KIKÉ HERNÁNDEZ: No, I think that's Freeser being the humble Freeser that he is. Yeah, the more opportunities you get, the more chances you're going to have to succeed.

But when he's done it for however long he's done it, I don't think that's, I just think it's in him. Not only does he do it in the postseason but in the regular season, maybe, he goes a little bit quieter because it's the regular season but he comes up big day in, day out for us.

When you get the opportunity to have two of the greatest postseason hitters of our generation on the same team, it's pretty fun. Because we also got that guy, Justin Turner, who keeps raking every year in the playoffs and it's been a lot of fun to watch.

Q. Obviously seven divisions in a row now. You're trying to get to your fourth straight in LCS, third straight World Series. How hard is that in this environment in baseball today and what do you think separates the Dodgers from the other teams in the National League these last several years?
KIKÉ HERNÁNDEZ: Besides the fact that our front office is really good and whether it's the draft or trades or whatever it is, we keep bringing in guys that are going to help us have a better ball club. I think it's the attitude in our clubhouse of never be content with whatever happens.

In 2017 we could have, after 2017 we could have been crushed that we lost the World Series in seven games. And we came become the next year and we fought our way, we grinded our way back to another World Series. And this year and more unfinished business. It's just it tells you what those guys in that clubhouse, what our mentality is. We're not going to rest until we finally bring a world championship back to Los Angeles.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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