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October 21, 2019

Gerrit Cole

Houston, Texas - Workout Day

Q. What are the challenges for you coming into an organization where you don't know the players and integrating to an established young group with Correa, Altuve, Bregman, Springer?
GERRIT COLE: It's not a lot of challenges because we've got a lot of good guys and they made it real easy for me.

Q. (No microphone.)
GERRIT COLE: They were very welcoming. They were very gracious with their time. They were hospitable. We had some team events that obviously everybody is included but it's a great way to break the ice.

Every year you come into Spring Training you have guys that are new. So whether it's me or whether it's somebody else you have to extend an open hand and try to make them a part of your family, try to make them a part of your team.

Q. How excited are you to start Game 1 of the World Series? Growing up, what are some of your great World Series memories?
GERRIT COLE: I'm really excited to start Game 1. I'm really excited just to be here.

Some of my favorite World Series moments was I got to -- I remember I was sitting on the third base side of Angels Stadium down towards the front row and I had a nice perspective of Bonds versus Percival, he throws him this hundred-mile-an-hour fastball up at his neck and Bonds just cranks it out to right field. And I think the stadium just dropped dead for a minute.

I was at all those games at Angel Stadium. We brought out, the rally monkey was big that year and the boom sticks, like the noise-making things that we did. And we always -- whenever David Eckstein would hit we would make an X with the sticks.

And I went to the World Series Yankees-Arizona, and I think that was just a really special World Series I think for the whole country. It was probably the only time most people felt some empathy for the Yankees. And then Gonzo just ripped it right out. So that was an unbelievable series getting to watch Randy and Curt Schilling work. And those are two of my favorite as a kid.

And then I've been fortunate to be able to watch the Giants clinch in Detroit and to follow them along their ride, not actually going to the first -- going to the second -- I can't remember which one it was. I only made one of the World Series, but I made both NLCSs. I've been to three World Series, four now.

Q. You touched on this after Game 6, what are the challenges of the Nationals lineup?
GERRIT COLE: Yeah, I think they're incredibly talented. I think they've had their backs up against the wall early in the year and it just kind of goes to show you the character of the players that they have. I think in this the center of the lineup it starts with Anthony Rendon being the tone setter, a really special talent, probably a generational talent. We'll have to see how it all plays out.

But if it goes as expected he'll probably end up in the Hall of Fame. He's so cool and calm and collected. And I think a lot of his players feed off that. And he takes care of the baseball on both sides of the ball, both defensively and offensively. His approach is really deliberate.

And they have a lot of really great supporting characters that surround him, their catching core is as strong as ever. Their outfield play is excellent. And on the mound they're nasty.

Q. Can you approach this like any other game or is that easier said than done?
GERRIT COLE: No, I think you can. I've been doing it for like six months now, so I'll probably just keep doing the same thing.

Q. You and Stephen Strasburg, you share an agent, both from Southern California. Did you know guys know each other growing up, compete in high school or anywhere along the line?
GERRIT COLE: No, not really. I think I maybe played catch with him once or twice and caught up with him either here or there on the field or offseason in training, occasionally. Obviously Scott speaks very highly of him, so do his teammates. In the short chance that I've got to know him I thought he was really an enjoyable person to be around.

Obviously he's really perfecting his craft at this point, his career. It's been good to see. He's had some ups and downs that he's had to endure, especially from the injury standpoint. Well, specifically the injury standpoint. And so to kind of see him really becoming a true master of his craft I think all pitchers can appreciate that and we're happy for him.

Q. Coming off two series where bullpens were heavily used on the other side, do you guys as a rotation like this better going in knowing that it's going to be mano a mano rotation for four straight days?
GERRIT COLE: You can kind of phrase it however you want to phrase it. You can phrase it like one-on-one, like you said. I think last series sometimes we changed it like five-on-one. So you can kind of draw motivation from either side.

I personally am a big fan of starting pitching. I grew up wanting to become a starting pitcher and I'm a starting pitcher now. And there are a lot of really good starting pitchers on the other side of the field, guys that kind of emulate the role in terms of longevity, durability, creativeness, tenacity, grit. And so just a pleasure to share the field with them on the greatest stage at this point. And best of luck to them.

Q. Kind of jumping off of that fellow pitcher to fellow pitcher, what do you admire most about Scherzer?
GERRIT COLE: There's a lot of things. So most -- I think probably most his determination because I feel like that -- I feel like that word kind of covers how he competes, how he prepares. You have to be determined to be durable. My gosh, he's as durable as they come. You have to be determined to be prepared. And he's as prepared as they come. And then his presence on the mound is determined. He's got a job to do and he wants to go out and do it and just put the blinders on and get after the ball.

Q. You just kind of lit up when you were talking about Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling and watching these dominant pitchers in World Series. Have you had a chance to think of the run you've been on, your being mentioned with these guys. And what does it mean to you to not only be mentioned with them, and have this great run and start Game 1 of the World Series?
GERRIT COLE: I've been asked the question a few times so I don't really have a choice to think about it. I'd rather not think about it. But now that I'm thinking about it (laughter) obviously it's very special.

Like you touched on, when you dream as a little kid you dream about storybook endings and storybook players and scenarios like that. I feel tremendously humbled to be in this position and to be asked that question now several times is a little bit surreal. I try to answer the question as best I can but I don't really know what to say. I'm just trying to stay focused and trying to finish the job because the people that you keep -- the people you keep referring to in asking the question got the job done. So I'm trying to deliver on that front.

Q. There's been a lot of changes just in terms of League trends and the tools that pitchers use in terms of pitch selection. And four seamers are becoming more in vogue, and sinkers more out of vogue. What have you observed during your career? A lot of these changes started in Houston before you got here. What have you seen and how has this helped or caused you to adapt in your career?
GERRIT COLE: Well, the four seamer has been -- I think Bob Gibson invented the four seamer, and John Seaver and Don Drysdale. I think there are ebbs and flows in the game, like you said. I think you just are forced to adjust. If you're trying to be a professional, you're trying to be forward thinking. You have to use your eyes and you have to use the other tools that are provided for you like what the Astros have provided to their players. But that playing field is pretty much about leveled at this point. But if you're constantly trying to adjust, like there's not a league that you get called up to, although I'm trying to make the argument to Mike Trout to go up to the next League. But there's not one that you can go to the next level to. So at this point it's all about adjusting and counter adjusting. Right now it's the four seam.

For me personally in that perspective it's just a pitch set just suited my repertoire and made all of my other pitches better. So it's probably something I'll never abandon. But at the same time you do have to be vigilant and you do have to try to be staying ahead of the curve, not necessarily tearing down what's got you to the position but maybe a small tweak that can kind of keep you at the top of the Bell curve for a little bit longer.

Q. You mentioned World Series you went to. Game, didn't you go to the game in 2017?
GERRIT COLE: Oh, I did, I did, Game 2. Shoot.

Q. Did you ever think, obviously watching the Astros play, did --
GERRIT COLE: Absolutely not. That's surreal. I went there because Tony, David, Charlie, I just wanted to support them, it was right up the street. And I got treated to a wonderful, wonderful game. And so I remember meeting Charlie Bracamonte before the game, they were playing catch and he introduced me to him and I got to see Jeremiah, too.

And I remember that was the first time I met Bracamonte, and if you meet him the first time you don't forget that. But he's so bubbly, and of course he's in the World Series, so it's like volume up to level 10. So that was really cool. I got treated to a great game. And while ironically I'm here now, so that's something pretty unique.

Q. I remember after the Game 5 loss last year, and I remember seeing you at your locker and you were pretty down, of course, understandably. I'm just kind of curious how long did it take you to kind of get past that? I know the Pirates you'd gotten to the postseason but not very far, and then you got pretty far last year, you guys clinched the other night. Did you think about how you felt the year before and did it make it any sweeter to have gotten this far?
GERRIT COLE: It's something I'll never forget, that's for sure. It's definitely something that I use to motivate myself. I think it's always kind of in the back of our minds still, just kind of an awareness or a perspective of what it feels like to be on the other side and how much we hated it. I think we all use it to a certain level.

However, it may be for each individual person. For me, it's just -- you can't control everything but if you can control your preparation and you can go out there saying, Look, I did everything I needed to do to prepare this game and I'm just going to go get after the ball and what happens, happens.

It just reinforces for me that mindset to just -- days like this, when I'm going to leave this press room and go warm up and play catch and then go sit in the video room, like I'm going to hit all those spots and I'm going to pour a lot of time and effort. And when I leave, like, I'm going to be tired. And I'm going to get a good night's sleep and I'm going to roll into it tomorrow.

But that's in the back of your head saying, like, Hey, go hit your routine, make sure you focus when you play catch, no careless throws, every little counts, and then get after your preparation on the computer.

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