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October 4, 2021

Gerrit Cole

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Fenway Park

New York Yankees

Workout Day Press Conference

Q. Gerrit, you've clearly pitched in a lot of big games throughout the course of your career, but what's the anticipation like as you wait for tomorrow to get the ball?

GERRIT COLE: I mean, I think it's just like, can we get it going already, you know. It's like a bit of a waiting game, I think, which is good for the body, good for the mind to a certain extent to recover, but you're chomping at the bit to get back out there. You know, excited for the challenge that's ahead of us.

Q. When you look at your last couple of starts, not quite as sharp as you would have liked them to be. Looking at video, have you identified anything? Are there any adjustments that you're making heading into tomorrow?

GERRIT COLE: I think I'm just going to have to be on top of my game. Going to have to locate pitches in big spots. I think, you know, some poor location to some really good hitters got us in a bit of a hole early. So it's going to be a similar situation.

They have got a lot of good hitters and, you know, we're going to have to make pitches in those situations in order to be successful. So, you know, whether that's making sure you nail the delivery or being in the right mindset to execute the pitch, that's what we've been working on this week, and looking to bring it out tomorrow.

Q. You said last year before Game 1 of the Division Series that you particularly enjoy pitching this time of year, and I think your answer was, the stakes -- somebody asked you what you like about it. Can you delve into that more? What is it about this particular time of year that really motivates you?

GERRIT COLE: I think because in order to get here, you have to have played well as a group all year. You know, when you're starting off on this journey eight months ago, you know, the goal is to be able to have the opportunity to play these games. So, you know, you put in hard work, you grind through the ups and downs of the season, and you keep pushing yourself, telling yourself that the opportunity to play here is kind of the carrot at the end of the road.

So when you're here, it's a validation of all the stuff that you've put in and all the challenges that you've had to overcome. Just not everybody gets to play in these games, so I think that's why we all enjoy the opportunity to do that.

Q. How is the hamstring?

GERRIT COLE: It's good.

Q. You've had an up-and-down season. We talked to you a lot earlier in the year about the changes, the rules, or the enforcement of the rules. How have you looked at the course of your season and just the ups and downs of that and the changes that you've had to make throughout the season to deal with the new reality of what baseball is doing?

GERRIT COLE: I mean, just make the adjustment along the way and I guess not think about it. You know, it is the landscape that we play in, so you've just got to go and execute pitches.

Q. Is the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry what you thought it would be before you came here and is it extra special to you to be playing in this -- it's the second time they have had kind of a tiebreaker game, I don't know if you know the history of the rivalry at all. Does that mean anything to you?

GERRIT COLE: You know, as a kid growing up watching Pedro and Roger duke it out -- didn't quite catch Roger at the beginning when he was here, or Petit against Pedro, Petit against any big-time Red Sox guys, it's like what a fantastic game to watch.

You know, you're dreaming about putting yourself in that position, and you know, obviously coming through for your team, and here we are. So I mean, it's pretty much been I think what I've expected. Like the last year and COVID was a little different without the fans and being able to engage in the atmosphere. But, man, Fenway has been rocking this whole year every single time we come. You know, the atmosphere is unbelievable and we've been playing each other tight all year.

So it's been what I've expected for sure.

Q. I think the last start was the coldest one you've had this year and this one will probably be as cold or colder. Anything you can take from that one and adjust to considering that makes the ball harder to grip?

GERRIT COLE: I feel like it was colder in April, to be honest. But I mean, you know, you just -- I mean, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. You kind of keep it warm obviously, whether that's keeping it in a fist or making sure it's warm. We don't have the thing the quarterbacks wear, but you can keep your hand in your pockets in between innings and things like that.

Otherwise just, you know, every game presents like little challenges, whether it's weather, whether it's footing on the mound. That's always something different that happens every game, not every game is the same. You just adapt when those things come up. That's not like -- it's not a really big deal.

Q. Is it true that you didn't talk much to the Red Sox players at the All-Star Game? Was that out of respect for the rivalry or why was that?

GERRIT COLE: Yeah, I don't recall having tons of conversations with them, kind of on other sides of the clubhouse. Certainly don't remember some of the exchanges that have been reported.

But I was still kind of not feeling too hot those couple days there coming out of Houston. So I wasn't maybe quite myself. But also, maybe it wasn't quite what other people try to portray me like.

Q. So it wasn't some intentional thing or anything like that?

GERRIT COLE: No. I would probably not say that it was an intentional thing.

Q. And I guess on that topic, what are your thoughts on Eovaldi? You've seen him a few times this year.

GERRIT COLE: Nate's got some magic, man. He's a high-stakes performer. That's why he's got a contract and why they wanted to keep him around. Incredible postseason run that he made for them and selflessly pitching in huge spots.

I mean, I respect anybody that does what I do and takes the ball every time, and sells out for it. Pretty magnificent to watch him go out there and replicate that velocity and all those different pitches all the time. I'm a fan of Nate. He's well-respected in our clubhouse, as well, obviously having played for us and left an impact on quite a bit of guys; the way he goes about his business. I don't know him personally, but what I've heard is he's a true professional and I enjoy watching him pitch.

Q. Obviously there's so much anticipation for this game, so what will tonight be like for you? Will you go over reports and watch video, or will you pull back and clear your mind a little bit?

GERRIT COLE: I think maybe a little bit of both. I'm looking at some stuff just like my normal prep already and then Amy gets in later, so we'll probably get a bite to eat and probably not really talk about certain sequences. Probably talk about Caden and what he was up to today.

Obviously I'm here and I've got to play catch, so those conversations will be work-related and then I'll go to dinner.

Q. What was it like for you watching what Giancarlo did here last weekend with the series that he had?

GERRIT COLE: Boy, that was exciting for one fan base, I guess, and one group of players. But it was pretty awesome. Just a guy that's really special, really unique. Like I haven't quite seen anything of it. I don't believe the Statcast readings, frankly, like 451 or whatever on that one. That's a bit light. They might want to recalibrate that.

He wants to win. He prepares extremely hard. I really enjoyed getting to know him over the last two years and love him as a teammate. From that perspective, I love watching my friends and teammates succeed, and so it was a blast for me personally and it was obviously pretty majestic moment in an important game, which always intensifies the magic of it, I guess. Hopefully he can bring it out again.

Q. You've faced the Red Sox a lot over the last few years including this season. Does that familiarity work to your advantage or do you need to prepare a different game plan since they just saw you like a week ago?

GERRIT COLE: I get asked that question a lot, but I still don't have a good answer for it, whether it's one way or the other. I'm sure there's some statistic that says it favors -- it probably favors the pitcher maybe, but I don't necessarily think that. It only takes one guy out of those nine to have a really good day to really kind of threaten the balance of the game. You can have a great day against seven or eight of them.

I mean, the familiarity probably has its advantages for me; probably has its advantages for them. And probably in terms of overall advantage to each side, it's probably relatively balanced. So just got to go out and execute and play some good ball.

Q. Following up on the question before about how you're going to spend your evening, what are you like the hours leading up to the game in your clubhouse? Do you withdraw into a shell and put up this do not disturb vibe, don't want to talk to anybody? Or are you vocal and work the room and make your presence feet?

GERRIT COLE: I'm not watching BP like Nestor, but I'm not in a turtle shell either. I did make that pun on purpose (laughter). I kind of am in the middle. I was actually talking to Lindsey about this the other day. I try to put myself in the mode of how I want to go out pitching early but not maybe as early as some other people. But certainly not the guy that can walk out of the bullpen and just say, I'm going to flip this switch and slide into my game mentality.

But that also doesn't constitute being a not-pleasant-person to be around. Now, there are some people that have to do that and that's okay. But that's not -- I'm not like don't bother me with dumb stuff, but I'm not going to snap at you, either. But don't bother me with dumb stuff. I think that's kind of like what's understood.

But I try to settle into that frame of mind and give myself some time to tune it up or tune it down if I feel like I need to.

Q. There's a possibility that J.D. Martinez won't play tomorrow for them, ankle issue. What makes him so difficult to face?

GERRIT COLE: Well, J.D. is a pretty big-time slugger, and seems like a pretty resilient individual based on the career path to get to being a big-time slugger in a big-time market. It's very-well documented, his evolution into the player that he's become today, along with the incredible talent that he has to impact the baseball. Like some of those intangibles, I think, are just as important. Makes him a tough at-bat. I mean, he's got some magic and he's got a lot of talent, and so in situations like that, I think you have just got to try to stay vigilant and execute the pitches to the best of your ability.

I feel like inevitably in this game, you're going to run into people who put good swings on good pitches sometimes. But in the end, you can't control how good of a swing they take. You can only control how good of a pitch you make. That's the focus when you face really impactful hitters like that.

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