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World Series Game 3: Wood pregame interview

MLB.com

Q. The Astros' lineup is terrific, obviously, a lot of good right-handed hitters. How do you as a left-handed pitcher prepare for that?

ALEX WOOD: They obviously have a great lineup. I think you see a trend with these teams going far in the playoffs, the Cubs, ourselves, the Astros, a lot of similarities, in kind of the culture and identity of their offense. A lot of plate discipline, get on base. It's a challenge, but I'm excited for it.

Q. The Astros' lineup is terrific, obviously, a lot of good right-handed hitters. How do you as a left-handed pitcher prepare for that?

ALEX WOOD: They obviously have a great lineup. I think you see a trend with these teams going far in the playoffs, the Cubs, ourselves, the Astros, a lot of similarities, in kind of the culture and identity of their offense. A lot of plate discipline, get on base. It's a challenge, but I'm excited for it.

I think that my lives against our own team and against the Cubs, too, has prepared me as I can be for their lineup. It'll be a lot of fun, just got to attack them, throw strikes, and go from there.

Q. You haven't had a chance to pitch a lot this postseason, but that start against the Cubs, did that help you get some nerves out, get a sense for what it is this World Series start?

ALEX WOOD: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I feel fortunate that I'm finally getting to start in the postseason. My three previous postseason experiences have all been out of the bullpen. So really my first start against the Cubs in the postseason, I felt way more comfortable, not really much nerves. Just seemed like another game with a little bit of higher expectations for yourself and a little bit more pressure.

But I felt really comfortable in Chicago. If you can feel comfortable there, you can feel comfortable anywhere. So I'm really excited about the opportunity tomorrow.

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Q. The Dodger bullpen has been stupendous, and then in Game 2 everything changes. Astros hit a bunch of home runs. What is the experience like as a starter seeing that change in the bullpen?

ALEX WOOD: You can't really read much into it. They're not robots; it happens to everybody. Even the greatest closer on the planet, Kenley Jansen, stuff happens. They're a great lineup, at the end of the day -- I think that's been the biggest thing all year, not just in the playoffs, but in the regular season, any time we lose, which didn't happen a lot, but we kind of had the same mindset truly every day.

Nobody is thinking about our Game 2 loss to the Astros. Just turn the page, come in and get ready for the next challenge, and prepare to the best of our ability and try to go from there.

Q. Brandon Morrow came up as one of the best prospects in baseball. Now he's 33 and he's reinvented himself in the bullpen. Reinvention is hard in this game, but it is so important for pitchers. What are your thoughts about how he's been able to do that and the role that he's found with the Dodgers?

ALEX WOOD: Yeah, he's been incredible. Literally when we finally brought him up at the beginning of the year, whenever that was, from the first hitter he faced, everybody turned their heads in the dugout and looked at each other and we're like, okay, there's our set-up guy. He's been monumental for our bullpen and for our team. It's a lot of fun to watch, too, seeing a 100, with that slider at 92. It's pretty special. We're fortunate to have him.

Q. Dave said last night that he feels the team -- you guys have been pretty loose all month. He feels the team got a little more focused after that Game 2 loss. You haven't been in a series where it's even, unless it's just starting. Do you feel that's the case inside the clubhouse, a little bit of change in the personality after that loss?

ALEX WOOD: Honestly, not really. I feel like if anything, you lose your second game of the World Series, and now you're 1-1 going for three games in Houston. You might bear down a little more and it becomes more apparent, let's go. But the reason we've been so good all year is is because of our ability to turn the page, and how we don't really get too high, if we're winning 20 in a row or whether we lost 20 in a row. We kind of stay even keel. And the same plan, same attitude every day coming into the stadium.

Q. I know you have postseason experience and you have a lot of regular season experience, but pitching in the World Series is different. Have you been able to learn anything from Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw and what that they've done in their starts?

ALEX WOOD: Again, it's one of the things where circumstances are definitely different and the prize is a lot bigger, pitching in a World Series. But at the same time you might -- if anything, you get more information and more things from our front office and things along those lines to prepare. But at the same time, you want to do what you know how to do. And I always pride myself on my preparation and being the best prepared and knowing what to throw and when to throw it and things along those lines. I just try to be physically ready and feel good for tomorrow. And then do close to the same kind of preparation that I do throughout the year.

Q. You got to Georgia the year after the Bulldogs made the College World Series finals, so didn't get that experience. Have you had championship experience before?

ALEX WOOD: Yeah, high school won a state championship, and lost my junior year in high school. And after that no notable, nothing notable besides that. So this is my first massive experience in terms of a championship.

Q. To follow up, a big difference in level, but anything you can take from the previous championship experiences?

ALEX WOOD: You know, I think you try to take from all of your experiences going up through your career and your life. I think the biggest thing for me is just trying to kind of let it all sink in and enjoy the moment. I think a lot of people get caught up, and it goes by so fast and you turn back, and you're like, wow, what happened. We won the World Series or lost or whatever it may be. That's like anything in life. So I've been trying to take it all in and enjoy it.

I played with guys that have never had the opportunity to even go to the playoffs, I played with a guy Scott Downs my first year in Atlanta, played unbelievable career, 13, 14 years and literally never went to playoffs once. I try and think about guys like that. And just really soak it in and take all this in.

Q. During this postseason Dave has often been quick to pull the starting pitcher, with that in mind, will you plan out your strategy for tomorrow? Are you thinking not 8 or 9, like a regular-season game, but more like 4, 5 or 6?

ALEX WOOD: That's not something any of us can really control. It's something where we kind of have been close to that all year. We don't have the longest leash, so if anything, it kind of holds us to a higher standard, like you need to go out and shut it down and put up zeroes, and not give up any runs and then you can stay in longer.

So it doesn't really change the way I game plan or how we attack. Just go in and try to get outs as quick as possible, and go as deep as you can until they pull you. You can only control what you can control.

Q. Just curious, what's behind the increased usage of your change-up?

ALEX WOOD: Everybody always asks throughout the year, when you use a certain pitch more often, through two or three starts or whatever it may be, really just game plan. Game planning situational stuff, just pure coincidence, honestly. It's not like we have a mindset or an idea where we're going to throw a lot of change-ups or breaking balls or whatnot. It's kind of just how the situation lays out and how we match up with that individual hitter.

Q. You haven't had a chance to pitch regularly in these last several weeks. What challenge does that present to you and how have you compensated for that with your work on the sides?

ALEX WOOD: Yeah, it has its pluses and minuses. Something to where physically it helps me feel a lot more ready, because you have so much time off, but at the same time trying to stay sharp and stay on top of your game, you kind of -- I don't think there's any right answer. So we've tried to do our best with bullpens and lives and throwing flat grounds try to stay mentally locked in.

And it hasn't been too difficult. I didn't feel too rusty my start under Chicago. Really at this point it's more about kind of mental fortitude than anything. It's how focused can you stay and how mentally prepared can you be, and then it comes down to execution. From those aspects I feel confident and I'm ready to go tomorrow.

Q. You talked about game planning, and I know the front office does a lot with getting you guys information. During a game how much do you rely on your catcher, whether it's Austin or Yasmani, and how much is it you remembering all that information?

ALEX WOOD: We meet with Honey and with whoever is catching, whoever is starting. And our catchers are in it every pitch of every game. They're prepared for each individual pitcher. For me, especially for starters the biggest thing is with your catchers is them knowing you more so than them knowing the other hitters. Obviously that's another aspect of it, but when your catcher knows you so intimately where they know what you want to do in certain situations, setting guys up or whatever it may be, is really important.

You add that in with how well they know us, Yaz and Barnes, how well they know us with scouting, and Andrew and Farhan, our guys in the front office have prepared for us analytically, it ends up working out pretty good most of the time.