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World Series Game 5: Hill pregame interview

MLB.com

Q. You talked earlier this season, you mentioned when you were still overcoming your blister issues, there was concern the balls might have been different. Have you seen any difference with the balls between the regular season and the postseason?

RICH HILL: No, not really. I think they've been extremely consistent in the World Series, and also in the playoff games, as well. So I haven't really seen too much of a difference or variation in seams or any size of the ball. I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent.

Q. You talked earlier this season, you mentioned when you were still overcoming your blister issues, there was concern the balls might have been different. Have you seen any difference with the balls between the regular season and the postseason?

RICH HILL: No, not really. I think they've been extremely consistent in the World Series, and also in the playoff games, as well. So I haven't really seen too much of a difference or variation in seams or any size of the ball. I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent.

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Q. (No microphone).

RICH HILL: I think that just has to do with conditions - if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs.

Q. Game 6 is going to be enormous, one way or the other. And I know baseball players like to maintain a calm, etc. How do you deal with games that are on such a big stage like this?

RICH HILL: Well, I think again it's something that all of us have been preparing our entire careers for. And for such a big stage and such a great opportunity to go out there and leave it all out on the field, and go out there with an intensity and a passion that everybody has for playing baseball, that is as an ultimate competitor.

So going out there in Game 6 and having the ability to be in that position and go out there and leave everything on the field is just an amazing thought. I think it's something that looking back on it, whatever the outcome might be, that you did everything that you could to put your team in a position to win.

Q. What will you learn from watching Game 5 that will help you for Game 6?

RICH HILL: I think watching Clayton's intensity and watching the way he's going to go out there and pitch tonight is going to be extremely exciting. It's going to be no lack of aggressiveness or conviction behind every single pitch. So something like that going into Game 6 for myself is something to take away from.

But that doesn't really necessarily -- it's not going to feed into what I'm going to change from my game plan. My game plan is going to be consistent, as it always has been, over this entire season.

Video: WS2017 Gm6: Hill on getting the nod to start Game 6

Q. Is there anything, looking ahead to the offseason, that you can do to try to ameliorate the possibility of blisters, in terms of treatment or staying away from throwing or whatever?

RICH HILL: I think one of the things is just continue to keep throwing. That's been a valid solution to the issue. So the more you actually get the opportunity to throw and the more you can keep your finger calloused instead of kind of letting it heal, so to speak, over the offseason, would be most beneficial. So I think that might be something that I'm going to look into, is just to continue to keep throwing, as soon as the season is over with. Maybe take a couple of days and get back into a throwing program.

Q. Would you like to be able to pitch deeper into the game than you did in Game 2?

RICH HILL: I think as a competitor, yeah, absolutely. You want to continue to keep going. And I think that competitive mindset is what makes these two teams so great. Everybody on each side wouldn't be in the position that they're in if they weren't ultimate competitors.

So speaking as a player you say, yes, but you have to look outside yourself and look at the team and see what's most valuable for the team and understand that as a player, as a competitor, you have to have that mindset. You have to have that fight in the ring, that boxer-type mentality, I believe.

Q. You've been around Clayton for a little over a year or so, and what's it like being around him every day and especially in terms of just his presence, how much of a force is that in that clubhouse every day?

RICH HILL: Yeah, he sets the tone, leadership by example is probably the best way I can define Clayton. And I think that on a day-to-day basis, the way he goes about his business is extremely professional. There hasn't been too many guys that I've been around that are as detail oriented as he is.

He takes care of himself. He takes care of what he needs to do in the four days in between to peak on that fifth day, so he can peak every single time he goes out there. And then when he has the opportunity to go out there and pitch, you see the ultimate competitor come out inside of him, and you know if he was given a hundred pitches, every time he goes out there, I'd be willing to bet that close to a hundred pitches come out of his hand the way he wants to.

Q. You've played for a couple different managers over your career. What makes Dave Roberts unique? What do you think makes him successful?

RICH HILL: I think the ability to have the viewpoint looking outside of the competitiveness of the player and understanding what is best for the team. One thing that I look at and I see is that he stuck to the process the entire season. And everybody says, well, what's the process? What's the process? It's using the bullpen effectively. It's been able to make moves that have been extremely timely. That sometimes are controversial.

You're not going to be able to please everybody, and that's one thing that he understands, that doing what's best for the team is the right thing to do. And he doesn't panic. In times of whether we're down or we're up, whatever the situation may be, you don't see him panic at all and continues -- and that's what I mean by "staying with the process". It's trusting and understanding the ability of every player, putting them in a position to succeed. And that's something that you've seen very consistently from Dave.

Q. Depending on the outcome tonight, you potentially have a chance to take the ball in the clinching game in the World Series. What are your thoughts on that?

RICH HILL: Just go get it. That's it. Attack and be relentless, leave everything out on the field. Again, it's an incredible opportunity to be able to go out there and have that heavyweight fight, just like it would be getting into a ring. And going out there and leaving everything out there is something that -- you want that opportunity. You want to be able to go out there and do everything that you can. And wherever it may land, it lands. But, again, at the end of the day you did everything you could.

Q. Watching that ninth inning unfold last night, what was that like for you, obviously knowing that you're going to get that chance in Game 6 with that win?

RICH HILL: It was incredible seeing the way the guys hit the baseball, seeing the way Cody made the adjustment to go the other way. And Logan's hit earlier on was incredible to tie up the ballgame. Just thinking back to that was just an amazing feeling, knowing that we have Clayton going tonight and then have the opportunity on Tuesday to have something extremely special happen, started to play out a little bit in the ninth inning.

Q. As a starter you want to go as long as you can, and you know how Dave has done the bullpen. Through this postseason and everything is a high-leverage situation, do you see any difference in the way these relievers -- more tired, how do they draw through? Do you get concerned about maybe a bullpen burnout?

RICH HILL: No, not at all. If you look at the way we've been able to conserve pitches, there were some crazy statistics out there on how many less pitches we've thrown than other bullpens or other teams, it's actually pretty incredible. So it if you look at last night, you see Brandon Morrow, I think he threw 12 or 14 pitches, maybe. Kenley, 12, 15 pitches. Tony Watson, eight pitches. We didn't use Cingrani, we didn't use Fields. We didn't use B-Mac. So there are guys that are available that have not pitched, and there are guys that have pitched that have been extremely efficient with their pitches.

So that's one thing that has been incredible to see the guys' ability to go out there and be as effective as they have been and efficient as they have been. So that's something that does not concern me, especially in the World Series where everybody is willing to do whatever it takes to win.

Q. What did you like and what did you not like about your innings in Game 2?

RICH HILL: There wasn't much not to like. I mean I felt pretty good the way the ball came out of my hand. The convicted approach is really the only thing that matters to me. Trying to stay in the moment, I think that was the biggest thing. That's what I did like. I liked that I was able to have the ability to focus in on every single pitch and not think about -- especially in that third inning, where they get a run, and it's first and second and you've got two of their best hitters coming up. And to be able to get a couple of strikeouts and get out of that inning. You have to be able to focus and have that ability to have that intensity every single time you go out there.

So I think maybe -- they strung together a couple of hits and they were able to get a run across. If that would maybe be the only thing, if you don't give up that run. But I really think that the way the ball came out of my hand and the intent behind every single pitch is something that I was really happy with.

Q. When it comes to the process of the manager, Dave Roberts, and coming out in Game 2 you looked a little frustrated. I don't know whether that was giving up the run or having to come out at that point in time. Do you guys have a conversation with regard to his decision-making after the game? Did you talk after Game 2?

RICH HILL: We did. And I think it goes back to what I said before, it's really having a view of the team and what's best for the team. They had five righties coming up; we had Kenta, who was fresh. And understanding that viewpoint. So take yourself out of it, which is myself, the competitor, who is out there performing, and wanting to stay in the game, and that's understandably so. But also take it from Dave's standpoint where he's looking at it as a whole, as a team, and what we're trying to accomplish here in this World Series. And, again, understanding that every single pitch is huge and every single moment is huge.

So I think for myself to look at it from that standpoint it is understandable.