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World Series Media Day: Kershaw interview

October 23, 2017

Q. First of all, first World Series since 1988. What does that mean to you? How do you feel about it? I know your faith is important to you, talk about that and what it's meant to you throughout this journey? CLAYTON KERSHAW: Yeah, 1988, we've heard that a lot.

Q. First of all, first World Series since 1988. What does that mean to you? How do you feel about it? I know your faith is important to you, talk about that and what it's meant to you throughout this journey?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: Yeah, 1988, we've heard that a lot. I grew up a Dodger and got drafted by the Dodgers. I didn't know a ton of Dodger history at the time, but coming up it kind of gets ingrained in you, which is a good thing; it's not a lot of organizations that have the type of history that the Dodgers do. It's been a special thing, and I hope after this week is over, they can talk about 2017 a little more and 1988 a lot less. Yeah, my faith is very important to me. That's the No. 1 reason I'm here.
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Q. Four more to go, but which has been like the "aha!" and "wow!" moment for you watching and playing for this postseason so far?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: Well, you know, when we won in Chicago, that was a pretty special moment for all of us, myself included. Getting to say you're going to the World Series is a pretty special thing. We've had a few days now to let that sink in and we're not satisfied with that now. We got to celebrate and got to enjoy it, and now it's real. We have an opponent. We've go four more games to win. But I think so far that was a pretty special moment.
Q. How do you feel about having a manager and a pitching coach having a World Series experience? Does it help you?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: No, but it doesn't hurt, I guess. I think more than anything Doc and Honey are just good guys. They're good coaches. Doc, the last couple of years has been awesome. Really enjoyed getting to know him. Really enjoyed getting to play for him. And I've known Honey for a long time. He's the best in the game for a reason. I'm thankful that I haven't had to have any other pitching coach.
Q. Can you talk about the idea of just being here, what it means to you. You've been so close so many times on the edge, you've accomplished so many things, yourself, but never a World Series.
CLAYTON KERSHAW: Well, yeah, I always say you can analyze all that stuff after. I think it meant a lot in Chicago, when we were saying we are going to the World Series. That's a special thing. But now we're flipping the switch a little bit, and we're trying to figure out how to win four games. After the season is over we'll look back on it, and hopefully have a World Series trophy to celebrate. We'll wait for all the reflection stuff until after the season.

Q. Can you talk about maybe anticipating what it's going to be like for you at the start of the game tomorrow? You've done so many things, you've been to All-Star games, Championship Series, but except for this. Will there be butterflies at the start?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: There's always butterflies. I think this time is when the butterflies and anxiousness is more so. Once you throw the first pitch it all goes away, at least for me. I think leading up to the game is when the anxiety kind of kicks in, just because you want to get things going. When the butterflies in my stomach, when those leave, then I know it's probably time to retire. It's a good is feeling. And makes it -- you care about what you're doing more than anything.
Q. When you look back at the highlights and see people like Koufax pitching complete games all the time, even Hershiser, do you wish you were part of that era, rather than when managers are looking at pitch counts at 85, 90, 95?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: I don't think it's fair to compare eras because baseball is a lot different now. I'm not going to debate which one is better or worse. But there's a lot of things that change over the course of the time. And we have a really good bullpen; you can't argue with that. I think the era of baseball we are in is pretty great. I'm happy to be a part of it.
Q. What is it about the big game, the big stage that you enjoy competing in the most?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: Winning. Yeah, winning is the best part of that. I'm going to try to do that tomorrow.
Q. As you have gotten into preparing for this start tomorrow and you look at the Astros' lineup, a group that hits a lot of home runs without striking out a lot, do they present you with a unique set of challenges?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: They're a great team. Their whole lineup is really solid. You saw that all year. They won a hundred games for a reason. Starts without Altuve and Correa in the middle of that lineup. They're both exceptional baseball players. Really all the way down. They have a lot of guys that swing the bats well. No, I'm not going to do anything differently, I guess, except try and not give up a home run and strike a few guys out.
Q. The depth on your slider has varied over the course of the year. Has that been related at all to your back or have you been fiddling with it? Is there anything that's going on with the slider?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: No, I don't know what analytics group you work for, but no (laughter).
Q. You've played with a lot of players, what's different about this team?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: This team is special. I just think the care factor with all the guys. I think just -- you want to compete and you want to play well for the guy next to you. I think that we have that next-up mentality a lot. You saw that the whole series in Chicago and really all season. Just what Kiké was able to do, Chris Taylor was doing all year, Belly, all these guys that probably not a lot of people outside the Dodger organization have ever really heard of. It's been such an amazing thing to get to see these guys. It's been fun for me to get to be a part of it. There's so many contributions from so many different guys. It just goes back to caring about each other. Not to say that other teams that I played on didn't, it just seems like this one, there is something a little bit different that I can't put my finger on, but I'm glad to be a part of it.
Q. It's no secret that it's supposed to be very hot tomorrow. How do you expect that to affect conditions? And does it change anything with your preparation?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: Yeah, it is going to be hot. But, no, I don't think it's going to change anything. I think by 5:00 the sun will be down. They're from Houston, I'm from Texas; it's going to be hot for everybody. We're all used to it. It will be fine.
Q. What you were talking about, the closeness of the team and all that, where does Dave figure into that part of it in making that happen?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: Yeah, I think just his overall attitude kind of carries out throughout the clubhouse. I think he is such an enthusiastic guy, positive guy, which you can't fake that over a six-month season, 162 games. And for him to have that positivity throughout the year, it's good. It rubs off on guys. On the dog days, it helps guys know that he has their backs. It just kind of rubs off on the other guys. We can pick each other up when somebody is struggling or somebody is hurt. It's just kind of the next-man-up mentality and Doc really preaches that, and that's all the way down.
Q. I know you haven't faced Jose Altuve a ton. You've faced him some, and everyone knows who he is. What makes him such a challenge for a pitcher?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: He hits everything pretty well. I think that he's super aggressive. But at the same time he hits a lot of different pitches. It's not a guy that just hits fastballs well or just hits breaking ball well. He does everything pretty evenly throughout the board. Just a matter of execution with him. You're just trying to mix up spots, pitches, locations, don't give him any predictable counts, predictable pitches. He's a tough out. I think he's one of the toughest outs in the game. You just can't give in to him.
Q. What's the greatest challenge with staying in your routine when obviously the World Series there's not much routine compared to a regular-season game?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: You know, it really hasn't been that tough. I think I pitched on Thursday, so it's been a regular five-day routine for me. And the next one, if there is a next one, will probably be the same-type thing, unless it's a short-rest situation or something like that. But as far as staying in the five-day routine for me, really this whole postseason is the first time I've done that, so it's been good.
Q. I asked Doc yesterday if there was anything from his World Series experience maybe he regrets or would have done differently. He said he was so focused that he never really had a chance to let the moment sink in. I know you're one of the more focused players out there. Is there going to be a time when you're going to sit back and let the moment sink in and take in everything?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: No, no. I think I'm just going to try to win tomorrow and I'll let it sink all in when we win. And if we don't do that, I'll let it sink in when we lose. But for me I just -- it's tough to grasp. I wish I could let it all sink back in. But in order to me to do my job I think I just have to focus on getting the Astros out right now.
Q. You mentioned how good the bullpen has been. How does that having that strong relief corps behind you, what sort of confidence does that give you?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: It's huge. I think everybody knows on our team when they come in the game it's a really good feeling. That's awesome to have. It's such a luxury. It starts with Kenley, what he's done for the organization, and the past however many years he's been here has been unbelievable. And all the way down, every single guy in the bullpen has been rock solid for us. Yeah, it's a great feeling to us, for sure.
Q. The Astros have talked a lot about what it's meant for the City of Houston, given what they went through. You donated a big sum of money after the hurricane. Can you describe what compelled you to do that? Do you hope that baseball can be a distraction for those folks?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: Yeah, I hope it was. The Astros were a great story for what that city has been through. I'm from Texas. I have a lot of friends. My wife went to Texas A&M. She has a lot of friends in the Houston area, as well. She has family there in Sugarland. We have a lot of people that were affected by this, as well. It's something that we wanted to be a part of and we wanted to do our part. Yeah, it hit home a little bit for us, as well.
Q. Couldn't help but notice at every Astros game Nolan Ryan sitting behind home plate, and that brought to mind your relationship with Sandy Koufax, could you speak to that and what that friendship has meant to you?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: Yeah, Sandy is a special guy. Not many guys with his pedigree, as levelheaded, humble as Sandy is. He just wants to talk baseball. He just wants to help when you want to. He just wants to talk. It doesn't have to be about baseball. It's been a pretty incredible thing to be a part of. Thankful for that. Being from Texas, I know Nolan, too, a little bit. And he's another special human being. So hopefully get to say hi to him when we win (laughter).