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Oct. 7 Jon Lester postgame interview

October 8, 2016

Q. You waited a long year to get back to the playoffs and pitch like that. Can you just talk a little bit about going out and pitching a game like you did.JON LESTER: That was a fun game. Fun atmosphere from really just driving in this afternoon, coming to

Q. You waited a long year to get back to the playoffs and pitch like that. Can you just talk a little bit about going out and pitching a game like you did.
JON LESTER: That was a fun game. Fun atmosphere from really just driving in this afternoon, coming to the ballpark and seeing all the people on Clark and all that stuff. So that was my first playoff game with the Cubs at home. So that was pretty cool. A pretty cool experience. Great baseball game. Really a lot to say about it, but not a lot to say about it. You know what I mean? Like Cueto threw the heck out of the ball tonight. I kind of figured as we got going it would come down to one mistake and luckily we didn't make one and they did. And I think that's just kind of the beginning of the series. I think we're going to be in for it and it's going to be a grind and we'll show up tomorrow and try to do it again.

Q. When you come here and you bring David here with you, is this what you were thinking about, these kind of nights, tight game like that, the way you can throw the ball?
JON LESTER: No, I like the non-tight games, actually personally, that would be a lot better. But, yeah, just the atmosphere. That's what makes it fun for us as players. You show up, you grind it out, it's a long season, and these fans have been -- since I've been here they have been there since day one. It's been unbelievable to kind of grow with them as we have gone through this journey the last two years. So, the atmosphere tonight was unbelievable from the time I stepped on the field until the end of the game. A lot of fun.

But, yeah, this is what you play for. It's October. That's just one step right now that we're -- that we got past and we got to worry about step two tomorrow. They got a good guy going and we got a really good guy going, as well, so it should be another fun game.

Q. A lot's been made of how good the defense has been this year and a lot's been made of your struggles on defense but tonight you seemed to be more comfortable and make the play, throw the ball, was it a matter of not thinking about it or you didn't seem to have those hiccups out there tonight?
JON LESTER: If the ball's hit at me I just try to catch it. That's kind of more self defense than anything. Once again, I gotta apparently talk to Nike about my gloves. I got another ball in a weird spot and I feel like I take pretty good care of my gloves, but if a ball is hit at me I try to make a play. And if it's not, I let the defense handle the rest.

Q. That sequence in the 4th when they threatened, they had second and third with two outs, when you get the grounder to short, Addison said that was a boost to the team. When you get that out -- and Joe said you really bore down there. When you get that out what does it do for your confidence and also for the group?
JON LESTER: Well, I think you have something Zo's trying his butt off out there to make a great play on a sinking line drive and the ball gets by him, ends up being second and third as opposed to being just first and second, if he kind of lays up and plays it on a hop. As a pitcher, I'll never fault a guy for busting his butt trying to make a play. So second and third, really the good thing was is that I think it was the bottom of the order a little bit, so we had the bottom of the order, we had a base open, two outs. You're one pitch away from getting out of it. So, just try to bear down and make a pitch and we were fortunate enough to do that and get a ground ball to short Addie makes a great play.

But yeah, any time something happens as far as your defense trying to make a great play or even if they make an error, as a pitcher you want to pick them up, you want to help them out. Because more times than not they're saving our butts when it comes to diving plays or whatever. So, when we have a chance to pick those guys up, it makes us feel a lot better.

Q. We talk with Joe every day or he talks with us about defense and how important it is. With what you and David did today, Javy and others, can you really stress it too much, especially in playoff situations where one good play might make the difference in a game?
JON LESTER: No, you can't. Defense, it's kind of like football, defense wins championships. The quarterback gets all the glory, but at the end of the day if you're allowing a bunch of points, it doesn't really matter. Our defense has been unbelievable all year with guys bouncing around different positions. You got Javy playing second tonight, which was kind of different for me. I'm used to seeing him at third and KB in left. So, Joe does it again, you know what I mean? It's crazy.

That's a testament to our guys, though, too. They go to different positions, they don't complain about it. KB came up as a third baseman and look what's done, he's played first, he's played left, he's played center. So these guys don't complain, they just know it's for the greater good of the team and they go and play different positions. It seems to always kind of pay off for us and I think it makes those guys better too. It makes our team obviously better, but I think it makes them better just being versatile and giving us different looks, different lineup matchups and stuff like that.

Q. Did you feel dialed in right away or was it more middle of the game when you really settled in and any desire to pitch the 9th?
JON LESTER: Kind of early on I felt good, but we kept giving up base hits. I think the first three innings we had lead off hits. 4th inning we had a one out hit. So I felt good, but I felt like I was making good pitches. It wasn't like the ball was being driven in the outfield doubles or anything. A couple bloops and well-placed balls. But as the game got on, went on, we started making better pitches and kind of figuring out what guys were I guess trying to do. We know how aggressive these guys can be at times if you're throwing strikes, and they were. So we just tried to keep them off the edges just a little bit to where they could get bad contact.

So, yeah, obviously I asked Joe. I mean, it's hard to argue when you got a guy that throws 104-down in the bullpen. And then obviously Javy picking us up with a big run there. So that's Chappy's inning all day every day. So, I said something to him. I knew I was going to lose when he came down there to shake my hand, but I figured I would try and I'm just happy we won the game. I don't really care about the 9th.

Q. When Javy was in here he mentioned just getting 10 more and you can talk about strategy, everything like that, but is that really it is just finding a way to get the 10 more rather than worrying about how?
JON LESTER: Yeah, especially against a guy like Cueto tonight. He was doing his thing. His holds, his quick pitches, all that stuff, mixing speeds off of that. It was kind of cool to go up there, obviously it wasn't the best results, but to go up there and actually see what he features and how it throws off guys timing and the pitches that he has. So, yeah in playoffs, it doesn't matter how, when, where, how you get a run, you just need a run. Especially in a game like that where you feel like if we got a run early it would have changed the momentum towards us and if they would have got a run early it would have changed the momentum towards them. So, especially with a guy like that, he was locked in tonight. We were fortunate enough to get one across there and Chappy comes in and finishes it off.