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Oct. 17 Alex Wood pregame interview

October 17, 2017

Q. What is the biggest challenge coming back after a layoff?ALEX WOOD: Yeah, it has its pluses and negatives. I've stayed on a semi-regular schedule. I've had two sim games in between against a lot of our regular guys in our lineup. It's as close to a regular season game

Q. What is the biggest challenge coming back after a layoff?
ALEX WOOD: Yeah, it has its pluses and negatives. I've stayed on a semi-regular schedule. I've had two sim games in between against a lot of our regular guys in our lineup. It's as close to a regular season game as you could get is what my last two starts have been.

So, obviously, it a little bit different getting in the game scenario and your endurance. But I feel good with where I'm at. Getting that time off, too, it's late in the year. Middle of October. So how your body feels throughout the year, and that part of it is probably a little more of an advantage getting your legs back underneath you and get ready for tomorrow.

Q. Having not had an opportunity to pitch yet because obviously you swept the Diamondbacks, just how excited are you to get out there and get back to live pitching against real hitters and be a part of this atmosphere right now?

:: NLCS schedule and coverage ::
ALEX WOOD: Yeah, I'm really excited. Getting to come here at Wrigley, much less for the NLCS games here, we have a tough test these next three games. We're off to a good start in this series, but I'm really excited to have it be my turn and hopefully kind of throw well and pass the torch on to the next guy. So I'm very excited.

Q. As you remember, there's a lot of talk with the media with what you would do in the post seep, whether Hyun-Jin might make the rotation or whether you'd be in the bullpen. At one point you said, "I know, but I can't tell you guys." When did you know what was going to happen with you?

ALEX WOOD: I knew for certain the day after my last start of the regular season, for certain.

Q. You guys have a much stronger rotation, it seems like, than last year at this time, but also the bullpen has been great. Can you tell me a little bit about what's the most impressive thing to you about that collection of relievers and how much they've helped you guys as starters?

ALEX WOOD: Yeah, obviously what our bullpen has done throughout the year and into the playoffs now, it's been unbelievable so far how these four or five games that we've played. So I think our staff and our front office has done a great job of laying out a game plan for those guys and what they think will give us the best chance to win.

Then it just comes down to execution for the most part, and those guys, all they've done is execute so far. So hopefully they'll keep it up here the rest of the series and the rest of the year.

Q. What's been so effective (off microphone)?

ALEX WOOD: I think everybody's gotten in pretty good position so far because of matchups. And obviously the effectiveness. We have a lot of good arms, a lot of guys with really great stuff. But the name of the game at this point in the year is execution, and they've literally done nothing but execute what they're trying to do. That's been the biggest difference so far.

Q. After two wins and the dramatic way the wins came about, any problem, any issues you think getting ahead of yourselves? Are there voices in the clubhouse reminding you guys to take it slow?

ALEX WOOD: For sure. I mean, I think I've been fortunate to go to the playoffs a lot so far in my career. And I think the biggest difference in kind of the vibe in our clubhouse throughout the entire year, when we won all those games during the summer and then the start we got off to in the playoff so far, the biggest difference in the clubhouse has been every day has literally been close to the same.

We're kind of back to being the fun Dodgers now the way we've played so far, and that energy is back in our clubhouse. But in terms of how guys are preparing and their perspective and how they treat each game, it literally just feels like another game every day. Except our focus is locked back in and we feel like we're playing the kind of ball that we know how to play and playing to our potential. So it's really not a huge difference in feel between these games that we've played in the playoffs and what we did during the regular season.

Q. Second half we've probably talked about your velocity to the point of annoyance for you, and you've talked about your mechanics kind of slipping a little bit on you. What do you think this layoff is going to do for those two things?

ALEX WOOD: I think we'll find out tomorrow. I feel good. I feel pretty consistent in my last two starts, the sim games I've thrown. I think my command and the consistency of my stuff has been pretty good. So I feel good.

Honestly, all that stuff's out the window at this point. It's the playoffs, and it comes down to who wants it more and who executes when they need to execute. I feel like I'm going to do both those things, and I'm really excited for the opportunity tomorrow.

Q. What have the sim games been like for you? Have you been trying to match your intensity of a normal start in those games

ALEX WOOD: Yeah, you could say that (laughter). Yeah, especially you never want to give up hits or throw poorly against anyone, especially your teammates, when we have some pretty talented guys in our lineup and I've been facing them a lot. It's worked out nicely for them getting to see a lot of pitching and for me getting to compete and throw against our talented lineup.

There are a lot of similarities with our lineup and theirs in terms of on base and the plate discipline that guys on their team have. So it's been a challenge and a lot of fun to kind of prepare that way. So I'm excited for tomorrow.

Q. How much would you say you've thrown in those sim games, do you know?

ALEX WOOD: Well, the first time I threw a little bit of a shorter one, like three or four innings, and I don't know how many pitches. Then this last time since we swept the D-backs and I didn't get to throw, I threw a longer one. Probably 85 pitches, five innings, five or six days ago. So basically essentially close to a regular turn. So pretty much a real game, yeah.