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Oct. 11 Jon Lester pregame interview

October 11, 2016

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.Q. Hopefully you don't have a chance to pitch in a Game 5, but if you were and you faced a team for the second time in a short series, what is it like doing that?JON LESTER: It's fine. We do it during the season sometimes.

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Hopefully you don't have a chance to pitch in a Game 5, but if you were and you faced a team for the second time in a short series, what is it like doing that?
JON LESTER: It's fine. We do it during the season sometimes. And it lines up that way, where you have back-to-back starts against teams.

So prepare the same, go through the same scouting report and all that stuff. And I'm sure there's times where they're going to make adjustments, and we'll have to make adjustments off that.

So, that's the fun part about being a pitcher in the cat and mouse game of trying to get hitters out. So we'll make adjustments as we go.

Q. What do you learn about character of players that you play with during tough losses, especially in postseason? Do you look around, do you gain things, do you help other players when you see them going through tough times?
JON LESTER: Yeah, if they have -- if they're vocal about it, yeah. A lot of guys on our team are somewhat private guys, try to keep to themselves when it comes to stuff like that.

We all see it. We all see it when guys struggle, we all see it when guys do well. And I think our team does a really good job of not riding that roller coaster of emotional waves, just going up and down. It's a long season. It's a long postseason, even with the five-game series. This is -- seems like we have been playing these guys for the last two weeks, just with travel and how intense these games are and stuff.

So, it's a tough thing not to do, to get up and down real high or real low, but our guys do a pretty good job of that. Some guys snap and get it out of their system, other guys just go out and play defense and let it roll off their back.

So our guys have done a pretty good job of that, I think, all year and really these last three games.

Q. When you have a guy, a teammate who throws 102, 103 miles an hour, is it a little jarring when he's -- all you've basically seen is him dominate, and then to see somebody just crush one off him? Is that a little jarring to the senses?
JON LESTER: I mean, yeah, it's a little surprising sometimes, but those guys on the other side get paid to hit those pitches, so even at 102, 103, whatever it is, they put some good swings on the ball. And, I mean, really, when you throw that hard, I'll take my chances with those same hitters in the same situation tonight. We all give up hits, we all get hit hard, we all have good games, whether you throw that hard or you don't.

I just -- I feel like with Chappy, you put him in the exact same situation, and we'll probably be on the better end more times than not.

Q. You obviously faced Zobrist over the years. What's it been like this year having Zobrist as a teammate and what's he sort of meant for your team?
JON LESTER: He's been good. I think the biggest thing with Zo is just how consistent he is day in and day out. Never takes an at-bat off, no matter what the score is, what the situation is. Just like I said, just how consistent.

And he plays so many different positions, like a lot of our guys do, it seems like, and that's a hard thing to do. That's a hard thing to go from second to left to right, back to second. I think he's played a little first base for us.

So, he's just I think that veteran presence. He's been around. Obviously any time you have a ring in your back pocket, that's a good thing to have with some of these young guys. Just that experience and all that.

So, he's been great. And just the professionalism that he has day in and day out with at-bats and drawing walks and running the bases and kind of all the little intangibles that I think get overlooked sometimes.

Q. Joe said last night that the game, there were so many good plays in it, so many dramatic twists and turns, that even though his team lost, there was an exhilaration to it. How did you feel when it was over?
JON LESTER: Obviously it was disappointing to lose, especially you come to that point where it's like we have had opportunities, they have made some really good plays, we made some really good plays to save the game. We feel like we made a pretty good run of pitching right there. Mike stepped up and threw multiple innings for us.

But it's kind of like Game 1. You look at it, and I think that it's easy to sit there when you're on the positive side and say, man, what a great game that was. But I think that even if we would have lost that game, you can still sit back and go what a great game that was.

Kind of like last night. All these games have been great. I said that before Game 1, we know what this team can do. I don't know what they -- I saw something the other day they're 9-0 or something on elimination games or something, whatever it is, so it's hard to put these guys away. We know that, and we knew that coming in.

So we got to just continue to play good baseball, and I'm sure tonight will be another good game. They got a good guy on the mound, and we got one of our good guys on the mound. So hopefully it will live up to the hype of that, and hopefully we're on the positive side tonight.

Q. You brought up elimination games, and that was my question, along those lines, how remarkable is it for a team to win 10 in a row of those and what does it say about this franchise doing so over this decade or recent World Series wins to do that?
JON LESTER: Yeah, it's hard to do. Like I said, that just -- that's a testament to the coaching staff over there and then obviously even more to the players. There's no give-up in them. Seems like when their backs are against the wall, they play the best.

They have got guys that have been through everything. They have done the Wild Card thing, they have done other things to get into the playoffs. And they have been up and they have been down, and it seems like whenever you give them that little inch to open the door to come back, they do.

And that's a testament to those guys over there. Like I said, we knew that coming in. We knew how tough a challenge this was going to be, just playing these guys a couple times this year.

So, yeah, I mean it's been a fun series. Like I said, hopefully tonight our guy will pitch a little bit better than theirs and we'll be having a happy flight back.

Q. When you were a free agent a few years ago, the Giants made a really strong push to sign you to the point where Bochy and Posey came out to visit you in Atlanta. What do you remember about those conversations?
JON LESTER: Oh, man, a lot. That was a really cool, special day for me just on the baseball side just having those guys in my house and getting to talk to -- really the front office guys as well. Just the minds that were there listening, obviously sitting back. I mean, I've had a chance, been fortunate to win a couple World Series, but to sit back and listen to Buster Posey talk, that was pretty cool for me. And then the same thing, sit back and let Bochy do his thing.

A lot of different things, just a lot of different philosophies they have. They believe in their guys. That's a big thing for me is that I think they at that time had nine guys I think with three rings, so that's pretty impressive in itself, to have all those guys stay together, especially the way baseball is now with trades and free agency and all that stuff.

To have nine guys with three rings, that was pretty special to hear. That means they believe in their guys and they want their guys and they -- they want those nine to teach the next guys to come up on how to do it.

So it was pretty cool. It was a really special day for me. Obviously, made a different decision, but that doesn't take away from what those guys -- that they definitely left a lasting impression with me and my family.

Q. What is it like to watch John Lackey build a chip up on the day he pitches? And in particular, I mean, you've talked about it during the regular season, but in particular during a playoffs even as a best friend, do you tread lightly on a day when he pitches?
JON LESTER: Yeah, yeah, I don't talk to him. I just know for me, I kind of do that with everybody, though. I know how I am the day I pitch. And I'll talk to guys and I'll strike up a conversation, but I'm not going to initiate something, you know what I mean?

So, I let him do his thing. And if he wants to -- if he has a question to ask or if he wants to say something to me or whatever, then we'll go from there. But I just I try to stay out of everybody's way and let him do his thing.

But it's an interesting process to watch and I learned a lot from him over the years on how to prepare and get ready for starts, and especially these starts.

It's fun. It's fun to be a part of. You just -- he brings so much intensity. You see the aura and presence out there when he's on the mound. And he's definitely a guy that you want on your side. It was frustrating last year to go out Game 1 against St. Louis and have to face him because I knew what he was going to be bringing to the table. So, I'm just happy he's on our side this year. And he'll take that presence out there, and we know what kind of effort he's going to give us and he's going to be prepared. And he's going to give a damn, that's the biggest thing. You know what type of intensity he brings on each pitch. And he always gives us a good chance to win.

Q. You pitched for the Red Sox, so has as John Lackey. How much has that helped to be in this position you are now? I mean, the Cubs have had this reputation of being the so-called lovable losers, but you guys have certainly built together a championship-caliber roster. How much do you think that helps as far as like trying to help alleviate those types of stereotypes of what the Cubs were known for and how you guys are going to help change who they are now?
JON LESTER: I think, like I just said a little while ago about Zo, any time you bring winners in, you know, you accumulate guys that have been through these situations and been through these battles, where the younger guys or the guys that haven't can look to and see how they respond or see how they act on a day-to-day basis when it comes to the playoffs.

So I think the biggest thing is is nobody really cares in there about a curse or a goat or anything else, you know what I mean? I mean, like it is what it is. It's what you make of it. So, we're not going to let -- if we make a mistake, we're not going to blame it on a curse or anything else like that. We're going to blame it on ourselves and be accountable for it and move on to the next play or the next moment.

So, plus, I think we got too many young guys in there that don't even know what that stuff is, you know what I mean? So, it's almost better to play naive and just go out and worry about us, worry about the Cubs and not anything else in the past or, like I said, any animals.

Q. This is not really game related. I'm interested in athletes' relationship with Twitter. Yeah, I know. I'm not sure you use yours sparingly, but all in all do you think Twitter has been good for sports and athletes? You went through this crazy thing recently where you were mistaken for Lester Holt on Twitter and you had to kind of spend --
JON LESTER: It's pretty unbelievable, right?

Q. You had to spend time kind of going on Twitter and explaining you weren't Lester Holt. Is it distracting? Do you think Twitter as a whole is good or bad for sports?
JON LESTER: I hate it. Hate it.

Q. You hate it?
JON LESTER: I hate it. The reason why I have it is for my foundation. We promote things on there for my foundation, and that's all I really like to use it for. Interesting things come up like that, and try to take advantage of some funny tidbits. But, I mean, I think it can be very useful. I think it's a platform for people to sit behind a computer screen and talk bad about people. I guess the social media or bullying and all that stuff I worry about -- when it comes to all this stuff, I worry about the next generation. Like my kids have to grow up with this and the Facebook, and it's real easy to sit behind a computer screen or your phone and type something and not think twice about it. But that person on the other side that's reading it, it could have some ramifications for them. I had one back in 2008, I think, and I don't remember if I deleted Twitter for a while or if I just stayed off of it for a while, but we beat the Yankees and somebody wrote on there, I hope you get cancer again and die. You know? So I'm a baseball player. I'm a father and a husband and a person. So you read stuff like that, what's the point? You know what I mean?

Q. Right. So you just keep it for the foundation?
JON LESTER: That's really -- we do many some other stuff on there. We have had some fun with it, and I used it definitely when I came over here for the for fans with the Red Sox, and which was cool. You get to interact and do stuff like that. Which I think there's a lot of positives, but stuff like that, why go through that? Why worry about that.

Q. Have you met Lester Holt?
JON LESTER: I have not, no. I don't do anything with politics. I'm not on that.

Q. Did he contact you at all?

Q. Okay. I have no more questions.

Q. John Lackey. It seems like playoff team, to have him as the No. 4 starter, pretty good. And has the job he's done this year maybe gotten overlooked a little bit because of how strong the rotation has been as a whole?
JON LESTER: Yeah, I think so. I think he's had some bad luck this year as well. I think that he's pitched a lot better than what his record shows.

But I think that for him he kind of likes being the underdog. I think he likes being overlooked, he likes being that guy that they talk about the other guy. He would rather them talk about the other guy and go out and pitch a good game and then answer questions after it. So, but for us, we definitely don't overlook his value as part of our staff. I think he's made our staff better as a whole. He's made me better. I know he's made those other guys a lot more accountable for what they do. And just like I said, his presence, his aura. He walks in the clubhouse, he's a big ole guy that demands a lot and demands a lot of himself and wants everybody to win. I think that's the biggest thing. He'll be the first one to pat you on the butt but also the first one to tell you when you do something wrong. So, I think that's important. You got to have those guys. He's done a really good job for us all year, and hopefully that continues tonight.