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Oct. 22 Jake Arrieta pregame interview

MLB.com

Q. Bypassing the possibility of tomorrow night, the 8-million-pound gorilla in the room has been the history of the Cubs. How have you guys tried to channel that out? You read it, you hear about it. How have you kept it out of the locker room?

JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I don't think it's really been in the locker room. Really, other than obviously when we're asked questions about it or it's brought up amongst the media. Obviously we know that it's something that's going to be talked about with the history of the organization, but it's really not something we focus on at all. So we just kind of disregard it and go out and play.

Q. Obviously you're probably in the situation where you don't want to pitch your next start tomorrow. But talk about the idea of a Game 7 here and just kind of the intensity and the moment.

JAKE ARRIETA: Well, it's going to -- I would assume it would be identical to the way it's going to be tonight. With the opportunity we have to finish it in six games and move forward without having to play a Game 7, obviously, we're focused on doing that. If we end up having to play Game 7, obviously we'll be ready. I'll be ready for the challenge, and we'll go from there.

But we did a nice job of getting back to Chicago a game up on these guys with the opportunity to do something really special that hasn't been done in a long time here. So, I think that's an exciting position for us to be in.

Q. When you got some distance from the Game 3 start, what did you see when you broke it down yourself, and what about facing a team less than a week later for a second time?

JAKE ARRIETA: I didn't break it down much. I kind of knew what I liked, what I didn't like without really having to look at the tape. Really, I think it was -- it really just boils down to the Grandal pitch, 3-2 count, I think Reddick was on third base, if I'm not mistaken. A pitch maybe underneath the bottom of the strike zone that put a good swing on. So I think it's really that pitch.

And if you go back to the way the inning started, or maybe there was an out or two, I had a chance to make a play on the Reddick comeback or ended up glancing off my glove and wasn't able to make that play, that could have been the third out of the inning. Could have changed the complexion of the ballgame.

But at the same time we were up against a guy in Rich Hill who was on his game that night and made it really tough for us. So, weren't able to score, and they were able to put a couple crooked numbers on the board to put it out of reach.

Outside of that, a couple pitches here and there. I would have liked to have gotten a little bit deeper into the ball game, but that didn't happen. But that's baseball sometimes. We'll move past it.

Q. If you guys do advance and Kyle Schwarber is able to return for the World Series, just how big a boost would that be for the team?

JAKE ARRIETA: Well, obviously, being -- playing in an American League team in their stadium, being able to utilize a designated hitter and a quality hitter in Schwarber, it would be a big boost for us. If he's ready, obviously. Nobody wants to see a guy as important as Schwarber is to this organization go down again. But if he's capable, if he's in a position strength-wise to be able to help us in that situation, obviously that would be huge for our team.

Q. Joe Maddon made a point of adding a 6th member of the rotation at a couple points during the year. Do you feel at this stage in the year as compared to last year that you're more fresh because of that?

JAKE ARRIETA: I feel fine. Every now and again it can be nice to get an extra day. But at the end of the day physically I feel great. I'm not really worried about where I was last year, because the jump in innings was 70 to 80-plus, so that's a whole different variable in itself. But physically I'm good.

Q. The magnitude of a Game 7 would be obvious. What do you do to maintain a normal perspective on starting that?

JAKE ARRIETA: Trying to go through your daily routine as you would any other game or any other day. It's really not a time to try and switch anything up. You want to create some comfort throughout the day and try and conserve energy, because the emotions can get going quite easily, especially before a game like that. So you just try and relax and have some downtime before that moment comes to where it's really time to start getting ready and preparing for the ball game.

So, I think I would handle it just as I normally would any day or any pre-start routine and try and handle myself very similar.

Q. When you guys have been watching Schwarber work out, we have seen him, it kind of became a little bit of a running joke that he was going to come back for the World Series. But did you guys see how hard he's working and think like this is actually possible?

JAKE ARRIETA: Yeah, he's in the training room and the weight room three, four hours a day. He wants to get back and be full strength as quick as he possibly can to not miss any more steps. That's never been a question for any of us. We have seen the guy on and off the field. We know how he carries himself and takes great care of his body. Especially after his injury, he wanted to be even stronger than he was before.

So, it wouldn't surprise me if he is ready, it's just in a moment like that, it's different than working out and being in the training room and being a hundred percent there. Not that he can't be a hundred percent, it's just a little scary situation for me. But if he's ready to go, having that bat, that's hard to turn away if it's ready.

Q. You started the season out so well, only let nine earned runs in your first nine starts. Has anything changed recently in the last month or two where -- you're not pitching bad, obviously, but the numbers aren't the same as they were in the beginning of the year?

JAKE ARRIETA: Sometimes you can only dictate so much to the opponent and then it's up to them to react. Just sometimes things don't go your way. You can't say, all right, I'm going to go eight, seven, eight innings and give up one tonight. It's not that easy.

So, you got to give some credit to the other side, and some good luck can go in your favor, and sometimes vice versa. So, I think for me it's not worrying about the results as much as it is trying to prepare as best as I possibly can.

Q. Bypassing the possibility of tomorrow night, the 8-million-pound gorilla in the room has been the history of the Cubs. How have you guys tried to channel that out? You read it, you hear about it. How have you kept it out of the locker room?

JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I don't think it's really been in the locker room. Really, other than obviously when we're asked questions about it or it's brought up amongst the media. Obviously we know that it's something that's going to be talked about with the history of the organization, but it's really not something we focus on at all. So we just kind of disregard it and go out and play.

Q. Obviously you're probably in the situation where you don't want to pitch your next start tomorrow. But talk about the idea of a Game 7 here and just kind of the intensity and the moment.

JAKE ARRIETA: Well, it's going to -- I would assume it would be identical to the way it's going to be tonight. With the opportunity we have to finish it in six games and move forward without having to play a Game 7, obviously, we're focused on doing that. If we end up having to play Game 7, obviously we'll be ready. I'll be ready for the challenge, and we'll go from there.

But we did a nice job of getting back to Chicago a game up on these guys with the opportunity to do something really special that hasn't been done in a long time here. So, I think that's an exciting position for us to be in.

Q. When you got some distance from the Game 3 start, what did you see when you broke it down yourself, and what about facing a team less than a week later for a second time?

JAKE ARRIETA: I didn't break it down much. I kind of knew what I liked, what I didn't like without really having to look at the tape. Really, I think it was -- it really just boils down to the Grandal pitch, 3-2 count, I think Reddick was on third base, if I'm not mistaken. A pitch maybe underneath the bottom of the strike zone that put a good swing on. So I think it's really that pitch.

And if you go back to the way the inning started, or maybe there was an out or two, I had a chance to make a play on the Reddick comeback or ended up glancing off my glove and wasn't able to make that play, that could have been the third out of the inning. Could have changed the complexion of the ballgame.

But at the same time we were up against a guy in Rich Hill who was on his game that night and made it really tough for us. So, weren't able to score, and they were able to put a couple crooked numbers on the board to put it out of reach.

Outside of that, a couple pitches here and there. I would have liked to have gotten a little bit deeper into the ball game, but that didn't happen. But that's baseball sometimes. We'll move past it.

Q. If you guys do advance and Kyle Schwarber is able to return for the World Series, just how big a boost would that be for the team?

JAKE ARRIETA: Well, obviously, being -- playing in an American League team in their stadium, being able to utilize a designated hitter and a quality hitter in Schwarber, it would be a big boost for us. If he's ready, obviously. Nobody wants to see a guy as important as Schwarber is to this organization go down again. But if he's capable, if he's in a position strength-wise to be able to help us in that situation, obviously that would be huge for our team.

Q. Joe Maddon made a point of adding a 6th member of the rotation at a couple points during the year. Do you feel at this stage in the year as compared to last year that you're more fresh because of that?

JAKE ARRIETA: I feel fine. Every now and again it can be nice to get an extra day. But at the end of the day physically I feel great. I'm not really worried about where I was last year, because the jump in innings was 70 to 80-plus, so that's a whole different variable in itself. But physically I'm good.

Q. The magnitude of a Game 7 would be obvious. What do you do to maintain a normal perspective on starting that?

JAKE ARRIETA: Trying to go through your daily routine as you would any other game or any other day. It's really not a time to try and switch anything up. You want to create some comfort throughout the day and try and conserve energy, because the emotions can get going quite easily, especially before a game like that. So you just try and relax and have some downtime before that moment comes to where it's really time to start getting ready and preparing for the ball game.

So, I think I would handle it just as I normally would any day or any pre-start routine and try and handle myself very similar.

Q. When you guys have been watching Schwarber work out, we have seen him, it kind of became a little bit of a running joke that he was going to come back for the World Series. But did you guys see how hard he's working and think like this is actually possible?

JAKE ARRIETA: Yeah, he's in the training room and the weight room three, four hours a day. He wants to get back and be full strength as quick as he possibly can to not miss any more steps. That's never been a question for any of us. We have seen the guy on and off the field. We know how he carries himself and takes great care of his body. Especially after his injury, he wanted to be even stronger than he was before.

So, it wouldn't surprise me if he is ready, it's just in a moment like that, it's different than working out and being in the training room and being a hundred percent there. Not that he can't be a hundred percent, it's just a little scary situation for me. But if he's ready to go, having that bat, that's hard to turn away if it's ready.

Q. You started the season out so well, only let nine earned runs in your first nine starts. Has anything changed recently in the last month or two where -- you're not pitching bad, obviously, but the numbers aren't the same as they were in the beginning of the year?

JAKE ARRIETA: Sometimes you can only dictate so much to the opponent and then it's up to them to react. Just sometimes things don't go your way. You can't say, all right, I'm going to go eight, seven, eight innings and give up one tonight. It's not that easy.

So, you got to give some credit to the other side, and some good luck can go in your favor, and sometimes vice versa. So, I think for me it's not worrying about the results as much as it is trying to prepare as best as I possibly can.