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Oct. 26 Ben Zobrist pregame interview

October 26, 2016

Q. Terry Francona said Kluber's going to start in Game 4 and they're going to use pitchers on short rest the whole rest of the way after that. What kind of advantage is it for a hitter to see a starting pitcher twice in that short of a span? I

Q. Terry Francona said Kluber's going to start in Game 4 and they're going to use pitchers on short rest the whole rest of the way after that. What kind of advantage is it for a hitter to see a starting pitcher twice in that short of a span? I know you talked about with Kershaw seeing him twice in five days, when you see them twice in four days for their whole series at that point?
BEN ZOBRIST: Yeah, I think it's huge rhythm-wise, you start getting the feel for their rhythm a little bit better and the way their pitches move. When you haven't seen a guy for a long time, sometimes it can be tough. Everybody's got their own movement and the way the ball comes out of the hand and all that kind of stuff, that you kind of have to get used to. That's why pitchers tend to give up runs in the fifth, sixth inning, as you get through the lineup the third time.
So, yeah, the more we see him, probably the easier it will be to put good at-bats together.
Q. Is there such a thing as rising to the moment or having more concentration for yourself? I know you can't talk about other players, but from your experiences in big moments and big series, have you been able to do that during these type of series?
BEN ZOBRIST: To be honest, I don't think there is really that too much to that. It's just a matter of being able to slow the situation down a little bit. The older I get, the more it feels like it's something I've done before. When I was younger, the first couple playoff experiences I had, it was tougher to do that but now, yeah, you still have the nerves going and whatnot. But hopefully you've both succeeded and failed in those situations and you kind of can focus on the moment and the task.
Q. The ticket demand at Wrigley has been so heavy it's forced a lot of your fans to go on the road to see you guys play during this run. I was curious what your perspective was seeing the turnout in L.A., and then here for fans who are kind of going to great lengths to catch you guys during this run here?
BEN ZOBRIST: Yeah, it was great last night to see all the blue. There was a lot of royal blue out there. Cub fans all over the stadium. So that was really cool. I wish we could have gotten a W for them last night.
But, yeah, it's always a huge support for the club, knowing there are Cubs fans everywhere, and that they travel to follow us. It's what makes it fun, and makes the motivation high for us to try to win this.
Q. I know you enjoy just the opportunity to play wherever you've been, but what has been the whole Chicago and Wrigley Field experience like for you?
BEN ZOBRIST: Yeah, it's amazing. It's really -- I love baseball history, and Wrigley Field is as good as it gets when it comes to that. You've got the ivy, and the first time we pulled up to that stadium back in I think 2013 or something with Tampa Bay, the bus is going through the neighborhoods, and then all of a sudden this stadium just pops out of nowhere. For me, I ride my bike to the field and things like that, that kind of makes it feel like old school baseball all over again. I love that feel.
Q. It's been talked about the problem of the weather today and of course we talked with Joe Maddon, who in 2008 was managing the Reys and you were there as well. Do you remember something special that happened in that Game 5 that you remember right now?
BEN ZOBRIST: Well, weather-wise, yeah, I remember that. It was freezing. I remember watching B.J. Upton run around the bases and splashes of water coming up next to his feet as he's running the bases. It was one of the worst conditions I've ever seen a baseball game played in at the time.
So it wasn't real fun that we had to stay up there for an extra day or so. We had to move hotels even at the time because of it. But when you're playing in the World Series, the weather is definitely secondary. You're just trying to play the game the best you can.
Q. You have this ability to play all over the place and you played great in any position they put you. Can you talk about it with somebody who is doing it at a very young age, Javier Báez played third, short, second. And especially his ability at second to get the tag on all the time?
BEN ZOBRIST: The younger the player is, generally the more athletic they can be. We've got a lot of athletes on our team, Javy being one of the best. It's more than just athleticism though. You have to take the right mindset into the game and you've got to be okay with being uncomfortable a little bit at times. Javy's been so great at that all year long, taking the role that he's had and just playing great, regardless of where he is on the field, regardless of where he's hitting in the lineup. He's been incredibly productive, and he's been a force defensively wherever we put him, no matter what. His offense has really taken off this year, so, yeah, we've got a lot of guys that are capable of doing it. We've got several guys doing it.
KB is another one. You just have to have the right mindset, mental makeup to be able to do it, and those guys definitely are there.
Q. When you were saying about riding your bike to the field, I think there was a video one day you did it in uniform, did anybody recognize you or anything? How did that go?
BEN ZOBRIST: Yeah, yeah, there were some people that were driving their cars, stopped rolled the window down, yelled my name or whatever, and I'm waving at them. Just, like, "Hey, have a good game tonight." Just kind of felt like I was passing through the neighborhood, and everybody was like, "Have a good game, man." So it was a fun experience, for sure.
Q. The other day Rizzo was talking about you guys, how you guys pick each other up. If one guy's hitting, you know when he stops, another guy will pick that up. Do you feel like it's kind of your time right now with that? How does that work with the lineup how Rizzo said it?
BEN ZOBRIST: I hope so. It kind of changes daily who that guy is. It's definitely something where you feed off of each other. When you have one guy getting hot, then hopefully you've got another couple guys ready to get hot at the same time. Obviously, when you score a lot of runs, you have more than a few that are doing that. In the last three games our League Championship Series, we had several guys that got hot.
So more the same now, that's what we're looking for. Just a few guys to get hot together at the same time. We hit the ball decent yesterday. We just didn't hit the ball well with runners in scoring position. Once we get in that situation again, yeah, we look to anybody up and down the lineup that can be that guy. It's a huge lift when you see a guy do it.
Q. You mentioned that you appreciate baseball history. Last night you joined Babe Ruth as the only player to have three hits in consecutive openers of World Series games. Is that something that like later, after you play, that you'll look back on just to be mentioned in a breath like Babe Ruth? I mean, this stage of the World Series, not everybody gets it play in something like that, but to be in the same breath as someone like Babe Ruth, is that something later in your life you'll look back on?
BEN ZOBRIST: Yeah, I mean, we're basically talking about the same guy (laughter). Me and the Babe have that record together.
No, honestly, I had some family members bring that up to me this morning, and I thought it was pretty cool. It's funny, but, yeah, it's definitely something that down the road you'll look back and realize, wow, that's pretty crazy that you shared a stat with somebody like that.
Q. I know in May when you were on that hot streak you said it felt different at the plate. You looked really good last night, and there have been some games where you've looked a lot better of late. Do you feel locked in at plate? And how much did rest play a factor towards that at the end of the season?
BEN ZOBRIST: I wouldn't say I feel locked in at the plate. I feel like I'm battling more than anything. I've hit the ball decent this postseason. I haven't gotten a lot of hits. A lot of balls that I've hit hard have been at people. You just got to keep grinding. Grinding the at-bats out. Try to have good quality at-bats and good swings. I was fortunate last night to have a few fall.
But I've said it throughout the postseason, when you don't win the game, it really doesn't matter. Nobody really is caring about the personal stats right now. We just care about the wins and losses. So I do feel a little bit better. I did feel a little bit better. But that changes daily. I mean, really it depends a lot on the kind of pitches you get at the plate, and whether you're seeing it off that particular guy or not.
Every pitcher that we face is good. Everybody is at the top of their game right now, especially the Indians. They've been really hot. We just have to try to take advantage of the mistakes they make.