Q. Hunter, Buster, for both of you, just wondering, how do you balance going into a one-game playoff with sort of being able to prepare yourselves mentally for the potential long grind of October? Obviously the Giants have done that before, and I'm wondering how the two of you reconcile
Q. Hunter, Buster, for both of you, just wondering, how do you balance going into a one-game playoff with sort of being able to prepare yourselves mentally for the potential long grind of October? Obviously the Giants have done that before, and I'm wondering how the two of you reconcile it in your own minds?
BUSTER POSEY: Yeah, I mean, I think for me, and I think Hunter will agree, but it's just about embracing this one game right now. I'm sure that's the same way the Mets are going to look at it. I mean, this is a really fun game and we've been fortunate to be in it a couple of years ago. And, I mean, that's really the focus right now is just enjoying tomorrow.
HUNTER PENCE: Yeah, basically, you know, there is no need to get ahead of ourselves. We're in a beautiful moment, and honestly, it's one of the most unique experiences. The Wild Card game is just such an intense atmosphere to just right off the bat you're going into an elimination game. It's beautiful for fans. It's beautiful for players and everyone that gets to experience the game. So just enjoy that.
Q. Noah Syndergaard is very challenging on the mound. What types of challenges does Syndergaard provide for you?
HUNTER PENCE: Yeah, I mean, that's playoff baseball, it's the best versus the best. It's two Goliaths going at it, two big guys and that makes for some good drama, some good excitement, and, you know, that's the fun of playoff baseball is getting out there and competing against the best.
Q. I know you don't have a ton of high-stolen base guys, but he's been successful for the run. Do you think you guys could possibly take advantage of that?
BUSTER POSEY: I mean, I think we're going to do anything we can to try to get runs on the board. I think the flow of the game will a lot of times dictate what you do. I think earlier this year we have watched a lot of the starters and whoever is catching them, they do a good job throwing the ball, so you have to take that into account as well.
Q. Buster, just on your year, how would you sum up your year? I mean, some people say it was a down year if you look at numbers. But how do you sum it up?
BUSTER POSEY: Ultimately the goal was to get to the postseason, so I'm happy with that. I think ideally everybody sets out to win their division, but, again, this game tomorrow is pretty special. Just looking forward to being out there and making hopefully some good memories.
Q. For both of you, how would you describe the intangibles of your Goliath because we see that Bumgarner could be an intense guy, but he's also a calm guy. How does he balance that? What can you tell us that we don't see?
HUNTER PENCE: I think this is for you, Buster.
BUSTER POSEY: Well, I mean, I think the main thing with Bum is just his preparation is just second to none. As soon as it starts over he's getting ready for the next one. He might not be the guy that's going to be in the video room or analyzing stats necessarily, but you can see the wheels turning in his head and know that he's getting ready for his opponent. He's in the gym making sure his work's done. You know, he's just one of those guys that has that it-factor that you can see is there.
HUNTER PENCE: Every little thing he does, sometimes you see him do some things and you think I wonder if he knows what he's doing or why he's doing that, and he always has a very strong intention with everything he does. He knows exactly what he's doing. He's in command of himself and all the things going on. It's just he's got this special -- like you said, this it-factor and this incredible competitiveness that's just so beautiful to watch and to be a part of and to play behind.
Q. For both of you, you hear it said all the time that the only thing you can't teach in this game is hitting a fastball. You just have to have the talent to be able to do it. Syndergaard has the hardest average fastball velocity of any pitcher in the Big Leagues. First of all, do you think this is a good fastball hitting team, and how do you gear up for that?
HUNTER PENCE: Fastballs, it's all timing. He's got other pitches as well. He's got an arsenal of weapons. So you can't just go in and be like, oh, this guy throws hard, so I'm going to have to hit a fastball, because sometimes they don't throw it for a strike. So you've just got to get in there with a game plan and a preparation and understand that it's timing. It's having an a approach and trusting that approach and trusting your teammates.
Q. You alluded to it, Hunter, about the excitement of this game. You both have been in six elimination games in 2012, so you know what that feeling is like. But any memories that you have of 2014, either of you, how you felt the emotions of that and ways that might have been different than, like you say, those games in 2012?
BUSTER POSEY: Yeah, I mean, for me, I remember just walking in from the bullpen in Pittsburgh and thinking and taking a second to look around because even 10, 15 minutes before the game it was rocking. I expect it to be the same here tomorrow. Shoot, that's the type of stuff when you're a kid that you dream about being in those type of situations, playing in those atmospheres.
So, I mean, I would say personally I think it's a little different than an elimination game like we had against the Reds in '12 when you had to win three in a row, just because you can feel the energy from everybody understanding right out the gate that it's win this one or go home.
HUNTER PENCE: Yeah, I mean, my memory of the Pittsburgh Wild Card game was like those 15 minutes before that game was the most intense atmosphere I've ever been a part of. A lot of the other, when you get into the longer series, the five-game series, the seven-game series, it kind of develops a rhythm and momentum. And momentum swings are huge in the playoffs. You're all in one game. You have no idea which way the momentum or the rhythm of the series or the team. There are so many things going on where you're figuring out how they're going to pitch you.
So you're just jumping right into it, and this huge, emotional, intense, all-in, all-or-nothing game. It's definitely a wild ride. That's why they call it the Wild Card.
Q. To follow up on that question, you guys I think had won four straight elimination games. Can you put a finger on why you've been so successful in these situations?
BUSTER POSEY: Good pitching, good defense, and timely hitting. I don't know. I think if you wanted to look deeper, I think we've got a group of guys that they enjoy being in the type of situation. And every game's different. Just like every season's different.
So you just go out and try to be humble and appreciate being in the moment. That's about all you can do.
Q. How much responsibility do you guys feel for offensively taking your team as far as it can go? You guys always go as far as your pitching, but you two are kind of the heart of the team.
HUNTER PENCE: I think that's a really awesome question, and I think that there's never anyone on our team that's going to be like, oh, the offense or I have to carry this burden or I have to carry this weight. We go out there like, hey, everyone stay within yourself, play your game and trust the strengths of the group. Because if one man tries to put the whole weight of it on his back, it's going to be really heavy. And everyone trying to do that, you're going to get in your own way.
So if we all carry the burden, if we all carry the weight and go up there and trust each other and trust our teammates and trust the strength of that, that's when I think we can play at our best and give ourselves the best opportunity to reach the result that we want.
BUSTER POSEY: Yeah, I agree with Hunter. I think when we're clicking offensively, that's what we're doing. We're not trying to do too much. I'm sure it's similar for a lot of teams. You're keeping the line moving. I think that's particularly important in the playoffs when you're facing good pitching. You've got to go up and just anyway you can try to be productive. Yeah, so I'm on the same page with Hunter.
Q. There's a lot of mixed feelings sometimes between fans or writers about how this game is not technically -- some people say not part of the playoffs, like the playoffs started right after the Wild Card. How does that feel for you? How can you tell people how this is definitely the beginning of the playoffs?
HUNTER PENCE: Well, I mean, it's not a regular-season game. This is a win or go home. And there's only a few. There's only the teams that earned the right to play in this game playing in it.
But, really, it's all perception. You can call it whatever you want. But this game matters and it matters a lot, and it's a lot of fun. So it's not how you perceive it, but it is a game outside of the regular season that counts a lot.
Q. Conor Gillaspie has stepped in at third base and done quite a job since Nunez got hurt. How would you guys evaluate his performance on both offense and defense?
BUSTER POSEY: Yeah, he's been great. Conor's definitely a team favorite. He's a good guy to have around and has really, as you mentioned, stepped in late with Nunez taking a lot of the games down the stretch. That sometimes is not an easy thing to do, but I think that's a credit to Conor, being ready every day. Whether he's pinch-hitting or possibly coming in later in the game when Nunez was playing every day, I think that probably helped him stay ready for being able to step in.
Q. I know you're probably sick of this and everything, but what is the deal with the even number years? Do you guys joke about it? Do you talk about it? Have you ever looked at it and said, you know -- is it just coming back hungrier or what?
HUNTER PENCE: The time is now and it's a completely new year than anything previously. All of that has been done and it's history. I'm just focused on right now. Doesn't matter what number they call the year. It's right now and it's a game between the Giants and the Mets, playing what we love to do. Playing for what we dream about. I'm going to enjoy and savor every minute of chasing my dream.
Q. Hunter, I haven't seen you in a while. Is that a new look for you? A playoff look? Part of the incognito of the streets of New York?
HUNTER PENCE: Yeah, I just created this look instantaneously. It just showed up.
Q. Is it for the playoffs?
HUNTER PENCE: No, it was done because teammates were like, hey, Strickland told me he wasn't going to cut his hair. And I said, okay, I'll do that with you. It's not because I wanted to look like this, but because it's fun to do things crazy with your teammates. Not too many jobs you get the opportunity to look like a bum and have fun doing it.
Q. Buster, you're not going to emulate that, then?
BUSTER POSEY: No, I can't pull that one off.