Q. Jake, with all that's been going on, you seem to be having some fun on Twitter or one of the social media things with the Pittsburgh fans. Could you talk a little bit about that and maybe how it helps to keep you loose and the rest of the team loose too?
JAKE ARRIETA: Yeah, I think it's a big part of the fan-player interaction, and it's all in good fun. I don't mean anything negative towards anybody. Just it's kind of the build-up to the game. You've got two very passionate fan bases in Pittsburgh, and there is the support of the guys they have here. And obviously, on our side with the fan base, we have fans who are extremely supportive of what we're trying to accomplish.
It is all in good fun. There is nothing meant in a negative aspect there. I think it's just kind of a unique way to start interaction within the fan bases or with the players and the fans. So it's something I kind of like to do.
Q. The Pittsburgh fans say your name's got too many syllables. Cueto worked really well, Arrieta not so well. Which two syllables would you like to use? And if the crowd gets crazy tomorrow night and it gets really loud, does that have an impact on you?
JAKE ARRIETA: I expect it to be extremely, extremely loud from the get-go. I know the type of loyalty the fans have here. I know how passionate they are about their baseball here, and I wouldn't expect anything less.
I think the noise is something that you just have to deal with. It's always there in a certain aspect. Obviously tomorrow night is going to be magnified more than most games, but it is expected. It is something that I am comfortable dealing with, and it's exciting. To be in an atmosphere where you've got 40,000, 38,000 plus opposing fans, some Chicago fans are going to be there, obviously, but it makes those moments enjoyable for me.
Q. Wondering how much you watched of Madison Bumgarner and the Giants last October, and is it different to carry really good pitching through in October as opposed to what you've done August-September?
JAKE ARRIETA: I did see some of it last year. I think I was out in the woods in the middle of nowhere when that game was taking place. So I heard and saw a lot more of it once I got back into normal civilization.
But for me, I don't necessarily think it's much different. I mean, it's the same preparation. It's a team that I am comfortable with analyzing, scouting, and pitching against. It's an extremely balanced group of guys in that order who can make a lot of things happen. And I feel confident that I can neutralize a lot of their power, a lot of their speed guys with different sequences. You know, I intend to have some pretty good success tomorrow.
Q. Gerrit Cole, going against him, what do you think of the season he's had and his skill set?
JAKE ARRIETA: Tremendous competitor, really young guy who is pitching beyond his years. I watched him when he was at UCLA and knew that he was going to be a really good one. I knew that it wasn't going to take very long. We've seen him against us a couple times this year, I think. He's been really good. He features plus stuff. Everything he throws is plus. He's got a lot of movement. And he's tough, he really is. His year has been tremendous. Was he an All-Star this year? All-Star season. I think 19 wins with a 2.6. I mean, that speaks pretty highly for just about anybody, and Gerrit's no different. I know he's going to come out tomorrow with an intense mindset, ready to get after it.
Q. You talked about pitch sequencing and talked about going through a lineup three or four times in a game. They get to see a pitcher more often, they tend to have more success. You've seen this team a bunch during the course of just this season. Is there anything advantageous in having seen you in four starts versus this start?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I think, generally speaking, the more bats you get against somebody, the more comfort that you develop, for most people, I would think. Just naturally the more pitches you see against somebody, you might develop a little bit of that comfort.
But, again, it's going to come down to executing, trying to keep guys off balance, obviously disrupting timing. And that's something you can do regardless of how many times you face a lineup or face certain hitters. If you're able to disrupt that timing and not allow them to eliminate pitches, it's still going to be tough.
Q. Your catcher, Miguel, said that he felt your confidence was a big difference-maker in the second half. How does that manifest on the field literally in how you perform?
JAKE ARRIETA: I think a lot of confidence comes with preparation, and the type of preparation you're able to go through. For me, that's where the confidence level has increased. I think in the first half, the confidence was there. You know, getting in that sweet spot of timing and the tempo of my delivery was something that slowly transpired and got better as the year progressed, and that's really the most important aspect for me now. As long as that timing and that tempo is there with my delivery, everything's going to work out pretty good.
Q. I'm not sure if you've been asked this, but considering your second half, did you pitch with a chip on your shoulder after not making the All-Star team?
JAKE ARRIETA: No, I didn't use that as any motivation. It was one of those things and I think it happens -- it's something that happens every year. There are guys that are left off. It is what it is. The motivation from day one is just to really get wins for the ballclub.
At the end of the day, those individual numbers, awards, accolades tend to add up if you're able to perform on a consistent basis at a high level and win games for your team.
Q. Can you talk about the excitement of pitching in this game? I mean, this is almost like a Game 7 where it's win or go home, and you got the ball. Can you address that and how you think -- is there anxiety, butterflies, excitement, happiness?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, it's a nervous excitement. It's not anxiety. I mean, this is why I've prepared as hard and as rigorous as I have for the past however many years for this game.
This is one of the moments that you think about when you're training in the off-season in early December. You think about pitching in games like this. So I've already processed it, I've already visualized the scenarios. So I feel like anything that's thrown at me tomorrow or really in any game, I'm ready to handle and deal with and move forward.
So this has been a long time coming to this moment. I've been waiting for it for a number of years, and I'm ready.
Q. Do you feel the way you performed this season on the road, do you feel less pressure here in Pittsburgh than if you were back at Wrigley?
JAKE ARRIETA: I don't think so. I think that just speaks to the ability of our club to play well on the road. I think that I've fared well on the road as well. I think it goes back to the crowd involvement and the atmosphere. I thrive off that, regardless of whether it's a home crowd or an opposing crowd. If you can channel that noise and that excitement and use that atmosphere as a positive, whether you're on the road or at home, that's going to bode well for you. If you allow the noise to affect you mentally and allow it to take away from your stuff and your ability to execute pitches, then it's going to be a negative for anybody.
But I feel confident that it's going to be something that's going to propel me in certain situations and elevate my game.
Q. You mentioned Gerrit, the Pirates drafted Gerrit specifically with this scenario in mind, and the ace coming out in the win-or-go-home game. You're a late bloomer, might be a way of putting it. What is happening in Chicago that's helped you become this guy that's had this light's out stretch?
JAKE ARRIETA: There's a lot of variables that go into that answer. To keep it short, I would say that coming over here, I was able to be myself, go back to doing things mechanically and physically that I knew I was capable of doing on a consistent basis that were going to help me perform better on a game-by-game basis.
So in combining that with the mentality, a simple mentality of regardless of the scenario, I have to execute one pitch. Regardless of the results, I have to execute a pitch after that one. Keeping that mindset and not worrying about what happened in the past or what I might have to deal with in the future, trying to keep it in the present, understanding that I have one task at hand and trying to accomplish that task. I think those two things go hand in hand and are really what's helped me get to this point.
Q. Jon Lester obviously has the postseason track record. What kind of conversations, if any, have you guys had about pitching in a game of this magnitude? And what have you guys learned from each other, if anything, this season?
JAKE ARRIETA: Well, first and foremost, from day one in Spring Training, I wanted to be more -- learn more visually from Jon at first, kind of just watch how he worked, kind of understand how he operated, how he liked to structure his days, what he did on his side days, because this guy has been around for a long time and he's had success at the highest level for a really long time and had some really incredible post-season numbers.
Most of our conversations about the post-season are his stories that he's -- especially him and David Ross, listening to their experiences in the World Series, and it creates a lot of excitement. A lot of energy, a lot of excitement, and that's really the biggest thing that I wanted to take away from Jon is just his emotions throughout the experience in the postseason.
Q. You've seen the Pirates three or four times this year and they've seen you. How much adjusting will you have to do to your approach based on what you think they might do to try to have more success?
JAKE ARRIETA: Sequencing is a really big factor in preparing for a team that you've faced several times. For me, at the end of the day, I feel like if I execute, regardless if I were to use same sequencing as I have in the past against these guys, I still feel confident in my ability to have success. It's going to come down to who makes the fewest amount of mistakes both on the mound, in the field, on the bases.
Because we obviously know that two of the best three teams in baseball are playing for a do-or-die game tomorrow. So it's going to come down to executing, both on the mound and in the field and on the basepaths.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.