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Oct. 7 Jason Heyward pregame interview

October 7, 2017

Q. The one thing that you guys took away, pitching was so great yesterday, taking away their running game and taking away Turner at the top. How key do you think it was by just keeping those guys totally off the bases?JASON HEYWARD: I don't know, it's not always going

Q. The one thing that you guys took away, pitching was so great yesterday, taking away their running game and taking away Turner at the top. How key do you think it was by just keeping those guys totally off the bases?
JASON HEYWARD: I don't know, it's not always going to work out that way, you know. But when you do that, it does force them to try and string hits together and kind of allow them a home run or two there when we get a couple runs on the board.
When those guys get on base, you have to manage that and it's going to be part of the game. But at the end of the day, I feel like our pitchers are really focused on making their pitches and our defense being in the best position we can and making the plays we're capable of making.
Q. Does a history of Postseason success help on a night like last night when Strasburg is so dominant?
JASON HEYWARD: Absolutely. I feel like the history of our divisions, the battles we've had playing against those teams, playoff experience in those teams, that you know you've just got to hang in there and just kind of grind it out and keep pushing. Make them feel the pressure, go up and have our at-bats and look for the smallest thing to find some positivity and try not to miss when it comes.
Q. What can some of those smallest things be for this club, just to get something ignited that you've noticed over not only one game, but last October, too?
JASON HEYWARD: For us in the dugout, you know, offensively, smallest thing could be a walk. It could be Javy reaching last night like did he on an error, somebody getting the bunt down, going up there, grinding out an at-bat and passing it on to the next guy. I feel like we rely on that a lot. I don't feel like one person has to get it done.
But on defense, guys making plays on defense; they can get somebody on, okay, we know how that goes. We like having guys on base and we look for the smallest thing there, like I said. But if it's all defense, the ball hit in the hole, whatever, the guys in the middle make a play or the guys in the outfield make a play or Willy behind the plate making a play, those things keep momentum on your side.
Q. From last October, talking about putting teams in pressure situations, how much can you sense when an opponent is under pressure in an atmosphere and visiting park like last night? How much can you sense the pressure from a crowd or team, when you guys do take advantage of opportunities that you do?
JASON HEYWARD: We don't really focus on, you know, like outside of what's going on with us necessarily.
So I guess looking at, or sensing their pressure, do they feel -- we can't really tell you that because we're not on that side. But you do see the momentum change in the crowd. That's an easy tell for certain things. And I mean, that's natural, though, anywhere you go. It happens for our fans at home.
But we do know that our at-bats -- regardless of him, you know, Strasburg is punching ten or however many he punched out and having a no-hitter, we were having some pretty good ABs. He was making pitches and that's what you have to expect. He was making pitches.
The smallest things, like I said, sometimes you put the ball in play and you can hear the crowd (gasping) and that's what comes with the playoffs and what really makes it feel fun, I feel like.
Q. You're not starting tonight but you know you're going to play, and that mentality for the whole unit, does that keep everybody more involved, more in tune with everything else because of the way Joe embraces each and every player; that he's as good as the next guy?
JASON HEYWARD: Yeah, I feel like that's a unique, I don't know, cool, awesome feeling that we all have is that we know any of us, any moment, could be used in the game if we're not in the game. We spoke on it before, as far as any of us can get the job done, at any moment in the game if we're starting.
So yeah, naturally, we're going to stay in tune to the game anyways. It's the playoffs and we don't have another team to focus on, all those things. But when you know that any moment, you could say, hey, you're going to go pinch-hit, go run, go hit; for me, of course, go play defense, as well, it just makes it fun. You're waiting for your moment to help the team out, and when you get a chance to do it, I feel like it keeps us ready.
Q. A lot of times in sports, we all hear that teams are close, but with you folks, it definitely seems like the real thing. As a unit, how close are you, and how much has winning helped over the last couple of years now?
JASON HEYWARD: Winning helps, but I've been on -- been fortunate enough to be on a few winning teams, and close goes a long way when it's not easy. You know, baseball season, you've got the ups and downs, and it's a roller coaster, and much like this year for us.
You know, I would say this group was pretty close. Last night, there was a point in time where we've got guys locked arms during Rizzo's last at-bat before he hit the double, just having fun and enjoying the challenge and competing and pulling for him up there at the plate. We kind of all do that for each other at all times, so that's just how much fun we have, you know, competing, how much fun we have rooting for each other and just being in the moment.