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Oct. 9 Jake Arrieta pregame interview

MLB.com

Q. Max said yesterday that he felt that he became -- throwing up to a hundred pitches. How does your hamstring feel?

JAKE ARRIETA: I'm going to go. I think initially I wanted to get back out there as quick as I could. Probably came back a few days too early. Had a slight setback but really was fortunate to have a good amount of time in between my start in St. Louis and tomorrow to get ample time to recover. Had five or six days where I completely did anything. Allowed it to heal.

Didn't stress it or allow it to tax the hamstring at all, and that really helped out with the recovery, allowing me to get back to 100 percent. I've thrown two really good bullpens with no issues. From this point on, it seems like it's going to be a non-issue for us now.

Q. From the first two games, and you're familiar with the lineup anyway, but what have you learned and what are your thoughts on the Washington lineup?

JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I think it's just a reiteration of the guys in the order that you've got to pitch careful to. Obviously getting Turner out at the top of the order is crucial to keep him off the base paths. He's the catalyst that gets that offense going. He's obviously got speed. He's a really quality hitter, and if we do a good job of keeping him off base and making good pitches to the guys after him, Harper, Zimmerman, Werth, you can go on down the order. They are very well balanced.

You know, these guys are good at exposing mistakes. If you leave pitches over too much of the plate elevated, they are going to do damage against you. So you know, doing the best I can to speed them up, slow them down, keep them off balance, and trying to get them to chase some things out of the strike zone when I am ahead.

That's the game plan for pretty much anybody. This is an offense that can beat you from top to bottom. Just have to continue to make good pitches. We've done a good job of that thus far. In Game 2, they were able to handle some stuff up in the strike zone for damage and put the game out of reach at that point. The series is 1-1. Got to come out today, you know, ready to win a ballgame, and I'll do my job tomorrow.

Q. Have you gone back to that series in June in Washington and looked at how Turner stole seven bases and addressed that specifically or is it more general?

JAKE ARRIETA: Yeah, I haven't really addressed that. We know that he's capable of doing those sort of things on the base paths. So varying my times, holding the baseball, being quicker to the plate, those are things that you try and be as good as you can at, you know, throughout the entire season.

Sometimes you have moments where you're not up to par with those things, but especially in this series and this situation, those are going to be of high emphasis to do the best we can to, first and foremost, keep them off the base. But if he does get on, doing our best to not allow him to get quality jumps and give our catcher, whether it's Willson or whoever is back there, an opportunity to throw him out.

Q. I know it's not the same injury as Max, but what do you think the challenges are today as he takes the mound against your guys, as far as staying out there and being able to field his position, as well?

JAKE ARRIETA: You know, I don't necessarily know the extent of Scherzer's injury. I know it's the same in regard to being the right leg. And any time it's your push-off leg, I feel like it's a little bit more difficult because you have to load that leg and then drive off of it. It seems like if it's your -- if it's your left leg, I feel like it's a little bit easier to deal with, but since you have to load it and drive off at a pretty good effort, it can be difficult.

But you know, if he's pitching today, I'm assuming that he's healthy enough to go out there and compete and help his team win a game. So I think we have to approach it like he's 100 percent healthy and expect to see the same Max Scherzer we've seen from him in the past, and just be ready to, you know, to do the best we can and try and get to him early, I think is probably the biggest deal. If we can try and make him field his position and put him in some positions like that, that might be something that helps us out today.

Q. Given the uncertainty of your situation after this Postseason, what are your emotions?

JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I've talked kind of at length about this. Just trying to take everything in. Look around a little bit more. Trying to, you know, kind of capture some mental images of Wrigley and the fan base and my teammates, and just to try and remember as much as I can about these last couple weeks; if it's my last time in this uniform.

It's going to be special, that's for sure. This entire year has been incredible. Being able to get to the Postseason three years in a row in this organization. From where we came when I got over here in 2013, has been tremendous, and I've met some incredible people. I was welcomed in this organization from the get-go, and you know, I'm very thankful for Jed and Theo bringing me over here to give me another opportunity to revamp my career.

These next few days are going to be extremely special, and if we're fortunate enough to get past these guys, like I feel we are, I'm going to do everything I can to enjoy the last few weeks.

Q. Is there a set number of innings you need to throw in a game to feel like you've done your job as a starter, and has that changed over the years, knowing how aggressive managers are and throwing their bullpens earlier?

JAKE ARRIETA: I think in the regular season, it's different from in the Postseason. Regular season, yeah, you typically want to get into the seventh inning. That's pretty much the goal for the starting pitcher, get in the seventh, finish the seventh inning and kind of see where you stand after as far as pitch count and your effectiveness.

And the score of the game probably plays a big part in that, obviously, as well as the time of year. If it's April, chances are pitch count is going to be a little bit lower. You get into June, July, that's when you seem to see starters start to get extended a little bit more throughout their outings.

But in the Postseason, it really doesn't matter as long as you're out there keeping your team in the game; if you've got the lead or it's a tie game, if you're out in the fifth or sixth, with the lead, or in a tie game, I mean, that's an ideal situation.

So you know, pretty much all bets are off in the Postseason, as you guys know very well. But every time I toe the rubber, I'm trying to do my best to finish that game. But you know, I feel like you see -- I seem to see relievers in Postseason games as early as the fourth or fifth inning. Hopefully it doesn't play out that way, because any time you're out there as a starter, you're trying to pitch as deep as possible. So we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q. You've said in the past, missing two weeks, in like April or May, might be a bigger issue than the end of the year, so maybe you gain some arm strength even. But what is the perceived negative to not pitching in two weeks. Would it just be maybe the first inning, feeling your way through?

JAKE ARRIETA: I don't there is a perceived negative, at least from my perspective. This time of year, arm strength is pretty much at an all-time high throughout the season. May or June, two weeks off without throwing or without throwing that often could pose a little bit of an issue, without being as crisp mechanically or things like that.

But at this point, I've been able to throw a few really quality sides. Timing is really good. The stuff is good. So the arm strength hasn't been affected, and if there's any effect there, I think it's in a positive way. You know, just kind of giving it a breather, not throwing for a few days, and obviously the hamstring, you know, benefitted from that, as well.

So I think it could have been a blessing in disguise for us.


 

Q. Max said yesterday that he felt that he became -- throwing up to a hundred pitches. How does your hamstring feel?

JAKE ARRIETA: I'm going to go. I think initially I wanted to get back out there as quick as I could. Probably came back a few days too early. Had a slight setback but really was fortunate to have a good amount of time in between my start in St. Louis and tomorrow to get ample time to recover. Had five or six days where I completely did anything. Allowed it to heal.

Didn't stress it or allow it to tax the hamstring at all, and that really helped out with the recovery, allowing me to get back to 100 percent. I've thrown two really good bullpens with no issues. From this point on, it seems like it's going to be a non-issue for us now.

Q. From the first two games, and you're familiar with the lineup anyway, but what have you learned and what are your thoughts on the Washington lineup?

JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I think it's just a reiteration of the guys in the order that you've got to pitch careful to. Obviously getting Turner out at the top of the order is crucial to keep him off the base paths. He's the catalyst that gets that offense going. He's obviously got speed. He's a really quality hitter, and if we do a good job of keeping him off base and making good pitches to the guys after him, Harper, Zimmerman, Werth, you can go on down the order. They are very well balanced.

You know, these guys are good at exposing mistakes. If you leave pitches over too much of the plate elevated, they are going to do damage against you. So you know, doing the best I can to speed them up, slow them down, keep them off balance, and trying to get them to chase some things out of the strike zone when I am ahead.

That's the game plan for pretty much anybody. This is an offense that can beat you from top to bottom. Just have to continue to make good pitches. We've done a good job of that thus far. In Game 2, they were able to handle some stuff up in the strike zone for damage and put the game out of reach at that point. The series is 1-1. Got to come out today, you know, ready to win a ballgame, and I'll do my job tomorrow.

Q. Have you gone back to that series in June in Washington and looked at how Turner stole seven bases and addressed that specifically or is it more general?

JAKE ARRIETA: Yeah, I haven't really addressed that. We know that he's capable of doing those sort of things on the base paths. So varying my times, holding the baseball, being quicker to the plate, those are things that you try and be as good as you can at, you know, throughout the entire season.

Sometimes you have moments where you're not up to par with those things, but especially in this series and this situation, those are going to be of high emphasis to do the best we can to, first and foremost, keep them off the base. But if he does get on, doing our best to not allow him to get quality jumps and give our catcher, whether it's Willson or whoever is back there, an opportunity to throw him out.

Q. I know it's not the same injury as Max, but what do you think the challenges are today as he takes the mound against your guys, as far as staying out there and being able to field his position, as well?

JAKE ARRIETA: You know, I don't necessarily know the extent of Scherzer's injury. I know it's the same in regard to being the right leg. And any time it's your push-off leg, I feel like it's a little bit more difficult because you have to load that leg and then drive off of it. It seems like if it's your -- if it's your left leg, I feel like it's a little bit easier to deal with, but since you have to load it and drive off at a pretty good effort, it can be difficult.

But you know, if he's pitching today, I'm assuming that he's healthy enough to go out there and compete and help his team win a game. So I think we have to approach it like he's 100 percent healthy and expect to see the same Max Scherzer we've seen from him in the past, and just be ready to, you know, to do the best we can and try and get to him early, I think is probably the biggest deal. If we can try and make him field his position and put him in some positions like that, that might be something that helps us out today.

Q. Given the uncertainty of your situation after this Postseason, what are your emotions?

JAKE ARRIETA: Well, I've talked kind of at length about this. Just trying to take everything in. Look around a little bit more. Trying to, you know, kind of capture some mental images of Wrigley and the fan base and my teammates, and just to try and remember as much as I can about these last couple weeks; if it's my last time in this uniform.

It's going to be special, that's for sure. This entire year has been incredible. Being able to get to the Postseason three years in a row in this organization. From where we came when I got over here in 2013, has been tremendous, and I've met some incredible people. I was welcomed in this organization from the get-go, and you know, I'm very thankful for Jed and Theo bringing me over here to give me another opportunity to revamp my career.

These next few days are going to be extremely special, and if we're fortunate enough to get past these guys, like I feel we are, I'm going to do everything I can to enjoy the last few weeks.

Q. Is there a set number of innings you need to throw in a game to feel like you've done your job as a starter, and has that changed over the years, knowing how aggressive managers are and throwing their bullpens earlier?

JAKE ARRIETA: I think in the regular season, it's different from in the Postseason. Regular season, yeah, you typically want to get into the seventh inning. That's pretty much the goal for the starting pitcher, get in the seventh, finish the seventh inning and kind of see where you stand after as far as pitch count and your effectiveness.

And the score of the game probably plays a big part in that, obviously, as well as the time of year. If it's April, chances are pitch count is going to be a little bit lower. You get into June, July, that's when you seem to see starters start to get extended a little bit more throughout their outings.

But in the Postseason, it really doesn't matter as long as you're out there keeping your team in the game; if you've got the lead or it's a tie game, if you're out in the fifth or sixth, with the lead, or in a tie game, I mean, that's an ideal situation.

So you know, pretty much all bets are off in the Postseason, as you guys know very well. But every time I toe the rubber, I'm trying to do my best to finish that game. But you know, I feel like you see -- I seem to see relievers in Postseason games as early as the fourth or fifth inning. Hopefully it doesn't play out that way, because any time you're out there as a starter, you're trying to pitch as deep as possible. So we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q. You've said in the past, missing two weeks, in like April or May, might be a bigger issue than the end of the year, so maybe you gain some arm strength even. But what is the perceived negative to not pitching in two weeks. Would it just be maybe the first inning, feeling your way through?

JAKE ARRIETA: I don't there is a perceived negative, at least from my perspective. This time of year, arm strength is pretty much at an all-time high throughout the season. May or June, two weeks off without throwing or without throwing that often could pose a little bit of an issue, without being as crisp mechanically or things like that.

But at this point, I've been able to throw a few really quality sides. Timing is really good. The stuff is good. So the arm strength hasn't been affected, and if there's any effect there, I think it's in a positive way. You know, just kind of giving it a breather, not throwing for a few days, and obviously the hamstring, you know, benefitted from that, as well.

So I think it could have been a blessing in disguise for us.


 

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.