Q & A with Scott Proctor
Reliever pitches scoreless inning during Game 2 in Bronx
NEW YORK -- Scott Proctor made his second appearance in as many games on Thursday, throwing a scoreless inning in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Tigers.
With the Yankees trailing by a run, Proctor walked Magglio Ordonez before getting Carlos Guillen, Ivan Rodriguez and Craig Monroe to fly out. The Tigers came away with a 4-3 victory, tying the best-of-five series at one game apiece as the series moves to Detroit.
Throughout the 2006 postseason, Proctor will take part in an exclusive Q&A with MLB.com, sharing his thoughts after every Yankees game. On Thursday, Proctor talked about his own performance, his team's lack of hitting with runners in scoring position and what the Yankees need to do in Game 3 to take control of the series.
MLB.com: With all of the hype around the Yankees' offense, what is it like for you to see so many wasted opportunities in the first three innings against Justin Verlander?
Proctor: You always think with our offense that we're going to work the count, get their starter to throw a lot of pitches and hopefully take advantage of any mistake he makes. He pitched a heck of a game today. We battled, but we couldn't come up with that one big hit to put it out of reach.
MLB.com: When Johnny Damon hits that three-run homer in the fourth, it looked like it would be that one big hit. What was going through your mind as that ball landed in the upper deck?
Proctor: It's a really good feeling to take a lead like that, especially with [Mike Mussina] on the mound and some rested arms in the bullpen. The Tigers are a good team, though; they come out and battle every inning, so you can never count them out. We have to go out there and bury them every day. Tomorrow is a big game; we have to go out, draw first blood and show them what we're made of.
MLB.com: Is Detroit's lineup a tough one to face because they don't have that one guy or two guys like David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez that you need to focus on?
Proctor: They're free-swingers and they don't work the count like our guys do, but they're professional hitters. They have guys with a lot of years in the league who hit .300 for a reason. You have to make your pitches, because they can slap the ball anywhere, and they're a little more versatile than we are when it comes to speed. They're pesky hitters, so you have to make good pitches.
MLB.com: What did you think of Mussina's performance?
Proctor: I think Moose threw the ball really well, even though he doesn't have much to show for it. The guy threw well, but the Tigers kept inching back and inching back, then their bullpen shut us down.
MLB.com: As a hard-throwing reliever, can you appreciate a guy like Joel Zumaya?
Proctor: Oh yeah. That guy goes after anybody; he doesn't care who you are. If you're good enough, he's going to say, 'Here it is -- hit it.' To hit 102 on the gun, that's impressive from anybody. Especially in a day game with the shadows, that's just about unhittable.
MLB.com: You thought that having your first outing under your belt would help settle you in. How did you feel out there?
Proctor: When you get a guy 0-2 and walk him, that's not good. I'm not really happy with the way I've thrown the ball in the playoffs, but if you can get through it without getting hurt, each time out, you just build on it. You're going to have days when you can't execute your pitches, you just hope you don't have to pay for it.
MLB.com: Game 3 is going to be a big one, and you have Randy Johnson on the mound. He hasn't been out there in almost two weeks; what do you expect out of him on Friday?
Proctor: We're expecting Randy. He's going to go out and battle the way he has all year, hopefully chew up some innings and put us in a position to win the game. Whenever he turns it over to the bullpen, it's our job to keep it in that same place.
MLB.com: After Game 1, most people were writing the Tigers off. Now that it's 1-1, do you feel the pressure is on the Yankees as you head to Detroit?
Proctor: The pressure is there to win every day. Even though we won the first game, today was a big game. If we had put our foot on them, it would have put even more pressure on them. We still have to go out every day and play, so we have as much pressure as they do.
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.