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Did you think that you've matured since 2003? How are you different from the pitcher that pitched in the World Series that year?
I certainly think you learn a lot through failure and through succeeding. You know, as you get older, obviously, you're still learning. But I think you learn a lot of crucial things along the way.
But I don't think anybody will ever consider their learning process completed in this game.
What do you think you can take from what you did accomplish back in 2003 and bring it to now, here it is in 2007?
I don't know. Nothing. I've got to go out and execute pitches, just like I did in 2003. Just like I did throughout this season. I don't think anything's going to change because -- they're certainly not going to be a different lineup because of what I did in 2003. So I don't think it has any bearing whatsoever on what's going on now.
You were on a team that won the World Series as a Wild Card, and then this team won a World Series as a Wild Card. This year you guys go in as division champs.
Just trying to get in.
Any more pressure in the mindset once you get in?
Just trying to get in. It's nice, gives people stuff to write about, you know, with the whole Wild Card thing. Six out of the last ten World Series, or whatever.
But bottom line is, you're trying to get into the playoffs. Because once you get into the playoffs, that's when, you know, you actually have a chance to win the World Series. If you don't get in the playoffs, you're going home; you don't have a chance.
What kind of threat does that Angels lineup, in particular, pose to a pitcher out there?
They can run. They've got guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark. They move runners over. They play very fundamentally sound.
You know, when we were out there, I think that's one thing that everybody kept talking about when we went out there, and they kind of beat up on us a little bit. It was the fact that they play the game the right way, the way they have to to win. And they don't make mistakes, defensively or offensively.
Between last year and this year, what inspired you to make the changes that you've made?
I don't know. Like I said, I'm just trying to execute pitches. You know, some days are better than others. I don't get too far into all the other stuff. It's just one of those deals, you know, execute more pitches this year.
You talked about how the Angels play the game right. How do you take them out of that game? What can you do to take them out of that game?
You've got to play the game right. You've got to hold base runners. You've got to know in bunt situations what bunt defense that we want to do. You know, it's a fun thing to watch, to watch them do that, but it's also something that, you know, is fun to watch whenever people defend it right.
After you won your 20th the other night you said that there were a lot of people that bear some credit for that. Who are some of the people that do, in your mind?
You know what, if I got into naming people, I'd probably forget somebody, and I'd feel like an asshole.
Can you just talk about your bullpen, and how well they've been pitching lately and whether that makes it easier for you to know that you've got that back there?
It's nice to know that in my last win, I left nine outs to get, and they did that flawlessly.
It's great, you know. You've got to play good baseball in October to move on, because everybody's playing good baseball. There are not too many people slipping through the cracks. People are locked in this time of the year. And that's when you've got to go out and be more locked in; better than they do.
How does this year's scheduling changes with more days off in the postseason, how do you think that's going to affect a pitching staff going into the playoffs?
I really don't know. I haven't ever been through it. You know, I look forward to doing it, though.
When you think of the postseason success, is Curt the guy that you look at in terms of a guy that's defined himself by success in the postseason? And how much is that something you strive to achieve?
Yeah, absolutely. You know, you look at what he did in '04, and what he did in '01. I was 13 years old when he did it in '93, so didn't remember that too well. But in 2001 I was in the big leagues, and 2004 I was in the big leagues. So I watched those games a little closer than I probably did the '93 World Series. He's had an unbelievable career. He's had several really good Octobers.
Am I trying to be the next Curt Schilling? No. I'm trying to be Josh Beckett. Go out and do what I do best.
You've had good success against this team this year, what does that mean going into a game like this?
Nothing. Just that everybody's a little more locked in this time of year.
You mentioned playing fundamentally sound against a running team. Coming up in the National League, where it's at least perceived that more teams try to do that, pitchers have to bunt and so forth, is your National League experience, in your mind, helpful to you in helping you prepare for a game like this against a team that does play that way?
I think it helps me a little bit, just because I have --
I've actually been on teams that had to survive like that. That's not taking anything away from the middle of their order, because they have guys that can hit the ball as far as anybody. One guy in particular that can hit anything that doesn't bounce right out of the ballpark, so.
It's just they play the game right. We have to play fundamentally sound if we want to compete with them.
John Lackey, I realize it's a big state and it's a couple years difference between the two of you, but did you ever cross paths in high school?
No, we did not. No. I mean, obviously I know he's from Texas, and we've talked, but I never played against him in high school or anything.
You were talking about that one guy in particular. Earlier David Ortiz was talking about Vlad Guerrero, and how careful pitchers you have to be with him. How careful will you be? How do you plan to attack him?
You have to be very careful. You have to be even more worried about being careless, because if you think you're wasting a pitch, it may not be a waste pitch to him, and he'll find some way to hit it as far as anybody. I think the thing is you really need to focus on not being careless. I mean, you have to be careful anyway because of who he is. But it's when you get a little bit careless, that is when people make mistakes. And mistakes are not good this time of the year.