10/11/07 2:58 PM ET
Workout interview with Jason Varitek
Catcher looking forward to Sabathia-Beckett match up
By / MLB.com
JASON VARITEK: I mean, I don't pitch, so I can't answer that fully. But hopefully with side works and long toss and getting some work in on the side, hopefully he can maintain it more so than anything.
What can you take out of this 1-0 game in Cleveland in terms of game calling?
JASON VARITEK: You know, it's a different time of the year, different -- I mean, it was a couple months ago, so guys make changes, make adjustments. I think the biggest thing you take is that when you're executing pitches, you know, pitchers have an advantage when you can execute pitches.
The perception is that David and Manny are as locked in as maybe they've been all year. What do you see when you see those guys coming up?
JASON VARITEK: Well, they're just dangerous hitters, whether what time of the year it is or not. In this last series they had some huge hits for us, obviously. Mike Lowell had some big hits for us, J.D. had a big hit for us, Dustin set some tables. So it wasn't all just with one person or two people. And it has to be consistent through our lineup that we get some production elsewhere, also.
But those guys are the heart of our order and provide length and some danger to our lineup.
The time off you guys have had in general, how will that affect things? I think by tomorrow you will have played three game in the past 11 days. How will that affect the team and what specifically do you think will take adjusting to?
JASON VARITEK: I think that -- I hope that -- you hope that enough preparation -- length of time, this time of year, probably helps guys physically recover from a long season more than anything, get off some of those extra bruises and some ailments. That definitely helps.
You miss the day to day timing of the game. Hopefully we've done enough in some practice to get us close to that. But I don't know how it's going to affect anything. Just we focus on the way we play our game, and those things will fall into place.
The Indians are known to be a more patient team than the Angels. Other than wanting to throw strike one and get ahead, how do you approach a team that is a little bit more willing to work the count and get your pitch count up?
JASON VARITEK: Well, it's some selection with some danger. There's a lot of danger in their lineup. A lot of guys swing the bats and swing the bats well. We have to focus on what we do rather than what they do and continue to do that. They have a very good team, a very good lineup, and we have to focus on what this team has, what has made our team good, and that's pitching the ball well.
Aside from in game strategy with Terry, how much does a manager's importance come down to his personality or motivational skills or things outside the line? Does that make a big part of a winning team?
JASON VARITEK: It's reading your team and the type of players you have, and who you have, and how you attack different personalities, you know, besides the strategy. Every guy is different and every clubhouse is different. And adapting to what your personnel is, is what makes you a good manager, and delegating the responsibility to your core group of coaches to handle some of that, too.
Can you talk about the challenge of facing Sabathia and Carbona the first two games and how tough they are.
JASON VARITEK: We'll have to focus on C.C. first. Obviously he's got tremendous stuff. He's a power lefty, and we've got -- we have to make him work and be ready to hit. We haven't quite had our hitters' meeting, so it's not something that I probably would tell you anyways (laughter).
What does Daisuke have to do to pitch better?
JASON VARITEK: Just his overall command. Overall command, period. Command of his pitches, he keeps his pitch count down and pitches very well. We just ran into a lot of three ball counts, 3-2 counts, and he either walked them or something. We eliminate some of those and stay out of some of those walks, he's probably got a pretty good outing.
You have to obviously face Sabathia tomorrow and you know what Beckett brings to the table. What's your perspective on this match up of the two basically best pitchers in the AL this season?
JASON VARITEK: Same thing, we have to be ready to hit, and be focused offensively to be ready for C.C. on an offensive standpoint, and on a defensive standpoint, same thing. We have to go out there with Josh and allow this team an opportunity to score some runs.
The match up, it's a great thing for baseball. Those two guys have had tremendous years and they both have tremendous stuff.
If you were the catcher back there with Manny and David up, would you be in a position of trying to exploit a weakness with what you were calling or just trying to dance around the edges and make the most of it?
JASON VARITEK: Well, I mean, you have them back to back, so that's a tough question. You also have Mikey Lowell to worry about. That's the advantage of having lineups rather than just two people you have to pitch to.
But I certainly am not going to divulge how I'd attack them, but that's just personal opinion.
Jonathan Papelbon is supposedly stronger now than he was at the beginning of the season. If that's true, what do you see specifically that makes him better and stronger day to day pitching?
JASON VARITEK: I don't know. I don't know if "stronger" is a word -- he got to pitch more late in the year, and a guy that has been utilized as a starter for most of his career. He had some sporadic April experiences and did a great job doing so, and he's the end of our bullpen. He gives us somebody to turn to.
But I think he got to pitch a little bit more late and got a little better feel with his slider and his split in his location.
Is Sabathia a little bit better pitcher and why, from earlier in his career, from a opponent's standpoint? What's he done better lately?
JASON VARITEK: Well, he's able to pound the strike zone with all three of his pitches basically, and both tilts of his fastball, too. I wouldn't say his stuff changed, just his experience has changed.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.