10/13/08 7:45 PM ET
Cole Hamels pregame interview
Pitcher treats postseason like all starts: one pitch at a time
COLE HAMELS: I think as the years go on, you know, you build more experience, I guess, with convincing an organization and yourself that you can do that. And I think that standpoint is mostly a health issue. Because I haven't been able to do it and convince enough people that I'm able to go out there with the amount of innings that I went through this year, it's kind of on the top of the league, so it's kind of a new area, and to also make the playoffs and go deep. It's all very new to me.
And I think after one year of really seeing what it's like to go that deep in a season and that deep into the postseason, you kind of understand a little bit more about your body and you can, I guess, convince people to believe more in you. And I think that's where as the years go on, next year, year after, if I'm able to repeat everything that I can do, then I think it will be a good standpoint for me to go out there and be able to pitch in a situation like Derek Lowe is and have three games in a series. But I think I definitely don't want to go to Game 7. So hopefully, we'll be able to avoid Derek.
You just alluded to the substantial workload you've had this season. At this point, would the additional days' rest be available or would you rather stay in a normal rotation?
COLE HAMELS: I think I've had to answer that question a lot in this postseason. With the amount of days you get off, I think it's been good, because it's allowed my body to heal. Mentally and physically, it's a little different because you're going every five days vs. the postseason, you kind of get six days, seven days.
But I think I've been able to work fine with it. And I think that's something that in judging how I feel I've been able to go out there and have success. I've felt good every single time out there, and I'm definitely welcoming the six, seven days off.
With as much is at stake in these games, do you find yourself pitching the same patterns, the same approach as during the regular season, or do you focus more on pitch-by-pitch than you might during the year?
COLE HAMELS: During the year I go pitch-by-pitch. I know I have 33 starts, 34 starts during the year that I can go out there and win. And my job is to go out there and help this team win, because even though I only pitch once every five days, if I can do a significant amount of damage with creating wins, that helps you get to the postseason.
When the postseason does occur, you have to attack it the same way, and with the same philosophy that I've had all year is going one game at a time, one inning at a time, one pitch at a time.
You have to break it down into small increments so you don't let the excitement carry you away. That's what I've been able to do with the National League Division Series and that's what I've been able to do in the first game. Pitching against a team again within the short amount of rest, I've actually, luckily, been able to do it I believe twice this year.
So it's a different way to pitch when you go against teams in your five-day rotation, you face them twice, because most of the time normally you're traveling around, you don't see them for a while. So it's just -- because I have faced them, I'm going to go out there with kind of the same plan.
But I will have to change it when I do notice if they're making those adjustments, just so that I can go out there and put myself in a better situation instead of them already having the book and figuring me out.
I know it's hard to reflect on the experience when you're still in the middle of it. But so far has anything, like, really shocked you about this, do you have trouble sleeping? Did you really fight the excitement of the nerves or anything like that?
COLE HAMELS: No. I think just because of the amount of time off in between my starts, it calms you down. When you're just throwing straight into the mix, I think that can be a little bit more nerve-wracking. I think as a reliever, because every single day they have that opportunity to go in, and they definitely have to be at their best, otherwise they're going to hear the crowd.
And for a starter, though, because you have the amount of time off you can calm yourself down and you can prepare a lot better and that's what I've been able to do.
I think with having last year's, I guess, sort of excitement and introduction to the playoffs in the postseason, that pretty much taught me what I need to know this season, even though it's a different situation around and around.
I know when you make it to each game or each series is a little bit more important. This one is definitely important just for the fact that we almost are there. We're almost to the World Series. We're almost at the chance of becoming World champions. So I think it's going to be more of a good question in the next couple of days if we clinch.
Just wondering with what happened earlier in this series with guys pitching inside and a couple of incidents coming out of it, going forward, does it affect guys that are pitching after that? Is it going to be in the back of your mind at all? You definitely can't let that affect what you try to do when you go out there?
COLE HAMELS: No, I think it's irrelevant. I think more so it affects Major League Baseball, because they're the police, and surely they mingle in a business that doesn't need to be mingled in. I think they need to allow us to play the game the way this game was brought up.
And pitching inside is just part of the game. Sometimes it can get a little carried away, but with the way I go about attacking a hitter inside out, you can look it up, but I know I have probably one of the best percentages of not hitting guys.
So it's not like I'm going to go out there and try to hit guys, but I will throw inside. If I do hit a guy, let's hope I don't get thrown out.
Going back to one of the earlier questions, you said the more you pitched in the big leagues, the more the coaching staff might trust you, you can go on short rest. If they had asked you, would you have been open to doing it?
COLE HAMELS: As in right now?
As in right now.
COLE HAMELS: I think it wasn't even in my mind. I think because they've convinced me or they've talked to me enough to where, because the amount of workload that I've gone through, throughout the season they don't want to push me to my limit.
I think pitching every five days is a good assessment of what I can do and what I'm capable of doing. And I can be at my best. I don't think they want to risk it with me trying to go an extra day early for one more win, because it takes four.
And if that causes me to have some extra soreness, I know the next time around I might not be as successful. So I think they're doing the right thing, and the competitiveness in me, I'd love to do it, but because I've never done it, I don't want to risk it in the postseason. I think it's something I definitely can try in the season, like Jamie [Moyer] and Brett [Myers] were able to do this year.
And I think it will be something where it will show what I'm truly capable of doing, whenever we make the postseason again.
You talked about the need to pitch inside, which is part of the game. It feels like there's kind of an art to it, for lack of a better word, to keep the ball below the head, to put the ball in a certain spot. Is there kind of a right way to pitch inside and how hard is it to do it properly?
COLE HAMELS: I think it's one of the hardest things to do, is hit somebody. I know there's been a situation where through the past couple of years I've had a couple of situations where I've been told to hit a guy and I come nowhere close. And so it's very hard to do. So the times I've actually hit guys it's been completely on accident.
And that's something where I hope Major League Baseball understands, because when they try to dictate the way you pitch, it's not right.
And so I think there's no real art form of being able to pitch a guy inside. You can either just pitch inside or you don't. I think the guys that don't pitch inside are the guys that get hit around a little bit more because they're not keeping him as off-balance. I think that's the thing, when you're able to throw away and inside effectively, you're going to be more efficient in getting guys out.
You had said that you guys hoped to avoid a Game 7, that you're almost to the World Series, hopefully you'll clinch. That's some fairly confident language. After yesterday, is there any part of you that's sweating this thing a little bit?
COLE HAMELS: No. Any time -- I think in the postseason you understand home-field advantage. That's really when you need to win. We were able to win at home. And the Dodgers have had success at their home place against us.
So for us, it's trying to get a win, which I think will help us, because I know when we go back to Philly, we'll definitely be able to hold it down and clinch from there.
So I think it's just these next two games are going to be very important for us to come away with a victory or two and clinch. I think it would be more exciting to clinch at home in front of the home crowd, but any time you can do it sooner, I think, makes it a little bit easier on your sense of worry or excitement.
Your performance so far in the postseason seems to indicate you not only accept the responsibility of these big games, but you welcome it. Is that a fair estimate?
COLE HAMELS: Of course. I think throughout my career or my lifetime, which hasn't been as much as or as long as Jamie, you know going out there in the big game, you want to be that guy that can dictate it.
And I think if you have the mindset and the talent to do so, then you should be able to go out there and have success. And I think that's something I have the confidence that I can go out there and do it. I know I have the talent to do it. It's just a matter of time and getting that opportunity to do it.
I've had the opportunity this year, and I've been able to not only come through, but hopefully put us into more situations where I can do it again, and again, and again.
When you were growing up in Rancho Bernardo, did your attitude about the Dodgers -- was it typical of San Diego people and did you go down to the Qualcomm and boo them a lot?
COLE HAMELS: No, I booed the Raiders. I'm not a Raiders fan. I actually did like the Dodgers growing up. In a Little League game -- I think I was on the Dodgers three or four times, so I always wore Dodgers hats to school and grew up rooting for Mike Piazza and watching Orel Hershiser and Hideo Nomo and those guys.
I think I was more of a bandwagon fan because I know the Padres when I grew up weren't that good. I think I favored the Dodgers a little bit.
I think that's just something that even then, because of baseball, I loved playing the game. I didn't necessarily love watching it. I think I was more into watching football. And so therefore I created the hatred of the Raiders.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.