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10/17/08 3:30 PM ET

An interview with Shields and Garza

Rays pitchers discuss their approach as series returns to Tampa

For James, does facing the same team in consecutive starts have any effect upon your approach?

JAMES SHIELDS: I don't think it has. We're going to prepare the same way. We're going to try to make adjustments as we go and do what we've been doing all season long, so no, I don't think it has.

James, how much are you looking forward to getting the ball tomorrow night?

JAMES SHIELDS: I'm looking forward to it. I definitely didn't want it under the circumstances that happened last night, but Kaz pitched a great game last night. For him to go on short days and be able to do what he did last night was a great job, and hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.

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James, what were your thoughts when the winning run crossed the plate last night and it was inevitable?

JAMES SHIELDS: I was disappointed. I was disappointed. I think we did a great job of holding them for the first six, seven innings first six innings, excuse me, and you know, sometimes that happens. That's baseball. That's the way it works.

We're going to move on. We're feeling pretty confident, and we're still up 3 2 and we're going to go from there, so I'm ready to go tomorrow.

This is for both guys. This team was very resilient this season and you had to withstand a lot of charges. How important will that experience be tomorrow night, putting what happened last night behind you?

JAMES SHIELDS: Well, as far as I'm concerned, our team has been wonderful all year. You know, we've dealt with adversity all year long. This is the first time that our starting lineup is healthy.

We've dealt with a bunch of adversity all year long, and the way we've come back from each time has been impeccable. I don't think we have anything to worry about.

MATT GARZA: Kind of just like what he did. We just keep fighting. We had a feeling that they were going to make a push like this. This Red Sox team doesn't go down quietly. So we're going to just come out and keep fighting like we've done all year, play hard for nine and see what happens at the end.

Matt, in the event that you do pitch Sunday, you'll be pitching at home for the first time in the postseason. Talk about controlling the energy that's going to be inside this building and focusing on the effort.

MATT GARZA: Well, right now I'm just focusing on Game 6. I'm obviously preparing for Game 7, but I have a lot of confidence that the guy next to me is going to get the job done tomorrow. So I'm not really looking to prepare mentally yet for Game 7.

What's the attitude in the clubhouse right now, and what do you do specifically? Where do you eat? What kind of music do you listen to? How do you stay loose before what's the most important game in franchise history?

JAMES SHIELDS: It's the same way it's been all year. We're relaxed, having fun, enjoying the moment, and taking every single game as is. You know, last night's game was a wash out as far as we're concerned. We're still up 3 2. We're still in good shape. We've got a couple veteran guys that are keeping us loose in there, and we're just doing the same thing we've been doing all year long. It hasn't changed.

How do you pitch in this park that would explain your positive numbers here?

JAMES SHIELDS: I think it's just being comfortable and pitching more times here than I do in other parks. I think I pitched in Fenway a couple times this year, and it's just pitching here more times than not.

I feel comfortable here. I think having the crowds that we've been having lately is definitely a key factor, and our record is really, really good at home. You know, I think that's pretty much it. It's not whether or not it's this ballpark, something special, or nothing like that. I just seem to be doing really well this year.

Obviously nobody wanted to lose last night on the Rays team, but can you talk a little bit about the possibility of clinching in front of the home crowd, how much more sweeter that will be?

JAMES SHIELDS: I think it would definitely be sweet, definitely. This crowd has really shown up the last month and a half and two months of the season.

For us to do it in front of them, I mean, we clinched the ALDS in Chicago, and now we have a chance to clinch the ALCS here, and I think that's great for the city.

Matt, can you describe the guy next to you? What makes him a good pitcher to face the pressure and moment of tomorrow night?

MATT GARZA: He thrives on this type of moment, you know? He's the guy that's why his nickname is Big Game. He is the guy that steps up and takes the energy and uses it towards his pitches.

It really doesn't affect his outside emotion. It doesn't affect his game plan. He just uses it in a positive manner and takes it in the direction of home plate.

He throws a lot of strikes, and he keeps them off balance with his change up. What more can you ask for from a guy?

This is for both of you guys. This morning hearing from a lot of Rays fans here in town, they were really upset after last night's game. What was it like on the plane ride back and what do you remember from last night?

MATT GARZA: Just like every other plane ride at 1:00 in the morning, a lot of quiet. It wasn't anything to do with the game; it was just late. We knew going in that we were just trying to sneak one out. We were just trying to sneak one out.

For us to take two in Fenway and put ourselves in the driver's seat, that's all we could ask for. Winning last night would have been great, but we knew this Red Sox team wasn't going to go quiet, so we said, we've got two. We're still in the driver's seat. We've got six and seven at home, and we like our chances.

JAMES SHIELDS: We were just any normal loss going home to Tampa. I mean, everyone was kind of just sleeping. Like he said, it was 2:00, 3:00 in the morning. We got home at 5:30, 6:00, and we were all just trying to get our rest.

For James, the seven days' rest at this time of year, does that give you an extra boost, or is it a detriment?

JAMES SHIELDS: You know, I've thrown a lot of innings this year, so I don't think it's definitely harmful. But you know, it's playoff time. No matter if it's four day rest, three day rest, seven day rest or 12 day rest, I'm ready to go whenever.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

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