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I asked this to Joe just a few minutes ago. This is your job and you take it seriously, but is there a fan in you that can step back and say, this is cool, this is Game 7? Or is the job at hand just too important to do that?
What did Joe say (laughter)?
You don't want to know what he said.
I enjoy the heck out of it. I don't think I have the ability, I hope, to stand back and look at it like a fan. But there's a lot of things that go through you during the day. There's some anxiety, you get nervous, you get excited. But I love it.
I don't know that you can sit and it's not all like giggles, but it's thoroughly enjoyable, yeah.
What do you see how do you see your role in the clubhouse in these series where you're facing a lot of elimination games? Do you make speeches or not say anything to guys? Is it individual? And has that changed over your time as a manager?
I don't think it really has changed a whole lot. I try to gauge where our ballclub is at all the time and be consistent. We have some really good leaders in there, and we use that. I think on good teams that clubhouse, that's our clubhouse. And we lean on the guys a lot. The other day we talked for a minute just because I thought we needed it wasn't a big Knute Rockne speech, but I think consistency is the biggest thing.
You've had all the wins in all these elimination games building on each other. I know there are different teams involved, but how much of a feeling gets built up about the team expecting good things to happen when you get in these situations?
Well, there's nothing else to really feel. Once you kind of dig yourselves in a hole, you either win or go home. And we've been fortunate, and they're all different cases because they're different teams. But all the teams have that same kind of common denominator that they don't stop playing, and they dig deep. To this point it's been good enough.
Now, again, this will be hopefully a very exciting night.
There was some sentiment after Game 3 that maybe Jon Lester had shown some signs of fatigue in that game, and he's thrown 230 innings this year. I think it's almost 70 more than he's thrown before. Do you buy into that? Have you seen any evidence of that whatsoever?
No, I really don't buy into it. He made some mistakes and he paid for it, but he struck out seven, he walked two, he made three mistakes that cost him some runs. But no, I think he's very strong.
He hadn't given up a run to that point, and when you give up a run, there's got to be a reason. No, I think he's fine.
You've had your fair share, maybe even more than your fair share of Game 7s. I'm just wondering one or two things that you may have learned from previous Game 7s that help you in your approach tonight.
I don't know that you try to learn from everything, but I think the word we used before in a different question was being consistent. Just try to be consistent.
We know where we're at as a ballclub. We'll take one more inventory on our bullpen arms when we go out for batting practice, and then go play the game. We understand the significance of it, but that won't get in the way of us playing. Just play the game and do the best you can to win.
Jon Lester is still a very young pitcher, but do you feel with his maturity and the things he's been through in life that he's maybe more well equipped to handle the pressure of a game like this than most guys his age?
Yeah, oh, yeah. I think he was equipped anyway. He was a really mature young man, then what he went through and had to deal with I think certainly has added to that. He's got a great attitude towards competing.
And the more he pitches, the more experience he gains, you're seeing that develop more and more, which again, if you're good enough, I think that's what you expect out of young players.
Joe Maddon referenced the job Okajima has done in this series. Can you talk a little bit about that, and is he available tonight?
He'd better be (laughter). He's done a phenomenal job. In a batting order they have the ability to turn guys around. Hell, they have Floyd, Gross, Aybar. Having the ability to have a left hander to come in and face a lefty and then get the right handers out, and he has pitched multiple innings, because the couple games he's come in, if he has hit a roadblock, we would have had to go to somebody else a lot quicker than we've wanted to. He's kind of restored order to that bullpen and given us chances to win.
Though the results haven't always been there, is anyone swinging the bat for you better right now than Mark Kotsay?
He's hit more balls to center field than no, he's been on everything. It's good. When players are standing in the middle of the field and squaring them up, generally they're seeing the ball pretty well. He's had some hits, but not as many as he probably deserves. Hopefully that will even out tonight, but he's been on everything, I agree.
You said you enjoy the heck out of Game 7s. What about this series in general with all the twists and turns it's taken? Have you enjoyed that?
Some of them (laughter). The ones that seem to be going up. It takes it out of you. There's a lot of late travel, and I think when it's all said and done, everybody collapses, but not until.
There will be no one single part of me that would ever want to complain about a late night. I mean you've worked so hard to get here, to not enjoy it I think would be a big mistake.
You referenced the bullpen inventory. Are you anticipating that you're going to have your full relief corps available, just a matter of how long some of these guys can go for you?
That's the hope, and starters, also. You start getting to this point where Daisuke will certainly be available, even if it's nothing not nothing more, but to anchor a bullpen so we know we can use everybody else, and then we'd have somebody in the back end to pitch multiple innings if we need that.
Papelbon during this playoff run has thrown almost as many pitches as he did in the month of June. Can you just talk about the workload he's had and just what he's meant to the team in this entire run?
Yeah, he's pitched a lot. Again, the guys that are around us all year know that we try so hard, and it's not always easy, to keep an eye on their innings and their workload. So when there comes a point when we need to lean on them, it's there, and he's answered the call. He's done a terrific job.
Everybody has. Sometimes you have to. You've got to dig deep, and sometimes you have to make something up. But their willingness to compete is very evident.
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