ATHENS – Even after a pass-happy scrimmage, Georgia coach Mark Richt was no closer Saturday evening…
ALCS Quotebook: Game 3 Starters
Matsuzaka spoke through an interpreter. The Red Sox paid millions just to get the chance to negotiate with the right-hander last winter, then paid millions more to secure his rights. He had an OK season, but the Red Sox probably expected more than a 15-12 record and 4.40 ERA for their investment. Westbrook made the AL All-Star team a few years ago and has been a steady if unspectacular starter for Cleveland. He missed seven weeks earlier this year with a strained abdomen and struggled to a 6-9 record and 4.32 ERA. Matsuzaka was 5-6 with a 5.19 ERA after the All-Star break this season. Westbrook was 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA in August. Will those trends continue . . . or another pop up in this series? Even the Game 3 starters really don't know: BOSTON RED SOX STARTING PITCHER DAISUKE MATSUZAKA Q. You've watched the Indians' lineup for the past two games. Have you noticed any difference from the lineup in the regular season? DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Yes, there are certainly some batters that I'm looking forward to facing, and it's been a while since I last faced them. And I've noticed some subtle differences in their lineup. Q. Finally you're here with a game tomorrow, how do you feel? You mentioned that there are some batters you're looking forward to facing. Who, for example, are some of those batters? DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Even with a game coming up tomorrow, I feel relaxed. I didn't say I was looking forward to facing any particular batter, but there are some batters that I haven't yet faced, and it's been a while since I faced the other members of the lineup. I'm not looking forward to facing any batter in particular, but I do know that I have to be careful with a few of them, and that includes their number one leadoff man, Sizemore, who hit off me last time. Q. How would you evaluate your first year with the Red Sox, and what has been as expected and what has been maybe more difficult than expected? DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: I think I'll answer that question when everything is done with, when the entire season is done with. Q. With one postseason start under your belt, how did you find that to be different, if at all, from the regular season, and how did you that help you prepare for tomorrow night? DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: I didn't go into the game particularly conscious of the fact that it was a postseason game, and I approached it the same way I did my regular season starts. But I also know that I made mistakes in that previous start in the postseason, and I hope to learn from them though in my start tomorrow. Q. A two-part question: In your previous ALDS start your team was 1-0, and the start was at home. Now you're going into a start 1-1 in a visiting ballpark. Do you feel any difference in pressure? DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: I think that both games have the same amount of importance. There is a slight difference when you go into a visiting ballpark having won the last game or having lost the last game, so I feel that in that sense maybe I have a bigger responsibility tomorrow, but I hope to use that as a source of strength. Q. You mentioned that Grady Sizemore is one particular batter you're conscious of going into the game having watched these previous two games in the ALCS. Do you have any particular strategy? DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Having watched Beckett and Schilling start in the previous two games, perhaps Beckett was more successful in holding their lineup to fewer runs, but I personally feel that I can learn more from the way Schilling pitched yesterday. Q. Kevin Youkilis, one of your teammates, said the other day that he can't imagine what it must have been like to spend months with a team where you can't communicate freely with your teammates at all. He said that he thought that would be very lonely. I wonder how that whole experience was for you. DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: I didn't think everything was going to be great from the start. I was well aware of the language barrier before I headed over here, so admittedly it was difficult, but I managed. Q. If I may ask one follow-up: You've pitched in Athens, you've pitched in San Diego where national pride was at stake in the entire country. How different is it for you at all pitching on this stage? DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: It's difficult to say, but I think that wanting to win for the team is not that different from wanting to win for my country. Q. I was wondering if you saw the swarm of bugs that attacked here in the last series, what were your impressions of that, and is there anything you can do to prepare for something crazy like that? DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: I did bring along some bug spray (laughter). But in term of preparation, that's about it. Q. You said you could learn more from the way Curt Schilling pitched against this team. What specifically did you take from his outing yesterday? DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: I think with the game coming up tomorrow I'd prefer not to talk about that here. Q. In this past year adjusting to a more slippery ball, different mounds and a different environment all together, tomorrow will be your 34th start of the season, Game 3 of the ALCS, and having overcome all of those things, do you feel that your preparation for tomorrow's game going into that game, you're at your best condition in being able to prepare in the best way? DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Above all else, I hope I can use everything I've learned and picked up during the past year in my start tomorrow. That's how I've looked at all my starts this year, using the experiences from my previous starts in the next start, and that's sort of the mindset that I've had throughout the entire season. CLEVELAND INDIANS STARTING PITCHER JAKE WESTBROOK Q. When you look at your start in New York, are there things that you feel are correctable, things that you feel you could be a lot better the next time out? JAKE WESTBROOK: Yeah, I mean, I didn't feel like I pitched, I mean, all that terrible in New York. I felt like I started out well. I had a pretty good game plan. I think I got into a little bit of a pattern and didn't mix it up as well as I should have. And they made the adjustments, like good hitters do, and got to me there in the fifth. I still was just kind of one pitch away from getting out of that inning, but I made a mistake to Damon that kind of cost us the ballgame. That's something I'll definitely learn from and try to do a better job tomorrow. Q. From how you saw Boston's hitters work C.C. and Carmona, what are you expecting tomorrow night? JAKE WESTBROOK: Well, they did a good job. They had a pretty good game plan against C.C. and Fausto to the point to where they made them work. They had them at 100 pitches before the fifth inning, and they're a really patient team and have a really patient lineup. I mean, it's my turn to kind of go out there and have a game plan, be aggressive in the zone and do the best I can to get early contact and get them to hit the ball on the ground. Q. You're getting more rest than usual between these starts. Is that a problem for you as a power sinkerball guy? JAKE WESTBROOK: Well, I mean, I don't think so. I think, if anything, it makes me stronger. I'm able to be a little more -- be stronger, and I think that's good for me. I don't think it makes a difference. Q. How did the victory last night change the complexion for you in terms of your mindset going out there with the series even versus 0-2? JAKE WESTBROOK: Well, it was a big win for us. To lose the first one and to come up with a big win last night the way we did. To earn a split in their place, it was a big win. It changes it a little bit pitching with the series tied, especially here at home. You know, it takes a little bit more pressure off. But still, a big game nonetheless, and I kind of want to come out strong and have a good performance. Q. Just to follow up on an earlier question about the strategy going up against that lineup: Your turn now to face Manny (Ramirez), David (Ortiz) and (Mike) Lowell. Your thoughts about going up against them? JAKE WESTBROOK: Well, I mean, they showed it all series, the types of hitters that they are, that they make you work. You know, they wait for their pitch and they don't miss it when they get it. I mean, like I said, it's up to me to make them hit my pitch and get ahead, and hopefully I can get some ground balls and early contact. That's kind of what I'm looking for, trying to get deep in the ballgame. Q. How important was it just to get your first postseason start over with? And do you feel a little more confident, a little more relaxed going into tomorrow? JAKE WESTBROOK: Well, definitely, having already had one under my belt, especially in Yankee Stadium, it was a lot of emotion, a lot of different feelings that I'm definitely not used to having not pitched in the postseason before. I'm going to be a little more relaxed, but still, amped and ready to go. It's going to be a lot of better pitching here in front of our home fans, and I'm excited and ready to go. Q. After being a big part of this rotation the last few years, how tough was the first half of the season and how gratifying was it to have the big August and get back to being a part of what's going on? JAKE WESTBROOK: Oh, first half was frustrating for me, having been strong and healthy the last three years and pitching a lot of innings. It was frustrating to miss that six weeks with kind of a freak accident with my side and to struggle a little bit, as well, when I was pitching. But it was satisfying to come back strong and have a good August, and pitch in a lot of big ballgames for us in the second half. It makes me feel good to be able to come back and do that. Q. It looks like (Tom) Mastny has got these Boston bats figured out, so could you talk about the boost you guys got from seeing some unheralded guys like Jensen (Lewis) and Tom pitching as well as they have? JAKE WESTBROOK: Well, our bullpen has been great all year. Even when (Rafael) Perez struggled a little bit in that inning and we had guys step up big for us, Jensen pitches two-plus innings and (Rafael) Betancourt coming in and doing what he does. But I think Mastny really picked us up going through the heart of that lineup right there in the tenth inning. I mean, really, really gave us a boost. We came out fired up in the top half of that next inning. He did a great job for us stepping up. Q. Is it exhausting just watching that game? I mean, you're in the dugout probably living and dying with every pitch like everyone else. JAKE WESTBROOK: Yeah, it was a great ballgame to watch. It was intense, it was back and forth, and it was a long one. It was late, but it was a good ballgame to be a part of, a good ballgame to win. You know, it's back here in front of our home fans, and hopefully we can come out strong. FastScripts by ASAP Sports provided these transcripts for media members.
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