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Having previous experience in World Series and divisional play before, does that kind of give you a little bit of an edge to yourself mentally going into a game like tomorrow?
Yeah, you know, all experiences go into every start, especially postseason starts. My approach is the same, but I do have experience in pitching in games like these.
Do you remember or forget your last start against the Phillies as you approach this one?
Do I remember the start? Of course.
Or do you just forget?
It's a great question. I appreciate that one. (Laughter). No, I mean, that's a good question.
I think my approach has always been the same as far as that goes. Emotionally, I forget it. But I can never go back. When I'm 50 years old, I can't go back when I threw against the Phillies in Philadelphia, and I can't change the numbers or the start or anything like that.
But that's a part of my routine and how I process different things. I would use that for this next start, though, all my starts against the Phillies.
You said throughout September that the issue was not being able to set up your other pitches with your fastball. Have you had the time to look at video or analyze things to figure out what was happening with your fastball command? Do you have anything you've changed going into tomorrow?
Well, it's a process. Sometimes when you're in games, you should be able to make adjustments on your fastball or any pitch. September was a month where I thought I was making adjustments, but the result was the same on my fastball. So I worked on that in between starts, and I feel I've made the necessary adjustments on my fastball.
But that is definitely a big part of my game is execution of my fastball, number one, and then my other pitches.
As somebody who's seen what a successful postseason team looks like in the past, I know the results haven't been what you guys wanted, but how have these guys handled this attitude-wise?
I think they've handled it very well. It's been a situation where we had a rough four games the last time we faced them during the season, but I don't think that had any effect on our last two games. I thought we played very well, and we didn't come up with the win.
But I think for such a young team, for a corps that is pretty young, position players wise, they've done a fine job of controlling their emotions and going out and just letting the game happen.
With what the team has gone through the last month, the really highs going into September, then that tough stretch, then that incredible last week where you were playing like a playoff game every night, and now these first two games in Philadelphia, how emotionally draining has that been for the team, and how hard is it to keep bouncing back and going through that?
Well, I mean, that's kind of why you play. You play to play in big games. And is it emotional? Yes, it is emotional and you do have highs and lows. It's something that for me, like I have a routine, a certain way I do things, and I make sure I get my sleep, because sometimes you forget about that. You're so emotional and you're riding that roller coaster. The team has done a fine job of balancing that -- I forgot your question, actually.
Just the emotional drain of it, how do you keep bouncing back?
Okay, so the emotional drain of it is definitely there. How you deal with it is you recognize that there is an emotional drain, and you try to separate yourself from all the other things that are going on, and you really try to focus on what you do as a player to go out and perform.
Does it make any difference, this playoff run, in a city where it's been so long since the playoffs, and it wasn't your last time, you know, when playoffs happened more frequently?
I used to like when you used to repeat the question. You said is it different?
Do you sense a difference?
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that as a player you feel that. You feel the fans. It's hard to describe, because you're not putting more pressure on yourself, because that's the game. I mean, there's pressure in every game you play. But it's something that you want it -- I can't say you want it more, but there's something inside that you really want to bring it home for the fans, and that's a feeling where I think an organization that's done well in the last couple years like we have, you know, and going through a drought before that a little bit, you know, you want it. You want it, and the fans want it and everybody wants it.
So you feel it as an organization, absolutely.
How tough is their lineup to face, because they've got speed and power and more power, and it just seems like they keep coming at you?
It's definitely a very strong lineup. But the bottom line is my best fastball down and away is still my best fastball down and away, regardless if it's a power hitter or a speed guy or an average guy. So any lineups that you go and you try to face them, you try to recognize where the damage is, you recognize the guys who can run, the guys who can execute, and the bottom line is you still have to make your pitches.
With that being said, it's definitely a strong lineup, and on my side, I have to go out and make pitches.
Can you tell us your impressions of Dale since he took over as manager. And do you think he's done what he needs to do to earn a shot to come back?
I think he's done a fantastic job. That's always a difficult situation to go through, and I think he handled it professionally. That's really all you can ask for.
As far as his leadership for our team, he's done a fantastic job, I think, on how he's handled different distractions, and that's important for a manager to do for the team.
As far as the future, I don't know. I mean, I'm just getting ready for tomorrow. But he's done a fine job.
I know you've been in a lot of postseason series, but I was wondering, the way it's set up, I'm sure you've been in one before where you didn't know if there was going to be a next game. I guess that NLCS with the Mets there might not have been a game the next day?
There was the Division Series against the Dodgers, where if we won I wouldn't have pitched.
Is that a weird feeling, am I going to pitch? Are we going to have a game or not? Do you do anything differently prior to that?
I liked your word, "weird." I will use that word. It's weird. It's strange.
But with that being said, I get ready to pitch. That's the only thing I can have control over. I don't have control over what happens tonight, but I get ready to throw tomorrow because that's my day to throw. But it's one of those things where as you get deeper in every series, there's a possibility you could start or you could not. It's just one of those things that as a pitcher you always get ready to pitch.