MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Cole Hamels.
Q. Cole, on Sunday you faced a lineup that had eight right-handed hitters and you seemed to get in a groove pretty quickly. This club tends to throw 9 right-handed hitters at lefties. Is that not coincidence or is it a fact that you can you get in a groove that quickly when there's that many right-handed hitters?
COLE HAMELS: I don't think it really matters lefty, righty. You have to be able to throw pitches and execute pitches no matter where they're standing, on which side of the box. So that's what their strength's been and it seems that they've done very well. They faced some tough pitchers in the American League and they've had success, so I don't think they've had to look at it as though they need to mix and match and create some kind of chaotic approach for a starter. They're going with what they're good at and they're sticking to that plan. So basically for what I have to do is to go out and execute pitches against hitters. It doesn't really matter if they're lefty or right-handed.
Q. Cole, when you were acquired by Texas at the deadline, the team was a few games under .500, I think eight games back in the division lead. When was the point that you started to think that this year may not be lost and that the team could contend in the second half?
COLE HAMELS: I think the moment that I came over. I think from the very first game, that I was able to be a part of, I knew the strength that the Rangers had. Guys were going to become healthy. I know they're missing a huge piece with Darvish and what he really means to the team and especially to the starting staff, but I think there was enough guys around him that could fill the void. But you really did have to look at the offense that the guys were coming in every day and the numbers that they were putting up, and I really do firmly believe that the acquisitions in the bullpen are really what set the tone for our team. So it's just been a tremendous help to be able to know that if you have a lead, the bullpen was going to shut it down and we were going to be able to come away with a victory. I think that's kind of what really you could get that feeling because it wasn't just me that came over. Diekman coming over was huge. And then the next day having Dyson. So that is when you kind of got the feeling that we did have something special, it's just a matter of going out there and actually doing it because whatever you believe in and whatever confidence you have, you actually have to put up the actual numbers to give it a more valid -- you know, a response. We did, we were able to do so and it's been exciting ever since.
Q. Cole, maybe one of the slowest, if not the slowest, infields and outfields in the Major Leagues. What, if any, impact does that have for a pitcher?
COLE HAMELS: Yeah, I guess the new turf does do some terrible things. At least it looks good. You know, I think just with it, you know, you basically have to just keep the ball down. I think if anything, it gives guys the chance to get to the balls and to make plays. It might not necessarily help sometimes because if the ball's not getting to the outfield in time, guys are going to go from first to third a little bit quicker, they're definitely going to go from second to home. Guys just have to be able to play it the right way and know that you're not going to get any bad hops. The ball doesn't bounce as high as it used to so I'm glad to see that guys aren't going to be able to hit the ball off home plate and it's going to bounce to the infield. You just have to be able to make the plays. I think if you're able to stay in front of the ball, guys are going to make plays. The runners are going to do what they want to do. They're going to put pressure on the teams. We just have to be able to do so equally.
Q. I know it's not the same thing as having five or six years with one like you did in Philadelphia, but how has the relationship with Chris Gimenez kind of developed? What kind of an asset has he been to planning the last couple of starts?
COLE HAMELS: It is, it's a learning lesson, I think, for many -- from any point when you come on to a new team you want to be able to get comfortable with somebody to where there's sort of a second nature response when you're calling pitches and you're anticipating what guys are looking for. Chris and I have been able to get on a really good page together. From the beginning we've had some hard luck and some learning lessons but that's what really does happen. So I think just recently with the past couple games, we've had a really good idea. Our game plan before games have gotten a lot more detailed because we can handle it. We're kind of anticipating what we want to do. I think we're taking the same sort of approach during the game with in between innings, we're trying to stay on top of who's coming up, what we should probably go after guys with, what their strengths are, how they're looking that day. That's what it takes. I think sometimes it gets a little bit more difficult in the National League because I might be hitting, the catcher might be hitting, they might be on base. You don't have a lot of time to discuss what's going on during the game. And I think that's kind of been the learning lesson that we've both been able to take. I think we've been able to build off pretty well.
Q. Based on your previous playoff experiences, do you find yourself more focused or more -- doing anything maybe a little differently than you would a regular season start?
COLE HAMELS: It's hard to say. I think the postseason's where it's at. This is what we trained for. Especially myself, these are the moments that I enjoy the most, so I think in order to get here you do have to have a sense of focus, but then when you're here, you try to lay it all out on the line because sometimes you don't get that second chance. There might not be tomorrow. And if there is not tomorrow, you've got a lot more months to think about it. So I think you're definitely putting everything that you've learned throughout the season physically and mentally into the game at the time. And you do, you seem to enjoy it. When you're not holding back, you're giving everything you have, it's kind of what you've been able to become all season.
Q. You've been in obviously a lot of big situations before. How do you feel pitching in front of crowds like this? Do you enjoy it, some guys get amped up by seeing a lot of people, a lot of fans on the road?
COLE HAMELS: This is pretty incredible to read about and I think I've been able to at least watch this. This is a tremendous city and stadium. This is the reason we play baseball. No matter what team we play for, we want to be able to play in front of a high octane crowd and this is what Toronto offers. I feel like Philadelphia offered that. I've been to LA, LA's offered that. It's the reason we play the game of baseball. I enjoy the moments that I get to go out there and throw a baseball, but you get to play in front of huge crowds that are watching every move that you make, either in appreciation or for the other end, of disdain. So this is what it's all about. I'm very thankful to be in this situation because there's not a lot of people that get to say that or experience it.
Q. With your great experience in the past, does the role for you change at all with regard to some of your teammates who haven't had those experiences? Do you, especially in advance of a game 1 like this, sort of impart some of that knowledge to them, share your experiences with them?
COLE HAMELS: You do what you can but I think at the same time you don't want to overwhelm them with information because you want them to be able to experience this and kind of grasp the type of experience in a way that they'll remember instead of just being told something over and over and then all of a sudden you don't even want to listen. You want guys to be able to just give a few pointers here and there, but at the same time you want them to experience it because I think that's how a lot of us learn. As athletes we learn on the fly and we learn from our failures and successes, you know, not necessarily, we don't always learn from anybody telling us what to do and what not to do.
Q. Cole, you kind of touched upon it a little bit. Your counterpart tomorrow is a very young man in Marcus Stroman. What do you remember about your first big league playoff start, and how much different is it for you now?
COLE HAMELS: First off, I think you have to give Stroman some serious credit for what he's done this year. I was in Clearwater just down the street from when he injured his knee and from what he's been able to do, it's absolutely tremendous. I think it shows his true character just for the fact of being able to go to school and playing the game of baseball. That's something that I don't think I could have done, so he's definitely got something pretty special with him. It is. My first time, you know, you really do, you're just going out there and you kind of have to go out with what do you have to lose? You don't know what success tastes like yet because you haven't had it. You don't know what winning a World Series is like so you're just going out there and I think enjoying the moment. That's what I did. And then when you actually know what it's all about, that's, I think, when you can kind of get yourself in a little bit of trouble, so thank goodness I've had both ends, so I've learned how to control what to expect, what not to do in those cases and really kind of get back to what it was when it initially first started. This is the best moments. And you truly don't have anything to lose but enjoying it because it's a special time, not a lot of us get to experience this, and this is the game of baseball that we do every day in spring training, during the season and we just try to treat it as another game. At the end of it you get to look back and really enjoy the moments even better.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Cole. That concludes the pregame interviews.