THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with pitcher Scott Kazmir.
Q. First of all, how did you find out about the fact that you were going to make the start? It was announced to us yesterday. Maybe you knew. Secondly, you have had good success against the Royals this year. Any particular keys for that?
SCOTT KAZMIR: Halfway through yesterday, A.J. called me and told me the news before he made it public. And obviously, very excited to get the nod and get things going.
As far as the Kansas City Royals, their lineup, it's a great lineup that they battle every at-bat. It's a team that doesn't -- it's hard to get a good approach on those guys, because they don't strike out. They want their pitch and they won't stop until they get it.
So you just have to attack the strike zone and get them in swing mode.
Q. Scottie, what's your confidence level? Struggled a little bit lately. What are your thoughts?
SCOTT KAZMIR: I feel great. The last couple starts, I feel a little bit unlucky. But at the same time, I felt like it was just a rough patch that happened at a bad time.
Like I said, I feel great. Excited to get out there. It's going to be fun.
Q. You've been in postseason before, but the thought of your pitching for your hometown team on a big stage like this?
SCOTT KAZMIR: That's better, to go and pitch for the city of Houston, and hopefully we come back to Houston with a series lead. It's going to be fun.
Q. Scott, given the struggle you have had of late, what did it mean to you that they had the confidence in you to start Game 2?
SCOTT KAZMIR: Means a lot. Actually, A.J. and I had talked about that. For them to have the confidence in me to pitch Game 2, a very important game, pivotal game, I think it shows a lot about what they think of me. I'm just going to go out there and try to do my best.
Q. Scott, they were just talking to Johnny Cueto about what he's meant to Yordano Ventura. We see you a lot with Lance McCullers, Collin. What are some of the things you've been able to impart to those guys since you've had playoff experience?
SCOTT KAZMIR: Just to take every day at a time. Don't get too ahead of yourself. Those guys are easy to talk to. I feel like they soak in a lot of things that I say. I feel like they already have a great head on their shoulders. So you don't really have to say too much with those guys. They have great preparation and great mindset coming into games like this.
So it's just a matter of just staying confident throughout this whole process. I think it will be just fine.
Q. Scott, A.J. said when he told you you were starting, you said thanks and shook his hand. Very business-like. Is that kind of the way you are, just a very business-like approach.
SCOTT KAZMIR: Actually, we weren't together at the time. It was yesterday on the phone. He gave me a call and let me know the news. So didn't get a chance to give him a handshake. Probably would have hugged him. But you know, just told him like I'm very excited and I appreciate the honor to be able to start Game 2.
Q. Scott, you've been in a World Series before, you have pitched in a World Series, you had a great comeback in your career. This rough patch you've been through, in perspective, is it not much for you to overcome?
SCOTT KAZMIR: It really isn't. Going through what I've gone through in the past however many years, it really doesn't feel like it's much at all. Just feels, like I said, like a little rough patch that happened at a bad time. It was something where I feel like one or two pitches throughout any one of those games could have been a different outcome. So my confidence was always there.
Q. And you may have touched on it earlier. Along those lines, how important is it for you to get through the first time through the order tomorrow to get yourself back to where you know you can be?
SCOTT KAZMIR: It's very important for any game. I wouldn't say just in this situation from past games to do that. I think just in general, you have to attack the strike zone and really kind of get through that first order of the lineup relatively quickly. Don't give anyone any second chances to be able to get that second and third at-bat early in the ball game.
Q. Scott, conversely, how important is it for your guys to get up early for you?
SCOTT KAZMIR: I think it's important for any game for our team to get up early. I feel like when we have that lead early, we kind of can feel the momentum shift and it feels like our confidence goes up a little bit more and we're able to just play a sound, clean game.
You can say that with any team; that you get ahead early, you set the tone and you kind of just take that momentum throughout the entire game. I think that's our game plan.
Q. What's the level of responsibility a pitcher, a player like you feels when you get traded midseason and there's all those expectations placed on you? How do you handle that? What do you feel?
SCOTT KAZMIR: It is. It's a big responsibility for someone like me that gets traded to a contending team, to be able to bring these guys to the postseason. But for me, it's just a matter of just staying confident and just pitching my game. There's a lot of things that you can't control on the mound to where you just have to stay confident in your abilities and know what you're capable of doing.
Q. Along those lines about going to a playoff team, did it make it any more pressure, Scott, or anything like that because it's your hometown?
SCOTT KAZMIR: I wouldn't say it added more pressure. It was just more of you grow up being a fan of the Astros and knowing how long it's been since they've been in the postseason. And when they actually were in the postseason, 2005.
So it just feels that much more special to be able to be a part of this.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Scott. Good luck tomorrow.