As far as the Indians go, it's a good ballclub. They're very well balanced. They have some guys that can run. Definitely have some power threats, some really good left-handed hitting, especially at the top of the order. And you've got to be on your game. You've got to execute pitches. That's a team that they're not going to expend much, they take their walks. They do a lot of little things right. So that poses a lot of challenges.
For me I've got to be sharp, establishing strike 1 and go from there.
Q. Just a thought of carrying your regular season into the postseason, what's the keys for you, in being consistent as you were all season long?
RICK PORCELLO: You know, I think just maintaining the focus that I've had. It's continuing to focus on my delivery and make sure that that's always there and that's always sound, and that's what I've been doing this past week.
Other than that, though, it's going out there and executing pitches and controlling the game and the tempo of the game, being able to take my blend of pitches and then trying to attack their weaknesses with it. That's what I've been trying to do all year, and that's what I'm going to continue to do.
Q. Everyone seems to point to your coming off the DL last year as maybe somewhat of a turning point for you where you got back to the two-seamer and staying down in the zone. But for this season, was there any point -- this is the most consistent and best season you've had -- was there any point during this year where something clicked for you or something kind of turned in your mind and you thought, Okay, this is where I want to be?
RICK PORCELLO: There wasn't anything in particular that clicked for me. I think I was able to build some momentum this year, really. And that's, you know, gaining confidence and starting to see some of my game plans that I've been putting together, and seeing some of the different things that I've been doing work. And I kind of got to a point where it's just continuing to do that.
And maintaining that level of consistency has been the most important thing for me. I'm not going to go out there and blow 98 by guys or have some nasty wipeout pitch, but I can go after a lineup with my repertoire, and hopefully I have a weapon for each hitter, and the things that they don't like to hit I can attack them with.
And I think that's been the biggest thing is being able to be consistent with those pitches and attacking those weaknesses.
Q. Did you change your preparation at all to make the start?
RICK PORCELLO: No, I've kept it, you know, exactly the same, just trying to stay with my routine and what I've been comfortable with all year and what's been working.
Q. The first four months of the season both you and the team seemed to be better at home than on the road. But the last couple of months you and the team both kind of raised your level on the road. What do you think was the key to that, both for you personally and for the team?
RICK PORCELLO: Well, we didn't really have a choice. Basically our entire second half of the season was on the road. So it was either play well on the road and win series doing that or we'd be going home. It felt like we were on the road for two months straight.
We had to find a way to be able to perform like we had been performing at home while we were on those road trips, and we did a good job of that. Even some of the -- when we'd have some letdowns in some series, but we were able to bounce back in the middle of a road trip and do those sort of things.
So I think it was just a matter of understanding that we can't fall back on having the comfort of being at home and in Fenway and familiar surroundings; we've just got to play good ball wherever we are.
Q. They led the league in stolen bases. How important will it be to control their running game and try to keep that to a minimum as much as you can?
RICK PORCELLO: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that makes them so difficult is the combination of the hitters that they have and how patient they are, really good feel for the strike zone and then their ability to steal bags. You could find yourself worrying about the running game and then put them into an advantage count and two pitches without even thinking about it, because they're so disciplined and they have the speed combination.
That's something that over the past couple of years you've seen teams with that attack and it's been very successful. So we definitely have to be mindful of the running game and find that balance of controlling those runs and not letting that compromise my pitch execution.
Q. How do you approach Carlos Santana?
RICK PORCELLO: Well, you'll find out tomorrow (laughter).
He knows me pretty well. I know him from competing against him in the Central. So there's not a whole lot of surprises there. But he's such a dangerous hitter. And he's really the one big guy that comes to mind when I talk about the combination of the plate discipline and the different threats that they have. I mean, he really can -- he can come at you in a couple different ways. So limiting that big hit against him, and he's coming up, he's leading off the game or whatever he's going to be doing, not letting him hit that double or that home run that he's looking to hit early on in the game to set the tone. And just executing your pitches against him. He's a guy that takes advantages of mistakes. So that's what I'm going to try to do.
Q. You might be familiar with some of the younger Indians from your time in the division. Was this a team you looked at early in the season, but as a team on the rise, a team potentially that could be in this spot?
RICK PORCELLO: Yeah, I've thought very highly of them for the past couple of years. You look at some of the young talent they have. And they've been doing all this without Michael Brantley, too, who's arguably one of the toughest left-handed hitters in the game. They've had strong pitching. They've had really, really good young hitters coming up. I think they've been a really good ballclub for a while. And this year it's coming all together for them.
Q. Can you talk about the Red Sox defense and how much have they helped the pitchers?
RICK PORCELLO: Yeah, they've been outstanding. There's no let-down on our defense, when you look at the three outfielders that we have and the ground that they can cover, the speed that they have, the arms that they have, I don't think you're going to find a better three.
And then pretty much argue we're as good as anybody up the middle with Dustin and Bogey, and definitely Hanley, and whoever is playing third base. They're very quality defenders.
So defense, pitching, those things are what helps you win ballgames. And doing the little things right, and those guys have been doing that all year. And it's really taken a lot of pressure off the pitching staff, a lot of pressure off me. Even if it's a ball hit in the gap, they're throwing it to the right base, keeping double plays in order different things like that that you don't find every day. So they've been tremendous.
Q. You've been in the postseason. What's the biggest difference between the regular season and postseason? What does it take to be successful?
RICK PORCELLO: The biggest difference, obviously, is now it's -- you're playing against the best competition. You know, if you don't win these three games in the first series you're going home. So it's not like you can look forward to another road trip or another home stand to get things going. You've got to play the best baseball now.
I think the most important thing about competing in the postseason is to obviously appreciate the situation that you're in, and everything that comes along with it. But boil it down to getting into your routine and keeping everything the same mentally in your entire approach. And not trying to do anything more, now that the national spotlight is on you, just go out there and play your game. It's the same game. And just see where you end up.