But it doesn't happen overnight. In order for it to be real, it takes time. The work has to be real. The preparation. You've got to be honest. You've got to look in the mirror. Our guys do a pretty good job at that. So eventually we'll work our way through it.Last year the Yankees were expected to sweep Detroit and dominate them, and of course we know what happened. What does it tell you about the random nature of the tournament, especially the short first round? ERIC WEDGE: It's baseball. It's a great game. I mean, there are no absolutes. Anybody that thinks they've got it figured out, they're full of it. There are no guarantees. There are no absolutes, nothing you can assume. That's why we play. That's why we play 162 games. This is a five game series. That's the reason we play the game is to find out. I'm looking forward to it. Would you like seven games in the first round? ERIC WEDGE: I don't care. Doesn't matter to me. What has Kenny Lofton meant to this club since coming back and what kind of reception has he gotten? ERIC WEDGE: The reception is great. Obviously the fans were excited. Teammates were excited. One thing we want to do in the off season was bring in some players with some post season experience. And we were able to do that. You bring in a Borowski and a Nixon and a Dellucci and a Fultz. And to bring in Kenny, just adds more experience. And that's I think something that's already helped us and should continue to help us in the post season. He's been a boost for us, obviously, just from a production standpoint. We've used him primarily in the seven hole, and it really gives the bottom half of our lineup an entirely different feel and look. And I'm a big believer in trying to balance our lineup, regardless of the inning, regardless of who is up, we're going to put ourselves in an opportunity to try to score some runs. We don't count on just one or two guys. Kenny's given us a lot more length to our lineup. Questions for C.C. Sabathia. Given it's been three years since you faced the Yankees, you watched videos that was relevant for this start? C.C. SABATHIA: I haven't watched any video of that start. But I've been watching video of them this season against lefties and tendencies they have. But I haven't really watched my last start against them. Do you feel any pressure on yourself that you have to win Game 1 to set the series on a right note for your team? C.C. SABATHIA: I'm feeling the pressure. It would be big to win Game 1 definitely. We're starting here at home and get a chance to use the home field advantage. So I feel like it's going to be a big game. But I don't feel any added pressure. What's the approach when you're facing a lineup as the Yankee lineup? C.C. SABATHIA: Just to throw strikes. They take a lot of pitches. They're a patient team. They have a lot of veteran hitters. I'm going to attack the zone with my pitches and try to make them put it into play early in the count. I know you want -- all year you talked about my one goal is to get back to the post season. What does it feel like now that you're finally here? C.C. SABATHIA: It feels good. I'm excited. This is an unbelievable feeling. And it feels even better to do it with a bunch of guys in that clubhouse I've been playing with my whole career, just about, and get along with. So it feels good to be in the playoffs and it feels even better to be with a team that I really enjoy. We all get along. Even though you haven't faced them, what was it like watching the type of year that Alex Rodriguez put up and knowing you'll have to face him tomorrow night? C.C. SABATHIA: He had a huge year. MVP, hands down, probably in both leagues. He's one of the best players in the league. I will just try to go out and try to make pitches. That's all you can really do, is go out and try to make pitches, attack the zone and hope you hit it at somebody. In terms of facing Alex Rodriguez, he's had a history of post season failure, do you look at that as an opportunity to get in his head tomorrow or use that against him at all? C.C. SABATHIA: Not really. He's a good player. I'm sure he knows what he needs to do to get ready to be successful. I mean that really has nothing to do with what's going to happen tomorrow night. I just need to go out and worry and focus on myself and focus on throwing strikes and throwing a good game. You feel like all the national hype is about the Yankees and the odds makers have them winning the World Series. Do you guys feel a little overlooked and, hey, we're here, too? Anything like that? C.C. SABATHIA: No, it's good to be in the position we are in. Nobody thought we'd be here right now. So we feel good about the position we're in. We've got a group of confident guys in there. We know what we can do against any baseball team in the league. So we go out and play our type of baseball, pitch well, play good defense and hit the ball, I think we'll be fine. Taking that a step further, in your mind, no matter what happens in the post season, this season is a tremendous success for you guys already, don't you think? C.C. SABATHIA: Yeah, but coming out of spring training everybody sets a goal, it's nice to win a championship. So that's what we want to do. We've been believing in our team since day one, and we are right now in the position to make that happen. So we just need to go out and play hard, like I said, play our type of baseball and play well. But you're not like the Yankees where, if you don't make it to the World Series it's going to be a failure? C.C. SABATHIA: Yeah. I mean, I guess you could look at it like that. But I'm sure some guys are in there feeling if we don't make it to the World Series there will be failure. Your manager a few minutes ago was saying how you made adjustments to your game in '05 to make yourself a better pitcher. What is your evolution as a pitcher and why are you better now than you were then? C.C. SABATHIA: Just I think just getting older, being more mature. In the past I am real emotional. I let my emotions get to me the umpire making a bad call would affect the way I threw the next pitch and things like that. I let it all go and focus on what I can focus on and control everything leading up to the pitch and make sure I'm in the right position to make a good pitch, and after that whatever happens, happens. I just go out there and have fun and play the game. You've had a little bit of rest here now at the end of the season. Has this helped you and how have you been able to maintain your sharpness, because you've had a few extra days off here? C.C. SABATHIA: I just had one extra day off here this last turnaround. Threw in the bullpen on Monday. Feel good. My arm feels fine. I'm ready to go. I feel good. I'm excited. I'm ready to go. Both Jeter and A Rod have hit you pretty well during their careers, Jeter at 12 for 22 and A Rod, 7 of 17. Are you aware of those numbers and do you take that into account? C.C. SABATHIA: I wasn't aware of those numbers. But I guess I'm going to have to take them into account (laughter). Like I said, I'm just going to go out and throw my game, man. Attack the zone, attack both sides of the plate. And just try to get some outs early in the count. Those guys have had some success, obviously, but it's a new year. I'm a different pitcher now. So we'll see what happens. The fact that it's not just the numbers, but who it is who has these numbers against you, is that more scary when you're out there on the mound, tougher challenge? C.C. SABATHIA: No, because I don't think I ever got Mike Redmond and out he's the back up catcher for the Twins. If they hit you, they hit you. Doesn't matter who it is. Do you remember the game at Yankee Stadium, bases loaded, Giambi at the plate, pitching out of the windup, Giambi hit one up the middle and all three runs scored, was that part of your learning process? How have you advanced since then? C.C. SABATHIA: That was the last time I've thrown out of the windup with runners on base. Jeter scored on a single up the middle just by him getting a head start from me being out of the windup. Just little things like that you recognize and try to improve on and get better. I think I'm a totally different pitcher than I was especially on that day. I just remember at bat, too, I had Giambi up there and I was probably throwing him 15 fast balls fouling them off. Now I can make an adjustment and maybe throw him an off speed pitch there to get a strikeout. Just my thought process and things are a little different than they were back then.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.