A two part question. You've faced the Rays eight times over the past two seasons, and they're a lineup that knows you very well, but you know them very well; is that a good thing for you, and are you looking forward to this match up? This season you've faced them three times, once in July and twice late in the season, but did you notice any difference in their lineup between those two time periods?
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Yes, I've faced this team many times, but it's hard to refer back to last year because I've also changed as a pitcher.
A lot of the same players are still in the lineup, so I have a good idea of what good spots to pitch to and what pitches are effective, so I just hope that I can execute those pitches.
As for the Rays and how they looked during the season, they were strong all throughout the year.
In a short series, how would you describe the importance of being the pitcher in Game 1? And what does it mean to you personally to be selected for that role?
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: For me, Game 1 and Game 2 have the same importance, and it's a big responsibility being the Game 2 pitcher. But being trusted to take the ball in Game 1 is something that I'm pretty happy about.
Can you talk about the importance of getting that first pitch for a strike for you and what that does for your confidence and how it sets up the way you attack a pitch or attack the strike zone?
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: It's true for any pitcher, but getting that first pitch strike puts you at a big advantage for that at bat. But I wouldn't say that being able to get that first pitch strike boosts my confidence in any way.
And on the other hand, just because I couldn't get the first pitch strike, it doesn't cause any anxiety on my part.
After you clinched the ALDS and after the celebration, how did you spend the past two or three days preparing for this series? And also, can you talk about what happened the last couple days in terms of your finding out that you'd be starting Game 1?
DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: The day after we clinched, I took the entire day off.
But already at that point I was preparing based on a number of rest days between starts. I found out that I would be starting Game 1 on Tuesday.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.