When you signed your long term deal earlier this year, you said you wanted to be here when the winning finally started. Did you think it was going to happen this quickly that you guys would find yourself here at this time of the year?
I didn't think we were going to be as good as we were, came out to be this year right now. But I thought we were going to be a lot better than what we have been in the past.
So I knew that we were looking forward and the future was very bright for us. I thought that -- I felt like that in spring training. It felt like the right move to continue playing here, and I just enjoyed being with all these guys that kind of you grew up with and came up through the ranks together with.
You came up out of Houston, I think, right after -- a few years after Beckett and you've had some pretty good match ups against him over the years. How much has Beckett been a part of your career, and what's it like to kind of face him on this kind of stage?
Well, I've watched him since high school. We've kind of been rifle high school teams. You just pick up a lot of things from a guy like that, just how competitive he is and how he goes about his business and whatnot. I get a chance to talk to him whenever I can and kind of pick apart his brain and see what I can kind of put into my game.
There's quite a few things that you can take out of someone like that, you know, that's been there, done everything, and really knows how to go about his business.
Going back again to your match up tomorrow, he's never lost in the post season, Beckett. Does that bring any added pressure? I know your focus is on their hitters, but does going against a guy who's never lost bring any extra pressure?
No, I don't think it puts any pressure on any of us on the team. We've pretty much had all the pressure on us from the very get go, on people really not believing and not really thinking that we're going to carry this thing through.
I don't think there's going to be any pressure from here on out. It feels like we're kind of underdogs and wasn't even expected to make it this far, so we're just having fun.
What's the toughest thing for you about facing this Red Sox lineup?
The toughest thing for me would probably just be the team and how they go about playing nine innings, how they go about just getting the job done and winning.
You know, you'd face other teams that they'd look for the long ball, they'd look for just one or two guys to really step up and get the job done, but it's not like that with this team. It feels like everyone has their role, has a part, and they don't really get out of that at all. They stick to the game plan. I mean, that makes it tough because everyone takes the same approach and everyone knows what it takes to win.
I mean, it's just tough. You have to be on your A Game the entire time, the entire game.
Is it more difficult to keep -- do you think to pitch against Boston, or would it be more important to keep the hitter guys off from the beginning and making pitches against Youkilis and Ortiz and Bay and so forth?
The main thing for me is keep the first guy off every inning, off the base path. I think getting that first out is always big for any team, but especially this team, because if you make one little mistake, you walk one here, you walk one there, those guys are going to find a way to get around the bases and score; so it's all about getting that first guy out.
I know you won't face him, but can you talk any parallels or any similarities between you and Daisuke and the way that you approach pitching?
I can't really answer that. I don't know how he prepares himself. I know I don't throw as much before I start as he does. That's about all I know. I know he throws a lot more different pitches than I do, so I would say that we're kind of opposites in a way.
When you were traded here, were you jolted, were you excited about the new opportunity? What was it like for you?
I kind of had mixed emotions. I didn't know what to expect. I was my first time getting traded. I didn't think anything like that was going to happen that soon in my career, so it was just a shock from the very beginning.
But when I got a chance to talk to a lot of the staff members with the Devil Rays at the time, I knew it was exciting because I had an opportunity to really show -- to get the experience at that early of an age and being able to get this opportunity, it's been a blessing.
When you did sign the long term contract, how tough was that -- how tough of a decision was that for you when you thought the winning was coming, but the history wasn't there?
It was tough. It was a tough decision, but going through spring training and the beginning of the season, just seeing all the guys, seeing how everything was coming into place and who we had coming from the minor leagues to help us out, I really felt confident and comfortable about what we had.
By that time of me actually getting back on the field and negotiating the contract, it was actually pretty easy for me.
Following up the question about the trade, when you go from a big market team like the Mets and come down here and experiencing the losing that you guys did, does that make it any more satisfying to be here now given what you've gone through and when you came from since that trade?
Sure. I think it's really made me a better baseball player all around, going through the tough spots early in my career and overcoming those. It's really, I think, matured me and really just kind of made me an all around better baseball player. It feels like everything is worth it now being here right now.
Do you think you were too amped up in that start against the White Sox, and will that experience help you tomorrow?
See, I don't think I was too amped up. I just think that I just didn't find the groove early. I didn't really feel comfortable from the get go, and it kind of took a little bit more pitches than I wanted it to, to really find that comfort zone. Hopefully that's not going to be the case in this next start, and I'll be able to just get right on the track from the very first pitch.
You talked about watching Beckett. I was more concerned about did you watch footage of somebody like Spawn or Carlton, very successful left handed pitchers, probably the two best from a winning standpoint, the most wins by left handed pitchers?
Well, I try to -- I look at some guys in that way, try to find similarities. I guess one guy that I could really pinpoint that really helped me out that actually, you know, played earlier was Ron Guidry, kind of a smaller framed guy that threw a little bit harder from the left side. I kind of looked at a little bit of video here and there and just kind of found out something that he did or tendencies that he did that really made him successful, and it's helped me out a little bit.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.