A pregame interview with Scott Kazmir and B.J. Upton

A pregame interview with Kazmir and Upton

B.J., a number of outstanding plays last night, defense and speed. What's been your favorite play so far this postseason?

B.J. UPTON: I really don't remember much. Maybe the throw, I think the throw is probably the big situation where it could have been a game changer, and that's probably been it for me so far this series.

After a tough loss last night, you said you'd rather trade the World Series record you got for stolen bases for a win, but looking back now as a fan of baseball, what does it mean to you to be in the same name as Lou Brock and Honus Wagner for that kind of award?

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B.J. UPTON: It's pretty cool, those guys did a lot for baseball, and are great baseball players. Like I said, anytime you can be mentioned in the same sentence as either one of those guys it's an honor. And something that you dream about and to have the opportunity to play in the World Series. Obviously I'd rather have a win, instead.

What are some of the keys you look for when you're stealing third as opposed to second? And in last night's situation is it often in your mind maybe going right away to third after you've gotten to second?

B.J. UPTON: The biggest key is getting a good jump. And I think I got a pretty good one. Obviously pitch selection is something, off speed, maybe get a better chance to get there. And I think he did throw an off speed pitch and it worked out for me.

Compare Philly fans and how they treat the opponents with Yankee fans and Red Sox fans?

B.J. UPTON: I think they're all up there together. We played in some pretty tough places, between Boston and Chicago and obviously coming here. They're pretty ruthless, but at the same time that's what it's about. They support their team. You go out there, and you have to expect it. You have to have fun with it.

Ryan Howard was saying last night if they were going to start a track team for baseball players, they'd start with the Rays. Do you sense that you guys can intimidate other teams by your speed and your athleticism?

B.J. UPTON: I don't know about intimidating, but at the same time we can put a little bit of pressure on them. Obviously I think we have one of the fastest teams in baseball. And it's such a big part of our game is speed and stealing bags and taking the extra base. That allows us to incorporate that in our game and put pressure on defenses.

I know that Cliff Floyd has been right there by you kind of like a mentor, helping you through this, the fact that he can't go now, but Joe said he's still going to be here. How do you see his role in the fact that he can't help you on the field now?

B.J. UPTON: He's been a motivational leader for us all year. We know he's still going to be there and supporting us, even though he's not active anymore. Like I said, he'll be able there to support us, and Eric Hinske is going to jump right in and do a job. He's a veteran guy that's been on championship teams.

So I don't think we'll miss a beat. I think we replace a good guy with another good guy.

When you're pitching against Cole Hamels, especially here on the road, does that make every pitch that much more critical? Also I want to ask you, Joe Maddon mentioned after Game 1 that your slider looked better than it has in months. Do you feel more confident in the pitch now?

SCOTT KAZMIR: Well, first with Cole Hamels, facing him, it looks like to him that every pitch he throws, everything that he does, you feel looks like he's on point right now. So it feels like every pitch you throw is going to be a crucial pitch. You feel like you want to throw up zeroes. And if you don't, it's going to be tough to get a win.

So, yeah, he really has everything going right now. So it feels like you have to be on your A game to beat that guy.

As far as my slider, it felt like last game was everything started to feel a little more comfortable. I was getting a better feel for it, and I was able to throw it in any count, behind the count, ahead of the count and just feel a little more comfortable as the game was going on.

Pitching Game 1, will that help you prepare for tomorrow night, the jitters and the lights and the glitz and everything?

SCOTT KAZMIR: Well, I guess you could say yeah. You get more comfortable with it. You get to see the team that you're facing that you haven't faced before quite a few times, so you see how they adjust, how they approach certain hitters. I watched J.P. Howell and some of the left handers that throw against these guys and see how they react against certain pitches that our guys throw, and you can kind of work that into your game. So you feel a little more comfortable going to the next game.

I was going to ask you, because you've seen the Red Sox so many times and you hadn't seen these guys. Had you ever even been in this ballpark at all before?

SCOTT KAZMIR: No, yeah, we came here, I want to say it was last year or the year before for interleague. We've faced these guys before. I'm familiar with the park a little bit.

And just one follow up, if I could: With Garza, with that rain delay, were you feeling for him? That guy is always so pumped up and he had to wait around, wait around, wait around, what was that like?

SCOTT KAZMIR: Sure. It's tough for every starting pitcher that has to go through that. Every starting pitcher pretty much has their own routine. And when you have a rain delay like that, you kind of get a little bit out of whack, everything feels a little uncomfortable to you, because you have your time schedule on when you want to get ready for a game, and when you don't really have a start time it gets tough. But both pitchers had to do that, as well, so it's just one of those things.

With the dimensions in this ballpark, do you have to change your strategy or do you still go at them the way you did at Tropicana Field?

SCOTT KAZMIR: I'm going to still keep my strategy for the most part. There's a couple of things that as I was watching the last couple of games that I might change just a little bit, but for the most part you can't really change your game, just because of the dimensions. That's when you get out of your game. I'm going to stay with the game plan.

You're almost the underdog going into tomorrow night in that situation, is that something you relish, that environment?

SCOTT KAZMIR: Sure, sure, definitely. Who wouldn't? You're the underdog and it kind of feels like everyone's against you. So you want to go out there and prove everyone wrong, it gives you that little chip on your shoulder.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.