Q. What in your mind makes this team better than last year's team going into the playoffs right now?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: You know, I think just kind of the addition of Prince, I think, adds another veteran presence to this team.
And the fact that we've played really the last month almost like it's postseason. Kind of our backs against the wall. A lot of guys that hadn't had that postseason experience, a lot of the young guys, it's kind of similar. It's a similar type feeling when it's a must-win game, especially the series against the White Sox.
And I've said numerous times I've really liked the way we played those games, the games we knew we had to win, we found a way to win them. I think that bodes well for us into the playoffs.
Q. You threw a lot of innings again this year, but going that the postseason, do you feel more fresh than a year ago?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I wouldn't say I feel any more or less fresh. I felt like last year I prepared myself extremely well to be able to withstand the innings workload and feel good in the postseason. So I did the same thing this past offseason, and I would say I feel about the same.
Q. You've done well against the A's this season. But the first time Cespedes wasn't in the lineup, Crisp wasn't in the lineup the most recent time. How do they change the dynamic of the lineup for you?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: First time the lineup was entirely different than the first time I faced them. A revolving door of guys there in Oakland. Just one of those teams that's scrappy and found a way to win no matter who was in their lineup. And the last game I actually threw against them was one of the tougher games I threw all year.
Every single one of their guys battled, throwing seven-, eight-, nine-pitch at bats. And those are tough. But I was able to maintain. Just keep my game plan and continue to throw strikes and make them put the ball in play eventually.
But you can't ever take guys for granted no matter whose name is on the back. Obviously this group of guys have done a fantastic job, and they had one of the best records in baseball. So they're doing something right.
It's just a group of guys that don't give up and I think they probably like the fact that a lot of people are saying they might be the underdog in this series, even though they've won more games than us, which is crazy.
Q. You're pretty well known for the intensity of your game day preparation. Is there even any way to step that up? The focus on a playoff game preparation?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I'm sure there is. But I'm going to try not to. I think I'm just going to try to maintain what I've been doing, try to keep it as normal as possible, just try to keep myself my regular routine and do what I would normally do on a home start.
And not try to do anything extra. I think when you try to do extra stuff is when you find you get a little bit anxious and nervous.
Q. Do you have playoff music?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, I don't have a playoff music playlist. I'm going to stick with what I've got.
Q. With the starting pitching depth the Tigers have and the power hit and ability to put up a lot of runs really quickly, is this the type of team that sets up well for a short series?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I think this is the type of team that sets up well in any playoff series. Like you said with power pitching and the ability to score runs, that can be tough to beat if the team gets rolling right.
If we start swinging the bat and scoring runs and throwing up zeros, obviously that's how you win baseball games. I don't think it matters whether it's a short series or long series. I like our chances. It was a matter of getting in. We played inconsistently all year. Not quite up to our capability, but I think this last month we started playing better baseball, and we found a way to get in when we had to.
Hopefully we find a way to win three more series.
Q. Winning aside, what is it about October baseball, in your mind, that makes this time of year so magical as a player?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: It's just the grind of a season, I think. You go through 162 games with what's like your family. I think that's what makes it so special to get in in baseball, in particular, just because of the number of games and what you go through in a series.
And what a lot of you guys don't see behind the scenes, what guys really go through to get through that many games, and then you make it and it's just a celebration and it's fantastic.
And then here you are, playing when a lot of your friends are at home. And it means something. And there's the excitement in the city, the buzz, everything about it, just makes it that much better.
Q. You're one of the few players in baseball history who can say that they had a Triple Crown winner for a teammate.
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Yeah.
Q. When you try to describe to people who aren't around here what it's been like to watch him hit and watch him go about his business, what are some of the more impressive things that stood out for you?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Oh, you know, that's a tough question, because it seems like almost on a nightly basis he does something that makes his peers go wow. And that's not easy to do. You have a bunch of guys that have been here for a long time and you have them kind of shaking their head saying how did he do that. That's pretty special.
It seems like that happens once every game or so. He's just an unbelievable talent. And it was really an honor to be able to watch him an entire year. Obviously nobody in the last 45 years have been able to watch a Triple Crown winner on their team.
And I can tell my kids one day that I was able to watch that.
Q. Do you find that when he's at the plate that guys kind of get maybe a little quieter or a little more focused because they might see something they've never seen before?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: What do you mean, in the dugout?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I wouldn't say guys get more quiet or anything. I would just say kind of some ears perk up, guys pay attention. Everybody in the stands, everybody everywhere wants to pay attention when he's hitting. He's an unbelievable talent. And I think you can see -- in the ballpark, they announce Miguel Cabrera hitting, I think everybody in the hotdog line gets out of line and watches. I do too. I get out of the hotdog lineup in the dugout and come down.