Q. Can you talk about your defense? Drew made a key play in Game 1. Ellsbury made a nice catch yesterday. And Pedroia made a sparkling play again last night. Can you talk about the defense and how sound it is?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, it's been one of the constants of this team, and particularly when you look at the fifth inning in Game 1, some of the plays that we made on the infield. Mike Napoli with a good play to cut down a runner on second base, Middlebrooks cuts down a runner at home plate. In combination with good defenders, the work that Brian Butterfield and the time he spends with our alignment, the homework he does, I think there's a number of things that contribute to it.
But I think our defense has been a main component of this team and the success we've had.
Q. When you sort of get beyond the euphoria of tying the series up and the way you came back, there's still a matter that you have one hit in 15 innings against their starters. How worried are you about that and are you satisfied that the team made the necessary offensive adjustments coming off Game 1?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, the work of Sanchez and Scherzer has been nothing short of spectacular. They've been dominant. Their bullpen was dominant in Game 1. We feel like tomorrow's starter in Verlander is going to be a similar, if not a more difficult challenge than what we faced already.
But we're not going to go through wholesale changes with an approach. Those guys have been locked in. And you have to tip your hat to very good pitching, being able to shut down good hitting. That can be very cliche, I know. The way they've thrown the ball and the consistency to the location, particularly the two guys that start the games out, it's been outstanding.
Q. David said last night after the game that he felt the Tigers had attacked you guys differently than they had in the past, in the two games in this series. Have they made changes about how they've gone after you guys?
JOHN FARRELL: You know, the second and third time through they've used some off-speed pitches early in the count maybe a little bit more. They've executed off-speed pitches in fastball counts to slow us down in that situation. They haven't pitched behind the count much.
Last night, and even for the most part when Sanchez was on the mound, they lived on the edge with premium stuff and that's a lethal combination. I can't say that they change the wholesale plan of attack against us, they've just been very good.
Q. Given the way Detroit has pitched, to what extent do you think your guys have stuck to their game plan, especially the pitch counts the Tigers' pitchers have gotten to?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, it's varied. Maybe we were a little bit more patient with Sanchez to drive up a pitch count. I thought there were a couple of innings in the middle of the game last night that Scherzer forced us to swing the bat a little earlier in the count. The starting pitcher on the mound is probably going to dictate that and determine that, particularly at the outset if we have to adjust and go earlier in the count. Our guys are well aware of that.
We've had to do that a number of times this year and we've been successful in those type of games. We'll have to monitor and kind of take the temperature how Verlander comes out tomorrow and make necessary adjustments, if possible.
Q. You've lost games like last night's and you know how your team would respond. How would you expect their team to respond?
JOHN FARRELL: We don't expect anything less than they'll be ready to go tomorrow afternoon. That's a veteran team in its own right. One that's very confident. I'm sure every time they write "Verlander" in that starting spot on the mound, they're going to gain a lot of confidence with him going to the mound as well.
We don't expect the tone or the pace or intensity of tomorrow's to be any different than the first two games.
Q. You mentioned Verlander arguably being just as good as Scherzer and Sanchez. It appears as if he's gotten into a groove late in the season. What is it that distinguishes him?
JOHN FARRELL: He's probably one of the most durable starters in all of baseball. To maintain the type of stuff that he has over the course of a given game, whether that's 110 to 130 pitches, it speaks to the work ethic that he has, the repertoire of pitches that he has, and a competitive streak in him that we all see, whether you're watching on TV, whether you're watching at field level. He doesn't come by his success by accident. It's a talented and extremely driven pitcher.
Q. You made a couple lineup changes against Scherzer last night. What kind of things are you contemplating lineup-wise against Verlander tomorrow?
JOHN FARRELL: Nap will be back at first base. And what we do otherwise, we'll probably be back to a similar lineup we saw in Game 1.
The one thing that we can't fully measure is the intangibles that Jonny Gomes brings. And so the full lineup tomorrow is still yet to be decided. But that's another thing that's being factored in here, considered.
Q. When you watched that Game 5 that Verlander pitched in Oakland, does any part of you appreciate what he did, or is it all thinking ahead to this series?
JOHN FARRELL: I think if you're a fan of the game, regardless of the uniform that's being worn, you appreciate talented and competitive people. And to see it play out in a critical stage, in a Game 5, like I said, if you're a fan of the game there's no way you can't appreciate the performance that took place.
Q. In terms of those intangibles with Jonny Gomes, what are you talking about and how are the intangibles he offers when he's in the game versus when he's contributing on the bench in games where he's not in the lineup?
JOHN FARRELL: There's a substantial difference. One, he's got an opportunity to make something happen inside of a game. And I think the one thing that might fly under the radar with Jonny is he's a smart player. Much like we talked about with the will to succeed on Pedey's part on second base, it's very similar to Jonny. So he can bring an overall personality to a team when he's in the lineup versus when he's in the dugout.
These are the things at this point in time in the year I think you have to consider strongly with the attitude and the makeup that we present on the field.
Q. This might be a similar answer, but last night in the ninth inning when Jonny reached -- I think some people thought Quintin Berry would be the runner, what made him the runner to stay in that situation?
JOHN FARRELL: Once the errant throw pushed him to second base the need for a stolen base is reduced right there. He's a smart baserunner. If we got into a situation where Salty is up next and he's in a spot where either he walks or gets on base, we're holding him back for someone else. And that was the reason for that at that point.
Q. After the game last night several of your players were commenting about how David didn't seem all that excited after hitting the grand slam. Been there, done that. They were saying they were more excited than he was. Can you talk about what you saw from him and your reaction when that ball went out.
JOHN FARRELL: I think we were all kind of caught up in the pandemonium that took over in the ballpark at that point. But there were still a number of decisions that had to be made. We started out the inning with Dempster getting loose to pitch the ninth. As we got men on base we went to Tazawa and then as soon as that ball went out of the ballpark we had to let Uehara going.
You appreciate what just took place, but time is ticking and you've got to get the other guy ready. That was the focus.
David came back in the dugout, he walked down the length of the dugout, typical handshakes. Maybe it's because he's done this before. But the one thing that we talked about after the game there's a calmness and presence about him in those key moments, his emotional control allows him to perform as he does. I think when he does something like this, he's not surprised by himself and the things he's able to achieve.
Q. Jim was in here earlier saying he was trying to cobble through to get three outs before Ortiz got up there. On the flip side were you thinking if we can get him up there we've got a chance?
JOHN FARRELL: Anytime you get David Ortiz coming to the plate you've got a chance. Inside that game last night, things happened so fast, whether it was the sixth inning against us or the ninth inning for us. As one thing keeps coming, you try to anticipate, you try to think ahead, and, yeah, you look down on your scorecard, you're looking a couple three-headers ahead to either prepare defensively or on the offensive side. We're certainly not going to take a different approach in a bases loaded situation with David at the plate.
But, yeah, I think anytime we get men on base it breathes life into this group.