JOSH REDDICK Hopefully it will give us the big boost that we need. The guy that we have on the mound tonight has been there before. He's been there with Tampa so he knows how to approach the game, but hopefully the youthful inexperience in their lineup is something that gives us a little bit of an advantage.
Q. Ned was in here a little while ago and said, this is a game where the first run is really important because you look at Shields and you look at Lester. How do you view that?
JOSH REDDICK: Agree 100 percent. I feel like whoever can score first and score often has probably got a pretty good chance of winning this ballgame, so it's a matter of who makes the first mistake and who capitalizes on the first mistake and in the right situations. Whatever team is going to do that is going to give that pitcher a little bit more breathing room than he started with and give him that much more reason to bear down.
Q. How does the Jon Lester you know now compare to what you expected to get when you got him?
JOSH REDDICK: He seems to exceed expectations no matter where he goes and no matter what uniform he uses. I've had the benefit of being on both sides of teams he's been on, and he's been fantastic on both ends, so I'm not one bit surprised what he's done with us as opposed to what he's done with Boston. The only difference is now he has a new track record to put on the Oakland Athletics' postseason record for his own.
Q. Obviously you guys struggled with the Royals in the regular season, only won one out of the seven games. What has to change or have you been able to put your finger on what went wrong in those series?
JOSH REDDICK: I mean, I think we won two, both Lester starts, but yeah, you know, if I can recall, we had just started that rough stretch we were in. They were white hot, and it's not knocking anything about that team. They're a great team. That's why they're here today. But every team goes through these struggles at some point and some people can say we're still going through ours, but I've been telling everybody the last two months of our season is gone, now we can put that behind us and move forward. It's going to be an interesting game both ways, two good teams really going at it. Like I said, whoever scores first seems like it's probably going to be the winner.
Q. A lot of talk has been about Lester and Shields. Will you talk about the two bullpens and the way they match up?
JOSH REDDICK: It's pretty impressive when you look at all their numbers. You look at the Royals and their last three guys, I think they're below 1.4 in all three of their records, and our back end of our bullpen isn't no slouch, either, they just don't all throw 99 with filthy changeups. But they do get the job done when they need to. It's going to be impressive to see what the sixth inning on moves around and how managers decide to switch things up, and if they even do give up one base runner.
Q. You're one of the few guys in the lineup who's had some success against Shields. What are some keys going against him and how do you approach things?
JOSH REDDICK: James is a guy who mixes up pitches well and locates well. He keeps guys off base, and when he gets guys on base he tends to minimize the damage much like Lester. For me it's all about not trying to do too much. It's something I've been saying my whole career, whether it's James Shields or a No. 5 guy on somebody else's team. James has a great changeup and we all know that and he likes his curveball and he seems to have developed that new cutter of his, so he knows when to mix it up, and it's just a matter of getting the very few mistakes that he throws out there and capitalizing on them.
Q. How are you feeling going into this postseason compared to the last two? Obviously last year you had the wrist thing and the year before you looked like you were a little gassed.
JOSH REDDICK: Yeah, the first year I obviously never played more than I think 110 games, played almost all the games that year, so my body obviously wore down. Last year the wrist thing was something to be dealt with, and actually in the playoffs last year I felt fine. Even though the surgery had come later on it was something we took care of early. But this year battling all these injuries, but I'm not going to complain because it seems to be working after an ugly fall at first base. I'm feeling good. I came in today, got some stuff done early to take care of it, but feeling pretty confident right now.
Q. As tough as the last two months for you guys were, what was the feeling in there when you guys were able to finally clinch on Sunday? Does it feel like you've reset and is that something you can benefit from, that as tough as that was you did get through it?
JOSH REDDICK: 100 percent, yeah. You hit the reset button, as hard as that may seem to do. During that whole stretch nobody really panicked. We came in the clubhouse with the same mentality, and had music blaring before the game, it didn't matter if we got beat 10‑0 or we put up a 20‑spot on somebody. It was the same mindset, it just seemed like every time the last out was made, it was never something in our favor, something always went wrong on different sides of the ballgame. Like I said, it's a good thing you can forget all that and just worry about tonight.
Q. While you might be feeling good right now, it seems like a couple of the biggest names in your lineup have really been battling some injuries down the stretch. What has it meant to have them fight through what they've been fighting through and how much has that affected you guys?
JOSH REDDICK: It's huge. It's not just our big‑name guys, it's everybody. It's late September, early October, everybody is going to play banged up. Maybe J.D. is getting a little more notoriety than a lot of us because of the year he had and the nine injuries that he's dealing with or however many it is at this point, but he's a gamer, just like we all are. We're all going to go out there and we all have the same mindset, if we can walk in the game we're going to get there. He's just had worse luck than most of us with the knee or the calf or whatever else he has going on. He's a gamer and he knows what he's doing and he's a great ballplayer, so you take nothing away from him.
Q. The last two years Justin Verlander has knocked you guys out, each time in the last game of a series. How is it different this year with Lester to be able to match up in that type of a game?
JOSH REDDICK: It's big. I mean, we had a pretty big name in there last year, Sonny. Sonny made one mistake and it ended up being the big thing of the game. I feel like it's the same setup moving into tonight, even in the future of a Verlander‑Lester matchup, it's going to be one mistake that determines the outcome of the game. He just happened to be perfect through six, and Sonny made a mistake in the third or fourth inning and that ended up being the deciding factor of the game. That's how the playoffs go. You get lucky at the right time, and timing is about everything, and it all depends on who's hot at the right time, and that's how you win a World Series.
Q. Given that this is a one‑game win‑or‑go‑home situation, it adds a little bit more pressure and obviously you guys aren't trying to put pressure on yourselves, but how does it change the dynamic in this game?
JOSH REDDICK: The thing is with our team you never know what's going to happen. We could have a pinch‑hitter in the third or the eighth inning, it all depends on what Bob feels is the right opportunity. It all works out with the bullpen, too, you never know if you're going to have your eighth‑inning guy come in the seventh inning with the right matchups and your seventh inning go in the eighth inning. There's all kinds of things going on, all hands on deck tonight, and that's why we have all these guys available, and it's going to be interesting. You can't predict it. That's why it's the playoffs and that's what makes it fun.