Q. You began the season in the bullpen as a rookie, relatively unknown. You have since become one of the biggest stories in baseball in 2014 and on the brink of starting in the ALDS. Can you talk about how cool this ride has been for you?
MATT SHOEMAKER: You can't really put words to it. Like you said, in spring training I was just trying to make the club in whatever position they needed me, and it slowly developed into the starting role. Like you said, it's been a great ride, and we definitely want to keep playing for about another month just to top it off.
But it's been very special. It's a blessing to be here every day. Like I said, it's really difficult to put words to it. It's been a very special season, and more importantly, as a team, it's been a very special season. Hopefully we can finish it off with the World Series.
Q. I wanted to ask you, the issue of being up front and honest with a manager when you really want to play in a game like this? And we've heard stories about players who hide because they really want to play in the game. With your approach with that, do you have to be absolutely honest with Mike? Do you have to tell him every pain that's bothering you before this?
MATT SHOEMAKER: Yeah, you really do, because I was wanting to I kept telling them I was want to go pitch before the end of the regular season, and that's when I was still feeling some tightness and soreness. And I had to be honest because if I went out there and pitched with it being a little sore, I could have tweaked it again and then setback another couple weeks.
So being me as much of a competitor as I am, I wanted to get out there in Seattle while we were there. But the smart thing was I still felt it a little bit so we were going to get in the bullpen, which is smart. But yeah, you definitely have to be honest because if I went out there and still feeling sore and tweaked it, and then get set back two weeks, that's not what we're trying to do. So definitely, honesty has been key. And like I said, since Sunday, I have not felt a thing, which is really good.
Q. Are you that honest when Mike comes out to the mound and says, do you have enough left for one more inning, even though you know you don't, but you say yes anyway?
MATT SHOEMAKER: Yeah, you've got to be honest with that. But when you're out on the mound you always want that last batter, get that last inning. You're always going to tell him that no matter what because your adrenaline's going and you're in the game.
Q. What do you remember about your start against the Royals at Kauffman earlier this year?
MATT SHOEMAKER: It was just one of those bounce back days. It was a rough day, you're going to have those. The best guys in the game have those. So it was just how I came back after that start which has been really good.
So I want to keep that going. Like I said, you're going to have those rough days. With that being said, I think the biggest thing for me and any pitcher is how you bounce back. What did you learn from it? What did you take out of it? What was positive? And then go on from there.
Q. What specifically did you learn from that start at Kauffman, and what went wrong with it and all the flyballs and whatnot?
MATT SHOEMAKER: Yeah, I was up in the zone. Most of my pitches were up in the zone, some a little bit of timing and feel was off, I think the result being more balls being up in the zone. Since then I just really focus on, especially bullpen work, working the ball down in the zone, pitching up when you need to purpose, and using all your pitches for strikes. That's my game. That's what I usually do. When that kind of got away from me that day, so that's what I learned. Like, hey, even if you're struggling that day, you've got to focus in on just, hey, make whatever pitch I need to and take one pitch at a time.
Q. There was some thought you may not pitch until maybe Game 3 or even later. What does that mean to you the trust that Scioscia has for you to pitch Game 2, and did you lobby to move up?
MATT SHOEMAKER: No, it means a lot to me that they wanted me to pitch there. It's definitely an honor, and I want to go out there and give it my best. What we were trying to see like, hey, am I going to be ready?
And then once we found out I was ready, it's like, okay, am I going to be ready for Game 2 or 3? Wherever they needed me, I was more than happy to pitch in that position. But after Sunday's bullpen, everything felt 100%. Everything felt right, everything felt great. So knowing that from that day and the next bullpen after that is kind of what made the decision for Game 2 or 3.
Q. How confident are you and how confident can you be that you can bounce back after a Game 2 for a potential Game 5 start seeing as you haven't done that in about three weeks?
MATT SHOEMAKER: Yeah, I definitely feel really confident. Like I said, I kind of go back to the last couple bullpens. The stamina, I didn't throw a hundred pitches in the bullpen, but the stamina felt great, the body, the legs were there. Everything felt where it should be.
So definitely the confidence level in regards to, if need be, coming back that quick, definitely feel confident in doing so.
Q. Does anything change as far as your approach going into tomorrow up one game to nothing or down one game to nothing?
MATT SHOEMAKER: It really won't. Because even though it is playoffs, it's on this awesome scale that we're coming into playoffs, which is great, it's still a baseball game. That's kind of our whole thing. We're going to go approach it as it's another game, game 0, 1 through 162 in a regular season. It is just another baseball game, but it's playoffs so we know that. So no matter what the result today, it's going to be the same approach tomorrow.