Oct. 25 James Shields interview

Oct. 25 James Shields interview

Q: When you're a starting pitcher on this staff and you know you have those big three guys at the end of the bullpen, which very few teams have, how comforting is that, especially knowing that if you just give them six innings and you have the lead, you guys are in really good shape?

JAMES SHIELDS: Yeah, I mean all season long, we've felt real confidence in our bullpen. That was one our main goals of starting rotation in Spring Training, was to be able to go deep in the games and save those guys to be able to do what they do best in the back end of the bullpen.

Those guys have been unreal. I mean, as a fan, it's really fun to watch those guys and see what they're doing at the back end. They're a huge reason why we're here right now.

Q: Have you made any adjustments the last couple starts? Just take us through the last couple and what you hope to get out of tomorrow.

JAMES SHIELDS: Yeah, obviously, the last couple starts is not the way I wanted to end up. But sometimes those things happen, and unfortunately it's right now. But me and Dave had a really good bullpen session this last round. You know, I was just kind of rushing, rushing to the plate. Ball was getting flat, really flying open. Really just not getting the job done, bottom line.

We had a good bullpen session. We fixed some things mechanically, and hopefully it translates into the game.

Q: You mentioned after Game 1 that in the first inning, you were maybe a little too amped up. Given what might be at stake tomorrow, is keeping emotions and, I guess, adrenaline in check be kind of a priority for you?

JAMES SHIELDS: Yeah, it's just kind of one of those things as a baseball player you've got to really hone in. I've been on this stage before, and I know exactly what to feel like when I'm out there, and I think this time around I'm not going to be as amped up and just try to keep my emotions in check.

Q: At this point in the year, how do you balance sort of the need to throw to figure stuff out vs. kind of the idea that you want to save bullets with all the innings you've thrown at this point this year?

JAMES SHIELDS: I mean, you're always working. I don't think I'll ever stop working until I'm done playing baseball. So no matter if it's the end of the year or beginning of the year, you're always making adjustments no matter what.

Like I said, this round we went into the bullpen, fixed a few things mechanically. And hopefully it translates into the game. And I'm sure it will. I feel really good. I felt really good in my bullpen session. The ball was coming out pretty good out of my hands, and my body feels good physically, so I mean, you're always working. I don't think I'll ever stop working until I'm done playing baseball. So no matter if it's the end of the year or beginning of the year, you're always making adjustments no matter what. I'm ready to go.

Q: You faced a team twice in back‑to‑back starts. How do you weigh making adjustments and keeping them off balance vs. sticking with what makes you successful?

JAMES SHIELDS: I've just got to execute my pitches. Execute my pitches. That's pretty much it. I faced back‑to‑back teams numerous times in my career, and it's nothing different. You're just going to go out there and try to make adjustments from the last game and go from there.

Q: Your last start, you were coming off such a long layoff. How much of an effect do you think that had, if any? Do you think it will be better pitching on a more normal days' rest this time around?

JAMES SHIELDS: No, I don't think it affected me. I had a couple bullpen sessions in between, and I don't think it affected me at all. It was just a matter of not getting the job done. We're going to move on from that. We're up, 2‑1, right now, and we're feeling good in the clubhouse, and that's all that really matters is us winning games.

Q: You mentioned you fixed a few things mechanical. Could you explain that?

JAMES SHIELDS: I mean, just little stuff. Just really getting behind the ball, the direction towards home plate, going north to south rather than east to west. When you do that, your ball tends to stay flat. So hopefully I can create a little bit better angle and all my offspeed pitches will come after that.

Q: Earlier with Ned, we were talking about the sixth inning being that magic inning for this team, especially in the postseason. You've observed a lot of it, you've been on the mound with this team. What happens in the dugout? Is it just these guys going through the order again or is that the "Here we come" time? Can you even explain how that's been such a magical inning?

JAMES SHIELDS: Well, I mean, we've got such a good bullpen. This is that time of year we've got to use those guys. With that said, as a starter, you want to go as deep as you possibly can to have those guys not be able to pitch. Unfortunately, we haven't done that this postseason, but those guys have picked up the slack and done their job, just like they've been doing all season long.

Our mindset is to go as deep as we possibly can and give those guys a day off.

Q: But more importantly I'm talking about how your offense seems to come to life and give you the runs you need. Do you see something happening there with them? "Okay, this is a close game, but my offense fires up like right about now, so no sweat."

JAMES SHIELDS: I guess it's just one of those things. It's one of those things that's happened. I think our offense definitely knows if we get the lead going into the end of the game, we've got a good shot at winning ballgames with the way that our bullpen has been.

But our guys are trying to score runs every single inning. Every run counts, as long as we execute moving guys over and our bunts and hit‑and‑runs and all that good stuff. As long as we get the lead toward the end of the game, we feel really confident winning ballgames.