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October 5, 2018

Chris Sale

J.D. Martinez

Boston, Massachusetts - postgame 1

Yankees - 4 Red Sox - 5

Q. Chris, you looked like you had awesome off-speed stuff tonight. Can you talk about what you had going for you.
CHRIS SALE: Yeah, I mean, that's part of the game is changing speeds and eye levels, in and out, up and down, hard and soft. So my game plan has been the same since the day I got here. And that's relying on either Sandy or Vazky behind the plate. They have done a really good job of getting me through games. And Sandy tonight was exceptional behind the plate. As a staff we put him through a little bit of a beating.

You know, he really held it down for us back there tonight.

Q. Chris, how much was your pitching tonight the result of this is what you had and how much of it was this is what you thought would work against them? In other words, in terms of your recovery, did you pitch what you could pitch with tonight or did you pitch as much off-speed stuff as you did because you thought that would be the most effective against the Yankees tonight?
CHRIS SALE: Like I said before, I go based on what my catcher says, and that was Sandy's game plan tonight was doing whatever we had to do to get outs. There's no holding back now. It's everything on the table, everything you've got.

You know, AC said something to me the other night that really stuck, that was, win the first pitch and then win every pitch after that. I threw every pitch tonight like he was going to take the ball out of my hand after the pitch I threw. You have to go up there and do what you have to do to get a win.

Q. J.D., especially given how the game played out, how important was it the early start against Happ? And what sort of adjustments did you guys make against him after the success he had against you earlier?
J.D. MARTINEZ: You know, obviously it was important to get that lead right away. And I think it kind of took a little pressure off everyone. Any time you go into the playoff game everyone's adrenaline is high and tensions are going, stuff like that. I think giving Chris that lead, being able to let him settle in and go out there and pitch, I think definitely just helped relax everybody.

As far as J.A., I think that it's one of those things where he made a few mistakes, and we capitalized on some mistakes really.

Q. J.D., sometimes free agents come to a new place and they struggle or it takes a little time to get adjusted. What was it about this fit or where you are in your career that made it a seamless adjustment for you?
J.D. MARTINEZ: I mean, part of it was I bounced around a bit and I was used to the new scene. The other half was the guys in the team and Alex Cora. This is a team without any egos. Everyone here is just humble group of guys. And everyone is just kind of pushing for each other. And it's just an easy fit. It was an easy situation to come into.

Q. For Chris, also, you faced J.D. many times in the Central Division. You had your battles, good and bad. What made him such a difficult out? What have you learned about him being his teammate?
CHRIS SALE: I wasn't listening to what he was saying. Something I would add to that is the preparation. I've never seen anybody prepare like him. The focus, the attention to detail. He can tell you what someone threw to him in Spring Training in 2012 in the seventh inning in a 3-4 ballgame. He knows his stuff. Once he gets locked in he's in the zone.

Obviously we do have a good team. We do have a great coaching staff. We do have a very good group of guys in here, but he puts in the work here, no question about that.

Q. Chris, when you're between starts now in the postseason, do you prepare as if you might be used out of the bullpen at any given game or only if somebody tells you that day that might happen?
CHRIS SALE: I'll show up tomorrow just figuring out where we're going. Just take it day by day, honestly. Obviously we can take tonight and enjoy it, but quick turnaround tomorrow.

Like I said, just figure out where they want me to go. And where they want me to start or be in the bullpen, like I said, it's all hands on deck. Everything you've got. There's no holding back.

Q. Chris, how much have you felt tonight like a guy who had only pitched 17 or 18 innings in the last few months versus the adrenaline taking over and feeling like yourself?
CHRIS SALE: Yeah, I did. I felt more like myself because I felt like this was just a normal start. Not normal in terms of not being a postseason start, but just like there's no restrictions. There's no going out to the bullpen after my start to add pitches. I knew I was going to get my 100-plus pitches or somewhere around there. That's a very freeing feeling.

And also being here pitching at Fenway, that was awesome. This was obviously my first postseason start here at Fenway. That's something I'll never forget. That was incredible. Three runs on the board after your first inning doesn't hurt either. We'll take that again tomorrow (laughter).

Q. Chris, was this a step towards even 110 pitches, or was it something else? What do you have? Do you have seven innings, 110 pitches going forward?
CHRIS SALE: If he didn't take the ball out of my hand, I would have kept throwing. I said it, I think this is my third time saying it, there's no holding back. They want me to throw 150, I'm throwing 150. If they ask me to throw tomorrow, I'll throw tomorrow. I think that's the mindset for every person in this clubhouse. Up and down the lineup and pitching staff, we are fully prepped for everything thrown our way. We're not going to shy away from it.

Q. Can you both of you talk about how precarious the game was late in the game? And could you talk about the bullpen tonight? And at any time were you nervous at all?
CHRIS SALE: I'll take this one. Yeah, I mean, it's postseason baseball. You have to be prepared for anything. We obviously have a lot of faith and trust in our guys. This is baseball, though. Anything can be thrown at you. The one thing that I said before and that I will stand strong on is Sandy being behind that plate and blocking balls in the dirt, calming us down, calling all the right pitches and being in the right spots when he needed to. I mean, we put him through the ringer tonight, top to bottom, from the start of the game to the very end.

So I think when you look back at this game and you go see look at how many balls we threw in the dirt to try to get swing and misses. And he was as solid as you can possibly be behind the plate. I think that helps tremendously.

Q. J.D., it's probably a longer conversation, but it's obviously difficult for a hitter to hit .330 with 40 home runs. You don't see that combination a lot. What is it about your swing and approach that allows you to hit for average and power?
J.D. MARTINEZ: I think it's a combination of who I am and what I take pride in. I don't go up there and try to hit home runs. Contrary to everyone's belief of "J.D. is a launch-angle guy. He wants to get the ball in the air and this and that." This is true, but you're not trying to force situations, trying to force things. I believe that you're a hitter first and you're a slugger second type deal.

You know, I prepare and I work hard on my swing, on my craft on a day-in-and-day-out basis to do that, to allow me to do that. And you know, I was able to play alongside, in my opinion, the best hitter with Miguel Cabrera, and kind of watch the way he goes about it and the way he looks at situations and he takes his shots when to try to drive a ball versus when to try to shoot a ball type deal. And I don't know, I think I've grown over the years really and learned about who I am and what I can do and what I can't do really.

Q. J.D., when you connected with that pitch and you're circling the bases, is it a different feeling than any of the other 40-plus you hit this year, the setting, the stage and all that? What's going through your mind?
J.D. MARTINEZ: Yeah, definitely, it's a different feeling. Everything you did before in the season doesn't matter anymore. This is the playoffs. From here on out everything starts at zero. Look at scoreboard, all your numbers are zero, zero, zero. So you know what's at stake. You know what the situation is. You're playing the Yankees. This is the playoffs. You have to go. And now is the time to get it going and stuff like that. When I hit it, obviously I was a little bit more pumped up than every other home run I hit during the season, really. But that's just because of the stage, really.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, guys. We appreciate you coming in. We'll see you tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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