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October 8, 2018

CC Sabathia

New York, New York - pregame 3

Q. CC, when you look at that Red Sox lineup, what's the most challenging part for you in trying to navigate yourself through that?
CC SABATHIA: I think all of it. Top to bottom, it's a tough lineup. They've got speed. They've got power. They take a lot of pitches. It's a good lineup -- bad lineup for me in the fact they take a lot of pitches, they're patient, and they do a good job of working the count.

I'm just trying to be aggressive in the strike zone, attack, and try to get some swings early in the count.

Q. CC, you guys have talked a lot about the crowd last year, in last year's playoffs, and how fantastic it was. I think you would agree last week against the A's was also pretty intense. Do you recall it being the same way during your earlier years here?
CC SABATHIA: No, this is definitely a different crowd. It was loud, we had a good atmosphere back then. But I think just starting with last year's Wild Card games, just a different buzz. It was loud the whole time. And I think even the opposing players can feel it.

I think before -- I don't know. I don't know what happened. I think before it was just a different atmosphere, and guys felt a little comfortable. Now you can see that guys are uncomfortable coming in here to play.

Q. Do you think it's the younger guys on your team growing up in the system, Judge?
CC SABATHIA: I think it's the younger guys, I think it's a younger fan base. It's different guys. It's not the same old guard as G and Didi and Judge. It's a different fan base, different people.

Q. How much do you get up for these games, and how do you pitch to Martinez?
CC SABATHIA: Yeah, I get excited for these games for sure. Just try to stay even keel and go out and pitch as best as I can. With J.D., I haven't faced him that much, but I'll try to just mix it around. He's obviously one of the better hitters in the league, so you can't really pitch him one way. You've got to try to go out, move the ball around the strike zone, and just kind of keep him off balance.

Q. CC, I know during seasons people don't like to do this, but have you at any time tried to put your career as a Yankee in perspective to yourself, like, Where do I fit in with all this? And your whole career, because both are large accomplishments.
CC SABATHIA: Here lately, I guess I have been, but just trying to figure out how long I want to play and all those types of things. I haven't really given it much, much thought, but the last couple months I've thought about the Hall of Fame or my career and things like that, as I get to the end. So I don't really have a statement about it, I guess, but I have thought about it.

Q. Before I get to that, to my question, you sometimes during the year have said you want to play or you're done if you make the World Series. Have you given any more definitive thought to that?
CC SABATHIA: I definitely want to play next year.

Q. When you know an opponent as well as you know this one, do the more detailed scouting reports help you or the things you can find, or do you prefer to just go off of your own knowledge and history with these guys?
CC SABATHIA: I like to just go off of my own knowledge. I know everybody's different, but I know these guys, and I've faced them so much. I don't think anything in the scouting report is going to tell me anything that I don't know about these guys. I don't really watch any video or anything. I just go off of what I know.

Q. CC, what do you remember about your first postseason start back in 2001, and how does having made so many starts, how is that going to help you tomorrow night?
CC SABATHIA: I don't think it's going to help me at all tomorrow night. I remember definitely being nervous. You know what I remember about that game? Me and Einar Diaz couldn't figure out -- get on the same page with pitches. I was kind of all over the place in the game. Robbie Alomar came to me in the dugout after the second inning and said, Don't shake off Einar anymore the rest of the game. I'm calling the pitches from second base. He was calling pitches from second base, giving them to Einar, and that's what I was throwing. We ended up winning 17-5, so it was a good night.

Q. If you play next year, would it be, if the Yankees don't offer you a contract, you'll play someplace else, or do you want to just play for the Yankees?
CC SABATHIA: Oh, no, I'll play anywhere. I still want to play. I still want to pitch. I definitely can help and still get guys out. So whoever needs me.

Q. On the Hall of Fame question, as a voter, I've asked a lot of pitchers this: How do we start to gauge the future of Hall of Fame pitchers when the win is declining in the stats?
CC SABATHIA: You're asking me? I don't vote. You've got the vote.

Q. Interesting, Verlander and Kershaw and those guys have had interesting thoughts about it.
CC SABATHIA: I don't have any. I don't vote. I don't have any vote. I just go out there and pitch and play, and you guys vote on it.

Q. CC, we all know what Severino is capable of. He's had some great moments this season, and he's had a couple rough ones. What stood out to you through not only the great ones but the times he struggled?
CC SABATHIA: I think he doesn't change. He's always the same. His demeanor is one of a guy that can be one of the best pitchers in this league. I think that nothing fazes him. You watch what happened to him early in his career, he came back, went to the bullpen, and was great during those times when he was struggling as a starter.

Going back up and down and just being able to find himself now as one of the best pitchers in the league just tells you how hard he works and how strong he is mentally. I have all the confidence in him going out tonight and pitching a good game.

Q. How does all of your postseason experience, 23 starts going into tomorrow, how is that going to help you when you get ready for tomorrow night?
CC SABATHIA: I think it helps just to have an experience being out there. I can slow the game down. It's all the same now. It's not -- no game is bigger than the other. So I think it helps in that way, and I've been in those situations a lot.

Q. CC, earlier in your postseason career, even with the Yankees, you were looking for complete games, and you pitched a few of them. Does the way you go out there change based on the way the game is played now, the way your bullpen is structured? Do you look at how you're going out there differently?
CC SABATHIA: Obviously, we know how good our bullpen is and things like that, but in my mind, when I start the game, I start the game to finish the game. That's just how I am. Obviously, that don't happen a lot for me anymore, but, no, I mean, I want to pitch as long as I can and as deep as I can into the game. So, no, my mindset hasn't changed for me at all from me being younger. I just try to go out and pitch as long as I can.

Q. When you see Judge in the batter's box, about his approach, what stands out the most to you?
CC SABATHIA: Just his -- he's so quiet at the plate, I guess. I feel like, when he's going good, he's just waiting for you to throw him something to smash. You can just sense it, and you can feel it, and we all feed off of it. Just watching him, the way he is with our team and the energy he brings and everything and for him to go out and hit homers, first couple at-bats the last couple games have been huge, and I think the team just feeds off of it.

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