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October 2, 2019

Marcus Semien

Matt Olson

New York, New York

Q. Now that the time has come and you're here at the Coliseum and it's going to be packed, I know you've been asked a little bit about last year's experience and how much that might help you, how do you feel like you can put that sort of into effect today, what happened last year?
MARCUS SEMIEN: I think that it's still baseball no matter what. You know, it's big for our fans to see this caliber of game and matchup, and for us, we're excited to play in front of them, and any time we do something good, we have cheers on our side. So last year we saw what the Yankees did, so I think it'll be good.

MATT OLSON: Yeah, I think it's big. We got the experience of going through it, understanding everything that leads up to this, all this kind of stuff, and you know, just that experience will help us kind of block it out and it's just a normal game for us now.

Q. For both of you guys, it's such a loose clubhouse typically. Ahead of a game like this, what's the mentality in there? What's kind of the mood in the clubhouse today?
MARCUS SEMIEN: I think it's the same as a normal game, minus the fact that there's -- you see the roster and how the Rays may use the roster a little bit differently with their bullpen. So for me, I looked at all their bullpen arms a little bit more than usual. Of course Charlie Morton, they have a decent sample size of at-bats, but pretty much the same. Just kind of look at what he's done the last month or so and look back at at-bats versus myself. But really he knows what he does well, so I don't think that he's going to change anything that he's done in the past, and for us, it'll be the same approach.

Q. Marcus, this season you've set a personal best across the board. Is there anything in particular, any final piece of your game that you point to that finally you were able to come across this season?
MARCUS SEMIEN: You know, I'm always working on how to get better every year, so even from this year, I want to get better. But getting on base and scoring runs was a big one for me. I think being able to solidify the lead-off spot and get into a rhythm every day in the same spot in the lineup and just run with that. We've got great hitters behind me, so I didn't try and steal as many bases or anything, just kind of get on base and let them do their damage, so it worked out well this year.

Q. For both of you, just watching Sean patiently work back after a year after surgery and come back to the level he's at right now to take the ball in this game, what does that mean to you, and how impressive is it what he's done?
MATT OLSON: Yeah, I think it's incredibly impressive. You know, there's probably -- it would have been very easy for him to come back after waiting so long to get back on the mound, and we're in a playoff race, for him to kind of get out there and trying to do too much. But I feel like he did a great job of dialing it back, finding his rhythm on the mound and staying within himself. He's got the stuff where he doesn't have to go out there and do too much, and I think he's done a great job putting himself in position to get this start. I know he wants it.

MARCUS SEMIEN: Yeah, I think his velocity, when people talk about how he's only throwing 88 to 91, sometimes 92, but his fastball plays like it's 95. I think tonight with the adrenaline and just the rest he's had, you know, his velo could be at 94, and that'll play like 100, I think. And when you have both your off speed pitches to go with that, he's always tough no matter if it's a righty or a lefty. I think they have some good left-handed bats that they left out of the lineup because of how good he is, and we'll see how the game goes for him.

Q. Marcus, growing up here, going to school here, it's kind of a two-part question. One, what's the last playoff memory you have of obviously attending a game here, and how much does it mean for you to be able to play in front of family, friends in a game like this?
MARCUS SEMIEN: Yeah, I think it's important for me. I never was fortunate enough to go to a game here, playoff game, so this will be my first experience in this building. It's important to have family and friends here. For me, being home, that's easy. Mom is here, Dad is here, family is here, and my kids are here. It'll be exciting for them to see this high level of baseball be played here.

Q. If you could both speak to foul ground and how to manage an unbelievable amount of area, if you could each chime in that would be great.
MATT OLSON: Yeah, I think at this point we look at it as an advantage for us. It's something that we're accustomed to. It's something that we know what pop-ups are going to be in play at this point. And occasionally you see teams come in and almost give up a little bit on pop-ups and they're staying in. I think Chappy and I kind of take it as a little challenge and a chance to go get a ball that some people might not be able to get to. Yeah, I think we kind of look at it as an advantage.

MARCUS SEMIEN: I think from an offensive standpoint, you know if you pop a ball up that you think might be caught, it probably is going to get caught. Does that take away some of our offensive numbers? Yes, but we've still put up great numbers despite that. And every team that comes in here, they look surprised when they hit a foul ball that gets caught close to the dugout, but it's just part of playing here.

Q. Could both of you speak a little bit to what it's like to play here when it is full? We have all seen what it's like when there's not a big crowd here, but when the energy changes and what it's like for you guys as players?
MARCUS SEMIEN: Yeah, I mean, all the opening days we've had here, absolutely packed, great crowds, a lot of energy, and you just -- guys on the other team get on base and they talk about how loud it is here compared to other places and compared to their home field. That means a lot because when this place is packed, it can be louder than any place in the league, and that's an advantage for the openings.

MATT OLSON: Yeah, I mean, we've definitely had games here where we get big showings. Bay-Bridge and opening day, like you said. It's a different feel here. You don't think too much about home-field advantage in that sense with baseball. Other sports, you kind of feel it a little more sometimes. But when the place gets packed, it's a big advantage for us. For today, I think we're expecting a huge crowd. It's going to be big to have the fans on our side.

Q. You guys have played alongside Jurickson Profar all year. He got off to a slow start, he's disappointed with his season. He was saying yesterday he sees it as like a fresh start. What do you expect in a game like this from somebody like him?
MATT OLSON: Yeah, I mean, Profar is obviously incredibly talented. Like you said, it hasn't been years like he planned at first, but towards the end of the year, he was swinging it great, he was playing defense. I think that postseason fresh start is something that a lot of guys feel. And you get to this postseason, and it's all about winning now. All the numbers from the regular season are thrown away, and everybody is going to go out there and do what they can to grind out at-bats and make plays on the field. I think we'll see good things from Profar.

MARCUS SEMIEN: I think I'll take Profar against any ace any day. Charlie is one of those aces that when I see Profar up there, he doesn't seem overmatched. Defensively, he's been making plays. People still want to talk about his throwing, but if you look at his numbers lately, he's making plays, and we've got a great first baseman to pick all of us up if we don't throw the ball. But I have total confidence in Jurickson. He still hit over 20 home runs. Left-handed bat in the Coliseum hitting 20 home runs is not easy to do. So I think he's going to be just fine.

Q. Marcus, you alluded to this, but if you both could comment, just the depth of the Tampa Bay bullpen and somewhat of the unpredictability in which Cash has used it, how do you guys prepare for that, and obviously with Pagan who you know at the back end?
MATT OLSON: Yeah, you've just got to do what Marcus was talking about earlier. You've gout to get in there, watch all these guys, what they're doing lately, some guys in some different roles, Snell coming out of the bullpen, Glasnow coming out of the bullpen, some guys we haven't seen before. But for the most part, we know what they do. We know they like to play matchups, they're going to mix guys around, use guys in different scenarios. You've just got to prepare and be ready for anything they're going to throw at you.

MARCUS SEMIEN: Yeah, I mean, the game today when you look at everybody's bullpens, especially in the playoffs, and you see high velocity, and if you don't have high velocity, you have an amazing slider or just a secondary pitch that's wipe-out, and that's what they have in their bullpen. I think our bullpen matches up well with them, but that's why we work on hitting off the machine every day and just being able to hit high velocity because that's what the game is turning into.

Q. I'm wondering if either of you watched the National League game last night, and if so, if it sort of drove home the point that one or two plays could absolutely swing this one-game series.
MARCUS SEMIEN: Yeah, I watched a decent amount of it, just to see how the crowd would be for the Nationals, how the Brewers responded. It was a well-played game, just a tough play at the end for the Brewers. I think that when you're facing a Max Scherzer and you're the Brewers, you did everything you could do. But you've got to close games.

I think pitching and defense is something we've done well, and I hope that we continue that tonight.

MATT OLSON: Yeah, there's always going to be one or two plays that from games like this that you can go back and dissect and look at. But at the end of the day, it's just stuff that happens at the time, happens in the moment. You've got to trust that you're prepared in order for that moment, and hopefully you make the play or get the big hit when the time comes.

Q. What stands out the most about Bob Melvin once the game begins?
MARCUS SEMIEN: You know, he's been in this game a couple times now. You know, he's our leader. He's going to be there for us no matter what, whatever situation comes up, he'll communicate with us, as well as Ryan Christenson. In a one-game playoff, you may have to use your roster a little bit differently, but I think he's well-prepared for any situation that comes up. And I think last year showed that when we used an opener in Liam who's now our closer. But he found a way to get Lu in there who had a big couple innings of shut-down pitching. We pinch-hit a lot, so he makes sure guys are ready, and just communication is big.

MATT OLSON: Yeah, I think we all stand with any decision BoMel makes. He's in there crunching the numbers. He's seeing what matchups would be good. All of this stuff is thought out ahead of time. He's not making decisions on the fly. I think we all have faith in any decision he makes, and at the end of the day, he's trying to get a win.

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