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October 8, 2019

Emilio Pagan

Tampa Bay, Florida - pregame 4

Q. Emilio, just coming in from the outside to this organization and now sitting here in a playoff atmosphere, what do you think made this team successful and got you guys to this point?
EMILIO PAGÁN: Man, when I got to spring training and started meeting the guys for the first time, they were an ultra confident group. And we talked about it a lot in spring, that we wanted to build on the success of last year's team.

Obviously, they got out of the gates hot. I was in AAA at the time, but it was fun to watch. It was fun to watch. I watched pretty much every game after I got optioned, knowing that there was probably a chance I would get a chance to contribute at some point.

And obviously, they came out confident and ready to compete. We've been through our bumps and bruises along the road, but it's been a pretty magical season, and we've tried to continue that as long as we can.

Obviously, Houston has got a great club, but we're confident and we're a competitive group. So makes for a fun series.

Q. Emilio, can you touch on how the regular season and the way Kevin uses his bullpen prepares you guys individually for something like tonight, whereas you know any of you could be used at any certain spot in any inning in the game?
EMILIO PAGÁN: I mean, I think you see it kind of across baseball in the postseason. Guys come in a lot earlier than they normally do in the regular season. So we set ourselves up during the regular season using guys in multiple different roles, you know, to prepare ourselves, I guess, for a situation like this.

I think I saw a stat the other day that everybody in our bullpen has thrown from the third inning all the way to the ninth inning. So I think it does kind of set us up. We've kind of been there and done that as far as throwing in different roles and different situations.

So doesn't guarantee success by any means, but for sure I think guys will be ready to take the ball whenever it's given to them.

Q. Emilio, just the lift that Charlie Morton gave you yesterday, everybody did their job yesterday so well on the Rays team. The lift that you guys got and how it affects you approaching the rest of this series now.
EMILIO PAGÁN: Charlie's given us a lift every time he's taken the ball all season. There's kind of a confidence in the room when you know he's going on the hill for us just because he's kind of been in every situation you could be in as a baseball player.

Not just going back to the playoffs, but, I mean, he's been through injuries. He's been through down years. He's been through very successful seasons like this one.

So there's nothing that kind of throws him off his game. He stays calm in every situation, and I think it has a calming effect on our entire roster. And not just the players, also the staff. It's nice to have a guy like him going for you for sure.

Q. Emilio, last night, combined with the offense and then Poche and Drake and, you know, even throw in McKay and Roe in there, how important was it for them to get through the last three, four innings that today's a full bullpen day that you and Nick Anderson and basically everybody in there is readily available and rested?
EMILIO PAGÁN: It was huge. Everybody's been huge for us all year. Drake has been probably one of the guys that's been skipped over the most. I mean, he's eaten a lot of innings for us down the stretch.

Seems like he's never tired. I mean, he threw two innings last night. I guarantee you he'll throw off the mound during catch play today. He does it every day. The guy's a machine.

So, yeah, obviously those guys picking up the last few innings was huge. But I guarantee, every one of those guys will be ready to go today. That's just kind of the personality and the character that we have in the bullpen.

So guys love the competition. They love to be out there as much as they can. So it makes for a fun, fun group to be around.

Q. Emilio, Cash said everybody is available tonight. I guess you'll have to make some extra room down there for a couple guys. He said you or Nick could be in in the second inning. If that's realistic, how does your preparation change? I mean, do you have stuff that you normally do, like mid-game that you'll do pregame or in the first inning or something? Is there anything you have to do to be ready if that literally does happen?
EMILIO PAGÁN: Yeah, just start earlier. It's the same preparation and just started earlier in the game. Maybe even pregame. But we understand that if we don't win today, we're going home. So obviously, they've got a once-in-a-lifetime type of pitcher going for them in Verlander. I've enjoyed watching him his entire career.

But we're not afraid of the situation. We've been counted out for a long time. So it's just another game for us. Just start the preparation a little bit earlier.

Q. Emilio, not that as a back-end reliever you need the extra adrenaline, but what can a crowd like yesterday, similar is here tonight, do for a guy like yourself or any reliever in a high-end moment?
EMILIO PAGÁN: We've been pretty fortunate. We've gotten to play in some pretty awesome atmospheres the last few games. Oakland was rocking. Houston, obviously, was super loud. Yesterday, the crowd was amazing.

It was nice to see, nice to see the fans come out and support us. Hopefully, we've got another packed house again today.

To answer your question, if anything, the adrenaline can almost get a little too high at times for guys. Luckily, we've had some practice. But the last few games, in kind of do-or-die situations, we've gotten pretty good at slowing down the heart rate and just enjoying the moment.

This is pretty special for us to be here in this situation, but I don't think anybody's going to have to be calming themselves down at all.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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