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October 7, 2021

Shane Baz

St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Tropicana Field

Tampa Bay Rays

Pregame Press Conference

Q. Shane, I know we talked a few days ago about your thoughts on this opportunity, but now that you're sitting here in the interview room, and you realize you're starting a playoff game tomorrow in a year you started in AA, what has run through your head, and what does this mean to you?

SHANE BAZ: Very thankful, you know, just for the organization believing in me, and I think that helps so much.

It's an honor to get to start one of these games and on such a great team, so it's been cool so far.

Q. And maybe this is unfair, but to rank the different things you've done this year, pitching in the Futures Game, pitching the Olympics, AA, AAA, and Major League debut, playoff debut, where does this fit in?

SHANE BAZ: I think this wins probably.

This is probably the biggest one.

Q. Shane, I'm just curious, does this come as a surprise to you at all when they told you, hey, you're starting Game 2, or is it this kind of what you expected when you came up in the middle of September?

SHANE BAZ: I mean, you never really know, just there's so much stuff in motion all the time. So, yeah, probably not expecting it, but, I mean, just trying to be ready for it, like, if it happens.

Not like, you know, crazy surprise, but, like, definitely, you know, an honor on this team.

Q. I know you talked about nerves not really being an issue for your debut because of the Olympics being maybe a little more pressure-packed. How are you feeling heading into this one tomorrow?

SHANE BAZ: Good. I'm just going like one day at a time. So, I mean, just preparing like it's another start, so it's been, you know, on track so far.

Q. Hey, Shane. Kevin had said the other day that one of the reasons he decided to have you start Game 2 was he thought with a young pitcher pitching at home would be a benefit.

How do you think it will benefit you, and how do you control the emotions in front of the home crowd?

SHANE BAZ: I think, like, obviously being at home is a little less pressure just in the moment because you got all the fans behind you and everything. So, yeah, I think it's a good thing. I think it's going to be, you know, a good atmosphere and everything, so it should be good.

Q. Shane, what, if anything, and maybe in detail if you can has surprised you about being a Big Leaguer now for a few weeks and the level of competition, the lifestyle, the opportunities, the amount of people that text you because they saw you on TV or saw the line score? What surprised you?

SHANE BAZ: Honestly, like, the support I've gotten just from close friends and family has been pretty great, so that's kind of always brings me back, you know, just like kind of what I've always done. They're not really asking me to do anything I don't know how to do.

So yeah, it's probably been just the support.

Q. Shane, Boston has not seen you yet. I know they can see video, but how much of an advantage is that, and how much will watching them help you tonight to see them in person for the first time?

SHANE BAZ: Yeah, I think it's -- it can be good.

Like, it can be bad also, but I think it's cool just to face new guys. So what was the second part of that?

Yeah, I'll probably be watching the game pretty close. First playoff game I've been to, so I'll be checking it out a little bit.

Q. What's something you have learned -- (No microphone)?

SHANE BAZ: The biggest thing has been just, like probably not trying to, like, pitch around people as much just because they're a lot more selective, so if you are trying to throw pitches for them to chase, like, you got to kind of establish stuff more, so just like attacking hitters and staying in the zone.

Q. Shane, I'm curious, this being your first playoff start, who have you talked to about, you know, trying to get the feel of what it's like to be in a playoff game?

Who has given you the best advice about it?

SHANE BAZ: Well, luckily, we have a lot of guys in the clubhouse that have played in the playoffs a lot, so just asking them little questions here and there and just stuff I'm wondering, and everybody has been pretty good about, you know, answering questions and helping me every chance they get, so it's been pretty nice to be able to talk to everybody in the clubhouse. Thank you all.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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