October 8, 2021
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
Boston Red Sox
Postgame 2 Press Conference
Red Sox 14, Rays 6
Q. Alex, being that this is your first postseason, you don't look nervous. Have you been nervous? How has your mindset been kind of approaching this?
ALEX VERDUGO: Yeah. Not nervous at all. I live for this. It's still baseball. You know what I mean? Obviously, the surroundings and fans and the noise outside of it is a lot different with how much media is on the field before the games and all that, so there's a lot that goes with it, but for me I just play my game, you know what I mean? Baseball is baseball, and let's not make it more complicated than that.
Q. Have you always been like that?
ALEX VERDUGO: Yeah. I'm confident in my abilities and the way I play, and I live for the big moments. I want those moments.
Q. I imagine after you scored two in the first and give up five in the bottom of the first, that's a little deflating. How big a point was it when I think it was you and Xander went back to back there in the third inning just to make it a game again?
ALEX VERDUGO: Yeah. It was big. Obviously, we felt like we did a good job in the top of the first, you know, put two on, and just kind of get that momentum real quick, and, you know, just -- you got to give it credit to the Rays. In the bottom of the first they put good at-bats on Chris Sale, and, you know, worked him, and ended up getting a grand slam and going up by three.
So it was definitely a little deflating at first, but I just remember going into the dugout and A.C. is coming up and down the dugout just, "It's all right, we got a whole game, eight more innings. You know, keep going." I felt like that really set the tone.
And the hitters, they just didn't stop. They were relentless with battling pitches, you know, making a pitcher just get them over the plate, and we used the whole field today.
Q. Alex, what are you sizing up at high speed when you are going into the corner to chase a ball down like the one that you caught? What kind of things are you looking for to make sure that you're on the ball, but at the same time not hurting yourself?
ALEX VERDUGO: Is that the wall ball?
Q. Yes. The one in the left field corner.
ALEX VERDUGO: Yeah, that ball is hit high enough. I felt like I had a good jump. Just try to -- you mainly try to beat it to the spot, so you try to run as hard as you can to the wall and just kind of get there and give you some time.
I knew it was a low wall, so I knew I would be able to reach over and have a little extra reach to it. It just -- I wasn't sure if I was going to hit a fan or reach into a fan, but it just happened to be perfect. You know, I think if a fan was -- his glove was like four inches from mine. So my biggest thing, keep my eye on the ball and know your surroundings and just try to make the play.
Q. Alex, how big was Tanner Houck today to come in there and kind of shut the Rays down while you were trying to make the comeback?
ALEX VERDUGO: It was huge. Absolutely huge. Like I said, going down 5-2 in the first is tough, but if you look at the scoreboard, I think it was, like, four or five zeros right after that, and, I mean, that's big. That gave us enough time for Bogey to go deep. I followed it up and put us within a run, and, you know, you have our starter -- Houck go out there and keep throwing up zeros, and then we come back and we end up taking the lead. And, you know, it's just -- it was big, man. It was big.
When the offense is rolling like that, as a pitcher, I feel like you want to try to make that inning as quick as possible and just get your offense back in there and hitting. He did an amazing job doing that.
Q. How much you ground you cover in this playoff game?
ALEX VERDUGO: How much what?
Q. Ground you cover?
ALEX VERDUGO: How much ground did I cover?
Q. (Question in Spanish).
ALEX VERDUGO: I don't know how to answer that. It's like how much ground I covered, like, in general? Just like in the outfield or --
Q. The next level.
ALEX VERDUGO: Oh, for me postseason is amazing because, you know, it takes away your individual stats. It takes away any of that stuff where, you know, it's just we're out here competing. We're out here next man up. We're trying to give -- I'm trying to put the guy behind me in the best position to get the job done.
Postseason has just been like the ideal baseball. It brings me back to when I was a kid and we just wanted to win, win, win, and it didn't matter about nothing. This has been a lot of fun.
Q. Alex, you mentioned just Cora there kind of pumping you guys up and you've had so many ups and downs throughout this season, and the fact that he has sort of just been this kind of unflinching confidence within you guys and just pumping you guys up constantly, what has that meant for your season as a whole?
ALEX VERDUGO: I think it's big. You know, you have a manager that you can trust. You have a manager that he does his job in every category, whether it's how he is scouting and how he is game-planning to how he is talking to players individually and getting those guys going.
So for me A.C. has been a big manager. Just a lot of help. You can see since he has came back, you know, that the guys they love playing for him. He does something. It's just a smart IQ man. It makes playing this game a lot of fun.
Q. Alex, just being able to pull out this game, I mean, how much does that change the vibe of this team kind of going back to Fenway now?
ALEX VERDUGO: Huge. Obviously, being down 0-2 in a five-game series would be tough. We know the odds to that wouldn't be good. I think realistically we wanted to come in here and split it. We wanted to win 1 and 1. Obviously, we want to win both of them, but you give them the benefit of the doubt. This is their home park, all that.
I'm very excited. I think we're all happy, man. Riding high right now. Just we did our job. We came out here, overcame a deficit again. You know, our bats came up. Our pitchers came up big, and now we're going back to Fenway in our element with our crowd and just our home ballpark, man. We're looking forward to those two games and hopefully winning the first one and having a chance to clinch and win it there and not come back here.
Q. Is that necklace, is that special for the playoffs? Is that a new one?
ALEX VERDUGO: Yeah. Not really special for playoffs, but it's just like my little tribute to Boston, man. I love this team. I love this city. It feels like since I got traded here, it's just kind of taken me in and I just -- I love to play here. I love the way the fans are. I love where it's, like, you know, it can get tough, obviously. You don't perform, they get on you, but I love that. I love that fight, man. I love that, like, hey, man, what have you doing for us now?
For me it was just something -- I like to have it. I got SpongeBob on the back, too, so tells me to cheer it up, keep going, but, yeah, man, I like jewelry, and I love Boston.
Q. Did you get that one made custom-made?
ALEX VERDUGO: What was that?
Q. You get that one made custom? They made that for you special?
ALEX VERDUGO: Special for sure.
MODERATOR: You and Larry Walker with SpongeBob. SpongeBob is all the rage. Great night offensively. Historic night, and you were a big part of it. Thank you for coming in. Appreciate it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports