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October 10, 2021

Joey Wendle

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Fenway Park

Tampa Bay Rays

Pregame 3 Press Conference

Q. With Drew Rasmussen going today, kind of a pivotal game. What have you seen from him since he moved into the rotation, and how much confidence do you guys have in him taking the mound today?

JOEY WENDLE: Yeah, he's been impressive in every role we put him in this year, coming up, starting out of the pen. To see him kind of just naturally progress into that starting role, and obviously he has experience in that. Then the last month of the season, he was a force to be reckoned with every time he took the ball.

I don't know how anybody on our team could have anything but confidence in him. We expect great things out of him, but we also know it's going to be all hands on deck. We have a fresh bullpen coming off the off-day.

Yeah, excited to see him take the mound and see what he can do.

Q. It was a little unusual they started two lefties the first two games that were pretty strong. I know you got in the other night. Is it tough to not play? Is it tough to watch?

JOEY WENDLE: If that wasn't how we had done things all year, then maybe so, but I can see what's happening. I can anticipate whether I'm going to be in the lineup or not for the most part. So not really.

At this point of the season, at any point of the season, all you're worried about, all you're focused on is winning. I think the coaching staff, we all share that goal at this point in the season.

So I can go to the field confident that they're going to put the best lineup they possibly can out there, and that's the one they think they have the best chances of winning from. That's kind of been the way it's been all year. We've got a lot of righties swinging the bat really well right now.

I mean, there are challenges that come with it, but no different from the regular season. It's truly just next man up at this point. We're just trying to win games.

Q. I know it was just one loss, of course, but in a five-game series you've always said postseason everything is magnified. Does the experience of '19 and last year, where you had a lot of -- you actually had a bunch of win-or-go-home type of games. Does that help when the pressure starts to mount a little bit?

JOEY WENDLE: Sure, we've been there before starting with, gosh, in Oakland in '19, that's a winner-take-all Game 5 in '19 against the Astros, Game 5 against the Yankees, Game 7 against the Astros. So we've had our backs up against the wall, and it's a best-of-three series right now.

I think both teams understand that. Both teams have a pretty good amount of playoff experience. All the regular season matchups, regular season, that all goes out the window right now. It's who can win tonight and who can win two out of the next three.

Yeah, I think having been there before certainly for the guys that have, it can definitely help us out.

Q. Just big picture, when people talk about this team's secret to success it's traditionally been run prevention, but this year you guys have had such a phenomenal offense. Is there anything in particular that's gone into that differently this year, whether it's something that Chad has worked with you guys on or anything you can share there?

JOEY WENDLE: To me I think it comes down to guys, every guy specifically in our lineup having a role and understanding that role. Like we talked about just a minute ago, understanding that if there's a lefty in there, we might have Austin Meadows on the bench, and understanding that there's a right-hander who probably hits left-handers really well.

So I think everybody kind of understanding their role and embracing that, especially this time of year. There's no room for anybody to kind of be pouty or wishing they were in there. You want everybody to want to be in there. You want your players to enjoy competing.

I think for me our offensive success this year just comes from that, just comes from guys buying in and understanding their roles on the team. Also, just kind of the versatility that we have. It seems like we got guys that can hit home runs. We've got guys who can hit singles and steal bases. We've got guys who can come up in clutch situations.

I think throughout the course of the season, the ebbs and flows, the ups and downs, you've seen guys be able to not completely take over the lineup offensively, but guys coming up with big hits in April and May, and then June and July come and it's somebody different. It seems like every night it can be somebody different for this team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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