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October 14, 2003

David Wells


Q. I know you're a big fan of Babe Ruth's, can you can you tell us tonight what you think of the Curse of the Bambino and what do you think you contributed to the curse continuing tonight?

DAVID WELLS: Well, I believe in it and that's just my opinion, one man's opinion. You know, going out there and just doing what I love to do, and especially in this ballpark where it's pretty rare. I just try to follow suit and try to keep that theory alive. Tonight I got great help, great defense, for that to continue.

Q. Your post-season record is excellent. What is it about you in the post-season, and also, the two big at-bats today, one with Garciaparra with second and third and the other with Ramirez with the bases loaded. What was your strategy in those particular at-bats?

DAVID WELLS: Which one you want first?

Q. Either way.

DAVID WELLS: You know, I live for this time. I get an opportunity to pitch in a big game, and I said the other day, I'm not afraid to take the ball. I live for being the guy to go out there and be the one on the mound, try to make things happen, try to shut the other team down, because I'm not afraid to fail. That's something that I've failed plenty of times and it doesn't bother me, because it's just a game and it's a game that -- it's the best game in the world to me. And to go out there and get that opportunity and make the best of that situation, that's what I like to do. With those at-bats, I had to battle. It was something that I know Nomar, he's a great hitter, we've had great battles over the years. You can't take him for granted because he can come out of a slump at any time and I just tried to avoid that situation. With Manny, I just threw him a big, big breaking balls, because he's a good fastball hitter and I just tried to keep him on his front foot. I threw him a changeup before that and he hit a home run. I felt better with the curveball in that situation than any other offspeed pitch.

Q. On Saturday night when Karim got buzzed by Pedro, you were one of the guys, at least the cameras caught, very vocal on the dugout steps; what were you thinking tonight, getting that big hit tonight, getting you up 2-0?

DAVID WELLS: I think it's great. Karim, he's had a difficult career, I'd say. He's been up and down, and really never had an opportunity to go out there every day and play. He's getting an opportunity to play here in the post-season. He's just making the best of it. I couldn't be happier for the guy. He's going out there, he's a team player, he doesn't give up. He'll go out there and help you one way or another. To get that key hit, he's focused, he's locked in. That's what you have to do in post-season. When you have an opportunity to play, he wants to do that, and I couldn't be happier for him.

Q. Which of those jams felt bigger to you to get out of, the third or the fifth inning?

DAVID WELLS: Both of them. Any jam you get out of is big, because they had opportunities to score. To get out of that, it's just huge. It's just a confidence builder for our team, for myself, to get out of a jam like that, you've got second and third, no outs or one out, whatever it was. You've just got to bear down and make your pitches because this is a great hitting team. They have got an explosive offensive team and you've just got to go out and pitch your game and that's what I did.

Q. Now that you've got this one under your belt, would you still like to have the opportunity to push the button on Fenway Park?

DAVID WELLS: Absolutely. There's no question about it. (Laughter.) And this is all out of fun. I read a couple of articles and I thought it was pretty pathetic, some of the things you people write around here. It's just something that you look back on my career, it hasn't really been too good. The last couple of years have been good. I'm all about tradition and old school, and this is a great ballpark. But for an individual like myself to have very little success here, you just say things like that. It's not a shot below the belt against Boston or anything, because I think this is a great town. It's unbelievable. It's fun. And I understand right now, it's the heat of the moment. We're driving home last night to the hotel and every block everybody is flipping us off. (Laughter.) I wish I had a video camera. It's unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it. They are fans and you've got to understand it. You've just got to make the best of the situation.

Q. What kind of effect did the extra two days of rest have for you?

DAVID WELLS: I've pitched on nine-days rest, I've pitched on three-days rest, and to me, it doesn't matter to me one way or another. I try to stay focused. I play catch a lot, long-toss, flat-ground, I'm starting to throw in the bullpens again. It's just something that to me, I've been blessed with a rubber arm so far (knocking on table) and to me, I can adjust. I think it was huge, because Mike pitched his butt off last night, and he's better on five-days rest. That goes back to Baltimore and something with him. He gets too much rest, he doesn't feel comfortable, and I thought that was a great decision on Joe and Mel's part yesterday by going with him.

Q. Mel had said before the series that he felt that what happened last year at Anaheim was an unspoken source of motivation for the starters; how much have you been driven by what happened in Game 4 in the Minnesota series and today?

DAVID WELLS: Last year, my history for day games have really, haven't been too well over my career. To go out there and pitch a day game, I didn't think it was -- they are all about percentages and going like that. I just didn't think that was a good call. Like I said, I'll take the ball any given time. You know, I went out there and for the first three or four innings I pitched pretty good and I got into a jam and there's some plays that we just, we didn't make, and I'm a fly ball pitcher; they got the ground balls and once it's on the ground anything can happen. You've just got to take that -- I took last year's start in Anaheim and just turned it into a positive this year and said, you know, it's not going to happen again, I can't let it happen again. We've got a pretty good team and to get knocked out in the first round would be devastating to New York and obviously to Mr. Steinbrenner. This is just something that these guys just go out and fight. It's a new year. When you get in the post-season anything can happen and Anaheim just happened to be on top of their game last year.

Q. After what happened in Game 3, there are probably some things that guys still feel like they can't say publically about how it made them feel; can you say as a group that you think because of that, you might take extra satisfaction if you're able to knock these guys out of the post-season?

DAVID WELLS: Well, it doesn't matter who is in front of us. Whatever happened the other night, that altercation, in my eyes, it's over and done with. We have to move on. I think Tim made a great statement yesterday before he pitched. He addressed Boston and I thought that was great of him to do that, because you don't want nothing like that to happen in baseball, especially with these two teams, great rivalry and what goes on. You just try to put it past you and last night it was a good game, it was clean, nothing happened. But there's been situations over the last few years sense I've been here with these two ballclubs and it's just, you don't like to see that. It's not good for the game. But you have to move on and you try to just -- with that game the other night, you leave it at that game and try not to push on and just create havoc for the rest of the series because, you know, it doesn't look good.

Q. Can you talk about the job Mariano has done so far this post-season, and seemingly every post-season and has he in essence shortened your job to a seven-inning job knowing that you can come in for two?

DAVID WELLS: I feel comfortable with him coming in in the eighth. I think everybody can contest to that, as well. Mo is a unique individual. He comes right at you. He's not going to trick you. He throws hard and he's coming up with a pitch every year. I just can't wait for him to start throwing the curveball because when he does that, all hell's going to break loose. I just think when starters do their job, they go deep into the game and they see Mo, we're all smiles. Granted, he's not going to be there all the time. He's going to blow a few saves during the course of a season, but you don't expect him to. To me, that's a lot of respect, because when you come out in the eighth, or even the ninth and you see him coming in, you figure that's a lock and that's how you've got to look at it. He's the best there ever is, was and will be, till proven otherwise.

Q. We've heard that you injured your groin slightly coming up the steps during the melee. I wonder if the extra two days helped you, if the groin injury affected you at all; it certainly didn't look like it, but thought I'd better ask.

DAVID WELLS: I have no idea what you're talking about.

Q. As far as the Red Sox have beaten a lot of good pitchers this year, and guys on your staff, but you guys have been able to neutralize them and you mentioned explosive, they are hitting home runs, but it's one-run homers. Is there a philosophy this entire staff has used that's worked and it's the reason you are obviously in the position that you are in now?

DAVID WELLS: It's knowing the hitters. You have to pay attention to the game. When you see a lineup like that, they are as good as anybody else and probably that lineup is probably one of best of all time, I think, because they just keep coming at you. They are like our lineup and we're a pretty good ball club, too, 1 through 9. The hitters know their weaknesses, their strengths and a lot of that comes into play. If you pay attention, the knowledge is free. You've just got to go out there and make your pitches. They are good mistake hitters and that's why they have been so successful in Fenway and the fact that they are a comeback team here because they capitalize on mistakes. Good pitching, a lot of people, a lot of teams, their staff, they see a team like that and they get intimidated and that's one thing you can't do. You can't come in and get intimidated by anybody, because if you do, you're going to fail a lot of the time and you're going to get lucky once in awhile, but to me, I just go at them. I am not trying to trick anybody. They know what I'm all about. I love pitching and this is what I've done my whole career, and even as a little kid, I wanted to pitch. When you get in a situation, you want to make the best of it.

End of FastScripts...

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