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September 30, 2003

Tim Hudson


Q. Does pitching against Pedro give you extra juice in the playoffs?

TIM HUDSON: It's exciting when you're pitching against one of the best pitchers in the game, and best offenses in the game. It's exciting. The playoffs are always exciting. You have to get out there and switch, and it's what you play for all year. You stay within yourself and play your game and make pitches. It is exciting.

Q. How important is it based on the last time you pitched Pedro to know that the offense has to turn it up?

TIM HUDSON: We've always played good against those guys over there. You know coming in against Pedro, it's not going to take much. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know runs are going to be a premium. Our guys do a great job against him, a great job against Pedro scrapping out two or three runs. We've done a good job of battling him and trying to get him out of there early and get him into the bullpen. He's always tough. He's tough on everybody. We feel like we do a decent job against him. We do as good a job as anybody against him. You don't expect much, but it's our pitching staff's job to go out there and prevent those guys from getting a lot of runs on the boards.

Q. What makes the Red Sox's offense difficult to face?

TIM HUDSON: A lot of things, I guess. If you look at their lineup from top to bottom, they're tough. There are no holes throughout their lineup. You have guys that can slug you. You have guys that are good situational hitters, they have guys that can run. They have a lot of weapons up and down their lineup. But the old saying, good, good pitching stops good hitting. We feel we have guys on our staff that are pretty good. We had the best pitching staff in the league this year for a reason. We feel confident going in. We know it's not going to be easy. It's never easy in the playoffs, but we feel like we're ready to go.

Q. Do you feel any more hungry at that point based on last year and your injuries?

TIM HUDSON: I think all of us do. We play this game for one reason, to win a championship. And over the last few years we've fallen short. We feel like we've been a lot better team than we've shown in the playoffs. This year is no different. We feel like we still have a championship team, you know, and I know that personally I didn't do as well as I would have liked last year. I think there are a lot of guys on the team that probably feel the same way. We have to go out there and play our game and not make the little mistakes that's killed us in the past. I think that's one big reason why we've had a tough time in the playoffs, we've made little mistakes that has opened the door for the other team. If we can go play clean baseball, we'll be okay. Physically, I think I feel best I've ever felt up to this point and I think a lot of guys on our team feel the same way.

Q. How are you feeling physically going into tomorrow? And, also, Ken Macha said your best start in August was your best start against Texas. Do you agree?

TIM HUDSON: It was my best start. Going into that last start, I feel like I'm throwing the ball well, the starts leading into the Texas start. I gave up a few runs in some of those games, but I felt like I was making some really good pitches and the balls were feeling good coming out of my hand. I felt I was in the groove and the last game against Texas I felt good, I was making my pitches and it was a nice tune-up coming in. Like I said, physically, I feel the best right now than I feel like I'm getting out of Spring Training. I'm ready to go.

Q. Where does the Red Sox game in August rank in your starts all time?

TIM HUDSON: Probably somewhere between 20th and 50th, it would be ridiculous to say it wasn't the best I've ever thrown. I probably had pitching lines that were just as good, but it wasn't against an offense such as Boston. It felt really good that night. It was one of the nights pitchers wish they could go out and do more often. That's just not the case.

Q. Do you remember your first two outings against Pedro in '99 and 2000?

TIM HUDSON: Yes. The first time I faced him, I think we beat him 3-2 or 2-1 or something. It was a low-scoring game. The next time I faced him it wasn't too good. He had a pretty good game, but I didn't. It was one of those things where we got knocked out of there early.

Q. How much does team chemistry count for you guys?

TIM HUDSON: It's big-time in our clubhouse. I think it's been one element of our team that's always been there since I've been here, since '99 when I came up. We always had a team that was a lot of fun out there on the field. We got along real well on and off the field. Guys, we have one objective and that was to go out there and win games and try to get to the postseason and win the championship. Everybody is willing to sacrifice whatever it is and it was the case with the game against Seattle when we needed Lilly to pitch. He stepped up. And that's what special players do in times like that. They step up and they do whatever it takes for the team to win. I think that's what makes a championship team and that's what's going to hopefully get us over the hump.

Q. Do you have any regrets about last year in the postseason?

TIM HUDSON: No, not at all. I had a little nagging hip thing last year, but it wasn't severe enough to keep from pitching and to keep me from going out there and keep me from making quality pitches. This time of year, there are a lot of guys that are going out there and playing through little nicks and bruises, but it's postseason. Your team is playing for a championship. You have to step it up a few notches.

Q. Do you pitch differently at night than during the day in Oakland, and do you have a preference?

TIM HUDSON: I just go out there and pitch my game. I know this ballpark here, there is a bit of a difference between night and day as far as how the ball travels and how the hitters pick up the balls. I try to keep the ball on the ground. I'm a sinker ball pitcher, and the only way it's going to affect me is if I'm given some deep fly balls somewhere, which it's not what I'm looking for. If I'm doing that, we're probably in trouble anyways.

Q. As a fellow pitcher, how do you look at Pedro Martinez?

TIM HUDSON: He's a stud. He's been one of the best pitchers, if not the best pitcher, in the American League every year since I've been up here. He goes up there. He has dominating stuff. At the same time he goes up there and he knows how to pitch and change speeds and keep guys off balance. I looked up to him, watching his style of pitching and how he goes about his business out there. He has his reputation for a reason. He goes out there and he gets the job done. He's going to be tough, but I like our chances anyway.

Q. What are you going to try to do to combat the adrenaline so your sinker ball sinks?

TIM HUDSON: Go out there and keep your emotions under control and go out there and just -- and your main objective is just to make pitches and not try to overthrow and not try to make everything more nasty than it is. You have to trust your stuff and get those guys ready behind you to make plays.

Q. Is Game 1 more important in this year than in another series because Pedro is such a big part of their strategy?

TIM HUDSON: Game 1 of any series is always huge, regardless who is out there on the mound. Obviously if their best pitcher is doing Game 1 and you can beat him, then you're obviously in pretty good position. Obviously it's important, but at the same time, they're probably feeling the same way about us. It's kind of goes both ways.

End of FastScripts..

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