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October 8, 2002

Joe Mays


THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. Just talk about your performance tonight after a rougher outing against Oakland?

JOE MAYS: The thing is, from Oakland, it was kind of -- I just left the ball up. I wasn't able to get my breaking ball down. But like I said, after the game, I told a lot of people, that I'm gonna get another chance. Tonight, I got that opportunity to go out there and establish myself early. I attacked the strike zone and I was able to keep the ball down. I was able to throw the breaking ball over whenever I needed to. It just gives them a different look. I maintained the strike zone throughout the entire game and gave my team a chance to play behind me. Obviously, I didn't walk anybody. I didn't strike out a whole lot of guys. That's the type pitcher I am, that's the type of guy I was last year. Hopefully, I get back to that, that form where I can go out there and establish a strike zone early and get a lot of ground balls.

Q. How much video did you look at of the Angels-Yankees series and what they did against the Yankee pitchers? Did that give you an idea of what the Yankees couldn't do or what you needed to do to shut them down?

JOE MAYS: We had advanced scouting reports. I didn't check out any video. I got to understand that I have strengths and that's what I got to stick to, even though I see different things on film. I got to be able to go out there and stick to what I know how to do, sinking the ball away and able to throw off speed pitches when I do get behind and able to throw a little wrinkle in there when I need to.

Q. Can you describe the feeling of being out there with that crowd and, obviously, Gardy showing the faith in you?

JOE MAYS: I don't think there's one word to say how I feel out there. Overwhelming. It was way too much. I mean, just so much energy, so much enthusiasm in the crowd. And to be able to go out there and give them a good game to watch, I think that gives them the reward and hopefully, you know, we'll see the same thing tomorrow night.

Q. Yesterday, you mentioned in reference to the Oakland outing, you used the term "bringing the old noggin" out and overthinking. Where did you put it tonight?

JOE MAYS: I didn't have one. It was on A.J.'s shoulders. Sometimes they told me stop being so mechanical, go out there and trust what I do have and have confidence in it. That's finally what I did tonight. I put everything behind, I set my head up in my locker and I went down there and pitched a game that I feel like is the game of my career.

Q. You knew you were going to pitch again in the playoffs. Did you think it would be Game 1 or later in this particular series?

JOE MAYS: I was prepared for anything. Whatever Gardy was gonna do, I was ready to go out there. If you want me Game 1 or if he wanted me Game 5, I was prepared to go out there whenever he needed me. I was prepared to do whatever job he wanted me to do. I knew, like I said, when we was playing Oakland, we lost here, I knew I had a chance to go out there, just give me another opportunity.

Q. In the eighth inning, were you tightening up at all? How did it feel turning the ball over to Eddie in the ninth, considering how he did the other day?

JOE MAYS: We had that long seventh inning offensively. I sat on the bench a little bit, walked around, tried to stay stretched. They brought a couple guys in there in that inning. It was a long inning. After the eighth inning, I went out there and I was able to get the guys out. When I came back in, I told -- Andy asked me how I was feeling. I said, "I feel great. I'd go out and close this out if you like me to. Eddie's been doing it all year, that's his job, to be the closer." I gave him the option. Just because of the simple fact it took me a little longer to loosen up in that eighth inning. That was the only reason I gave him that option. Otherwise, I would have told him I was ready to go back out there.

Q. You just mentioned the term "game of your career." Can you just put in perspective what it means to you after kind of all the highs and lows of the last year from All-Star to injury list, to last week, of just the journey?

JOE MAYS: It's just, you know, the whole time, the thing is, I never lost my confidence. I knew what I had to do in order to get myself back. To get myself back where I needed to be. You know, going from being an All-Star to going on the DL, that was the toughest part. I had to show up here every day, do all the little things, do my rehab, have to go down there and watch a team where I couldn't compete. That was what the toughest thing was. Now, I get a chance to go back out there and compete like I did the last month and a half of the season. Kind of get myself ready for the postseason. Now getting that opportunity, the first one, I mean, I think I was just a little nervous, I didn't have the stuff I had tonight. It just showed.

Q. You said a few times that you loved pitching at the Metrodome. What is it in particular that you enjoy?

JOE MAYS: I don't know what it is. I'm a ground ball pitcher, this is turf. The ball gets through fast. I love the mound, I love the presence out there. I love the way the fans are in the game. Obviously, everybody wants to be at home, every chance you get. It doesn't matter if it's on the field or, you know, in life. You want to be at home. Because that's where you feel most comfortable.

End of FastScripts�.

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