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October 11, 2002

John Lackey


THE MODERATOR: First question for John Lackey.

Q. John, does it help you you got your feet wet a little bit in the last series? If so, how does that help you for tomorrow?

JOHN LACKEY: I think a little bit. I think down the stretch, though, in our division race, I pitched in quite a few big games. I think that really helped me kind of get accustomed to a playoff atmosphere. Obviously, facing the Yankees was another challenge and another big step for me.

Q. Mike said earlier in the week that it was possible he was going to go with Appier in Game 4. When did you find out you got the green light to start tomorrow?

JOHN LACKEY: I found out in Minnesota, actually. He came up to me and told me that they were going to give me the ball in Game 4 and, "Just go after them," pretty much.

Q. I don't know if Mike or Bud Black or Bengie or anybody sat down and talked to you. If they have, what have they told you about not being too pumped up? Last week they said Ramon was too pumped up in his first start. What have they talked to you about?

JOHN LACKEY: I had a little bit of an experience with that in my start in Oakland towards the end of the year. I think I was a little bit too fired up. I think I learned a lot from that start and was more relaxed, like my last start against Texas, then when I came in against the Yankees. I think that was a big lesson for me that I learned there. I don't think I'll have a problem with it.

Q. Do you have, like, a mentor, somebody among the starting pitchers, who has helped guide you through rough spots?

JOHN LACKEY: Definitely. Tonight, you'll see me hanging out with Aaron Sele quite a bit. We'll be talking about hitters. He's helping me a lot with game plans and how to approach things.

Q. Can you just talk about what a big jump it is for you to have just been at UT Arlington a couple years ago to where you are now?

JOHN LACKEY: There, I was pretty much a first baseman, I didn't even know what I was doing as far as pitching-wise there. It's definitely been a long way. I've learned a lot since then. I've come across a lot of coaches Double A, Triple A, Mike Butcher helped me out a ton. I have to give a lot of credit to him as far as teaching me how to approach hitters, taught me how to throw a slider. I've definitely picked up a lot from the coaching staff in the organization.

Q. The Twins can throw seven or eight left-handed hitters at you in the line-up. Does that concern you? What do you do to combat that?

JOHN LACKEY: Actually, I've been better against left-handed hitters I think this year, as far as numbers-wise. I'm not exactly sure why. It's just one of those weird things that happens sometimes. It doesn't really concern me, whether they bring up lefties or righties. You still have to make pitches and you still have to execute to get out.

Q. It did seem like it clicked real fast for you once you got to the Big Leagues. Can you talk, tell us why that was?

JOHN LACKEY: Really, I think I took some advice from some of the veteran guys and some of my coaches. They told me just to keep doing things I was doing in Triple A, that's what got you here. Until they make adjustments to you, keep doing the same things you've been doing. I really try to stay aggressive and really just try to pitch my own game until the other team makes adjustments to what I'm doing.

Q. With the depth of the bullpen, does that affect your approach in a sense that you can go really hard for five or six now and thinking in terms of turning it over to them?

JOHN LACKEY: I mean, as a starter you don't want to limit yourself; you want to go out there and try to go as long as possible. But definitely with the success of our bullpen, it gives you confidence. In the playoffs, I think you got to go as hard as you can for as long as you're out there, regardless. You never know, one pitch could be the difference in a playoff game. So, I'll be going as hard as I can and I have full confidence in the bullpen, whenever they come in in the game.

Q. Just curious, who were you a fan of growing up? Also, how much familiarity with Angels' playoff history did you have until this year?

JOHN LACKEY: As far as teams or players?

Q. Both, I guess.

JOHN LACKEY: I was a Rangers fan growing up, pretty close to where I grew up. Obviously, being from Texas, Nolan Ryan was always the big guy around there. So I followed his career quite a bit, and all the Rangers back in the old ballpark. As far as Angel playoff tradition, I really -- I didn't know too much of it except for when the Rangers played them, because that was the team I followed during the regular season. Rangers didn't make too many playoffs back then (smiling).

End of FastScripts�.

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