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October 12, 2002

Mike Scioscia


THE MODERATOR: First question for Mike.

Q. Lackey, obviously, was terrific. Could you please tell us what the significance might be for your team of having your number four guy beat their ace?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, first of all, I think when you're in a series like this, we certainly don't look at it that way. Those guys have an incredible pitching staff. Brad Radke pitched an incredible game tonight. John Lackey matched him pitch for pitch. For a youngster who was in the Minor Leagues three and a half months ago to come up and do that is incredible. We're out here to win ball games, whatever the matchups are on the mound. John wouldn't have been out there if we didn't have a lot of confidence in him. The fact that he was facing a pitcher of Radke's caliber and was with him pitch for pitch was incredible. So, I don't consider looking at it as matching up against their ace or our number four guy. To get through this, you better have guys on the mound giving you a chance to win every night. John Lackey certainly is a guy we have a lot of confidence in who can do that, and he showed it tonight. That game, obviously, everyone that saw knew it was much closer than what that final score is indicating.

Q. When the club called Lackey from the Minor Leagues, what most impressed you about him at that time, in terms of his mental make-up or the way he approached pitching? How did he build on that from the time you called him up, to this point?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: I think you touched on two very, very important points. His make-up was absolutely what jumped out at us, his ability just to go out there, make his pitches. You could see his arm. His arm is great. We can see that. But his ability to make pitches under any circumstances is something that a lot of pitchers have to grow into. He came up with that ability. So the reports we had on him in the Minor Leagues, the way he went about his business pitching, when he came up to the Major Leagues, it's like he didn't skip a beat. He didn't skip a step. He kept that command, kept that focus. I think that make-up helps him to overcome some things that maybe some young pitchers might stumble against at times. But his make-up is outstanding.

Q. We could see when he was on the mound he was showing incredible composure and poise throughout the whole game. What was he like in the dugout? What was going on in there?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: He was fine. Matter of fact, down the stretch I think -- down the stretch of the season, I think John pitched some games that were big. I think he tried to step out of his shoes a little bit and do a little too much. We talked to him about making some adjustments. The innings he got in the Yankee series helped him. He went out there with an idea tonight of making his pitches, wasn't going to try to step up and do too much. In the dugout, he was business as usual, he knew what the challenge was and went out there and did a great job keeping us in that game because that guy was pitching for the Twins tonight is incredible. I can't say enough good things about him. He's a professional. He changes speeds as well as anybody I've seen. For us to get to him was big. John gave us a chance.

Q. Can you talk about getting an incredible performance from your rookie starter? What's more incredible is he handed the ball over to another rookie. Can you talk about that that?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: In spring training, if we had talked about and said Lackey was giving the ball to Rodriguez, you might be thinking we were talking about a Triple A game. These guys are doing it, and not only doing it in the Major Leagues, doing it under these circumstances, which just speaks volumes for their make-up and their ability. Those two guys, they're incredible.

Q. Have you seen a young player do what Lackey did under these circumstances previously? You've seen a few over time.

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Yeah, I think -- I mean, you can go back to -- I was fortunate enough to have always worked with a great pitching staff, Dodger organization everything was pitching. You see a guy like, young guy, that I've experienced, Bobby Welch or Fernando Valenzuela or Hershiser, these guys had the same ice water in their veins that Lackey does and Rodriguez does. I think you see guys with the make-up, if they can execute pitches in situations like this, they're going to have success. John was about as on tonight as you could be.

Q. Getting back to Lackey's maturation process, he often references the start of September 11th against Oakland in which he struggled. Can you describe what happened in that start and what he learned from that. Do you know what I'm talking about?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Yeah. I think Lack was, before that start, he looked a little bit, I guess, amped up. I thought he was too strong. I thought he was trying to go out there and he knew obviously the pennant race, the magnification of each game. I think he was going to go up there and say, "Hey, I'm going to be the guy, because I know I can do this." Got taken out of his game a little bit, wasn't quite hitting his spots. Was behind the count at times. Oakland was a patient ballclub, and he had a little trouble. So, as I said, experience is the best teacher. When you see guys like John Lackey or guys that have been out there in situations and maybe stumbled a little bit to come back, Ramon Ortiz, come back and make their -- make a start like this, that's experience and using it as a teacher. It's incredible. Let me get out of here. You got anything else?

Q. Do you feel like it's important or significant that you guys try to finish this thing while you're here and avoid a trip to The Dome?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: We're going to do whatever we have to do. This series -- we're well aware this series is not nailed down until you get four wins. By no means is it over. By no means are we changing our approach that we had all year. We're going to turn the page from this game and come out tomorrow and play the type of game that we hope is going to bring a win. If we have to move on from there, we're going to do what we have to do and take it one game at a time. So we're not looking past tomorrow's game. We're worried about what happens after tomorrow's game. But our tunnel vision is for tomorrow. We're going to do what we have to do to give ourselves -- to bring our game into the ballpark to give ourselves the opportunity to win a game.

Q. This was the fewest pitches John threw in a start this year. Did you consider leaving him in?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: We talked about it. I think the determining factor was a couple things. John had -- he hadn't pitched that long in a while. I thought his stuff was still good. I thought he could have gone out there and made his pitches. I think it speaks volumes for the confidence we have in some of the guys down there like Frankie, of course we have Percy behind him, to nail that game down. I don't think it was anything we didn't have confidence in John, but when you have some guys throwing the ball as well as those guys are, you definitely want to try to shorten the game as much as you can. I know John had some gas in his tank and could have gone out there and probably done a heck of a job in that eighth inning.

End of FastScripts�.

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