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October 12, 2002

John Lackey

Francisco Rodriguez


THE MODERATOR: John Lackey and Frankie Rodriguez.

Q. This is a question for John. You've often referenced a start you had on September 11th against the A's in which you struggled. Can you describe what happened in that start and what you learned from it?

JOHN LACKEY: I think it was just kind of a big-game experience. It was a packed crowd and kind of a playoff atmosphere that night because it was such a close division race at the time. I think I learned how to kind of step back and try to think of the game as just another game and not try to put too much importance on it.

Q. As big as this game was, what do you do to focus in and not get caught up in everything that's going on? You seemed pretty composed right from the get-go tonight?

JOHN LACKEY: Really, I just -- I've been pretty relaxed most of the season. I think the only time I was really a little too hyped up was against the A's. You just got to go out there and execute pitches. Once you get on the mound, it turns into the same game we were playing at the first of the year.

Q. I have another one for John. When you were talking with Aaron Sele, what kind of an approach were you taking to the Twins? What kinds of things did you see that you could exploit against them, this sort of thing?

JOHN LACKEY: Really, I mean, there's no really glaring weaknesses. They're obviously a great ballclub or they wouldn't be here. I really just think the biggest keys for me were trying to really focus in on the leadoff hitter of each inning. They have a lot of team speed and they got guys that can make things happen if you don't keep them off the bases.

Q. For Francisco, can you just describe what this playoff experience has been like for you so far, this enormous success, you're turning into such a hero out there for the people in Anaheim. Is it just overwhelming to you right now? Are you handling it pretty well?

FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ: (Through Bobby Ramos) feels like it's a huge experience. He feels very good and happy that he's doing a great job so far. To contribute to the team and help the team in the postseason, it really is a great experience for him right now.

Q. John, Mike Scioscia was comparing your composure to young Fernando Valenzuela, Bob Welch, Orel Hershiser. Is that overwhelming to think about that? Has it sunk in, what tonight means to you? And what you're becoming for Angel fans?

JOHN LACKEY: I'm not going to compare myself to any of those guys. It's way too early for that. That's a great compliment from Mike. I'm nothing compared to that yet, I'm just going to try to handle my job here, hopefully, keep contributing to this club and hopefully we can get some more wins.

Q. I have one for John. You were playing first base at UT Arlington a couple years ago, is that correct? How did you go from that to pitching?

JOHN LACKEY: Actually, in high school, I was a quarterback and I always had a pretty good arm. But just kind of didn't have time to pitch because I played like three or four sports in high school. I was actually kind of messing around playing long toss one time in college, and me and another guy were just kind of messing around. He noticed I had a pretty good arm. They kind of threw me on the mound.

End of FastScriptsâ?¦.

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