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October 30, 2001

Roger Clemens


Q. We've heard a lot about Curt Schilling, a lot about Randy Johnson; did you feel like a forgotten man in the series?

ROGER CLEMENS: Not at all. I don't -- you know, those guys out there, especially at home, they did it up well. We knew what we had to do when we came in here. Like I told y'all yesterday, we had just a big win for us tonight, try and get us back in this series a little bit. So it was nice. It was an interesting game. They gave us a few opportunities, I think one inning, five or six outs. And usually we jump all over those situations but tonight we were not able to do it. But it was good enough. Again, Mel and Joe let me go back out for the seventh and I was able to find another gear. I was able to get a nice wind and get to keep my legs under me and I figured after that, they would get it to Mo and he did and he came on and does what he always does.

Q. This is basically a must-win game because you cannot go down 3-0; what does the magnitude of it do to you? Do you have to work to put it out of your mind before a start?

ROGER CLEMENS: Not really. I knew what was ahead. I mean, again, I was -- my main concern was that my legs were going to stay strong. I've not been the afforded the luxury of doing my side work because I've been trying to rest my legs, so my warmup, my pregame routine is very important. To be honest with you, I just try to -- when President Bush came out, I stopped warming up, I wanted to take in that moment. There's a lot of things that went on again this evening that I will remember for a long time, having the opportunity to pitch here and pitch in this stadium and in this type of venue. It's something that I will take with me for a long time. So that's really it.

Q. In that vein, with all of the big games that you've pitched in, with Jordan across town and the President here, did you sense an even greater atmosphere today in this stadium and in this city?

ROGER CLEMENS: A little bit. I was reminded during my warmup when I watched the President throw his first pitch, the first ball, the flashes. It reminded me when I get ready to turn loose my first pitch to really lock in because there's probably going to be some pictures being taken and to be honest with you, I didn't notice it, so that was a good thing. It was, again, an interesting night, a fun night. It was very breezy and cool out there on the mound. We try to do everything to stay warm. And some wonderful defensive plays. The guys -- Soriano made the great play to give me the opportunity and of course Spencer's diving catch was big for us. They tracked down some hard-hit balls on some deep shots to keep it close for them, it was very interesting.

Q. Getting back to the defense, did you think Spencer had a shot at that ball? And how much of a difference was defense?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, in a close game you're going to need defense. You try and control the game as best you can, was able to get the pick-off and then the strikeout/throw-out was big, get some momentum and get the fans into it. Matt hit the ball hard. I tried to elevate again -- I left it -- it was up but it was over the middle. When I kick my leg up and pick up the mitt, at the last second I can pick up the hitter at the plate just a little bit and it looked like he was cheating to get to that fastball and when he hit it, he hit it just hard enough to stay in the air. Spencer came on and was aggressive. It was nice to see and it ended up working out for us.

Q. After Game 2 Joe had said that you were really the key and that you needed to go out and dominate the way that Schilling and Johnson had, did that have any impact on you also, it seemed like you were relying on your fastball in the early innings; could you talk about your plan for the Diamondbacks?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, the scouting report was good. Joe -- Skip always tells me that, though. He has a keen way in -- he expects things out of me and I expect things out of myself, no matter what the situation is, big game or little game or whatever y'all want to call it. I get excited about what I'm trying to do. I get a little upset at myself when I'm trying to get the ball down and away and I know I can because I've worked hard to do that and there were some pitches that I was trying to get in certain spots and I wasn't able to do it. I focused back in and was able to finish a couple of guys off. Yeah, relied on the fastball up and down, trying to elevate when I wanted to, and throw the fastball down low and use a splitter, too. So it was -- you know, it was a good night. We played ourselves back into this a little bit now, and another huge challenge for us tomorrow.

Q. Brian Anderson said that the fan support at Yankee Stadium was a little more than he expected. Can you talk about how it inspired you tonight, if it did?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, it's always -- you know, it's always a treat to have the opportunity to pitch here. Let alone be in post-season. Like I said it was very loud in the Oakland series, Game 5. Sure, I heard the crowd every time I got two strikes. It was great especially when I got a second wind there in the seventh. To be able to finish that off was nice. We expected the crowd to be a part of it and, you know, it help us out a little bit. But it's always great playing at home. There's no question about it.

Q. Mathematically it was not a must-win, but did you feel it was, and if so, why?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I mean, it was a very important game. I mean, I don't -- I was going out to -- the game plan was trying to get some momentum on our side early and I was real fortunate. I got the pick off, made a clean move. Ten days ago, two weeks ago I was not as quick on this leg turning to go to first. I think that was probably the biggest blessing; I never had a problem with my lower half and so, I mean, I'm just glad I got the ball and we're getting it to El Duque and hopefully we'll have a chance to get it to Mussina and so on and so forth. They did that for me in the Oakland series. I told them I appreciate that and giving me that opportunity, so it was great.

Q. Joe talked after the game about how somebody who has accomplished as much as you have that you still have to defend your reputation as a big game pitcher, does it give you more pride to pitch a game like that?

ROGER CLEMENS: It does not amaze me at all. Like I said if it would have been a tie game today I still would have done my job. That's what I was trying to do, keep us in to win it and again, write what you want, it's not going to change anything. To me, it's just an honor to have had this opportunity at this stage of my career. I've done it many times. I've left games tied. I've left games that were close where I was losing. I've pitched big games, little games, makes no difference. I just enjoy -- I relish the moment and I enjoy being out there, the competition. And, so, again, only critics I really worry about are the guys that I perform with and I think if you ask any of my teammates over my 18 years, they would give you definite and true answers.

End of FastScripts....

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