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October 13, 2000

Roger Clemens


Q. How difficult is it going on three days' rest, as opposed to four days' rest, at this time of year, when it takes a lot of toll on your arm?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, the three days' rest was no problem whatsoever. My arm responded well. The only apprehension you have is when you're warming up, for me, when I'm throwing, doing my extending, my long throwing out in front of the bullpen out there in the outfield and getting a sense or a feel of how my arm speed and how my arm is reacting. And three days is no different than six days. You just hope that you prepare enough and do enough work so you're not too strong. I think in post-season, with everything on the line, you can, you know -- I don't really see a big difference, because I think if you're lacking any type of arm speed or strength that you hope to have at this time of year, the magnitude of the games and the situation that you're in, I would expect it, and it has in the past, to help me get over any of those type of humps; that I feel lethargic, or my arm, what I call would feel heavy. The only thing I experience of pitching on the sixth day, resting four or five days is I'm throwing well, but it doesn't feel that I am. So I have to rely on my catcher, Jorge, or that the ball has late life and that I can trust that.

Q. In talking about Andy Pettitte, Joe was saying how he thought Andy thought in post-season that he had to do too much. Is that something you've ever experienced?

ROGER CLEMENS: The only time that I would experience any uneasy feeling was I think my first couple of post-season games that I experienced when I was young, because I really didn't know what to expect, and I didn't really know how to channel my emotions or the adrenaline and everything that comes with it. But after, really, my first go-around, really I think it was back with the California Angels in 1986, and after that post-season and World Series play was, I wouldn't say pretty standard. Because obviously to me it is definitely more exciting. And I think as I get older and am able to participate in more post-season play, it becomes even more exciting. So I really enjoy it. I really enjoy the moment that I have out there, trying to concentrate and lock in. And once you do give up, like I did in my last start, give up some runs early, it is very disappointing, because I want to give our guys a chance, who we all know have been struggling to produce runs. And at that point you're backed into a corner. You make, really one mistake, and you get a feel for how the game is being called, how you are throwing, and how you are hitting your spots, and you work from there. That's the whole key for me. There's a point last time I pitched where I stepped back on the mound after walking a guy, where I felt I threw good pitches, and I started trying to visualize if I needed to go up in the zone, down in the count, or maybe if I needed to throw some two-seamers, or do something I needed to do, or just getting to strike one and throwing a breaking ball or fastball or whatever I needed to do. Every time I go out, it might look like I'm trying to do too much, because you can get to that point where you look like you're overthrowing, but I'm trying to max out on certain pitches where I want my velocity extremely high and hard on certain pitches; and on other pitches, maybe a little more movement and less speed. But I've decided that when I step up on the rubber where I'm going with the baseball, what I'm going to try and do.

Q. When you do pitch on three days' rest, do you have to fight the tendency early on to maybe hold a little something back to make sure that you can pitch deep into the game?

ROGER CLEMENS: Good question. For me, it's a little different because you have -- you know, I have three or four guys come up to me, including the Skipper, to go as hard and as long as you can go. Go as hard as you can, for as long as you can; and the point is, the work that I put in, I don't expect to get tired. I don't expect my arm to get tired, and I definitely don't expect my legs to get tired. And once you get late or they tell you they need you through the sixth or seventh inning or give me one more inning, that's just what you try and do. If it was 90, 95, maybe, but in these type of weather and conditions, I'd be really surprised if I got through with the game and threw 130 pitches and come out -- if a team is trying to wear you down, if guys want to take pitches and wear me down and the first guy fouls off 10, 11 pitches, so be it. Fatigue is not something that I worry about too much. I worry about, again, having to come too much to the middle of the plate because I don't care how hard you throw, especially against some of these guys these Seattle hitters, they force you to the middle of the plate. Guys are going to hit fastballs; so I've got to make sure I either juggle their eye level, change to the level of -- as far as going up and down in the zone and having that splitty get down instead of moving left-to-right; it's going in there and moving left-to-right and just kind of an okay fastball. I need that splitty to get down and be down where it is supposed to be, and, you know, go back and expand the zone a little bit, whether I've got to bust guys up in and under their arms or whatever happens. There will be some times tomorrow where guys will get out and try to cover the part of the plate that I want, and that's what I'm going to have to do. There are four or five guys, Joe in particular, Billy Connors, they know what the factor was. They thought that, you know -- you never pace yourself. I'm not going to go out there and pace myself. I have plenty of help out there, and so I never pace myself in that manner.

Q. You touched on this probably a little bit, but how far off do you feel from where you were when you had your really excellent two-month stretch, and where are you?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I feel pretty good. I don't expect it to be -- you go out there and obviously when you walk guys, I have no problem giving up solo homers, but it's awful when you give up a three-run, and you have to stay away from those big innings, and that's what I need to do. Whether you have to warm up earlier or be more aggressive early, that's been -- I've heard it time and time again with guys that have watched me throw and different guys; that if you don't get me early and let me settle in, you're going to have a chance to get after me. I just need to be sharp early, and I felt that I had more than two months of throwing the baseball well. Sometimes it gets to the point where you lose ballgames, but you still feel that you pitched well, and it can come down to one or two pitches. I gave up, I think in the last start, I gave up a couple runs there late and I thought I made great pitches to do that and to try and get the guys to hit into double-plays, and they were just a glove- or an arm-length away from somebody; and there's the ballgame. Especially in these games, it can come down to that.

Q. When you have a start as frustrating to you as that one, because you think that you are so close to winning a game, how long after the game do you spend thinking about that, and will it be on your mind when you are on the mound tomorrow night?

ROGER CLEMENS: It stays with me until you get an opportunity to get back out and do some work in the bullpen. I think it is probably the biggest thing that eats at me the most. The Skipper says that "you set your standards so high," but I don't know why anybody wouldn't. I don't know that I know any other way, and that's what I expect to do. I expect to be dominant and exciting and aggressive and I expect all of those things. It's just -- I think probably the thing that chaps me the most is the work that you put in and you go out there and you pitch poorly. It just eats at you. I try not to bring it home, but when I do, I've got some good family people around me that they are still encouraging me, but they can still see how it eats at me. You pitch great games, you make one or two mistakes and you get burned by it every time, and then your back is against the wall. The guys, to me, I feel like I give them no chance. But that is the expectations that go with it, and I expect to do well. But I definitely won't take it back out there tomorrow. Tomorrow is a whole different game, another team, a little different approach, and just try and be aggressive and do the things that I'm used to doing.

Q. How much easier now is it to come out here and be able to work hitters honestly and not worry about giving up cheapies like you did at the Kingdome?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, it's a fast-paced game on turf. I pitched obviously a lot of games in the Major Leagues and my college days on turf, and it is a fast game. And when I'm throwing it extremely hard, the ball -- as I tell the outfielders and infielders, play back a little more and be aware of hitters' counts because the ball is going to get on you quicker, especially when I'm challenging guys and they get a good piece of the baseball; it is going to get out there and get on you a little bit quicker. And I did give up some home runs where they were late swinging and they shot it out in the bleachers in the old stadium. I've pitched here a couple times and I enjoy it. I enjoy the new stadium here. As far as the mound goes, it looks close, for the pitcher's point of view. So we'll see what happens. We came out here, I think it was last year our first trip through here, and Griffey was here and they were talking about moving the fences in. And our guys flipped some balls out of here, four or five home runs in the first two days. So I'm listening to our guys comment that the ball carries pretty well here. I think you have to ask the hitters that and see what they think, even though we feel that it is a pretty good pitcher's ballpark.

End of FastScripts....

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