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October 8, 2003

Todd Walker


Q.. Your view of the home run?

TODD WALKER: Well, I was a little upset with myself that I took the 1-0 because I was pretty positive he was going to throw a changeup and it was a strike. McClelland made a rare mistake there, but luckily I was ahead 2-0 and felt like I was going to get a similar pitch and I did. When I hit it, it was fair all the way. I thought I had enough of it to go far enough that it would not slice before it hit the pole but when it got up there, I couldn't really tell. Everybody that saw the replay says that it was a home run, so that was good.

Q.. You had only 13 home runs during the regular season, four in the post-season; how do you explain the sudden burst of power?

TODD WALKER: I don't think I can explain and I don't think I want to. I'm a contact hitter, I hit a lot of doubles and if the wind is blowing right, it's going to go out of the park. Fortunately, I've had some good pitches to hit. The two home runs in Game 1 of the Division Series, I was ahead in both counts, one was a 3-1 pitch and one was a 2-0. I think in the playoffs, pitchers are less likely to mess around on a 3-1 or 2-0 count, they are more likely to throw a strike and so they are more likely to split the plate than they do during the regular season. Again just trying to be aggressive.

Q.. In your career have you felt this comfortable at the plate or been in this kind of a groove?

TODD WALKER: I certainly think that I'm a little more focused just based on the environment or the situation, and I think that it takes you to another level when you have this much nerves and everything around you. I do feel more focused now than I probably did in the 162 games that you have to play during the regular season. But again, like I said, I've just had some quality pitches to hit, and got them up in the air.

Q.. How big was Wakefield for you guys tonight?

TODD WALKER: He was huge. The formula for the Boston Red Sox is, our offense is so good that if we get a quality start like we did tonight we are going to be tough to beat, there's no doubt about it. And we have the quality pitchers to do that. Wake certainly has been throwing good. The whole month of September he was great. We've got D-Lowe going tomorrow, of course Pedro. If we get quality starts, this offense is going to score some runs. I think great pitching always beats great hitting. That's the usual saying. I really think this team is an exception to the rule because we have nine guys that can really swing the bat. Mussina was outstanding tonight, I thought. He had to throw a strike to David Ortiz in that situation. But I felt like the pitch I hit out was a pretty quality pitch. He was tough. But I think that lineup is so relentless, I think in this case, great hitting beats great pitching.

Q.. Was there any point when you were heading down to first, where you doubted that was, in fact, a home run because it looked like it was being waved foul?

TODD WALKER: My eyes are not that good. At that point I knew it was close enough and I did not see the ball ricochet off the pole. I don't know what kept me between the lines, I don't know what the ruling is if I had run back to the plate. The umpire down the right field line called it foul and I just stood there and luckily turned around to see that they were, in fact, calling it fair. McClelland obviously has better eyes than anybody on the field, including myself. He made a great call from what I understand on the replays. I think we are very fortunate that we had an umpire like McClelland who saw that play because I think that was a big run.

Q.. You guys worked some deep counts and really got Mussina's pitch count up, was that pretty much the game plan?

TODD WALKER: Absolutely not. I think it's the opposite. When you face a guy like Mussina you don't want to get behind when he's on; he's throwing strike one and he's very difficult. My approach from the first pitch of the game tonight was to swing the bat and he threw a quality first pitch, and then from there on out -- he threw some balls, which we were able to layoff of, and he got behind in some counts but I think overall, he pitched a quality game. Like I said earlier, he had to come in on Ortiz in that situation, but other than that, I thought he threw the ball as he usually does and, no, the game plan was not at all to make him throw some pitches. You've just got to attack him because he's got one of the nastiest out pitches in the League and you don't want to get behind a guy like Mike Mussina.

Q.. They talked about you playing a game in Oakland and the travelling and getting here and you might be tired and this and that, did that affect you at all, or did the way you won that Oakland game help you?

TODD WALKER: I definitely don't think it affected us at all because we had a day off. We had all day yesterday to get the sleep we needed. We had all night; we didn't have to play a day game today. It might have affected us a little bit in Game 2 in the Division Series where we had to play till 12:00 at night and turn around and play after losing that game. That's the only game where we did not play like we were capable of playing. I don't think as you saw on the field tonight that any of the travel affected us at all. In terms of winning and coming in here, I don't think that mattered, either. We know the Yankees, we've played them 19 times. We know what we are up against the bottom line; they just could not hit Wakefield. That was the bottom line.

End of FastScripts...

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