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October 12, 2001

C.C. Sabathia


C.C. SABATHIA: They are a great-hitting team and I'm pretty sure they have watched tape of me and I've been watching them the last two games so hopefully I can go out there and throw strikes.

Q. Talk about what you've been going through today and what you expect tomorrow. What kind of preparations have you done and do you have any jitters about tomorrow?

C.C. SABATHIA: I haven't had jitters yet. Hopefully -- I'm pretty sure I will. Hopefully I can get them out of the way early and settle down into the game. But I have not really been trying to think about it today. Just trying to go out, you know, as my normal preparation as I do as I start any game, just looking at it as going out there and trying to win a game.

Q. Do you think because you've handled so much adversity so calmly this season that that will help you heading into your first post-season game?

C.C. SABATHIA: I don't think I'll get out of whack. I think I'll stay calm, whatever happens. That's something I've been working on all year. This is the point where I definitely need to stay calm and just pitch my game so I think I'll do a pretty good job of that tomorrow.

Q. Have you talked to anyone else on your staff about their experiences in the playoffs?

C.C. SABATHIA: I talked to a lot of guys. A lot of guys have been coming up to me, just telling me to "just be calm tomorrow. You know you can pitch, you've just got to settle down and go out there and pitch like you can."

Q. Have any of the Cleveland veterans been important to you during the course of this season, helping you get through your first year?

C.C. SABATHIA: Ellis Burks and Dave Burba played a big part with me this year. Just like being a good friend to me in the clubhouse and making me feel comfortable. That's the biggest thing they could do and it helped me out a lot.

Q. Is baseball a game of momentum and if so, who has it, you for splitting or them for winning the last one?

C.C. SABATHIA: I don't know. I think we definitely thought we had the momentum after that first game. I don't think anybody is down. I don't think anybody is hard pressed. I think everybody is still relaxed and wants to go out there and win two games.

Q. What sticks out as the best or biggest of the games you've pitched this year?

C.C. SABATHIA: To tell you the truth, I don't even remember all my starts. Like I had said, I've just been taking one start at a time. It's like one big start all together right now. I would probably say I started in Minnesota at the Metrodome about a month ago and that was the biggest to date because we were still battling to get into the playoffs.

Q. Has anybody in the Mariners really impressed you over the last week?

C.C. SABATHIA: I've been trying to figure out Bret Boone. He's definitely a great hitter. He takes fastballs on the outside corner and hits them to right field or the ball is over his head, he gets base hits. He's a great hitter. Mike Cameron looked good yesterday. Edgar has always been a great hitter. So, they have got a lot of weapons.

Q. What's the best advice you got from somebody this year in dealing with your success?

C.C. SABATHIA: Stay humble and work hard. I got that advice from my mom.

Q. Is she here or do you have anybody special here for this game? And can you compare what you're feeling right now to your first start of the season?

C.C. SABATHIA: Yeah, my mom and my family is in town. I picked them up this morning from the airport. You know, this year, my first start, I didn't know whether I could -- it was kind of a feeling whether I didn't know if I could pitch and it was a weird feeling. Now I know that I can pitch here. It's just pitching in the playoffs for the first time is a different atmosphere and I don't know how it's going to be, so I'm a little jittery about that.

Q. What are your impressions of the playoff atmosphere for the first time?

C.C. SABATHIA: It's been great. It's been a great experience and hopefully it won't be my last time back. Hopefully I can take this experience and build on it for next year.

Q. Have you talked to Jared (Wright) or anybody that started in Akron and came up from'97?

C.C. SABATHIA: Jared has not been able to be around; I have not talked to him. Riske said it was like an adrenaline rush and I'm definitely looking forward to that.

Q. Do you feel more pressure with this start than any previous one this year?

C.C. SABATHIA: No, I don't feel any pressure. I just don't know how I'm going to feel with all of the fans and this being a playoff game. I'm not nervous about going out there and pitching, just the stuff around it. But as far as me going out there and pitching, I'm definitely very confident and hopefully I can get a win.

Q. Talk about Ichiro and the problems he presents, as a hitter and baserunner?

C.C. SABATHIA: I think it's definitely going to be hard to get him out and as far as when he gets on base, I've been trying to work on a slide step to shorten my move to the plate to make it quicker to give the catcher a chance to maybe throw him out. He's a great hitter and it's going to be hard to keep him off the bases.

Q. Talk about having your family in town and did you spend any time with them today?

C.C. SABATHIA: Yeah, I spent the whole morning with my mom. We sat down and talked a lot today. She's more nervous than I am. She's real nervous. She always gets nervous when I go out there, but I'm fine. We talked a lot about just keeping my head out there and just been doing the same thing that we've been doing all year.

Q. With the FBI yesterday heightening everybody's awareness for terrorist activity, are you concerned at all with stadium security issues?

C.C. SABATHIA: No, that's the least of my concerns. If I get concerned with that, then my head will be all over the place. That's the least of my concerns. I think they have got a pretty good grasp on things. But I can't worry about stuff like that right now.

Q. Do you have any concerns about perhaps having too much adrenaline and overthrowing?

C.C. SABATHIA: That's my biggest concern, not getting too pumped up for the game and staying calm for the game and trying not to overthrow and just make pitches.

Q. Did Finley's start yesterday affect your confidence at all?

C.C. SABATHIA: No. I learned from it; just to take it slow and not get too pumped up. I think he was definitely a little pumped up. He had not pitched in the playoffs in 15 years. I think he was definitely a little pumped up. This is my first time pitching and hopefully I can just stay calm.

Q. When you are in spring training and you're trying to make the club, did you ever envision playing for a post-season team? What was your thought process back then; was it more for making the club or when was it that you first thought that you could be pitching in post-season play?

C.C. SABATHIA: About mid-July I started thinking about that. When I first made the club, I was -- I just felt like I was there to fill the void when a couple of guys got hurt. I started pitching better and started gaining confidence. I started realizing that I might get a chance to pitch in the post-season.

Q. How big a part of your game is keeping hitters off balance, going at pitches outside of the strike zone and do you think you have an advantage that they have not faced you before?

C.C. SABATHIA: I think a big part of my game is pitching inside. That's something that I do a lot, and as far as me having the advantage, I haven't seen them yet, either, so we'll see tomorrow if I have the advantage or not.

End of FastScripts....

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