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October 12, 2007

Curt Schilling


Q. You talked about before the Angels how much time you had to prepare, become ultra prepared. How much time have you had for the Indians? And do you feel prepared yet?
CURT SCHILLING: Yeah, I am. I've had enough. It's more traditional, a couple days off. Having faced them once this year helps. Our advanced scouts put together another tremendous set of reports, so I'm confident that I know what we need to do. I have to go out and execute.

Q. You've talked about your own preparation. How much does the layoff help Varitek in his own preparation?
CURT SCHILLING: Well, I mean, we're used to getting ready in four days; he's got to get ready every day. You know, I would imagine it's a little bit easier when you're getting ready to play one team, potentially seven straight times as far as preparation goes.
He's ready. I know we talked a lot today, or the past couple days, about what we want to go out and do in getting ready. This is a very good team, very good team. They're going to have to be pitched to exceptionally well for us to beat them in this series, and I think we understand that challenge.

Q. You've talked a lot about thriving in the postseason spotlight. Any reasons why you've been able to do that?
CURT SCHILLING: No, I don't -- no, I can't identify anything other than I think we execute well. You have to execute almost perfectly in October to be consistently successful, and I think we've done that.

Q. When you look at what Todd (Claus) and Dana (Levangie) have prepared for you, how much do you have to now adjust what they're recommending based on what your stuff allows you to do versus maybe a few years ago where you could be more of a power guy?
CURT SCHILLING: Well, I've gone to them specifically and asked them to gear some stuff more towards me in individual stuff, that we exchange information, and Kyle has really -- I know last game I asked him to go hitter by hitter and give me a breakdown of what he thought I should do.
But the scouting report is more focused or more appropriate for me now than it was years ago because I think my stuff is much more conventional than it was before, and I think that's how some of these reports are put together with our staff in mind. So I get more out of them now than I think I did in the past, and I think that's somewhat of an advantage.

Q. How important is getting Sizemore out? Talk about Sizemore, the importance of Sizemore to the Indians.
CURT SCHILLING: I think Grady is one of those guys, much like Vladdy was when he was in Montreal. I think he's somehow flown under the radar because I look at him as very much an impact player. You know, he's a 30-35 home run guy who played Gold Glove outfield, hits at the top of the line, gets on base almost 40 percent of the time. Probably Johnny Damon with more power.
This year I think he swung and missed a lot more than maybe he has in the past. He still gets on base. This is one of those lineups -- well, he is incredibly important to get out because he does so many things right. He plays the game so hard that you can get him out and he can still get on base with the strike out. We saw that in the last game with the Yankees.
Their lineup has a lot of guys, much like our lineup does. There is no let-up. You get down into this lineup with Hafner and Martinez and Peralta and Garko, if there's runners on base, it can create a lot of problems. Not really from the running standpoint, but these guys are run producers.
This is a very underrated team. You look at what people say about this series, and I don't feel like it's even remotely the advantage that people think that we have. I think they're a much better team than people are giving them credit for, especially with these guys going on the mound the next two days.

Q. Belichick gets a lot of credit in this town but can you talk about your manager and what he means to you and how humble he is through it all?
CURT SCHILLING: I'd rather not because it's painful to have to say nice things about him in public (laughter).
Being with him together for ten years, he is absolutely humble when it comes to the game of baseball, and I would say I think that's probably the only thing he's humble at in life. He's not nearly the card player he thinks he is. He's a tactician on the field and off, and I think that gets overlooked. I know he finds the right guys to play cards with all year long to win money, which is something he's never been bad at.
He's a tremendous man. Way beyond the managing part of this, as I think most other good managers in the game, and I would include Joe Torre, who I thought was absolutely that guy. It's not about being the smartest baseball man anymore, I don't believe, even though they are incredibly smart, it's about surrounding yourself with the right people and putting your players in the best position to succeed. And sometimes that has nothing to do with strategy, it has to do with people skills, especially when you play in these markets, when you play in Boston and New York, you deal with things that no one else has to deal with. Fair or not, it is what it is. He does as good a job as anyone has ever done here at it, and he really is, I think, a highly underrated manager, a game manager.
We play a season here where everybody dissects, starting with you guys, everybody dissects every game as if it's a football game, pitch by pitch, inning by inning, move by move, and everybody wants him to manage every game of the season like it's a playoff game, and he understands he can't, he understands his players, he understands his people and he understands the long-term implications of all of that. He never wavers from who he is.
He said something to me a long time ago after the Philadelphia job had gone away, and he said, You're fired the day you're hired, they just don't put that date on your contract. If you stay true to yourself the entire time you wear the uniform, when that day comes, you go to sleep at night, and he's always stayed true to himself and to his players.

Q. How much do you know about Carmona? And does it mean anything to you that he's one of the hottest pitchers going right now?
CURT SCHILLING: I know enough to know I'd rather be facing somebody else. This kid is something else. I've watched him a couple games against us, and I've seen him on TV a couple other times. The game he threw in New York was just a dominating, dominating outing. He's as good as anybody I've seen this year, and he was consistent.
You know, it's been a long time, I think, since I've gone into a game being an underdog, but given the year he had and the way he's throwing, I can absolutely see why people think we're going to have a hard time winning that game. He's been phenomenal, he's been consistent, his stuff is electric, and he's been fun to watch.
Like I said, I'd rather be facing somebody else. But this is what it comes down to to me in October is, you've got to out-pitch the other team, much more so I think than in the regular season. We absolutely have a challenge these first two days.

Q. How do the Indians compare now to the team that you saw earlier in the season?
CURT SCHILLING: I would think that he would be, Carmona would be one of the huge -- I don't know changes, but back when we first played them he was still in decent -- people were like, wow, I wonder if this kid is going to be for real, and now here we are 19 wins later, and he is.
Their middle relief has been phenomenal, dominating, and you don't want have to count on middle relief to win any series, because that means the starting pitching isn't doing well. They've got arms in the bullpen, and you can say what you want about the guy at the end, but he led the league in saves. So he was doing the most important job in the bullpen and getting it done consistently.
I just think they've flown under the radar all year. I thought they were a much better team than anybody gave them credit for, top to bottom. Knowing the guys I know like Trot and Dellucci and the guys I know, it's a very good clubhouse, very loose. They beat a tough team in Detroit to win that division, and they are hot, and we're in a part of the season where two pitchers can carry you all the way through from a starting pitcher's standpoint, and they've got those two guys going right now, and that's going to be a challenge.

Q. Could you talk about some of the changes you've made since being injured.
CURT SCHILLING: Well, everything has changed stuff-wise. We just have taken a much different approach to starting a game, tempo-wise, my stuff, maybe not being as adamant about establishing my fastball as I am about establishing the change of speeds I need to use to get lineups out on a consistent basis.
You know, it really it ends up being, from a change standpoint it ends up being game dependent. I try to adapt and feel like I have five pitches to work with, and I'll go through a scouting report and try and assess what two pitches I have to have to get a team out, and I'll make sure those are working on the day of the game. It's just pure stuff has been the biggest change.

Q. Can you talk specifically about the improvement in your change-up since Spring Training? Is it a much different pitch, in your view, than it was when you were throwing it in the spring?
CURT SCHILLING: Yeah, in spring it was a work in progress, and now it's a pitch that I get outs with in October. I mean, that's as extreme a change as I guess you can have. John has worked diligently with me to get me over the mental hurdle as much as anything. And then part of it is not getting the pitch and getting confident with it, it's getting comfortable enough to actually use it in a game. Now we're in October and to have the confidence to use any of those five pitches with any count, any hitter is a very big change from where I was last February and March.

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