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October 16, 2007

Paul Byrd


Q. You neutralized one of the best teams in baseball over five innings. How?
PAUL BYRD: You know, I went out there, and my goal going in was to move the ball in and out, inside part of the plate, outside part of the plate. I think sometimes these guys can scare people and shy away from throwing the ball in, thinking they're going to hit another home run. So that was my goal going in, was to move the ball in and out.
I didn't really expect to strike anybody out. I was hoping to jam some people. I had a good fastball. I hit 90 miles an hour, which happens a few times a year. I high-fived a couple of guys in the dugout and said, hey, pick me up here, I just hit 90.
But Wakefield was really tough. He threw a great game, was phenomenal tonight, and I wasn't expecting very many runs, and next thing you know we have seven. So it was a great night for us.

Q. Last night Jake I think threw 21 out of 28 first-pitch strikes. You were at a high percentage tonight, too. Is that something you guys changed from Game 1, where you looked at Game 1 and saw the trouble that C.C. had getting behind and were more aggressive?
PAUL BYRD: Yeah, I think so, and this team right here is patient. They don't swing at bad pitches. If they fall behind, you have to come in the strike zone a little bit more. The strike zone shrinks in playoffs sometimes depending on which park you're at. I think our goal after the first game was to be more aggressive, try and get ahead in the count and make them hit our pitches.

Q. How helpful is seven runs for you in the fifth, and how long a wait was that for you?
PAUL BYRD: I mean, it was very long. As a starting pitcher you can get tight during that time. No excuses, though. I need to make better pitches when I go back out there. We had a 7-0 lead. I really wanted to get us seven, eight strong innings at that point and I was a little disappointed. If you would have told me coming in, you're going to have seven runs, you're going to have to sit for 35 minutes in the dugout, I definitely would have taken it. So it's a good problem to have.
It's a credit to our offense, which I think is a little bit overshadowed at times. We kind of sneak up on some people and you forget how potent this offense can be. Anybody in the lineup is a threat to hit a home run. It makes for some exciting comebacks, and you never feel like you're out of it. Even when there's a great pitcher on the mound, you feel like you have a chance.

Q. You mentioned the offense not getting a lot of pump. What about the defense of this team? The last couple plays, the play that Cabrera made tonight, the double plays, can you talk about how that picked pitchers up?
PAUL BYRD: I was saving that for the next press conference. I could talk about so many areas of our team. I could talk about the bullpen, I could talk about Fausto Carmona all day and the fact that he's turned it around and had a great season. Our offense, definitely our starting pitching.
Yeah, I do think our defense has gotten much better. Comparing it to last year, I think we've made a few adjustments. Cabrera made a few plays tonight. He doesn't play like a rookie. Gutierrez gives us a lot of speed in right field. All the way across the board, I think we can beat teams in different ways, and we're a very, very well-rounded team. And I do agree the defense gets overlooked, too.

Q. You're a contact pitcher. How much does that make your job easier not worrying with those guys behind you?
PAUL BYRD: It really, really helps me out a lot. The addition of Kenny Lofton, just we have a speedy outfield now. It's really important to me. As you know, I can give up some fly balls with the best of them, so I think that I become a better pitcher when our defense gets faster, especially in the outfield.

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