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October 24, 2007

Curt Schilling


Q. There's so much World Series pitching history in Boston. You can go see the Cy Young statue where he threw the first pitch in series history. Babe Ruth pitched a World Series on this field. What's it mean to you to be part of that and be stepping into that part of history?
CURT SCHILLING: Well, none of them are pitching for us, unfortunately (laughter). But I don't know, I don't think of it in terms like that. I know we've gotten here on this really cliché one day at a time approach, and we've got the best pitcher on the planet going for us tonight. So I mean, that's the way I think we'd look at it or I look at it certainly. It's exciting to be a part of it, but it really is a one day approach, one day at a time.

Q. There was a time where you knew what you were going to do every time out. You were automatic. It's a little different for you now. I wonder how frustrating that is to think you are going out prepared and not always having the stuff to get done what you want to get done?
CURT SCHILLING: Well, the frustrating part of it is gone. That was part of getting to the point of using the stuff effectively was getting past the frustrating part of it, accepting the fact that I'll go out and get loose and whatever it is, it is, and whatever I have has to work.
You know, I think what it really has done is placed a lot more emphasis on the preparation aspect of it, and the amount of time and effort I have to put into watching video and going through the scouting reports, whereas before it might have been I'm not comfortable doing X or Y, I can throw my fastball here. Now it's having to find multiple ways to do things to different hitters, for a Todd Helton, for example, that I faced literally 80, 90 times. I'm a very different pitcher now. He's a different hitter but not that different. So whereas I used to be able to exploit with one pitch exclusively, now I've got to be able to use multiple pitches in different spots.
I mean, the frustrating part of it went away during the second half, and now it really has become a matter of more preparation and more effort in the pregame stuff.

Q. Second half of the season?

Q. Last time you faced the Rockies, were they just dialed into you or did you have an off night?
CURT SCHILLING: They're good. I mean, they were good. I would like to think it was a combination of not throwing well, not executing well, but that's a good team. They were a good team then and they swung the bats well then.
I've been watching that game and I certainly didn't command the ball well at all, but it's a pretty good offensive team. It's one of the few teams I think we've played over the last couple of years in the National League that was structured more offensively like an American League team with a lot of guys swinging the bats. And some guys as the season went on coming into their own. The game I pitched, the change-up for the home run was kind of the back breaker. But that game, that series, I mean, in most sense has no effect on this series, other than maybe for them to get to know us a little bit and us to get to know them.

Q. Tim said he was going to start Game 2. When did you find out that you were starting Game 2, and has that changed your preparation?
CURT SCHILLING: I found out when Tito told me, which was at some point I think yesterday, and no, I mean, I was getting ready to pitch Game Two, Three or Four, whatever it was going to be. It hasn't really changed anything.

Q. When you watch Beckett, do you -- I know you're a fan of his, but do you think you know what he's going to pitch next, or do you play that game? Do you say I'll bet he throws this?
CURT SCHILLING: Yeah, to an extent. I do that with everybody. Trying to get a feel for the flow of the game and tempo and pace and stuff like that. Yeah. But watching him is different than watching everybody else right now. He's so locked in, and he's so -- his stuff is just -- the thought that his stuff is more dominant now than it has been at any point in the season is impressive because we're at the tail end of the season. He's 200-some innings into it, and he's throwing his fastball better command-wise, better velocity, throwing his curve ball, better command-wise and velocity-wise, and a better change-up than he has all year long, and that's some incredible stuff to watch.

Q. You're kind of your own tough act to follow after 2004. Is there any way you or the Red Sox can -- can you talk about that, and anyway you and the Red Sox can top that this year?
CURT SCHILLING: I don't know that we need to top it. It's the same goal. You're trying to win four out of seven first. We did that in '04. I mean, I don't see any parallels other than being able to -- this last series maybe draw a little bit on the comeback and the mentality that we took through the 04 comeback against the Yankees into that series with the Indians. But I don't see parallels or the ability to draw on that or the ability to compete against that. Entirely different scenario, entirely different situation, entirely different team on both sides of the ball.
The two best teams in the world are left standing right now, and it's going to be a grind for either one of us to win four games. This is going to be a hell of a series.

Q. He doesn't get the fanfare of David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez, could you describe how important Mike Lowell's contributions have been to what this team has accomplished this year?
CURT SCHILLING: Well, I mean, as classy a teammate as I've ever had, to start it off. On and off the field he's a man to man, a professional. I have no idea what it takes to play every day in the big leagues, the physical and mental grind that it is, but I know he is as good as it as anybody I've ever met. Aside from his fantasy football team struggling, he hasn't had a bad week this year (laughter). He's stayed consistent, and he has -- early in the year he had a little bit of a defensive hiccup, and he still I think was the Gold Glove third baseman in this league. He never takes his offense on the field, he never brings his defense to the plate. He's one of those guys that we'll always remember and having been proud to play with as a teammate and as a friend.

Q. Both times in the last round you matched up with Carmona, a Cy Young candidate. I know you're not actually going to face Jimenez in the batters box tomorrow, but is it somewhat strange to be matched up with a guy that is fairly anonymous, that you might not know that much about?
CURT SCHILLING: No. I think when it comes to matching up with the other team's pitcher, I think there's a couple different schools of thought. There's some guys who say I don't have to pitch against the other guy, you just have to pitch against the lineup. For me I've always tried to use that as incentive when you pitch up against somewhat of a Rafael Carmona's stature, C.C., people like that because it gives me more adrenaline. I'm probably just as worried when you face somebody that isn't well known that situation like this because those end up being guys that everybody does know after a game like tomorrow.
So I've heard nothing but rave reviews about his stuff, and he's done well in the postseason, which means he's answered the first question, which was can he handle the pressure. Secondly, he's never faced a lineup like ours, so I'm hoping that that's a good thing for us.

Q. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about how your relationship with John Lester has evolved over the last year plus, what kind of counsel you can possibly offer him in advance of possibly starting Game Four, and how you think he's suited for that moment, if it does come.
CURT SCHILLING: I mean, I don't think I'm an exception. I think there's a lot of guys in that clubhouse that are like me when it comes to Johnny. I remember the other night when we were on the field and we won it, I said to him, how awesome when you think about where you were a year ago and where you are now, a chance you're going to pitch in the World Series. His situation I think had a profound effect on all of us, being able to see him go through it, having knowledge of who and what he was before he went into that, coming out of it the way he did, coming back the way he did, ups and downs of the season.
You know, the beauty of, I guess, speaking from someone that knows and is married to a cancer survivor, the beauty of it is that Game Four of the World Series is going to be a whole lot different than had he not gone through what he went through. There's no mountain he can't climb, no hurdle he can't jump. I'm sure he's still going to be nervous, but what I'll talk to him about, it won't be anything outside baseball. It might be things that he might be able to do, trying to make sure he'll actually be able to breathe when he steps on the mound. It's a challenge for a young pitcher, but at the end of the day there's nothing he's going to see in Game Four that doesn't just -- isn't dwarfed by what he's already beaten and overcome.

Q. You've been able to go on five days or more, on extra rest so far in the playoffs. How will you do going on regular rest?
CURT SCHILLING: I'll be fine. I think that a lot of their approach with me was that if you can get the extra rest, good. If not, fine. I mean, mentally I didn't have to have it. I think it helped. But I don't think it's going to have any effect whatsoever on my stuff and my ability to pitch and to win.

Q. Can you talk about Dustin Pedroia's defense?
CURT SCHILLING: Highly underrated, undervalued and overlooked. He played second base as well as anybody, and the thing that I remember hearing from Pat Murphy, who I know very well, his coach at ASU, a couple years ago after I had seen Dustin for the first time, when you meet Dustin for the first time, you kind of step back a little bit because he's not that usual Minor League kid with a relaxed demeanor. He's somewhat, I'm going to kick your ass and there's nothing you can do about it. That's a little different. When you're 5'2" it's obviously very different (laughter).
But Murph told me that one of the things about Dustin that he had never seen before is if he gets through the ball, it's an out. Guys that know baseball don't say that about a lot of people, and it was true. Defensively he had a phenomenal year, and I speak first hand because he did some things behind me that was spectacular, but I enjoyed the fact that he and I were very much in tune when he pitched. I need my infielders to communicate and I need them to be on their toes and make adjustments on the fly, and I talked to them in depth about it, about moving around based on pitch selection and not always having to turn around and move them myself. He was another guy who I felt was in the field defense was the priority, and he never let it affect his offensive game and vice versa.

Q. You have a lot of experience pitching in Coors Field, yet as the Game Two starter you're the one guy who won't. Are you happy about that, and how big is the difference in your approach between when you're starting in the two ball parks?
CURT SCHILLING: You know what, honestly, I didn't care. If I pitched there, I pitched there. The other guy has to pitch there, as well. Coors Field was always one of those things that the numbers -- I don't know that anybody comes and pitches in Coors Field on a consistent basis that has good numbers. It's a tough place to pitch. That being said, I always looked at it as I'm not going through this by myself. The other guy has got to do the same thing that I have to. The other thing I ever took away from Coors Field, other than the obvious effect of the air and the altitude on your stuff was physically it was tougher for me after pitching a game there, bouncing back was not the same. I was always much more sore. I felt like I had to work harder to make things happen there from a pitcher's standpoint. And there were times when I adjusted my stuff because I knew my pitches would not be the same there as they were in other places.
There's adjustments you have to make, but again, you're not the only guy having to make them; the other guy has to, as well.

Q. Have you allowed yourself any opportunity to think this might be your last series for the Boston Red Sox?
CURT SCHILLING: I've thought about it. I've had a couple starts now where it could have been my last one. It's not something beyond the initial disappointment of the possibility. I haven't really thought about it in depth. I'm playing in my fourth World Series and second as a Boston Red Sox, so I certainly have nothing to be upset about or regretful for.

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