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October 25, 2007

Clint Hurdle


Q. It seemed like Jimenez gave you a great start to the game there, and eventually they seemed to kind of wear him down a little bit towards the end.
CLINT HURDLE: Is there a question in there somewhere?

Q. What were your impressions of it? I'm sorry.
CLINT HURDLE: You know, I thought for a first-year player up here, pitching in this venue against this ballclub, he gave us everything he had, man, he put us in a good position. They're a very disciplined team. We know that. We knew it going in. We knew it in June. We know it now. They made him make some pitches, elevated his pitch count a little bit, but he battled. He made some big pitches tonight. There's a lot of growth for him out there tonight.

Q. How discouraging is it for your staff, the number of walks they've given up in these first two games? You haven't had that problem in a while.
CLINT HURDLE: Well, it's disappointing. It puts you in positions you don't want to get into. That being said, we've got to find a way to correct it. Walks -- and tonight again in the fifth inning, you get two outs, nobody on. Two outs, nobody on, they scratched out a run.
We haven't helped ourselves when we've been able to. We've made enough mistakes that we've cost us a little bit, and we've put ourselves in a hole down two games. We've got a tough challenge ahead of us, but the reality is we get to go home now and play some baseball.

Q. Can you talk about the Boston pitching the last two games?
CLINT HURDLE: It's been effective. We scored two runs in 18 innings in this ballpark. That makes it tough. That makes it tough to win. And the guys on the bubble gum cards are pretty good, too. They had some pitches to hit tonight, didn't square it up, and Schilling got us some good routines. He's a competitor. He got the better of us.

Q. How much do you expect the dynamics of the games to change, one, going to your park, and two, taking whoever it may be, a big part of your lineup out of the lineup in the NL games?
CLINT HURDLE: We'll see how it plays out. Obviously they built their ballclub for a DH, for 150-some games, they're going to have a big ham on the bat swinging it. They'll have to make an adjustment. They're a good ballclub. It'll still come down to pitching. Our hometown crowd is probably looking forward to this as much as anything in a long time. I think they'll be very responsive. We can use the support, and it should be exciting when we get back.

Q. You've been obviously very successful there over the course of the last couple of months especially. Do you think you'll go back to the home whites on Saturday, and what do you think you will do to change this thing up?
CLINT HURDLE: I didn't major in fashion design. I usually stay out of that. I don't make any uniform selections.

Q. Who makes those decisions?
CLINT HURDLE: Sometimes the pitcher does, sometimes Keith Schultz, our clubhouse guy does.

Q. But you've been staying with the black the whole --
CLINT HURDLE: We flipped it over tonight. You know what, I don't know where this is going (laughter). I think you're asking the wrong guy. I anticipate us playing better baseball when we get home. We've been comfortable at home. We've been resilient at home. Again, our crowd will be a big part of it. We want to put a good product on the field, get this thing headed back in our direction, get some people making some noise for us, get our offense kick-started and see if we can win a ballgame. Game 3 is what this whole thing is about for us right now.

Q. What kind of impression did you have about Okajima? Do you have like a similar pitcher from the National League?
CLINT HURDLE: This is our first viewing of him. We've watched a lot of tape of him. We watched him pitch obviously most recently against Cleveland. He's very effective. He can speed you up, slow you down, he throws strikes, he's got some deception. He's been a big part of their bullpen, a big part of their success over there. Anybody similar, not right off the top of my head, and I think that adds to his deception a little bit.

Q. I think you had five strike-outs looking tonight. Talk about the need to be more aggressive with two strikes.
CLINT HURDLE: Well, I mean, I'll have to look at the videotape. Sometimes you see exactly where the pitches are to have the opportunity to do that where the balls caught a lot of the plate. It's hard to tell from the vantage point I have. We need to get more quality at-bats and play, there's no doubt about that. It's kind of limited tonight. We had some pitches to fire on early in counts, we didn't square them up. When your offense isn't clicking, that's kind of what you see a little bit. We've been good with two strikes for most of the season. We've got to find a way to revisit that.

Q. How did Schilling look different from when you saw him in June?
CLINT HURDLE: We got the ball where we wanted to probably with more consistency. It's well-known good pitching is going to handle good hitting in this game, and he's got as much experience as anybody pitching in the game right now. He's able to get the ball down and away. He mixed his pitches up enough. He was able to change speeds, was able to work in his split and threw some curve balls, but basically he hit his spots, stayed away from the middle of the plate, didn't elevate much at all. He stayed away from the barrel. That's what he can do.

Q. You're going to see the stats from now until the game is played, Game 3. Teams that are down 2-0, chances don't look good. But what makes you confident, aside from the fact you're playing at home? What makes you confident that these guys can come back and get back into this series?
CLINT HURDLE: Well, we've done a lot of things that people haven't expected us to do all year. That being said, again, our focus will be on winning Game 3. But like I said, we've been down to one strike. We've been down to one strike, going home. Game 3 is the most important game for us. All we need to do is win, what, four out of five? Depends how you look at it, but we've got to win Game 3. That's where our focus is.

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