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September 30, 2008

John Lackey

Mike Scioscia

Mark Teixeira


THE MODERATOR: We have Mike Scioscia, Mark Teixeira and John Lackey, take questions for any of them, raise your hand.

Q. Mike, have you given thought to giving Gary Matthews Jr., a start against Lester, have you thought about that?
MANAGER SCIOSCIA: We have our lineup, we'll announce it after workout, we'll have it for you as soon as the work out is over.

Q. Mike, what are some of the differences in this year's match-up between the two teams compared to last year's match-up?
MANAGER SCIOSCIA: Well, I think it's night and day on our side, I don't think there is any doubt that we're a deeper club right now, and I think we're doing a lot of things well and hopefully we're going to bring to the field the style of play that we have had all summer and we really haven't been able to see in our past couple of times or series in the playoffs.
In '05 our first series I thought we had a deep team, we played well and beat the Yankees, who were a terrific club, the White Sox pitched well and played well against us and beat us and last year against Boston we were a skeleton club and we didn't play well and that's something hopefully we're going to get on the field and play well and I think show a more representative outlook of what our club is.

Q. John, you had two starts against the Rangers, the first was phenomenal, the second one wasn't so good, does it matter to you that the second one was the rough one?
JOHN LACKEY: Not really, no, I had a good bullpen session a couple days ago and I'm confident I'll be fine.

Q. Mike and then John. How do you, Mike, make sure this doesn't become mental, I know you were 8-1 against the Red Sox, and not thinking about how we got swept, and haven't won for 22 years.
MANAGER SCIOSCIA: 22 years, some of these guys weren't even born so I don't think we're going back that far. One thing that is important to us is our in-house focus. We have to bring our style of play on to the field and on to the field and in every aspect, whether it's pitcher/catcher, whether it's the running the bases, the batter's box, defensive positioning, everything that goes into the ballgame.
We have to focus on what we need to do and when we're playing well, the other team becomes the other team and that's when we are playing our best. This isn't a challenge as much of playing the Red Sox as it is us being able to bring our game on to the field and that's what we're going to focus on.
I believe in that and I think we're a deeper club now and hopefully we're going to see it. It's tough to lose when you're not bringing your best game on to the field. If you're bringing your best game on to the field and another team steps up and beats you, that's baseball, and you tip your cap, but we haven't been able to do that and that's important to us.

Q. John?
JOHN LACKEY: I don't think we look past the series at all, everybody in our clubhouse, the guy right here, we're a different team this year and I think we like our chances when we play our style of baseball and perform to our capabilities.

Q. Mike and Mark, a lot of people refer to you guys as a National League team in the American League the way you're so aggressive. Do you see some of that, having played for the Dodgers for years and Mark having just been on a National League team and coming over here do you see National League tendencies the way this team, the style. Can you talk about the style of this team?
MANAGER SCIOSCIA: I don't know if I buy the National League and American League style. I think it's baseball and you do what you have to do to win baseball games. If our lineup got very deep and we had 8 Mark Teixeira's in the lineup we would be playing a little different style but unfortunately our lineup is deep but not quite that deep so you do what you have to do to win ballgames. The make-up of our ball club over the last probably five or six years has definitely shifted to one with a little less power, a little more speed, having to have situational hitting as part of your offense, being able to manufacture runs on the bases and at the plate and that's the style we have adopted because we've had to. National league style or whatever, I call it baseball.
I think there are teams in the American League that have to do that because of the personnel on their club. There are teams in the National League that sit back and pound the ball because of their clubs. So I don't know if I buy the National League/American League kind of explanation of how you play the game. There is one way to play baseball and we have to do what we need to do to win ballgames and that's the style we need to play.
MARK TEIXEIRA: I agree with Mike, playing in the National League for a year, it's obvious without a designated hitter you might not score as many runs and when you put a pitcher into that spot there are a few less runs to be scored. Because of our pitching we don't need to score 10 runs a game. We can. We might win a game 10-8 but, you know, with the kind of pitching we have, chances are we're going to win 3-2, 4-1 ballgames and I think that's the difference.

Q. John, can you talk a little bit about the differences in the lineup that you will face, you know, versus the one you faced a year ago in the playoffs? In terms of the Red Sox and the dynamics that have changed in that lineup?
JOHN LACKEY: Couple of personnel changes a little bit, but still a formidable offense and they have guys that can swing the bats over there and we're going to have to pitch well to be able to win games. Obviously Manny not being there but Bay has come over and been a very productive player and looks to be a great hitter. So we're going to have to do the same thing that we failed to do last year, I guess.

Q. Mark, what factors went into your decision not to sign with the Red Sox after they drafted you out of high school?
MARK TEIXEIRA: Wow, way back! That was 10 years ago and for me -- what it came down to is that I was 18 years old and I wanted to have a little more fun. The low minor leagues, a lot of guys will tell you, are not fun and for me at that point of my career it was the beginning of what I thought was going to be a productive Major League career, hopefully, three years of college was a better option than, you know, low A-ball, rookie ball, kinds of things and I wanted to go to college for a few years.
MANAGER SCIOSCIA: I'm shocked you graduated high school and went to college, I didn't know that. (Chuckles.)
MARK TEIXEIRA: Georgia Tech, it's hard to get into that place. You only need about a 1400 SAT.

Q. John, what does it mean to you to be a number one starter on the game facing the Red Sox, first game of the playoffs, at home, what does that mean to you?
JOHN LACKEY: It's definitely fun to be on a team that has had success, win 100 games, set a franchise record but I don't look at the number system as far as starters, I just happen to be going tomorrow. We've got several guys that are good enough and capable to do it, just, you know, I happened to get picked, I guess.

Q. Mike, and Mark, as a manager to have Francisco at the back end of a game, how comforting of a feeling is that as you're trying to line up and position yourself? Is there a sense of finality, and Mark having been on the team earlier where they had struggles to close out a game, what is it like to be on a team when a guy comes in and it must feel like it's over?
MANAGER SCIOSCIA: Well you have to get those last outs, whether it's four, five, or six outs in a ballgame on a consistent basis if you're going to be a good ball club.
There are a lot of things that go into winning a ballgame and certainly the last outs of a ballgame are as important as a lot of stuff that happens over the course of that game. Having someone like Francisco lets us not only look at the last three outs but lets you look at the three or four outs ahead of those to be able to shorten a game and take some pressure off your starters, keep roles in your bullpen, and it works on both ends. I think our starters pitching so deep into the games is because they have gotten the ball to Francisco, but in the bridge between him whether it's Scot Shields or Arredondo or Oliver, guys that have been in that role have really just had to stay within themselves and get the couple outs, haven't had to be extended, so the whole thing works in a positive way and its kept the roles intact in our bullpen.
Those last three outs are vital and a guy like Francisco sets up the rest of your bullpen and it's been great for us.
MARK TEIXEIRA: As a hitter, when the game unfolds and you see yourself with a 2 or 3-run lead, you're thinking, let's get it to Frankie, let's keep pushing. If you don't have a closer out there that can't win games, you look at it as not enough and you think you've got to get more and you end up pressing, swinging at bad pitches when you're at the plate and when you're playing defense you tighten up a little bit because you gotta make every play.
I think with our bullpen -- our whole pitching staff, our entire team can go out and play the game that we know how to play. We don't have to do anything more. We don't have to score 10 or 15 runs, we can go out there and play the game and let Frankie close it out.

Q. Mike, as a player and manager, how would you consider the satisfaction level and as a manager, did it change you in any way, affect the way you went about the business after that?
MANAGER SCIOSCIA: It's more impulsive eating when you're a manager, I've noticed that. As far as winning as a manager or a player, this is a no-brainer, it's as a player. This game is about playing it. When you're in your backyard playing with your friends or your brother and you're out there and you're making up those games, you're the guy that's up in the batter's box in the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 outs that hit the grand slam, not the manager that makes the pitching change that hopefully wins the game.
So this game is about playing it. I was blessed to play on two championship teams with the Dodgers in '81 and '88 and as a player, those I hold in such high regard because it's done with peers, it's done with your friends, and you've accomplished really what this game is about, playing it.
Feels great on this side to achieve, feels great to accomplish, 2002 was a magical year and hopefully 2008 will be. But the feeling and satisfaction you get is in playing this game and it's something these guys will carry forward with them as long as they're alive that they have achieved as a player and I feel very blessed to be able to do that, too.

Q. Mark, as somebody who is a mainstay all those years in Texas and the offensive numbers that you put up, how much frustration did you feel there with all those stats and not being able to take it into the postseason?
MARK TEIXEIRA: It's very frustrating and I was sitting on the back porch with my wife last night and saying this is supposed to be the end of the season, now I can start playing golf and doing the things that I've been doing for the last five years, but it was -- there is such a satisfaction that neither of us -- it was like, hey, tomorrow you're going to work. Neither of us thought it was done.
And I think when you end a season and you have the great stats, it's done. And you move on to a normal life and you wait until string training next year. When you finish a season and you go to the playoffs, you could care less what the back of your baseball card says and that's what I'm excited about is I get to keep playing and hopefully in three and a half weeks I'm still playing and get a trophy with these guys and that's the difference.

Q. Mike, how did you end up with Lackey as your Game One starter? Was that the way the rotation fell or was it more to it than that?
MANAGER SCIOSCIA: We had opportunities to adjust our rotation through September with some things that happened with us clinching early and also maybe giving some guys a rest. This is an important game for us to have a guy with not only John's stuff, he's had a terrific year for us, but his presence and his make-up to go out there and if he's going to get beat tomorrow it's going to be because the other team stepped up and hit his pitches and beat him.
So that's important to us. He's going to be able to go out there and execute pitches and that's, I think, the mind-set you need for a guy who you want to be the lead dog in your rotation and John certainly is and we have a lot of good arms in our rotation, a lot of guys as John said that probably could do what we're giving John the opportunity to do, but there is no doubt he's throwing the ball extremely well.
He's had a terrific season. If he probably didn't miss the first seven, eight or nine starts early in the season he would be in the running for CY Young consideration. He's throwing the ball well and he's been there and we know he's going to go out there and give us an opportunity to win the ballgame tomorrow.

Q. Mark, with this being your first postseason experience, have you talked to any of your current teammates or maybe former teammates, even, coaches or managers about, hey, give me a head's up, what's this like when you jump into the fire?
MARK TEIXEIRA: I've talked to Torii about it, the first thing he said is you don't need to drink coffee in the morning when it's the day of a playoff game. I think that's going to be a welcome time for me. As the season goes on you get tired, you get worn down a little bit.
This season I haven't felt that one time because I knew I was getting to the playoffs and I knew that energy was going to be there. But he also said you have to focus that energy, this is not a game you can go out with your head cut off running around and swinging at every pitch that's thrown up there.
You have to focus your energy and swing at good pitches and play your game so Torii has given me good advice.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you guys.

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