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October 3, 2008

J.P. Howell


THE MODERATOR: Questions for J. P. Howell.

Q. Coming in and just being dominant tonight, you had three strikeouts and the electricity in Tropicana Field, what was that like for you?
J. P. HOWELL: Oh, man, it was quite an experience, I think. The crowd helps me out a little bit. I tried to put all the energy into the pitch and steer away from looking at the environment and atmosphere. I tried to do my thing and get in the groove, and it worked out tonight.

Q. You mentioned before last night's game that you were a little nervous about when it was going to happen. What kind of helped you ease into the whole playoff atmosphere yesterday and then out here today, and did yesterday help you at all?
J. P. HOWELL: I think definitely. It feels like we're back in the middle of the season again. All those days off. You have four days off. Then you go into the first game and you have a little more nerves flowing through your blood. So just getting back into the rhythm of things helped me out a lot. And just the atmosphere in our clubhouse is really good right now, so we're trying to keep it like that and go day-to-day as we've been doing all year.

Q. Your first season as pure reliever, have you learned to just feed off these big moments? You know, tying run on second, sold-out crowd, seventh inning. These moments you used to be maybe wary of. Do you kind of feed off those moments and look forward to them now?
J. P. HOWELL: Definitely. I had a lot of practice as a starter getting in some jams and trying to get out of them. So I think that has a lot to do with this relief role. And channelling all my energy and nervousness into the pitch. That's the key. I think that is the biggest battle as a relief pitcher is not looking around the atmosphere and letting those nerves get to you.

Q. Any doubt now that you guys will sweep, the way you took two here and the way everything seems to be working the way it did all year? Any doubt at all?
J. P. HOWELL: Oh, yeah, man. These are the Chicago White Sox. They're a veteran team. They can come back and win three easy if you let them. We gotta go like we have been. We don't have to win one more to clinch. We just have to win one more the next day whenever we play. We're not trying to look too far ahead and win three in one day or win two in one day. We're trying to go one at a time, and if we lose that day, we're ready to move on and try to win the next game the next day.

Q. You had the strikeouts looking -- just you were working inside, outside the plate. It's just a matter of how you have it set up or was it just a matter of finding your groove on the strike zone?
J. P. HOWELL: That's it, man. These hitters, you've got to go right at them, but at the same time you can't give them too much of the plate, and you've got to mix it up. They're really good hitters, and they can take you deep at any time. So you have to attack them and not walk them, and when you walk them, you get in a lot of trouble. So I was just trying to go in and up, up, down, and keep their eyes moving all over the dish; and it worked out for me tonight.

Q. You came in with those two guys around. What was your approach to the next two hitters as far as what you knew and what you knew you could go after them with?
J. P. HOWELL: I was just trying to keep the ball down in that situation. I can't be as aggressive with my misses. I have to go right at them and make sure the ball's in the zone good enough to hit and not good enough to miss.
So it's one of those situations where you're going for contact a little bit more than you would be normally until you get about two outs. Then you start going for the strikeout maybe.
In that situation, though, you just want to keep it down and on the ground on the infield, especially with these guys. They're trying to liftoff, and the main thing is down and mix it up, inside and out.

End of FastScripts

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