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AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: RED SOX v RAYS


October 10, 2008


Kevin Youkilis


ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA: Game One

Q. You have been 0-for against Shields before tonight. How did you find of figure out tonight, and what worked for you?
KEVIN YOUKILIS: Well, I mean, I don't think about that stuff when I play. That's more of a flash on the headlines or putting on the ticker when you're 0-for somebody.
But you can't put that in your head. You've just got to go out there with the numbers that you're due. I just told myself to go up there, try to lay off the changeup as much as I can and just try to see the ball.
I saw the ball pretty good today, and that one ball fell right down the right field line, and then I got a curveball and stayed in the zone that I capitalized on. He's a tough pitcher to face. He's one of those guys that's going to get you out a lot. You've just got to go up there and battle and grind it out.

Q. In the Division Series, the Angels' pitching staff did a pretty good job of keeping you and Ortiz and Pedroia all quiet. How much do you go into this series wanting to change that and bust out and do something in the postseason here?
KEVIN YOUKILIS: You know, last year I was the same way. I didn't have that unbelievable of a first round. I felt like I hit the ball all right in I guess Anaheim, ball hit deep to right center field in Anaheim that I thought could have had a chance to get out, and maybe back home if the ball carried, and lined out. I didn't feel like I was doing that bad, but I felt like I could do a lot better.
For me it was trying to find my swing, and it was a good thing tonight to just go up there and get good swings on pitches and lay off bad pitches and try and get comfortable, because this series -- every series is big, but this series is really big to go into the World Series.

Q. How impressive was Matsuzaka is the second through the sixth inning, and then getting out of the seventh inning after a runner at third?
KEVIN YOUKILIS: He looked unbelievable. It's amazing, we always joke how he gets out of these innings; he'll have bases loaded, nobody out; or first and third, nobody out, and he gets out of the jams. We wish he wouldn't put himself in those jams, but it's amazing how he does it, and that shows how greatest of a pitcher.
The one time I got to see a pitch was when I was shifted over and he threw a two-seamer to Carlos PeƱa that moved like a foot. It just looked like he had great stuff tonight, and he was very effective with all of his pitches, I think.

Q. Could you go through your second double at-bat, and then also on that double, did you see the ball was going to be caught? What did you see on that hit?
KEVIN YOUKILIS: Well, J.P. Howell is a difficult at-bat because he has a great curveball. He's got that two-seamer and he's got a good changeup.
I was trying to tell myself to get back early and look at the fastball and then try to react to the other stuff. I got that curveball that kind of stayed up a little bit and was fortunate enough to pull it.
I thought it was going to drop right off the bat, but Carl Crawford out there, he's not the most friendly guy to hitters. He can run down balls, he can make unbelievable catches, and luckily I think I got enough topspin on the ball to fall in. I think, tipping your hat to David, he ran well on that play to go to third base and allow me to get to second and get into scoring position. David ran well, and so did Pedroia, and all around us we were very fortunate for that.

Q. You alluded to this a little bit, but how important was going through last year to draw back on that experience this year, to not put too much pressure on yourself if you didn't get a couple of hits in the first couple of games?
KEVIN YOUKILIS: Well, I don't think you put pressure on yourself. In this series you're trying to win for the team. You can't put yourself above the team. You've got to go out and do the little things. You've got to move over runners. Sometimes you have to be a little bit more aggressive if there's a base open or something and they're trying to pitch you well.
You've just got to go all the little things to help your team win. You don't have to hit a grand slam, a home run every at-bat. You've just got to do the little things and get the pitch count up and have that ten-pitch at-bat. You're not always trying to have ten pitch at-bats; you're rarely going to hit the first or second pitch.
But the little things are just playing defense, running the bases well and grinding out at-bats. I think that's the biggest thing that you can do to help your ball team win in these series.

End of FastScripts




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