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October 7, 2009

Cole Hamels


Q. I think most fans were surprised that you didn't get the start in Game 1. What was your reaction to it, and do you understand why they did it?
COLE HAMELS: That's not a big deal. You have to win three games to get to the next round. It's going out there and focusing on the game that I have to play tomorrow and trying to win that.
But most certainly we have to win today. I think it's just being able to play at home in front of our own crowd, that's just kind of what we're really focusing on at this moment, and I know tomorrow when that comes, I'm just going to go out there and just try to execute pitch after pitch.

Q. I guess there was a possibility in the postseason that at some point a pitcher would have to come back on short rest. Do you think if that happened at some point in this postseason you could physically do it?
COLE HAMELS: Yeah, I do. I think last year I had a lot of innings, just the wear and tear, my first healthy season. I think after you're able to do that, you're able to gain even more confidence and kind of want to push into other limits and just kind of seeing what I was able to do this year.
Again, being healthy, my arm felt great, and especially not reaching the amount of innings I did, I feel even stronger, so I know I can come on short days' rest. I feel like I'm kind of ready for that in my career. It's something where after a few years of just kind of going through what it takes to be a big league pitcher, I think now I can kind of take that on and good on short days' rest if I'm asked to.

Q. Obviously this is an exciting time for you for more than one reason. How do you balance the excitement of what could be another magical postseason run with the excitement of the soon to be birth of your child?
COLE HAMELS: It's definitely exciting. I know starting the year, we knew that that sort of situation was going to come up. You can't really predict the right type of timing, but I knew one thing we could do was get to the postseason. So that was kind of the focus of my teammates and myself, and for my wife and I, to really expect any day now for our child, it's just a miracle in itself. I think it's going to be a fun, exciting time for both of us and for my teammates because we're a family ourselves.
We had a couple guys have kids this season, and it's just kind of something that brings even more joy to all of us because even though we are these big-time athletes, we still like to enjoy the little things, and I think that's kind of trying to be a dad, and even some of those times a good friend to a teammate.

Q. Brad Lidge said something after you guys clinched, and he said he was joking around with you about how you're on your own now. Can that help, even just knowing that you're mentally reset right now and nothing really before this matters? I know both of you guys have had a frustrating season with some bad luck and stuff like that. But can it help really, just being like we're back to zero now?
COLE HAMELS: I think it does because you get into a season and sometimes you know you have a bad game after another, and there's no opportunity to even salvage or make it look somewhat of a decent year. So that's kind of something you battle through. But you have to learn something about yourself and really try to learn about the importance of trying to make every day a new one and forgetting about what you did the last game.
I think the postseason, though, it actually does prove that things do start over. You try to take all the momentum you've gained through the season and all the lessons you've gained and really try to apply it, because this is the time when you're needed most and you know what you're capable of doing.
I think Brad and I, we were definitely happy for it because it's another opportunity. If we didn't have this opportunity this year and we just kind of were heading home right now and watching, I don't think we'd be as excited, just because of what we weren't able to help our team out or make it to the postseason, but luckily enough our team did what we intended to do, made the postseason, and now it's going out there, starting over and doing what we can do best, and that's helping our team win.

Q. You've talked about how much you love big games. Clearly you proved it last October. Is there something about your preparation, your focus that's maybe sharper or a little bit heightened this time of year that allows you to be able to have that success?
COLE HAMELS: Yeah, I think I've been fortunate enough to be able to pitch at home. I think any time you're able to pitch here in Philadelphia, and especially on the right side of Philadelphia fans, it's exciting. You kind of take that energy and you try to channel it and direct it towards the opposing team.
You know, it's just kind of -- it's been something where I enjoy it as much as they do. It's just getting that opportunity. We know we have a good team, and it's just knowing that I do have a job, not trying to make it as drawn out as it can be or putting too much pressure on the situation, and just kind of going out there and really trying to break it down into the basics of baseball, because I've been playing this game for so long, that preparation that it's taken me to get to where I am today, I kind of have to go back and use that because you can kind of psych yourself out. That's something that you don't want to do in this sort of situation with what's at stake.

Q. After last year's success, I think a lot of people just assumed that you're going to throw eight shutout innings or nine shutout innings. Do you feel that kind of anticipation about your starts and kind of what do you make of that now that you've had such good success in the past, expect it now in the future?
COLE HAMELS: I think that's kind of what I expected to start the season off, and I think that's what the fans expected me to do was to go every game out there and throw eight shutout innings.
And all of a sudden be standing here right now holding the potential Cy Young, but that's not the case. Baseball is a hard game. You have opponents that are really trying to get after you, and I think it's something where the expectations if you really start to fall into those sort of expectations, you can really get yourself in trouble, and putting too much pressure on yourself can be a mental mind game, and that's not really what you want to happen. You just don't want to make it too hard on you.

Q. How does last year's success affect your mindset entering this postseason compared to the previous two, the added confidence?
COLE HAMELS: You know, I know my teammates know what I'm capable of doing, I know what I'm capable of. It's just a matter of being able to repeat what I can do best, and that's going out there and trying to set the tone early. I'm the first one out in the first inning, so it's kind of what you have to do. You have to set the tone.
And then it's kind of the same situation with Jimmy (Rollins). He's the first hitter to lead us off, so he kind of sets the tone. It's kind of if you can get it in your favor and get the crowd with you right off the bat, then it'll favor us.

Q. I apologize if this was asked earlier, but did you have a chance to watch last night's tie-breaking game? And the reason I ask is I want to know if you guys as players still get caught up in the drama of what's going on within your league?
COLE HAMELS: Of course. I was watching it in between dinner, and it was just every time I turned around something exciting was happening. It's almost where I was glad I wasn't either one of those teams' fans because of the nerve-wracking situations that they had to go through. But just as a fan of baseball, it was just really exciting to watch. I think that's what baseball really needs are games like that.
That really kind of brings the momentum to the postseason. I mean, that really gets that excitement going. Both teams did a tremendous job. It's unfortunate that one team has to go home and one team does advance. They're playing today; that's going to be tough. But it really was one of the better baseball games I've ever been able to watch.

Q. A lot has been made, especially by the fans, about the day start. I know historically you've performed better at night, and last year you guys played at night throughout the entire postseason. Do you think it matters at all, the day start from a player's perspective and from the game perspective?
COLE HAMELS: You know what, from the game perspective, you can't let it affect you because you can't use it as an excuse. Really, we have to go out there and we have to play the game and we have to try to win. But in being the defending world champs, I think it's kind of a little weird that we kind of get both games at 2:00 o'clock. I don't think it's fair. I definitely don't think it's fair for the fans, because this is all about the home-field advantage or just baseball in general.
I understand TV ratings, but I think at the end of the day, most players would rather play when they're both comfortable, and that's kind of what we've trained at, either 1:00 o'clock or 7:00 o'clock, and I think that's more fair for us than really the TV ratings, because truly, I don't think we mind as much for TV ratings.
We want to get ourselves to the World Series and win it, and that's all that matters. It's not how much money we can make in the process of playing this game, because truly, being a world champ, that's what we really live for, and to be able to experience it, I want to be able to experience it again. And I know that all these baseball players that are playing today want to be able to experience that. What better way than to get more of a situation that we're kind of used to in playing, to have the fans at the stadium, because that's what really matters is having them there to watch.
We can understand that people want to watch it on TV, but I don't know too many people that are going to be watching this game at 11:00 on the west coast.

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