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October 20, 2009

Cole Hamels


Q. You had experience, last year's World Series, closing out being the starter for a game, closing out a series. What experience do you take from that into tomorrow night for this series this year?
COLE HAMELS: I don't. It's a new year. I've gone through different and new struggles, different successes. So truly, I'm just focused on going out there and just trying to do the best I possibly can. I know we do need to win one game, but that's not really the thought that I'm going to have.
I think when you start putting those thoughts in your head, you put more added pressure because last year in those same situations I wasn't thinking about that; I was thinking about going out there and executing pitch after pitch and trying to get this game in an opportunity where we can win, no matter if it was winning to clinch or just winning another ballgame.
I know how important it is to win at home, and I think that helps. I think it's going to be -- the atmosphere is going to be a lot more loud than it has been, and it's fine because it's been pretty loud. It's been quite impressive here the past couple games.
It's just going out there and executing. If I'm able to do that, then we can have that opportunity to win.

Q. What were you thinking when your team made that comeback last night? And what is it about this team that allows them to do that kind of thing?
COLE HAMELS: Total excitement. I mean, there's nothing else to explain. I think going into that game, we wanted to win. It's something where the situations of how they scored, we knew that they weren't going to beat us on an unearned run. It was something where we kept fighting. We know we have that sort of resiliency, and we're just more loose. I think when you're able to have the confidence in each other and not really put extra added pressure, you're able to go out there and compete the right way.
That's something that we were able to do, and especially against the pitchers that they threw out there. Sherrill and Broxton are very good at what they do, and we were able to get to them. It just shows that we really do have what it takes to get through or overcome difficult parts in a game.

Q. Based upon your performance in Game 1 against them, what do you want to see improved upon or enhanced upon when you see them again tomorrow night?
COLE HAMELS: Going deeper in the ballgame. Being able to pitch against the Dodgers' lineup, it's a very tough lineup, and you can't miss. And I think that's kind of where I got myself in trouble where I had myself set up in a lot of situations with two strikes and a lot of situations where I should have finished them off, but I wasn't able to do that.
And that's where I really do need to be smarter when it comes to those situations with two strikes. I need to make them chase or put them in play before that situation ever happens. I think that's kind of where I need to really be able to get them out, because if I'm able to do that, then I'll be able to go deeper in the ballgame, and hopefully give our team more opportunities and put the momentum in our favor and put more of the challenges and just the uncomfortable atmosphere for them.

Q. You talked about the excitement of last night's win. Do you try to ride, you personally, try to ride that excitement into tomorrow night's start? Do you put it out of your mind? Is there any benefit to any of that?
COLE HAMELS: You know, there's tons of benefit. Any time you're able to win in the fashion that we did, that's the best momentum you can possibly have. The crowd is going to be into it. We have the confidence, because when you put us against the wall and you're able to come through, then you know you can accomplish anything.
I think that's kind of where we're at. We have the confidence, we were able to do it against Colorado, and I think that brought the momentum into the Dodgers series. We had a couple bumps on the road in the first two games, but you look at the third game, we were able to come through. We were able to hit like we normally can.
Last night's game was tough, but we came through, and we won. I think that's something where you really do look and see the momentum that we can really bring, especially at home.

Q. But do you try to feed off of that when you go to the mound?
COLE HAMELS: Sure. I think you can feed off anything. Any time you're able to go out there after a victory, you want to keep it going. You want to get that victory. I think when you're capable of going out there and pitching and knowing if you do give up a run or two, we might be down, we still kind of -- I have that feeling that we're going to get that run back, and that's nice to know as a starting pitcher because no matter how many innings you pitch, you still have that confidence that your team is going to get those runs back, no matter what you're doing. So you don't have to be as perfect.

Q. You mentioned the resiliency and guys earlier talked about playing all 27 outs. How is that different for this team than all the other teams? And where does it come from, the managers or the personalities in the clubhouse? Where does that come from?
COLE HAMELS: You know, what we were able to accomplish last year, that gave us a lot of confidence. It really does show the type of personalities we do have. We're very free and easy, but we know what to do and we know how to get the job done when it really matters. That's something that really takes a team to become good. You have to be able to come through in the clutch situations, and we've been able to do that.
And we've been able to have fun doing it. Win or lose, we're very laid back and easy going. We just know that if one guy doesn't get the job done, the next guy is going to come up and pick him up. I think that's what really takes a team to become great, just in going out there and playing the game that we know how to play.
You can't put any more pressure on yourself or on your teammates because then there's going to be a lot of animosity, and just kind of the way that the team plays is going to kind of be jumbled up and not working as smoothly.

Q. I know you said that you always want to take the momentum from a win and carry it over, but particularly last night, the way that game went, it's kind of like last year, the Dodgers lost in a deflating fashion. You went back out there in Game 5, and Joe Torre said last night it was going to be a tough one to get past. So how important is it for you guys to set the tempo early in tomorrow's game?
COLE HAMELS: Very important. I think that really happened when we play Tampa Bay in the World Series. We were really able to take the games away from them, and you could tell in Game 5, weather permitting, that they didn't really have the jump in their step, and that was something that we tried to hammer down. You especially have to do it at home. You have the advantage. I mean, you have the fans, and especially these fans. They really can put more pressure on them, and if we're able to jump out early, we can ride that positive emotion and just the way that we play the game and the style, we can ride that all the way to the end, and I think it'll make it very hard for them.
But at the same time you can't count those guys out; they're very good. There's a reason why they won their division and have the best batting averages and some of the best ERAs and one of the top bullpens. They do know how to win, and you can't count them out until the last out. But at the same time if you do get the momentum, it's going to be a hard time stopping us.

Q. It's almost strange the way last year and this year, in this series, at least, is paralleling with the big come-from-behind win in Game 4 and then you on the mound in a clinching scenario in Game 5. Does that help that you've been there in almost this exact situation before?
COLE HAMELS: You know, it can. But at the same point, last year there was a little bit of different circumstances with the way I was pitching. You know, it was a little bit easier. This year has been a lot tougher. Things really haven't gone the way that I've wanted. I've given up the -- every time I've made a mistake, it's really hurt me, and I think that's something where I really have to minimize the mistakes.
And if I'm able to do that, because I have been in the same sort of situation, it'll just come back; that familiarity will just come back a little bit easier. I think that's what helps is the guys understand that. They know the struggles I've gone through, and they're trying to do everything they can to pick me up, and I'm trying to do the best I possibly can out on the mound. Baseball is a hard game, but you can't let it get to you, you have to keep on going out there and fighting until the end.

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