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October 21, 2009

John Lackey


THE MODERATOR: Questions for John Lackey.

Q. You typically would welcome a challenge like this, right? I mean, this is a serious pressurized situation, but you're warm to that?
JOHN LACKEY: Yeah, sure. It would have been a good game regardless. Whether we were facing elimination or trying to, you know, go up in the series.
So games this time of the year are big regardless.

Q. Is it fair to say in the first game you had some trouble with your breaking ball early in the conditions? And if that is the case are you excited about pitching in a more comfortable environment, I guess, for you?
JOHN LACKEY: Yeah, it would probably be a little bit nicer here tomorrow than it was in New York, for sure. But, it wasn't that huge a deal. I kind of found my breaking ball as the game went on there.
The weather didn't have much to do with it.

Q. What does a pitcher do with a great hitter like Alex Rodriguez who is in the zone that maybe even he has never been in?
JOHN LACKEY: I mean, you've got to pick your spots, obviously. It's tough to pitch around one guy in this lineup because they're so deep. But if I pitch up to my capabilities, I think I'll be okay. I've had a little bit of success against him.

Q. Do you think there's anything different you guys can do against A-Rod to kind of put a stop to what he's been doing so far in the series?
JOHN LACKEY: It would be nice to get the guys out in front of him. That kind of limits the damage right there. You've got to try to get those guys out in front of him, and hopefully he's hitting with nobody on base.

Q. From Scioscia to Hunter to Abreu to Figgins, everybody seems to be talking about the lack of offensive production. Are you feeling a little bit more under the gun because there hasn't been offensive production?
JOHN LACKEY: Honestly, in the playoffs it's hard to expect a lot of that, because you're going against great pitchers and you're going -- and the offense is sometimes tough to come by at this time of the year, for sure.
But I've got enough on my plate to worry about with their lineup. Our guys are great hitters. They'll be just fine on their own.

Q. How have you changed as a pitcher from when you first got into the Majors to now?
JOHN LACKEY: A lot. I was pretty -- I mean, the first time I did this I was pretty much a two-pitch pitcher. Now I've got variations of fastballs and breaking balls. I'm throwing probably five, at least five pitches up there. So I got a lot more options.
Back then when my breaking ball wasn't working, I was kind of in trouble. But now with more options, I have more things I can go to if one thing's not working.

Q. How much has your preparation and approach changed since you were in Game 7 in 2002, the postseason situation?
JOHN LACKEY: I mean the last couple nights I've been in the bullpen just in case. So this time of the year, I mean, you're going to be ready. If you're not ready, you know, there is nothing wrong with you. The adrenaline and things like that, it can carry you through maybe not feeling as good. Just the situation and the bigness of the game definitely helps.

Q. I'm sure you're aware the University of Connecticut lost one of its players over the weekend. I was wondering if from your experience you could offer some advice to the players on that team with how to deal with such a thing?
JOHN LACKEY: That's tough. I mean, I think that's -- I mean, that's a pretty personal deal. I think you've got to find your own individual way to deal with it. There's always differing degrees of how close guys were with the guy. But it definitely can affect you, but it can also bring you together as a team as well. Because you're going to be hurting, and there is going to be a void there for a long time.

Q. How much thought have you put into this possibly being your final game as an Angel?
JOHN LACKEY: That's not really up to me (laughing). I'm trying my best to just stay in the moment and try to help this team win and get on to the next game. I'm not looking any further ahead than tomorrow.

Q. In 2002 you get out of Game 7 versus the pressure of trying to win an elimination game now, is it a similar thing, is it a different thing?
JOHN LACKEY: I mean, then I was, what? I was 22, it didn't really -- I was just trying to help out the older guys and not mess it up, you know. Now I'm kind of one of those older guys that needs to step up and needs to help lead this team to another game. It's definitely a different feeling for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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