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October 8, 2010

Aubrey Huff


KATY FEENEY: Questions for Aubrey Huff.

Q. Aubrey, so we know how long you waited to be in the playoffs, and now having finally played in your first playoff game. What was it like for you?
AUBREY HUFF: Actually, I was calmer than I thought I would be. Having been in so many close games this year and the way we finished the season out with San Diego, that Sunday game against San Diego I was way more amped up than I was yesterday, so I think carrying that series that week and coming into the playoffs, there is no way that it could have been more tense than that. So I went out and took the field and it felt like a regular game to me, to be honest with you. I was very surprised.

Q. Aubrey, Jonathan has the start tomorrow --
AUBREY HUFF: Next day.

Q. Right, Sunday.
AUBREY HUFF: Or he would be here. That's why you guys took me.

Q. What changes have you seen in him over the last month or so?
AUBREY HUFF: Well, with him, I think, you know, you guys have always wrote it and we've said it, we've preached it, the guy throws strikes. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball, and I think that's the big key with him. When he's getting ahead, getting strike 1, he's as good as it gets left-handed.
It's hard to say he's got some of best stuff on the staff having seen what Timmy did yesterday, but he's got great stuff. And to be a third starter on this team goes to show you what kind of a staff we have.

Q. Aubrey, Bruce Bochy was just touching on how runs will be at a premium this series. How do you guys go about trying to do the little things to make that happen like you did last night?
AUBREY HUFF: You look around the league and you watch the playoffs every year, there is only a handful of games maybe that you see somebody score more than five and really blow somebody out. You know, I think there is no secret, when you get in the playoffs, pitching gets you there, defense gets you there. And you look at the teams this year that are in it, and everybody has exceptional pitching staffs, and a lot of times, you know, in the course of a game, the second inning could be the only time.
We had a couple of times last night, first and third, one out, and we hit a double play, and then there was a ground ball, and we didn't get it done. Games like that you've got to find a way to get those guys in. And I don't care how good your staff is going, everybody is capable of making a mistake and somebody running into one.
Every run means so much, especially having seen Derek Lowe last night the way he pitched. He pitched amazing. I have faced him a lot in my career, and I've never seen him with the sinker the way he had it going last night. And it doesn't get any easier tonight and doesn't get any easier in Game 3. So we have got to go out there and do the little things.

Q. Aubrey, what do you think of instant replay? There has been talk about expanding it, given the calls here in the postseason.
AUBREY HUFF: You're taking everything that's great out of baseball, the human element. And the umpires make mistakes, we make mistakes. You start talking about throwing a flag every time there is a questionable call, everybody is already trying to get games to go quicker and we're talking five hour games then, and nobody wants to do that.
The big plays are the home runs, those are big game-changers and those are the ones you have to get right. These guys out there are doing their best, and they're human, and we're human. And you start messing with instant replay, then you're changing the history of the game, which made the game so great.

Q. Aubrey, does it say something about American media and culture that your rally thong is a national story?
AUBREY HUFF: Is that what we're going to talk about right now?

Q. Don't want to?
AUBREY HUFF: Well, it doesn't matter, I guess. Once our guys -- where's Baggarly? Once he leaked it, it kind of went global.
So it's just something to kind of loosen the guys up when it started, and it turned out to be kind of a nice run. I couldn't stop and I'm wearing it right now, if you're interested (Laughter). Kinda get used to it. You know what I'm saying, Henry?

Q. Aubrey, you talked about how important the pitching has been for all of these teams in the playoffs, but at the same time, how eager are you guys as an offense to get things going and help Matt Cain get things going tonight?
AUBREY HUFF: When we score first, our record is pretty exceptional, especially at home. We've got to find a way to get up early, and it usually calms guys down. And our guys anytime, like you saw last game, can shut somebody down. But you also don't want to make it too hard on our starters. Timmy probably felt like if he gives up one mistake, it would have been such a travesty to tie that game 1-1, or we don't score at 0-0, and get an effort like that in the playoffs and not be able to capitalize and they come back and beat us in extra innings, that would have been a heartbreaker.
We've definitely got to step up the offense. We're not going to steal a lot of bags. We're not going to do a lot of bombing, which we have lately. But we're going to have to get guys on, bunt 'em over, get a big hit.
It's funny, throughout the season, we've scored a lot of runs. We get up early, 3-0, 4-0 in the second, and then we relax and everybody starts hitting. So the key is to get up early, and we're usually pretty dangerous when that happens.

Q. The personal calmness that you mentioned at the start, I image you want to maintain that? Do you think it would be easy to do so throughout the rest of the series?
AUBREY HUFF: I hope so. I mean, obviously, first game for me yesterday in the playoffs, been waiting 10 years to get there, and I can't imagine it getting more amped up than now. I've been there now. I can't say I have a ton of experience, just one game, but mentally for me, I just try to do the same thing.
I woke up in the morning, took my kids for a walk, went to the park, did the whole nine yards. Didn't sleep late, no naps, went to the yard like I do every day to get my work in, and treat it like any other regular season game. Obviously, they're not, but I think the more you go out there and treat it that way, the better it helps you.

Q. Aubrey, if I could skip ahead a game, you saw Tim Hudson back in August, and you saw him a lot back when he was in his prime in Oakland. How does he compare to the old Tim Hudson?
AUBREY HUFF: Well, you know, that's a guy down the road. I don't really want to talk about that right now. We've got Hanson tonight. And you start talking about -- I've heard ridiculous questions about looking forward to the Philly series. We've got to take care of this series first. So I'm taking care of Hanson tonight, not going to worry about Tim Hudson until that gets here.

Q. Aubrey, your first year here and there were a lot of changes during the season. It seemed like you were part of the welcome wagon, one of the guys trying to get everybody on the same page. Is that just part of your DNA? Is that part of what you came here today to be that kind of leader?
AUBREY HUFF: I've always been the kind of guy that likes to turn it up a little bit in the clubhouse, keep it loose. And I think when you do that, whether you're a rookie or a veteran guy -- I know when I came up as a rookie, I had older guys that rode me hard and it made it tough as a rookie. And I always told myself, I don't want to be that guy, because it makes it harder, and everybody is wearing you out and making it harder than it should be.
And I don't care if you're a veteran or a younger guy, if you're having fun in the clubhouse and everybody is having a good time and everybody really starts caring for each other, and I think that has a lot to do with winning on the field.
I don't think you can actually play baseball without a good group of guys that mix well together.

Q. Aubrey, you mentioned Hanson. Would you expand on him and what he brings to the mound against you guys tonight and your approach against him?
AUBREY HUFF: You look at the match-up with him and Matt Cain, they look like they're similar pitchers. Big, strong guys who go after you. He's got the same kind of fastball Cainer has, jumps on you. So you're going to have to go out there and -- is this his first start in the postseason? I believe it's Cainer's, as well.
So you like to see where they're at early, see if there is a panic level or if there is one at all. So kinda feel out what he's got the first inning or two, and then you can kind of go your way from there.
KATY FEENEY: Thanks Aubrey.

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