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October 18, 2010

Cole Hamels


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Cole Hamels.

Q. You had a lot of games this year where no runs were scored for you. One run was scored for you. At least outwardly seemed like you handled it all with a tremendous sense of equilibrium. Have you had to learn how to deal with those kinds of frustrations and what do you think got to you this point?
COLE HAMELS: I think when you're playing for a game, the only thing that I can really effect is the way that I pitch. So if I'm able to go out and do my job and make pitch after pitch, it's not like I'm expected to hit a home run or move guys over as much as I can, I don't have those types of opportunities.
I think my main job is to pitch. So that's kind of just been my main focus. And if you're not able to have the games that you want or your team's scoring a tons of runs, you really can't ask for anything else because my main job is to go out and try to hold the opposing team to the least amount of runs as possible.
That's kind of what I was able to do. At the same point, that's just baseball. And I think nowadays, where baseball's finally becoming the pitcher's game, that's kind of what you're going to have to expect now.

Q. You had such success obviously two Octobers ago in 2008. I'm curious, sort of based on that sort of what's different about pitching in these kind of games and how much you enjoy the postseason sort of caldron?
COLE HAMELS: Postseason is where it's at. It's the ultimate time to really show what type of player you are, the type of pitcher you are, and really to obviously enjoy the type of moment, because not too many guys will ever get to experience this.
Especially where we've been able go year after year and get really far with winning the World Series one year, making it to the World Series the next. Those are just the types of games and the moments that when you set foot in Spring Training that's the ultimate goal for the whole team to go out and enjoy.
And we've been able to do it. So you kind of just take it in, and you try to do the best you possibly can.

Q. I know one of the biggest differences between where you're at now and a year ago is developing a third pitch, fourth pitch. Do you remember like a time and place where you felt the cutter, where you felt the most comfortable with it and this is a pitch I can use and be very comfortable with? Also, how do you balance how much you use it, or is that something that you and Chooch talk about before the game?
COLE HAMELS: I think being able to watch Cliff Lee last year throwing the cutter and how much it really helped out this game and having Roy Halladay come over and seeing what a significant pitch it is to his repertoire, I felt it could be a very good pitch for me to add especially because it goes the other direction as a change-up.
It's just a few different miles an hour off in between a fastball and a change-up. So it's just kind of makes it a little bit harder for hitters to really pick a pitch and a specific location to really get there type of better approach.
It's a pitch that you have to throw. And even if you're not comfortable with it or confident with it, you have to throw it in order to be able to learn and master it. There's never a time or place that's going to be the right time; you have to eventually make it.
I think if you're able to go out there time and time again and work through it, it will eventually come. And I think that's the whole process of muscle memory. That's what it took with everybody's fastball, being able to locate that. Eventually curveballs and change-ups. It's just another pitch I've been able to learn and just kind of the timetable where you kind of -- in the Big Leagues it takes a little bit. You have to be a little bit quicker.
You don't have the fortunes of the Minor Leagues where you can work on something for a whole year or two years and not really have to worry about the results. Up in the Big Leagues you really have to worry about the results.

Q. Again, Spring Training, when you threw that pitch, do you remember specifically when that cutter -- when you threw it and you said this is a pitch that I can use?
COLE HAMELS: I'd say probably during the season. During Spring Training it was great, but I think at the same time you're working on all four pitches to try and hurry up and get ready for the season.
But during the season, I think it was the game against the Florida Marlins. Might have been my third start. That's kind of where I felt confident that I could really throw this pitch and I actually got to see some results from it.

Q. Cole, the winner of the next game is going to take the lead in this series. How pivotal is Game 3?
COLE HAMELS: Just a game.

Q. If they were to ask you to pitch on short rest perhaps or Game 6, is that something you'd be fine with? And I know you've never done it before?
COLE HAMELS: I think that's kind of the new -- when you get to the postseason that's always something that comes up.
I think I've been here enough to where I feel confident I could do it. Unlike there's kind of the unknown, just for the fact because I've never had that opportunity, but I think at the same time you're going to have to make those opportunities.
And I'm definitely ready. I've been healthy all year. I've been strong throughout the postseason. I still feel very confident that I could do it if asked upon. I know there's probably a few guys that were able to do it with the Braves organization and trying to get to the playoff run and showing they could do it. I know the Giants were trying to do that, too.
But at the same time we do have four really good pitchers, and it takes a whole team to really try to win game after game. So if we come to a situation where that comes up, I'm definitely ready. But that's kind of the point where the manager has to make those decisions, and I just have to go with it and be in the best possible shape I can be in to be in the game.

Q. A little earlier in your career there was a discrepancy between your success in day ball as opposed to night games. Statistically you did better in night games. That's evened out in the last couple of years. Is there any reason for that, or do you think that's just sort of a natural process? Has adding the pitches help you in day games at all?
COLE HAMELS: It's just a stat, I guess. I don't know. We have to pitch in a game we have to pitch in a game. Sometimes it doesn't go well. Unfortunately, there's more night games than day games. I think that's where you have to -- things can get skewed.

Q. You alluded to Roy's influence and you developing the cutter a little bit. Could you elaborate a little bit what Roy sort of meant to you this year and kind of -- I don't know, kind of providing a little bit of a mentor relationship or whatever and helping you kind of take that next step this year?
COLE HAMELS: Which Roy? Just kidding (laughter). You know, having a guy that's had a tremendous career. He's gone through the ups and downs in his baseball career, and obviously he's had more ups now than downs.
So you just kind of take it where he has the knowledge to go out and succeed. And he wants -- every game he starts he wants to finish. You kind of -- he takes pride in what he does. I think that's where you have to watch is how hard he works. And to see the results. You can get a better idea of who he is, because he goes out and gives it 100 percent. And even the days you're not feeling the best you possibly can he still pushes through.
I think that kind of just brings up your game. I think he's helped out all of us pitchers because we've seen who he is and how he is on and off the field, and he's made us want to become even better.
When you have that motivation, I think that's kind of what it takes to be a better pitching staff, is to have another guy to even push you even further. I think we've been able to have that with a few guys on the team where you have Jamie, and he's still being able to do this game at this top level, that's something pretty special right there.
So I think it's helped because the Phillies have done a really good job with taking home-grown guys and still they really try to take that. And when you have those guys, they can -- in the Minors, they can see what it takes to be a Big Leaguer on this team, that's going to make your team a lot better.
And to have him, he's been a great guy and a great addition. I can't take anything but positive experiences away.

Q. Cole, Charlie was in here earlier telling us how --
COLE HAMELS: He was? (Laughter).

Q. -- telling us how he thought you learned a lot from the struggles from last year. From your perspective, what is it that last year taught you?
COLE HAMELS: That baseball is a tough game. Sometimes you think you can master it, but unfortunately the old saying where it can throw you a curveball, and you have to make the best adjustments.
Things aren't going to be easy in life, and especially in the game of baseball. But the people that get through it are the ones that make the adjustments and try to strive to be better. And I think that's kind of what it's taught me with pushing myself a little bit harder.
If it's getting physically stronger or mentally trying to prepare better for a game and my opponent, I think that's really where I've been able to take off.
Once you're able to do that you gain back your confidence. I think in this game, confidence can go a lot further than talent. It's knowing that you can go out there and get the job done no matter what the circumstances are, what the weather is, if you're at home, away, who is in the lineup.
That's really what can push people to become even better. I think that's what it's done. I've gained a lot more confidence in myself.

Q. I think you had seven days before your last start and now eight days before this. And you heard a lot of talk about people worried about rust. But at this point in the season, with all the innings you've pitched, are those layoffs more of a benefit for you than any concerns about being a little rusty?
COLE HAMELS: I think my last four games I've played I've pitched every Sunday. So I'm used to the seven days off. An eight-day, you just work a little bit harder. I guess you can heal physically better in order to stay game-ready. You just have to be mentally more prepared. I think that's what it's taken.
But being in the situation I am with pitching Game 3, you kind of get back in the game mode with watching Game 1 and Game 2 and you get that excitement back. And I think that kind of carries over and you forget how many days you've really had off.
If it's a situation where you're only pitching Game 1 and 1 and 1, there's no games to kind of boost your energy level up to get ready. And I think that's kind of what's a little bit tougher, because I have experienced that in the past couple postseasons.
So being in this situation I've been able to get the excitement, and that kind of makes you forget how many days you had off.

Q. In the last couple of days we've heard Charlie talk a little about being loyal to guys and staying with them even when they're struggling and the importance of that. Would you say that's one of his greatest strengths as a manager, just being loyal and letting you guys go out there and play no matter what the situation?
COLE HAMELS: I think he really tries to get to know his players, and that's really a key. When you get to know your players, you gain trust. And even though you have to be leader, you can develop a better friendship to where you can make those decisions.
And you believe in them more. And even though they might have a struggle or an inning and it could be later in the game and you don't know if that's necessarily going to make or break you, he has a better idea of what you're all about and the type of competitiveness that you have. And I think that's kind of what it takes, is he wants to see you succeed. He doesn't want to wait until you fail and yank you and never give you that opportunity, because it is -- like I said, it's confidence.
You want to always have confidence in how you play and the confidence of getting out of a tough situation. And that's kind of what he believes in you. And he sees the best in all of his players. And that's what I think has been huge for us all season, is we're always going to go through struggles but he always believes you're going to be able to get out of them and succeed.

Q. Cody Ross has hit you fairly well. Have you been able to watch him the past two games in this series and what makes him such a hard out?
COLE HAMELS: Being able to face him I guess with the Marlins, I had more opportunities to play against him, which I don't know if it helps or hurts. But right now he's hot.
And that's huge. And for them and for him. And I think it's just a matter of battling and trying to make your pitches. I watched a few of his home runs and I'd say two of them were the pitches that they wanted, and he hit them out. And two of the pitches were just pitches that were mistakes and he was able to hit out.
So just banking on the fact that he won't go 5 for 5 (laughter). I guess I'll just throw them right down the middle. I know he can't do it all the time. But, no, he's a great competitor. He definitely swings a really good bat. And I think that's something where he's been a very good addition to the Giants organization and it's tough for -- I guess I'm almost happy that he left the Marlins because I don't have to face him as much.

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