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October 18, 2010

Josh Hamilton

Cliff Lee

Michael Young



Q. Cliff, you had a start against the Yankees in Texas in September, where you pitched eight innings and gave up two hits. Is this a better performance because of the stakes involved?
CLIFF LEE: I would say so, yes. I mean, it's post-season. Regular season is big, but any time you can get that deep in the game and not give up any runs in the post-season, that's huge. So you know, Josh hitting that home run in the first made things a lot easier, that's for sure.
But yeah, I would say I would take a good performance in the regular season versus the post-season. I would have to say the post-season is more important, yeah.

Q. It's astounding someone could go back to this lineup twice in a row but apparently you can, for somebody who has seen that, this gets even better than good.
CLIFF LEE: Sure. (Laughter.) I mean, I guess.
You know, regardless of what happens before, whether it's good, bad, or somewhere in the middle, every game is a new game. You know, you can put streaks together that are good. You can put streaks together that are bad. But you know, for me, the key is to put it behind you whether it's good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. Once it's over, it's over. You have to move forward and focus on the next one.
Just because I had a good game this time and the previous time doesn't mean it's going to happen again. I've still got to go out there and focus on my routine and do what I need to do every day in between and prepare for the next. I rely on that a lot. That's what enables me to be confident and that's what works for me and I feel if I do every day what I need to do to prepare, I should be out there confident and expect to win.

Q. For Michael and Cliff, can you describe the way that Hamilton's home run sort of shaped the direction of the game?
JOSH HAMILTON: (Pointing to himself.)
MICHAEL YOUNG: When Cliff is on the mound, it's nice to give him some runs early. You know, as good as Cliff is, you want to keep going. You want to see if you can find a way to get more runs. Andy made it tough on us today, but, yeah, those two runs obviously were big early. To get on the board early was big for us.
CLIFF LEE: I have to agree. Any time you can score early like that and get a two-run lead in the first, it definitely makes things easier on the starting pitcher. I happen to be the guy that benefitted from that today.
Yeah, any time you can -- especially on the road, you know, go out there and put up some runs on the first, that's huge. You know, it sets the tone early, and that's definitely what happened tonight.

Q. Cliff, can you compare the way you felt tonight with the two Tampa Bay starts? Was this the best you've felt of your three post-season starts so far?
CLIFF LEE: I've felt good for a while. I've felt good all season. I've felt good every start in the post-season.
Yeah, they are comparable. I felt good every time.

Q. As hitters who play behind Cliff, what is it like to watch him paint the corners and just throw the ball seemingly anywhere he wants it, pitch after pitch? What are you thinking?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Obviously we have been the beneficiaries of some big starts from Cliff recently. I've faced him and played defense behind him. I think that people always say that Cliff just throws strikes, strikes, strikes. It's really not that easy. He's not firing balls down the middle of the plate, he's throwing quality strike after quality strike and there's a big difference. He's forcing the action which is something our team has done really well recently. We want to make sure that we are being aggressive in our game but Cliff makes it happen. He forces the action and makes hitters make decisions. It's tough. It's definitely tough on them.
JOSH HAMILTON: It's really fun being out in center field and watching him pitch. You know, it's fun for me to see, you know, how that first inning goes and how the umpire reacts to certain zones or whatever and then Cliff makes the transition from there.
So it's just amazing to watch.

Q. Ron said that you were definitely going out in the 9th if it was a close game; was that a conversation you had? And was there a magic number if you reached in the 9th where the lead got large enough where you were going to shut it down?
CLIFF LEE: Basically when I came in, he said, "How do you feel?"
I said, "I feel good." That was it. It was a five-second conversation.
He said, "It's your game." I don't know what the magic number was. You know there was a number. The top of the 9th was a pretty long inning. We extended the lead pretty handily. So, you know, I don't know if it was six, seven, I don't know when they decided that, all right, that's it. But you know, once we got there towards the end of the night, they came in and said I was done. But up until, I don't know, four or five runs there in the 9th, they said, you know, I was going out there.

Q. Josh, are the home runs tonight and the other night a sign that the ribs are starting to heal, or is there still pain there when you swing?
JOSH HAMILTON: You know, I've got to go back to what I say all the time every day when you guys ask me. You know, nobody's 100% at this point in the year.
So I'm not really thinking about them. I mean, really the only thing that really bothers me is a swing and miss, and I try not to do that; or either hitting a wall or hitting somebody or diving.
So it's amazing how you can adjust and adapt to injuries, things that are hurting on you. You can overcome them. So they are not really an issue at this point?

Q. Cliff, you're a big guy on staying on routine, kind of staying on the same plane, whatever time of year, whatever is going on. How difficult is it to do in the post-season and how have you managed to do that?
CLIFF LEE: It's basically the same. You know, obviously you get a day or two sometimes here or there in the post-season. That's really the only adjustment. I've had the same routine for a few years now and I'm very confident in it. I lien on that a lot and that's what I focus on and that's what enables me to be confident; I know I have a routine that I can do each and every day and prepare for tomorrow and keep my sights close like that.
I don't really look too far in the past or too far in the future. I look at what can I do today to prepare for tomorrow and so forth. Most of the time it's just to go out and have fun and execute pitches. There's not that much of a difference between the regular season and the post-season as far as that goes; other than the fact that you might -- you don't play every single day like we do in the regular season. You might get an extra day here or there, but other than that, it's basically the same thing.

Q. I'm wondering if in terms of staying away from scouting reports on you, are you changing things between starts? Maybe it's adjustments or whatever?
CLIFF LEE: Not really. I mean, I do the same thing every game. I'm going to throw strikes and I'm going to throw fastballs in and out and see how they swing and I'm going to make adjustments on the fly.
For me, that's way more important than scouting reports. Scouting reports, you go in having an idea, but the other team is making adjustments in how to plan, too. You don't know where they are going to line up with each other. So you're going to be able to make a pitch, see how they swing and make the adjustments. That's playing the game. I mean, it's a game of never-ending adjustments. The pitchers make adjustments and the hitters make adjustments and that's the game.

Q. The pitch you hit almost looked like a pitch designed to make you go to the big part of the ballpark, a cutter I think it was. Were you thinking cutter?
JOSH HAMILTON: Do you want me to lie to you?
JOSH HAMILTON: I could lie and say I was looking for that pitch and just got the barrel on it.
I was not looking out for that pitch. Andy did a good job of painting, but he would come inside once in a while. One of those things, I caught it on the barrel, caught it up front, and it went. My third -- fourth at-bat, when I hit the ball to the wall, that felt good. I felt like I knew what he was going to do. Thank you, Lord.

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