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October 26, 2010

Cliff Lee


Q. What did you learn from 2007 and how did you come out of it different?
CLIFF LEE: What I learned from 2007 is sometimes you struggle in this game. I mean, it was a tough year for me. I had been used to having success, and it was the first time I had really struggled to that extent in my career. It just so happened to be the year that the Indians were trying to make the playoffs. There was guys in Triple-A pitching better than I was and I ended up in the Minor Leagues and someone took my spot. That's really the way it should be, and that's baseball, you know, and I used that as motivation to come in the next year and to prove that that wasn't the real me, and used it as motivation to work hard and make sure I did everything right and focus on the things I need to focus on and not worry about the other stuff. I feel like it's made me a better player because of that.
In a nutshell, that's basically it.

Q. What impresses you about your opponent in Game 1, Tim Lincecum?
CLIFF LEE: He obviously knows what he's doing with the ball. He does something that -- the way he does it, no one else does it that way. I like that. I like when unorthodox works and it works to that kind of an extent, back-to-back Cy Young winner. He throws in a way that you probably wouldn't want to show your kid how to throw. It's very hard to do what he does, the way he does it and to be that consistent. He's figured something out that's a little different than everyone else and it works, and I like when something like that works out because it goes against a lot of what everyone thinks is the right way to throw the ball. He definitely is doing something right. He's different.

Q. If I'm not mistaken, the last time you pitched in this ballpark was about 15 months ago in your first start for the Phillies. Does that seem like a lifetime ago? And what do you remember from that day?
CLIFF LEE: It does seem like a long time ago, but I remember through all nine innings that was pretty good. And I remember I almost went out of this park opposite field, too. That was fun.
I don't know, it's a different team that's here now than there then, at least I think so. I'm sure there's a lot of familiar guys, familiar faces. But obviously they've figured some things out and are playing as one unit over there. I mean, they're in the World Series. They're doing a lot of stuff right. I don't think that outing is going to translate to tomorrow.

Q. Can you just talk about your phenomenal record in the post-season. Hard to top it obviously. What do you attribute your great success in the post-season to?
CLIFF LEE: What? You want me to say what?

Q. I don't want you to say anything. I want you to talk about what you attribute your great success in the post-season to.
CLIFF LEE: What I attribute my success in the post-season to is confidence, relying on my routine, playing on a really good team, having a really good offense to lean on, Bengie Molina. Those are a lot of the reasons.
But I think mostly it's probably just confidence and going out there and expecting to be successful, and what allows me to do that is my routine. I've proven to myself over and over that it works, and eventually it becomes what you rely on to make you successful, and that's where I'm at.

Q. What makes Ron Washington so special to play for?
CLIFF LEE: He's a laid-back guy, kind of lets things unfold, enjoys baseball. You know, he's got a really easy team to manage, I know that much, with just the talent that's in the room. Usually when you have really good players, that makes the manager that much better. I don't know if that's politically correct to say that or whatever, but when you've got a team like this, you'd had a hard time screwing that up, to be honest with you, at least offensively. I've had to face them over the years, and it's not a lot of fun. When you start pitching around Josh Hamilton and then you're staring at Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, it's not a lot of fun because it's a very powerful lineup. I feel like I could fill that lineup every day and throw it out there. I mean, it's a winner.
He's definitely a loose guy that keeps things loose, lets us kind of police ourselves, and makes sure that we respect the game. That's really all you can ask for as a player out of your manager, and he definitely does that stuff.

Q. There's a couple players that hold onto a piece of equipment such as a cap until it gets filthy. What's special about your maintaining a cap or keeping a cap? And what would your cap look like if you hadn't been traded so many times the last couple years?
CLIFF LEE: I try to use the same hat, the same glove, the same cleats all year until I'm traded obviously. Sometimes at the All-Star break you'll switch it up, but I like using the same stuff. I don't know if that's superstition or just being comfortable with the gear you use out there every day. That's as much of it as anything. It might look to be superstitious, but we play this game every day for a long time, and the season is a long, grueling season, and if you're switching up your gear and stuff like that, that's not as comfortable as just what you're used to having, if you can understand what I'm saying. I guess it's pretty basic, but yeah, that's it.

Q. I know it's been a couple months now, but can you take us through that first day when you arrive with the Rangers. You got to the ballpark only 40 minutes before, and how hectic was that? And what's it been like getting traded so many times? Do you now know what those first days are going to be like more than you would have say last year?
CLIFF LEE: I mean, obviously once you've been through trades and stuff it becomes easier because you kind of know what to expect a little bit. But every time you go into a new organization, there's uncertainty, and you're not sure how the day-to-day stuff goes, and everyone's names and who's who and all that stuff. That's the stuff that's hard to figure out.
But the players, I mean, most players on every team are good guys. It doesn't take you long to realize that. But there was definitely something special about Philadelphia when I got there, and there was definitely something special about this team when I got here. It didn't take me long to realize that in both of those situations, and both teams made it to the World Series. I mean, to me there's so many similarities between Philly last year and Texas this year, and it has a lot to do with the offense, just a powerful offense from top to bottom and how they pull for each other and were one group really pulling for the other guy. That's a huge part of winning.

Q. One of the stories with the Giants, especially in this post-season, is Cody Ross who has come out of nowhere. Could you share with us your thoughts on facing, I think you guys have had some history, just what a dangerous hitter he can be?
CLIFF LEE: Yeah, I don't know if he came out of nowhere. He's been in the Big Leagues for quite a while. He's just had a good couple of weeks. He's put together some good at-bats and hit some tough pitches. I mean, two home runs off Roy Halladay, hit a ball off of Cole Hamels that wasn't even a strike. I mean, he's seeing the ball well, obviously. Yeah, he's swinging a hot bat. Hopefully he has a little bit of time to cool off before this one starts. But yeah, he's definitely hot. Yeah, I don't know. Hopefully we can contain him a little bit.

Q. You spoke about how great and wonderful the Rangers' lineup is, and it is, but what can you say about a Giants' lineup that doesn't have great power or great speed but seems to do just enough to get it done, a lot of one-run games. Why are they dangerous, if you believe they are?
CLIFF LEE: I think they're dangerous because they've got really good pitching. I mean, when you've got Lincecum and Matt Cain and the way Sanchez has been pitching and then their bullpen, you're limited to the runs you can give up because they're not going to give up many runs. Because of that they've won a lot of really close games.
Yeah, you've got to give credit to their hitters for scoring those runs and Cody Ross, especially the way he's been swinging it, but I think you can give more credit, if not -- whatever, give more credit to the pitching. I mean, they're the ones that are out there pitching in those one-run games. That's tough to do over and over, and they did a lot of that this post-season, and rightfully so. They've got some really good arms over there.

Q. The families of the Rangers' players reportedly received some rough treatment from the Yankees fans during the ALCS. I'm wondering if that bothered you at all or if you just brush that off as fans being fans.
CLIFF LEE: I brush that off as fans being fans. You can't control 50,000 people and what they're going to do. There were some people that were spitting off the balcony on the family section and things like that, and that's kind of weak, but what can you do? You can't control 50,000 people. Some people get a little alcohol in them and act inappropriate. But it is what it is. There's so many people there you can't control them all. I know it's been made into a big deal, but that's really all it is, just two or three or four people just acting like fools, and 50,000, you can't group them all together. But there's always going to be a couple goofballs in the crowd that think they have a right to do that stuff. But it is what it is.

Q. So that wouldn't impact anything for you moving forward decision-wise?
CLIFF LEE: No, I don't know the guy that did it. It could be anyone. Who knows? Who cares? They're at home right now. (Laughter).

Q. Obviously following up on the family thing, you watched those games well enough to say things like, "He hit a ball off of Cole Hamels." What were your emotions watching that? Not too many guys in your position -- how did you watch those games?
CLIFF LEE: Kind of mixed emotions, to be honest with you. I pulled for a lot of those guys, but it's weird, when a team gets rid of you, you kind of like seeing them lose a little bit. I know that's weird but part of me wanted them to win where I could face them in the World Series, too. It would have been a lot of fun. You'd like to think that they need-you-to-win type of stuff, when that's really not the case.
When a team gets rid of you, it's funny how you have a knack for stepping up a little more when you face them. There's a little more incentive to beat them, and that's definitely the case with me watching the game. I was in between. I didn't want to have to face them or want to have to face the Giants. I let that series play out, and I pulled for those guys individually, but I didn't mind seeing them get beat, either, just because they got rid of me. That is what it is.

Q. You talked about being a slave to your routine, but it's been eight days, so what have you done to alter your work in between starts?
CLIFF LEE: Obviously I was preparing to pitch Game 5, and when that didn't happen, I just pushed everything back. It was -- yeah, I was prepared for -- or Game 7. I said Game 5. Game 7 of the ALCS, and when that didn't happen, I just kind of changed my routine up and started over, pushed everything back three or four days, whatever it is, and picked up where that was. Now it's back to normal. It's not really that major of a deal.

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