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September 29, 2011

C.C. Sabathia


Q. CC, you've always been a guy who's durable, 120, 125 pitches. Four of your last five starts, you had that pitch count but you didn't have the inning length. What do you think that was and what will you do to sort of correct that in the postseason?
CC SABATHIA: Just try to make sure that I'm being aggressive in the strike zone. I felt like the last probably month I've been putting myself in bad counts and putting myself in hitter's counts and trying to make pitches. So you see me throwing 125 pitches in six innings and that's not where I want to be.
So hopefully tomorrow I can just get ahead, be aggressive in the strike zone and get some outs early in the count.

Q. How does it feel to be going up against Verlander? And what kind of contest do you see between the two of you?
CC SABATHIA: Hopefully it's a good one. We've faced off a lot, me playing in that division for a long time. He's had one of the best seasons for a pitcher ever, I think. And it's going to be tough. So we just have to wait and see what happens.

Q. Just to follow up to that, what about his season has impressed you the most? And should a starting pitcher be an MVP candidate?
CC SABATHIA: I think a starting pitcher should be an MVP candidate. You look at what he's done, winning 24 games is unbelievable. He pounds the strike zone, throws everything for strikes. I think that's been the key for him this year, is being able to throw all his pitches for strikes.

Q. CC, you pitched pretty well in New York in the playoffs. What is it about this time of year that appeals to you, that you like?
CC SABATHIA: Trying to win. You sign up here to try to win championships. And you are expected to do that. I've always said once you go out and you've got a Derek Jeter and you've got Mo out there, and you have Alex out there, it takes a lot of pressure off any situation. You can just go out and do your part and you have a good chance of winning.

Q. CC, do you look at it as yourself against Verlander or is it really yourself against the Tigers?
CC SABATHIA: It's really myself against the Tigers. That lineup, they have a great lineup. I need to just go out and not try to get caught up in what he's doing and make sure that I'm making the pitches I need.

Q. Is there one guy in that lineup that you're focusing on that you maybe don't want to let beat you?
CC SABATHIA: Cabrera. He's one of the better hitters in the league. You just don't want him to beat you. But they have guys up and down that lineup. You have Victor Martinez, you have Jhonny Peralta. So it's a tough lineup.

Q. CC, you mentioned the rest of your lineup taking some of the pressure off you to just do your job, the rest of your pitching rotation doesn't have that kind of experience, especially here. Does that add anything to you? Do you feel even more of that mantle of being the ace?
CC SABATHIA: No. We have veteran guys. Nova, he's a rookie, but he has the composure of a vet. He knows what he needs to go out there and do. It's on all of us to go out and pitch well, to give us a chance to win. I don't think there's any more pressure than I already expect of myself.

Q. CC, I know when you're in the middle of it it's kind of hard maybe to appreciate, but a day later, do you have any appreciation for what last night meant for a lot of baseball fans just watching your game, the Red Sox game, the Phillies game, all that stuff coming together? Could you get a sense of that even a day later what that was all about?
CC SABATHIA: Yeah, that's what September is about, and baseball is about. I actually got a chance to fly home early. So I was watching all the games, too. It's pretty exciting.

Q. CC, Justin has talked about his career arc in terms of learning to pitch, not needing to strike guys out. My sense is that comes with maturity. You probably took a similar arc as a young man to what you are now. What sort of things do you learn along the way that help you to here and will help him to there?
CC SABATHIA: Like you said, not trying to strike everybody out, trying to keep the pitch count down, going deeper in games, get strikes early in the count. The rest will take care of itself. The strikes will be there for a guy like him. And for me, I felt the same way. Just being able to go out and pitch and not put myself in bad counts and not really give in. That's something that I had to learn. It took me a while, but I think I'm to that point now.

Q. CC, is the way you finished the year concerning to you or all of the issues you had you feel are correctable?
CC SABATHIA: I definitely feel they are correctable. I felt like my last start was pretty good. I felt like I was getting ahead, getting some outs. I made two bad pitches. We were fortunate enough to be able to stay in the game and win the game, but I felt like I'm throwing the ball pretty good.

Q. Were you home watching last night? Did you make it all the way to the end watching it? Were you flipping around? And did it get your energy level up for the playoffs? How it did affect you?
CC SABATHIA: Like I said, it was just a cool night. I was at home watching it with my son. We got a little setup, so we were able to watch all the games at one time. It was actually a pretty cool night, seeing what happened.

Q. I know I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself, but if it goes to a Game 4, the prospects of pitching on three days' rest, I know you've done that before. What are your thoughts on that?
CC SABATHIA: I'll be ready. Whenever they tell me, I'll be ready to take the ball, whether it's Game 4 or Game 5. It's up to them.

Q. Do you like it when there's another ace, another great pitcher on the other side in a game like this? Does it change anything for you?
CC SABATHIA: I wish I could sit here and say yeah, but no, not at all. I still have to go out and do my job, like I said, I'm out pitching against the Detroit Tigers and that lineup. I really can't get myself concerned with what he does.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in. We'll wait for Joe Girardi.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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