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September 29, 2011

Justin Verlander


Q. Hi, I'm curious, a lot of pitchers I've covered have said the day before they pitch a game of any importance, they define one player as the guy they will not let beat them. Do you do that? And if so, who is it in that clubhouse?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I can honestly say I don't do that. I just trust in my stuff and go after everybody.

Q. How does this you against CC, I know it's a happened before, but not on this stage, how does it hit you? And how do you view it?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: You obviously don't really pay attention to who is pitching on the other team -- for the other team. But you know in the back of your mind when a guy like CC is going, that runs are going to be at a minimum. So every run is huge and pivotal in a game like this.
You don't think about him, you worry about your game plan and what you can do. But at the same time you know that one or two runs is a huge difference in this game, most likely.

Q. Justin, what are your emotions now facing the Yankees, as opposed to back in 2006?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Man, pretty different, I would say. I'm a totally different pitcher now, as opposed to back then. But just being a rookie and wide-eyed and first experience in Major League Baseball, first experience in the postseason, it was quite an experience for me. Looking back at that now, I can kind of take it and use it to my advantage, as to what to expect. Obviously, I haven't been there as many times as some of the guys in the other clubhouse, but I have been there before.
So just kind of draw on those experiences and hopefully be able to calm my nerves a little bit more and use it to my advantage.

Q. Justin, can you talk about Curtis Granderson and how much he's progressed as a hitter? Can you talk about that?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Well, obviously I've seen his numbers, and they're amazing. He's put up a heck of a year. I think the big transformation for him has been his success against left-handed pitchers. I know when he played with us when he was younger, he had some trouble against lefties. He's really turned that around from what I've heard. Obviously, I haven't seen him much. I just know of his numbers. It's not like I can compare him to what I saw in 2006 and 7 when I got to play with him every day. From what I hear that's one of the main examples he's been able to turn it around.
Knowing him as a person, I know his work ethic is second to none. He's going to do everything he can to be the best player he can.

Q. Extra adrenaline, Yankee Stadium, is that a big factor that you have to really concern yourself with?

Q. And controlling your emotions.
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I wouldn't say Yankee Stadium I need to worry about. The emotions are going to play a factor though. You need to learn how to use them to your advantage. Not let them get the best of you. Adrenaline is a good thing if you let it be. Don't let it overtake you. Don't try to do too much. Just try to tone it down a little bit.

Q. Have you had a chance to digest what kind of season you had?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Yes and no. I understand the numbers and kind of how they worked out and where they stand. But at the same time, there's so much other stuff going on, there's not really a chance to sit back and kind of let it soak in. Once the last pitch is thrown hopefully after we have won a World Series, I can sit down and look back at it and enjoy it. For right now, I'm focused on Game 1.

Q. Justin, since the second time you faced the Yankees way back in May, your numbers and some of the results changed dramatically. Did you make an adjustment? Do you see a change as you look back at that time?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I don't necessarily see a change. But I know that I've always been somebody that kind of starts slow. That was something I worked on really hard this year, was to start a little bit better, and I did. What I worked on in spring kind of seemed to help me. In April my numbers had been better than they had been in the past. I think that work transcended into the rest of the season.
I've definitely been a better pitcher. I noticed I've looked back at those couple of starts, I had four walks in both of them, which is not me. Hasn't been me in a while. So hopefully -- obviously, walks against a lineup like that are pretty detrimental. You can't give those extra outs, extra batters on base. Just be aggressive, attack batters and go out.

Q. I know you said you're not worried about what CC does, it's you against the Yankee hitters. You're a competitive guy. You're going against another guy who is a possible Cy Young Award winner this year. There's got to be something here, I want to do better. It's me against him. Just being a professional athlete you're competitive by nature. There has to be something there I want to be better than him on this night.
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Of course. Do I want to be better than him? Absolutely. Do I want to win? Yes. How do I do that? For me personally is not worry about him. It's worry about the lineups and batters in the Yankees lineup. That's how I do it and how I rationalize it.

Q. You tend to tinker and try to fix things. As strong a season as you had coming out of the year, you look on it and say, jeez, I wish I had done this a little more or that a little bit more? What types of things?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Well, not really. Looking back at it, I guess I wish I had had a better April, once again. But there was a roll I was on in the middle of the season it was the best I felt for six or seven or eight starts in a row my career. Do I wish I could have stayed on that for the rest of the season? Yes, but it doesn't happen that way. My change-up has come and gone. My curveball has come and gone. At every point everything is not quite right.
Looking back at the season as a whole, I feel I've done a pretty good job of getting myself where I need to get to when things go awry and getting back to where I need pretty quickly.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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