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September 30, 2011

Ian Kennedy


Q. Obviously you faced the Brewers in the regular season and had some success. Can you talk about the lineup and the challenges they present?
IAN KENNEDY: It's no secret that Braun and Fielder is the big part of their lineup. They have a lot of other good players. But those guys have -- I mean Braun has had an MVP-type season, and so has Prince. Those two guys can hurt you.
But like you said, we've had success against them in the past and, I mean, it's all different in the playoffs. We don't know how it's going to be. It's going to be a little different. See how the game dictates in how you pitch teams and how you hit against teams. I just know it's going to be a little different.

Q. Is there one match-up in particular that concerns you most?
IAN KENNEDY: Personally, there's no one. I don't think that really concerns me. I mean, I don't know how to tell you. When you're in the game just everything dictates how you're going to pitch, how that situation dictates itself. I don't know how -- I'm not really looking concerning how it's going to be right now. I'm not really concerned in, I guess, how I'm going to throw each guy. When I'm out there, that's usually when you make those game adjustments.

Q. Could you tell us about your own personal viewpoint of breaking through, and if you could see it coming personally and always thought you'd be able to do this type of thing?
IAN KENNEDY: You know, when I got announced opening day starter I was really happy. That gave me the opportunity and that they had the confidence in me to do that and go against some of the No. 1 guys this year.
It's been fun, a really fun year, just because I feel like as a team we've had a great, great group of guys behind me. Also in our starting rotation and pitching, everybody -- all 1 through 25 was awesome to play with. Even guys we called up. We've got great guys with Aaron Hill and McDonald and Overbay, just adding guys. We added some good, I guess good team characters, and team guys. And it's really helped us play better, I feel. Like me, personally, just having J.J. [Putz] and David Hernandez added to our roster has helped me to have the confidence to go out there and feel comfortable going 7 innings, and that just shows how all the performances and all our starters do.

Q. If I could follow-up on J.J. and Hernandez. What does it mean to not blow a lead? We've seen the last few days teams blowing leads, and it crushes them, especially under these circumstances, what does it mean when your bullpen is not going to do that?
IAN KENNEDY: It gives me a lot of confidence. I've seen J.J. put himself in a couple of tight spots, just the latest one just happened to be a man on third who's going to triple with one out. And no one was pushing the panic button. You have comfort and confidence knowing that you have a guy like that. We do joke that a good closer doesn't blow it. The only way if he does blow it, he can get a win in the bottom of the 9th.
So, yeah, having J.J. there, it's just to know that just being comfortable, the comfortability of having J.J. back there, you can't put a price on it.

Q. What's Kirk like as a manager and does his personality set the tone for the whole team?
IAN KENNEDY: Yeah, I really think that we took on that personality. It's just never give in type approach. That's how I think we started playing. And I noticed that our coaching staff is very similar, really competitive. Gibby, you see what you get. Sometimes he jokes with you, but you don't know if he's joking or not. He straight faces you. And that's the way Gibby is.
But I love him as a manager. He's -- as a manager, he's finding different ways to win. There's not one conventional way to win. There's multiple ways to win. And that's what I really like about him, he's very versatile.

Q. Kind of following up on Ian, is it inspiring the sense of success he's had?
IAN KENNEDY: I think so, because for me, I can ask Charles Nagy, I can ask Gibby, any coach in that locker room and ask his experience in the postseason, and have -- they've all had that success and all experienced that. And so there's that comfort factor, knowing that they've been through it and they know how to coach us through that.
And we have a lot of first-time guys in our locker room. Guys that played well and it still is their first time. It's just nice to go to them and nice to know they've been through it.

Q. How much did his approach and the coaching staff lend itself to the first turnaround this team had?
IAN KENNEDY: I think it played a big part. Like I said, they're all very similar, really competitive. You should see the weight room in Spring Training, it's all competing. And even Kevin Towers, they're all in there working their butt off and trying to compete against each other, trying to outdo each other. And I think one of them is going to get hurt (laughter), but it's just translates to us.
Like just for instance, holding base runners. I think we were last last year. And we couldn't hold a runner, everybody stole on us. And this year, I don't know what it is, but I know it's a lot better, and where we didn't steal a lot of bases last year. We had speed last year, it just didn't happen. And this year guys started stealing more, and just being smarter about it. That's where E.Y. [Eric Young] helps out. He helps our base runners do all that.
So just bringing on that mentality of knowing, just being aware of the small things. That seems like a small part of the game. And when you're watching the All-Star Game, just how many times they stole bases and that put guys in scoring position, and that's what we're trying to do.

Q. Any added nerves here even than a typical start for you?
IAN KENNEDY: I think when I go out there that it will happen. But right now it's -- I'm trying to approach it like any other game. I know it's going to be a battle, whoever walks up to the plate. And it's going -- like I said, it's going to be a battle through the whole game. It's going to be fun, just because it's the playoffs.

Q. The last time you guys saw the Brewers, they hadn't really gone their best stretch of the season. Looking at them lately have you seen a different dynamic than the last time you guys played them?
IAN KENNEDY: Other than when -- I honestly haven't been paying attention, just trying to pay attention to what we're doing, because it's kind of stressful just trying to win the division. And then trying to get home field advantage was -- that's the only time I started paying attention what the scores were going on, but I didn't pay that much attention to the detail.
But I feel like we're very similar teams. And we probably got hot around the same times, just because I felt like when we came here it was right before the All-Star break and we were still in second. I don't know what place they were in. But I noticed that our record pretty much stayed the same all the way through, as they got hot. And that's when we took over first place and continued to stay hot. So I think we're very similar teams. The numbers will show that.

Q. Back to what you were talking about, the home field advantage. The Brewers by far have the best home record in baseball this year. How important is that from a Diamondbacks' standpoint to win one of those two games here and break the home field advantage right away?
IAN KENNEDY: It's important because I don't know how many games they've won here, but they've proven that they like playing at home. I think everybody does. Probably everybody's record is a lot better at home.
So it's -- like you said, if we take one out of two, I think that would be great. But our goal is to take both. Take one game at a time, to be honest. And just try to break it down. I don't know how many times they've lost a series, but I think it was against the Phillies, and I think one was against us. So that's something that -- it's an accomplishment that we have to take pride in, because they don't do that very often.

Q. When you played for the Yankees, you were in a clubhouse full of experienced guys and stars, big names, potential home favorites. Now you're playing on a team where probably the coaches are better known than the players. Is there any difference in the energy in the clubhouse that you can see or how guys relate to each other?
IAN KENNEDY: I think I've noticed like -- this might be because everybody is the same, around the same age. I know our pitching staff is around the same age, the starting staff. So you do a lot more things together. You do off the field things a lot more together. You kind of gel a little closer as a team. It's not like -- it's not like I didn't gel with anyone at the Yankees, but some of the guys are older and they stay together, like Posada and Jeter and Mo.
For me it was a lot of younger guys that are my age. And I've noticed that this whole team is around the same age. Even the older guys act like my age or younger. I think we gel well together. That's one thing where we've had success.

Q. What do you consider old (laughter)?
IAN KENNEDY: No comment.

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