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October 5, 2012

Jarrod Parker


THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Game 1 starter for the A's, Jarrod Parker.

Q.  First of all, what are your overall thoughts on being the Game 1 starter for a division series?
JARROD PARKER:  I'm excited.  Obviously this team's gone through a lot this year.  And you know we're happy to be here.  And it's kind of a tribute to the work we've done as a team.
And it's an honor, and obviously I'm going to be as prepared as I can and take these next two days to get ready.

Q.  You're a guy with a very calm demeanor all the time.  And on the mound in big games you've managed to remain calm.  How do you do that as such a young pitcher?  What is it about you that kind of just stays calm in those situations?
JARROD PARKER:  I try not to make too much out of the situation.  You know, obviously we've had big games as a group and we've had huge situations as a group, and it's something where you just try to slow it down.
And we lean on each other to do that.  And kind of just be able to come together and we know we have each other's back and we've done it all year.  So I think just settling in and trying to slow the situation down is about the only way I can really describe it.

Q.  Could you talk a little bit about Tommy Milone?  It's obviously documented well what you two have done all year, but for you to go Game 1 and him to go Game 2 has to be pretty special.
JARROD PARKER:  Definitely.  We've gone through a lot in our starting rotation this year.  Tommy has been here all year, and I've been here a little bit less than he has.  And we kind of‑‑ unspoken we've done it together.  And we kind of knew we had to pick the other guys up.
When we got Brett back, it was a huge pickup.  And then he went down, Bartolo's situation, and Matt going down.  We kind of came together.  And, you know, we knew we had to pick up a good majority of the workload.
And we just kind of have done it and just kind of like do it under the radar and just kind of keep to ourselves.  And we knew we had to step up.  And it's something that after the year we're going to look back and reflect, know we had a pretty good role in things that have happened and knowing we were a big part of this.

Q.  Getting a little taste of the postseason last year, how much do you think maybe you can benefit from that, and what do you remember from that time as far as change in intensity or feeling from the regular season?
JARROD PARKER:  I mean, this last week's been about as close to the postseason as it gets.  I don't think there's anybody on this team that is going to change their approach or the way they get ready for the game like they did these last few weeks and this last week and the series against Texas was about as close as it gets to being in a postseason atmosphere in the regular season.
So obviously we're going to continue to approach the game and play the game the same way as we did this last series and be able to slow things down and just kind of play our game is the most important thing.

Q.  What sort of specific challenges do the Tigers present having‑‑ you guys just saw them a couple of weeks ago.
JARROD PARKER:  A lot.  They're a dangerous lineup, obviously.  They've got a guy that won the Triple Crown.  And they've got Austin Jackson leading off.  And they've got a lot of weapons and great hitters and great players, and their staff is great as well.
And obviously with Verlander going Game 1 you've got to be on your game.  And we have a lot of left‑handed bats that are hot right now.  And I think that's one thing we've got going for us on offense.  And I think to be able to face five righties is a big thing for us.
And we've got to stay within ourselves and do the same thing we've done all year.

Q.  This is sort of a fitting matchup for the first game after the season you guys have had, a rookie going out there against Verlander and Cabrera?
JARROD PARKER:  Yeah, it's something we've done all year.  We've been the David all year.  And I think obviously it's a role and an image that we've kind of taken on and been able to embrace and it's fun.  We do what we're capable and we don't try to do too much and we don't put too much into these huge matchups or huge situations.  We just stay within ourselves.

Q.  What you've been able to do this year, how much of that stems from the confidence that the organization's given you since you first came over here?
JARROD PARKER:  A lot.  They've given me every opportunity to succeed and to be able to be around guys like Tommy, Brett, Mac.  It's great.  I've been able to learn a lot from those guys.
Curt's kept me positive all year.  We've had some ups and downs and it's something where he's really kept me going and just moving forward and not really looking back on things and just staying positive and pitching my game and keeping a positive attitude all year when times are tough or you're going great, you just want to keep the same demeanor and the same attitude all year.

Q.  Talk about the relationship you have with your pitching coach and how he's helped you guys this season.
JARROD PARKER:  It's been big.  Curt came in with pretty much an entirely new staff in terms of arms and guys in the bullpen.
We've had a lot of changes and a lot of guys going up and down, going down with injuries.  Bartolo's situation.  It's just huge kudos to Curt what he's been able to do to keep us all on track and be able to deal with guys differently, knowing different guys do different things, one guy may need a tap on the butt and one guy may need a chew.
It's what Curt does well, keeping us moving forward and not dwelling on what's bad or what's great.  It's just keeping the same demeanor and emotion all year.

Q.  What are your thoughts on opening on the road even though you guys have the better record?
JARROD PARKER:  I would say obviously it's an advantage to them.  They're playing in their park, but at the same time I think we've been a pretty good road team this year in terms of record and preparing and getting ready for‑‑ I'd say it's tough to go through the time change and do that on a long flight.  But I think today we're going to kind of get moving and get going and take BP, shag, run around, kind of soak it up I think is all we can really do.
And tomorrow once the lights come on and the ball's thrown, it's game time.  And I think that's something we've done all year.  We don't put too much into it where we're playing.  It's game time.  And I think that's the most important part about this team, is just being able to separate a situation that could be blown out of proportion.

Q.  Are you a guy that likes to watch other top pitchers around the league?  Wonder if you paid attention to Verlander, if you've tried to pick up anything from him over the years or maybe anything to admire about him.
JARROD PARKER:  I admire everything about him.  He's a guy that goes about his business and does it the right way.
And his style is pretty incredible to watch.  And there's a lot of guys around the league that I watch and follow.  And it's something you do as a pitcher.  You want to see other guys and kind of compare them to your game and critique it and do that kind of stuff.  So I think going against Verlander in the first game is pretty exciting.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

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