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October 28, 2012

Justin Verlander


Q.  Obviously your rotation has been going pretty well in this postseason and now you've seen first hand what SanFrancisco can do.  Are you able to take a step back and appreciate some of the great pitching we've seen throughout the postseason by a number of teams?
JUSTIN VERLANDER:  Yeah, absolutely.  I think, one, it is extremely impressive what we were able to do through pretty much the entire postseason as a staff.  You know, and obviously the Giants all year, their team was built on good pitching and defense and scoring opportune runs.
That recipe has led to postseason success for them thus far.  Obviously it's going to be tough to beat a team like that four in a row, but if anybody is capable of it, we are.

Q.  For those of us who are not inside there, can you just speak of the environment in the clubhouse?  Is it another day at the office?  Is it desperation?  What's the attitude at this point?
JUSTIN VERLANDER:  You know, obviously it's not another day at the office, but it's not desperation, either.  Hey, we won four in a row against the Yankees.  Who's to say we can't do it against these guys.
Like I said, not going to be easy, but we definitely have the team to do it.  I think our pitching could line up well, and just play the game we've played all year and see what happens.

Q.  Can you describe your relationship with Jim Leyland over the years, how "it's changed and particularly what it's been like this season?
JUSTIN VERLANDER:  We've had a great relationship.  You know, he's the only manager I've played for.  I think we have a great amount of mutual respect for one another, and I really enjoy playing for him.  It's a great working relationship because him and I always joke about it; he says "potayto", I say "potahto".  Whatever he says I tend to disagree and whatever I say he tends to disagree.  It's kind of fun and we banter back and forth all the time.  Not just in the media, we do it in the outfield, too.  When he comes out to talk to me, we always get in little arguments.  It's always a fun thing, and like I said, great relationship.

Q.  How has he helped you personally and professionally?  And also, are you aware of his singing skills?
JUSTIN VERLANDER:  I am aware of his singing skills.  I've seen it a couple times at some hotels.  In the hotel bar sometimes they'll have a setup and he gets on the mic.
As far as me personally and career‑wise, the way he's helped me, I think just him having the faith in me really right out of the gate in 2006, he had the faith to take me on that team.¬† I helped us get to the World Series that year.
Every year following that‑‑ he's an old‑school manager, and I feel maybe if I had played for a different manager, things might not be the same as they are now, where they let me go out and be that workhorse, and throw 120 pitches an outing.¬† You see some teams that are a little different in that regard.¬† But I consider myself an old‑school pitcher, and I think Skip considers himself‑‑ he is an old‑school manager.
He allows me to go out there and do what I do.

Q.  One more thing about Leyland:  Probably more than anybody else on the staff, he'll often come out when he's not going to take you out, just to ask how you are.  Can you tell when he's coming to get you or whether he's just coming out to ask you a question?
JUSTIN VERLANDER:¬† Yeah, you can usually tell, but it usually takes until about the foul line, because he makes the call pretty quick most of the time.¬† But once he makes it past the foul line and hasn't signaled, I know he's just going to come out there‑‑ he's usually pretty short‑winded.¬† "Hey, how do you feel?"¬† "Good."¬† "All right."¬† And that's about it.

Q.  Obviously you don't have a vote and can't control it, but what's your take on the Cy Young field this year and your own candidacy?
JUSTIN VERLANDER:¬† You know, to be honest with you, I know where the numbers stand.¬† I know‑‑ I think the only thing that really kind of hurts me is the win total, but I think we've seen in years past that‑‑ in recent years past the voters have kind of started to look beyond win totals and really kind of dove into the numbers a little bit more, and I think that might be beneficial towards me.¬† But to be honest with you, I haven't really, and won't really, looked into it that much.¬† There's a lot bigger things going on right now.¬† Once the season is over it'll be fun to think about, but we're not done yet.

Q.  You mentioned you're a workhorse, and I'm wondering, do you think you're an example for others to follow?  Or do you think you're the exception to the rule what's going on nowadays?
JUSTIN VERLANDER:¬† I couldn't tell you that.¬† I think it's more of a‑‑ I think maybe teams can maybe learn from what I've done here.¬† What I mean by that is, you can't stamp every individual and say you need to get him out of there at 105 or this many pitches.¬† Everybody is different in this game.¬† Some guys do fatigue, 90 to 100 pitches, some guys don't.¬† How do you know who the guys are that don't if you never let them get past that.¬† That's kind of the way‑‑ that's my opinion on things, and that's just‑‑ the way I've throw now is the way I've always been since I was a kid.¬† I get stronger as the game goes on, so on and so forth.¬† I'm just lucky, like I said, to have an organization and a manager that allow me to go out there and do that.

Q.  You're so much about routine and being prepared for the next day, but today you don't know 100 percent if you're going to pitch tomorrow, so what are your emotions right now?
JUSTIN VERLANDER:¬† It's kind of like‑‑ although kind of flipped, it's kind of like Oakland.¬† I remember Game 4 in Oakland, I had a good feeling we were going to win that game, especially coming down to the last inning.¬† I was kind of in a different mindset.¬† I had kind of thrown to the side that I might be pitching tomorrow, because we were up two runs going into the ninth, and "Papa" (Valverde) has been great for us.
Then things go a little awry, and I was sitting on the bench, and I remember it was like flipping a switch, okay, I've got to pitch tomorrow, and it was a totally different attitude I had.
That's kind of what I take into today.  I'm going to do everything I can on the bench, cheer our guys on, see what I can do, keep a positive attitude and do whatever I can to help us win.  But hopefully I have to flip that switch again and realize that I'm going to be pitching tomorrow.

Q.  Is it easy to pitch in this weather?  What difference does the cold and the wind make?
JUSTIN VERLANDER:¬† I think it just makes it a little bit harder to warm up in between innings.¬† I'm a short‑sleeved guy.¬† Unless it's probably 25 degrees, I'm going to be out there in short sleeves.¬† But like I said, the first eight or nine pitches you get warmed up in between innings, and then the first couple pitches of the inning are a little bit more difficult.¬† But in these big stages you have a little bit longer between innings, too.¬† We've got almost three‑minutes in between innings, so if I wanted to get out there in a hurry, I could probably throw 12 pitches if I wanted to, so that might be something I could do.

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