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October 15, 2013

John Lackey

Mike Napoli


Boston – 1
Detroit ‑ 0

Q.  Mike, you were saying yesterday that you were still very confident in how you were feeling at the plate, despite what had been going on in the series.  Why was that and talk about the at‑bat you had when you hit the home run?
MIKE NAPOLI:  Yeah, I've been feeling comfortable.  I'm not searching for anything.  For me it's just being on time.  Going to that at‑bat, he got me twice early in the game.  Threw me four sliders, which he's never done to me before.  But I just kept on going at it.  I put a good at‑bat together.  I was able to get it to 3‑2.  And got a pitch I could handle.

Q.  Mike, you were at the middle of all of Texas's wins against Detroit in the series a couple of years ago.  Any similarities strike you about this moment in that series?
MIKE NAPOLI:  Every game is big.  You come out and you prepare.  You get a game plan.  I'm just trying to execute.  I mean every season is different.  Every playoff game is different.  You've got to go out and whatever the situation is, you've got to try to execute.  It's different, but we got a nice win tonight.

Q.  John, how quickly did you know how strong on your stuff you were today and what did it feel like when you got that call to come out?
JOHN LACKEY:  I felt pretty good warming up.  They came out swinging on me quite a bit.  The first pitch, whole first inning.  I had to make some adjustments early on.  Salty called a great game.  And I was able to keep them off balance after that.  I wasn't quite ready to come out at that moment.  Bres has had a great year for us, and had a great last series.  We won the game, that's all that really matters.

Q.  That eighth inning, can you talk about what was in your mind when your teammates are facing Cabrera and Fielder in those moments?  And going into those at‑bats and after the at‑bats, share your thoughts.
JOHN LACKEY:  Obviously some great hitters up there in a tight situation.  And Taz came through with a big strikeout and Koji has been doing it all year.  We like having him on the mound, that's for sure.

Q.  Mike, FOX showed a video showing you hitting the home run off Verlander on your first Major League at‑bat.  What do you remember about that, how much are you different from then and how much is he different?
MIKE NAPOLI:  Obviously I'll never forget that, being my first at‑bat.  I remember being a day game and me being really tired that day, got the call from Salt Lake City.
He's definitely grown.  I've definitely grown.  You just have to make adjustments.  He didn't really throw too much of a slider back then, he threw really hard, threw a curveball, had a good change‑up.  We all watch video, we all get game plans and you kind of have a plan of what he's going to do to you, what he's done in the past, and that's what I go off.

Q.  Is that your second favorite at‑bat against Verlander?
MIKE NAPOLI:  I guess.  It was nice.

Q.  You reference the adjustments that Saltalamacchia made.  Can you talk about those generally?
JOHN LACKEY:  Generally, yeah.  They were swinging, you know, on first pitch fastballs quite a bit.  It's not uncommon, that I haven't seen this year.  I tend to throw a lot of first pitch strikes.  And it's kind of been an approach that several teams made against me.  I had to make some adjustments about that.  Salty was great behind the plate.  He had a great feel for it and we worked well together.

Q.  Pedey came in before the game, and felt that he had to give us a speech, too.  Is there any motivation you've given the guys here?
JOHN LACKEY:  Yeah, you definitely know that you're going to have to pitch well.  They're running out of ‑‑ running out a quality starter every time, every game.  Most teams do this time of year.  We knew the margin of error is definitely pretty tight this year.

Q.  John, under the circumstances and the magnitude of this game, did this feel like your best moment with the Red Sox?  And I also wanted to ask you, you've talked about Salty almost after every start, how has your relationship grown with him over the year in terms of calling games?
JOHN LACKEY:  He's my boy, first of all.  A good buddy.  When you care about each other, like we care about each other off the field, we've got such a good group of guys, I think it carries on the field.  You can trust that guy back there.  You know he's in the battle with you, and thinking along with you.  And that's fun to have.

Q.  What about in terms of for you as a member of the Red Sox?
JOHN LACKEY:  Sure, it's definitely probably the biggest game I've pitched here.  And probably a pretty big one, I guess.

Q.  Can you talk about pitching to Peralta in the 7th, how did you pitch him?
JOHN LACKEY:  In the 7th?  Threw him a bunch of sliders.  I think I threw him four straight sliders and got him out on a fastball.

Q.  Mike, one of your teammates, David Ross, I think the other day said seems like you're 3‑2 in every single count.  How much does that help you maybe feel comfortable in the postseason in a big spot like that when you're at a 3‑2 count against a guy like Verlander?  And as a second question, he can throw different pitches, so how do you know what to look for?  He can throw you a slider just as easily as a fastball.
MIKE NAPOLI:  Yeah, I mean, I think ‑‑ I see a lot of pitches throughout the season, every at‑bat, I try to see a lot of pitches.  I feel like the more pitches I see the better for me, the more I get involved into that at‑bat, the more I can see stuff.  But it doesn't mean I'm not going to be aggressive early in the count.  I'm just trying to get a pitch that I can handle and drive somewhere.
Yeah, he threw me two sliders before the fastball.  I felt comfortable, I took them really well, and I felt comfortable and confident when I saw those and took those two sliders.  I'll just try to be short to the ball and get a pitch I can handle.

Q.  I know you guys are pretty good friends going back to your time at the Angels.  What's it like discussing a playoff game?
JOHN LACKEY:  I was here for the first homer, too.  It was pretty cool.  I remember that, for sure.  He got called up and hit one off Verlander on a curveball.  And I said we need that dude, keep him around here.
MIKE NAPOLI:  I got to see John when he was really good in Anaheim.  Coming up as a rookie I looked up to him.  He was a veteran to me, showed me the way on the field, off the field, how to carry myself.  So to see what he's gone through and to bounce back like this, it's awesome.  It's a good feeling just to see a friend be able to overcome some stuff and get healthy and be who he is.

Q.  John, you talk about how big the game is and how close you are with the team.  How does it feel to be able to do this for your teammates, going against Verlander?
JOHN LACKEY:  It was awesome, for sure.  I mean, I knew I was going to have to pitch pretty good today.  He's having a great career, great season, great postseason.  The guys came through, the boy took care of me once again.  He's hit some dingers for me, and it was a big one today.

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