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MLB WORLD SERIES: CARDINALS v RED SOX


October 23, 2013


John Lackey


BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Game One

Q. Was there ever a time when you were going through the rough time earlier in Boston when you missed a year, was there ever a time when if you wondered whether you'd get back to being an elite pitcher?
JOHN LACKEY: Not healthy, no. I definitely struggled, had one bad year here and then had to have surgery afterwards. I knew I was dealing with some stuff that year, for sure, physically. And once I had the surgery, with the rehab and that sort of stuff, I was pretty confident that it would come back.

Q. I know it's been a long time since you last pitched in a World Series, but what can you take out of that experience that could help you tomorrow?
JOHN LACKEY: Not a whole lot. That was like 11 years ago, I think. That I'm old, I guess.
You remember parts of it, but I've been in the playoffs several times. One more step this time. And I guess the main thing is you realize how hard it is to get here. It's been 11 years since I've been here. Been chasing it for a while, and you probably appreciate it more this time than you do as a rookie, that sort of thing.

Q. How do you view the Cardinals attack offensively?
JOHN LACKEY: They're good. They're in the World Series. There's no bad teams left. They've got a really good offense, it's really deep. Really similar to an American League lineup, for sure.

Q. Adam Wainwright said yesterday prior to the start tonight that he didn't want to treat it like any other game, that he wanted to feel the emotion, wanted to feel the pressure. I'm curious about what your approach is. Is it similar to that?
JOHN LACKEY: It's not a normal game. It's a playoff game. It's a big game for sure. It's going to be cold. And it's just that feeling in the air, for sure, that it's October and it's different. And you've got to embrace that, have fun with it and go get after it.

Q. What was that 2011 season like for you?
JOHN LACKEY: Not a whole lot of fun physically. There was definitely some pain and some other stuff that wasn't a whole lot of fun, for sure. Some stuff I won't forget, for sure.

Q. It's one thing to rejuvenate your career after the injury, but it's another thing to do it in the same city, in a tough place like this. Can you just talk about what it means to you to actually sign the big contract, come here and then absolutely pitching maybe your best since you've been here?
JOHN LACKEY: I'm not really concerned about some of that outside stuff. I know who I was in the clubhouse and where I stood with the guys in the clubhouse. That means more to me than about anything.
You want to be on a good team. You want to try to help out the boys. You want to pull your weight, and that's been fun this year.

Q. Beyond winning games what's been the most fun part of this postseason for you with this group? And secondly, will you give yourself a chance before you walk on the mound tomorrow to look around a little bit or enjoy the moment a little bit before you go out there and pitch?
JOHN LACKEY: Probably not tomorrow, no. It's kind of a business day tomorrow. I'm going to enjoy it more tonight, probably, watching my buddy pitch. Rooting hard for Lester, that will be kind of fun to be a fan tonight, to watch him and root him on. But tomorrow it's a workday. You've got to go out and get after it.

Q. Beyond winning, what's been fun for you with this group of guys?
JOHN LACKEY: It's a good group to party with. We do pretty good.

Q. What are some of the challenges that Beltran presents? And how much do you thrive on at this time of year staring down a great hitter like that for a man‑to‑man confrontation?
JOHN LACKEY: It's fun. You're going to have challenges this time of year. There's a lot of great players. You don't get to this point and not have somebody. He's a guy that we definitely try to need to contain to be successful. But I'm not going into it alone. I've got a great group of guys behind me, and hopefully we'll score some runs, and make my job a little easier.

Q. What's the difference in your mind between the 24‑year‑old pitcher who pitched in the World Series and the pitcher who's going to pitch tomorrow?
JOHN LACKEY: More options. I was pretty much a two‑pitch pitcher back then. I've got more things I can go to, more ways I can go about getting people out, if one thing is not working. Probably just the options.

Q. If there was a guy, a Major League pitcher in the prime of his career, a free agent, asked you about, I'm thinking about going to Boston, what would you tell them?
JOHN LACKEY: I'm not going to get into all that. I'm focused on trying to win a ballgame tomorrow.

Q. People usually throw the term "big‑game pitcher" around when they're talking about you. I'm curious, what do you think of that label? And what do you think allows you to respond in these high‑pressure situations?
JOHN LACKEY: I guess it's better that they say that than not. But like I said, you know it's a big game. There's no running from that. And it's something you've got to embrace. It's something you've got to enjoy. And just really focus on executing pitches. Because once you get between the lines, it's all about throwing the ball where you want to throw it the other 162 games.

Q. How do you feel like you've responded throughout your career when you have a lot of days in between starts? I think you're going to have eight now leading into Game 2. How do you have to change things up? And is it a little more uncomfortable for you when you've had a little bit of layoff?
JOHN LACKEY: I think I'm better at it since I've done it a few times. I throw a little bit more on the side. I think I had probably ten my first start, I think, in the ALDS. I didn't throw probably quite as much as I needed to that time. So the next time against Detroit I threw extra, even threw some hitters. And this time I've thrown off the mound a few times, just trying to keep that feel, for sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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