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October 27, 2013

Jon Lester


Q.  I'm just curious to talk about the difference having Mike Napoli in and out of the lineup at first base, particularly defensively, and if you're surprised by how effective he's been defensively at first base, given very little prior experience there?
JON LESTER:   No, Mike has done a great job for us all year.  I think that's a testament to all his hard work in Spring Training.  He got out there early, took a lot of ground balls.  Talked with Butter.  He did a great job all year for us.  But having David over there, obviously you don't want to lose that bat in the lineup, as well.  So I guess with a right‑handed guy on the mound, you'd rather have the lefty or whatever, I guess that's why I'm not a manager.  That's his tough call.  He can't go wrong with either one of them.

Q.  Does it change things defensively that you'd be doing?
JON LESTER:   I don't think so.  I think Pedey has a little more responsibility over there now.  You saw it with the bunt last night, David went straight to first rather than going after the ball.  Pedey talked to him beforehand about that.
But other than that I don't think really anything changes over there.  David is a good athlete and we've seen it over the last couple of years how he's able to take ten ground balls and go out there and be a good first baseman.  I don't think it really changes much.

Q.  We've never seen an end to a game like we saw last night.  What was your sense of how guys were last night, and how were they today?
JON LESTER:  I think today everyone was fine.  I think last night, that's not how you want to end a World Series game.  I think some guys were probably shocked, confused, a lot of different emotions going on.  But there's nothing we can do to change it.
So we have to move forward to today and focus on today.  And if we let that affect us in the clubhouse today and during that game, then we've already been beat.  We can't do that.  We need to move on and go out there and play a good baseball game tonight.

Q.  In that same vein, you're one of the older guys on this team now and one of the ‑‑
JON LESTER:   Don't say that, please (laughter).

Q.  How about one of more experienced guys?
JON LESTER:   There you go.

Q.  To what degree do you guys need to spread that message in the clubhouse, that you can't do anything about last night and you have to worry about what's in front of you now?
JON LESTER:   I don't think we really need to spread any message.  I think guys were able to turn the page from night to night.  And walking in today, I haven't heard anything about it.  I think guys are focused on today and ready to go.
Like I said, having the guys that we've had all year with experience, we've been able to kind of instill that throughout the year of, hey, we've got a new game today.  We've got to worry about today and not worry about yesterday or tomorrow.  And try to go out tonight and compete and beat the Cardinals tonight.

Q.  Just overall what do you think has allowed you to have as good of numbers that you've had throughout your career in the playoffs?
JON LESTER:   I don't know.  I really don't know how to answer that.  I feel like I've pitched pretty good throughout most of my seasons, and it's just carried over into the postseason.  I don't feel like I've put up bad numbers, and all of a sudden get into the postseason and put up good numbers.
I don't know what it is.  I like this stage.  I like knowing that I've got to go out there and give everything I've got for my teammates, because tomorrow might be our last game.  You don't know.  I guess that just gives you that little extra focus.  But I don't really know how to completely answer that question.

Q.  Had you gone through any preparations to potentially pitch on three days' rest?  If so, when did you find out that you weren't going to be going today?
JON LESTER:   It was never brought to me.  Obviously I prepare for tomorrow.  And if they would have come to me, we would have made the adjustment.  But I don't feel like we were in that big of a situation with Buck to really worry about it.  From what Buck says, obviously he's not a hundred percent, but he's going to go out there and compete.  And this time of year nobody is a hundred percent.  You just have to go on the ability to try to execute pitches down in the zone and compete.  And that's all you can really do.

Q.  Due to your tendency to sweat, do you think there's any extra focus on you?  And do you care at all about that?
JON LESTER:   If people want to know how bad I sweat, that's fine (laughter.) I think we've covered that pretty well over the past couple of days.  I've gotten a lot of crap from my friends and my wife on that one.
But I'm sure there's going to be focus on my glove and focus on my hands and what I'm doing, but I've got to worry about the Cardinals.  If I'm worried about what people are looking at, I'm worried about the wrong things.  I'm going to go out and pitch my game.

Q.  Just during that last play last night, how much did your emotion swing back and forth between an out at the plate and then the play at third base?  In a span of ten seconds, just kind of experience everything?
JON LESTER:   Yeah, complete 180.  You're excited that Pedey made that great play and got an out at home.  And ball's going down the leftfield line.  And you don't see it too often where leftfielders are backing up that play.  And Nava did a great job, made a great throw to Salty and everybody is yelling, "Hey, we just got out of a jam."  We're pretty pumped.  We're going to 10th.  We've got a chance.  Home umpire is signaling "safe".  Then it's shock.  Explain to us what happened.
I still don't fully understand the rule.  I don't think a lot of people do.  But like I said, it is what it is.  You can't dwell on it.  You can't think about it, you have to worry about tonight.

Q.  To follow up on the postseason question:  Do you find that in some of your later postseason starts you're drawing on experiences that you had earlier on and the experience of being in the postseason has made a difference for you?
JON LESTER:   Yeah, absolutely.  I think there's benefits to both.  I think there's benefits to being naive to the situation, especially when you're young.  You put too much stock into it, that's when you go out there and you think you have to do more.  One thing I learned from each level that I came up and got to the big leagues that hitters are the same, if you execute a pitch, 7 out of 10 times, if they're good, they're going to get an out.  That doesn't change in the postseason.
And having guys like Schill and Beckett and Wake and Timlin around at an early age I think really helped me develop that.  And things don't change, you just have to go out there.  Obviously your emotions, your adrenaline, you're playing for tomorrow, that changes, but when you get on that mound and you get past the first couple of pitches and you get kind of those jitters out of you and you start to settle in, that's when it's just baseball.  That's when it goes back to, we've got to execute all the way across the board all night to beat these guys.  And they have to do the same thing.  And I think that's what you've seen from these first three games.  Last two we didn't execute.  And the first one we did and they didn't.  And that's the outcome of the game.  It comes down to that.  Comes down to pitch to pitch.  And when the ball is put in play, we've got to make plays.

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