The last time you were about to become a free agent, you pitched in the postseason as well and did very well. Do you think that enhanced your value, and is it difficult not to think about that? I'm not saying when you're on the mound, but off the field?
I think in '04 I would say it did, because of the regular season that I had. I was 14-12 with almost a 6.00 ERA. I think people lose sight, not that they would care either way, but that I was the 10th pitcher on the staff going into the Anaheim series. The only reason I got into Game 3 was because I was the last guy standing. Those three extra starts for me in '04 were -- I think had a lot to do with it. But this year it's been a lot different.
Regular season wasn't anything like '04. And I think I learned a lot in '04 as far as not putting so much pressure on yourself just for that one year. I think people always just look at how you did your free agent year.
I think, not just speaking for myself, but people's body of work over 10, 11 years pretty much tells you what you're going to get in a certain individual, and I think as long as you keep that in mind, I think it's easier to have a good year your free-agent year.
I'm just wondering about how you compare Russ Martin to some of the other catchers you've worked with over the years and what he's meant to this team this year in the postseason?
He's definitely come a long way. I was fortunate to, in my opinion, play with the best catcher in all of baseball, especially calling a game in [Jason] Varitek. And I went years, not starts, but years in Boston and never shook off that, because I had that much faith in his game-calling.
And I think Russell is eventually going to get there. You can't expect him to be at Jason's level this early in his career. We definitely look to him, we definitely lean on him. I think he's definitely open for suggestions throughout the game. But you still have to do your homework being a starting pitcher and you can't 100 percent rely on anybody this time of year.
You guys all seem to be in the same mode as far as loose and having fun. How have you been able to maintain that, considering you're down 0-2, and not succumb to the pressure of the situation?
We'll see tonight. I think with an off-day yesterday it's easy to be relaxed and come here and have a carefree attitude. But we clearly understand where we are. Nobody wants to get down 3-0. I know I was fortunate to be on a team that did it. But it's really an uphill battle.
Again, you don't know, anybody can be loose and relaxed three, four hours before a game. Hopefully we can carry the attitude into the game and understand the magnitude of it but still have the peace of mind to still play relaxed.
I think that's the biggest thing with a young team, how do you get the best out of them when you know you have to win. And hopefully tonight we'll go out there and be able to play like we had in the last month.
Joe [Torre] said you went to [Rick] Honeycutt before the start of this series and said you'd be ready to start on three days' rest. How did that conversation go?
Like I said, we discussed it before the Chicago series. We were actually in San Francisco and we talked about it. I was going to pitch Game 4 against Chicago, and pretty much I was going to pitch tomorrow regardless of the situation. So we knew this was going to happen 10 days ago.
So I think it makes it easier to prepare for it and it's not a, 'We're down 2-0; can you go on three days' rest?' I've known all along this was going to be the scenario.
There's been some talk in the series about the Phillies pitchers making their presence felt with the Dodgers batters. Is there a sense among the Dodgers pitchers they need to announce their presence to the Phillies hitters?
"Nuke" LaLoosh style, Major League guy, yeah, that was definitely a unique situation. I think in hindsight I think everybody, especially probably on our team, wished it would have been handled differently.
I think any time not only did Manny [Ramirez] get brushed back but Russell did kind of, too. I think there's nothing wrong with that. But I think, again, you don't want to sit up here and say you're going to hit people. But I think there was definitely a situation where you could have maybe done the same thing back.
And it's been talked about a lot over the last two days, and the one thing you don't want to do is feel like you're getting pushed around, with the other team thinking they can do whatever they want and you're not really going to stand up for yourself. And it seemed like, for those few innings, seemed like that's what they did.
Now, did that translate into them scoring all those runs? I don't know. But the bottom line is you can't allow them to dictate pretty much let them do whatever they want. You have to stand up for yourself.
If you were to go down 0-3, could you walk us through the way you would talk about that, your own experience? If the team was to go down 0-3 tonight, can you walk us through how you would tell the guys about your own experience in that situation?
That's a good question. I think it's no different than when people ask us how we're going to talk to the young kids about just the playoff experience in general. At that stage there's -- it's really tough. I think our mentality in '04 was we really felt like we weren't out of it. We came to the park in Game 4 and people thought we were up 3-0. We kind of had that mentality don't let us win one game. Don't let us get back into this thing because we had Pedro [Martinez] and [Curt] Schilling going in Game 5 and 6 if we had gotten there.
This year, you don't know. I think it's -- you'd clearly be in a -- I don't know, can't say a no-win situation, but it would be tough. I don't think at that point there would be any reason to have a -- kind of a meeting, because everyone would kind of know where you stood and you would have to play your best four games that you've played all year and not to say you couldn't do it.
Hopefully we won't be there, but if we do, we're going to have to start -- starting with me -- get out to an early lead and try to play it inning by inning.
Joe [Torre] was saying yesterday that he talks to you guys every day in the postseason and he tries to get a sense of how you guys are feeling. What are those -- he said they're pretty brief, but what are those conversations like, and what do you get out of those?
It all depends on how we play the day before. They definitely are brief, but we definitely get the message that he is sending. Sometimes they're 'Play the same way you did.' Clearly that was the messages when we played Chicago. Things aren't going so well, kind of understand that, play our game and you gotta have a plan out there, and from the pitcher's standpoint, you've got to be aggressive within the strike zone.
And I think it's pretty much close to game time so I think people remember going into it. And I think he does it because of the youth of our team. And I think he believes just the same reason why we had more meetings this year than he's ever had, because he feels like he has to get those last words in before we go take the field. And I think they're definitely beneficial to a lot of guys and I imagine in another hour or so we'll have another one.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.