Q. Can you talk a little bit about letting your hitters go green light on the 3 0 counts?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, you know that Price didn't want to end up walking those guys, so I took a chance on letting them hit 3 0. Each one of the guys that I did it to, that's the way you hit 3 0. They were able to get a ball up in the zone and they didn't miss it. You know, that was the turning point for us as far as scoring runs go.
Q. Can you talk about the acquisitions of Bengie Molina and Jeff Francoeur and what they did today especially?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, those are guys that have been through the wars before. We have a team of developing guys that put a lot together this year, and they just set the tone right away. You know, Bengie gets the double, Molina comes up and gets the base hit to right field. You know, that relaxed our guys a heck of a lot, and then we just continued to play the type of baseball we know we're capable of playing.
Q. How much do you think that foul tip on Pena turned the game if it would have been 3 1 instead of 2 2?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, it was a big pitch, but I don't know if it would have turned the game. When Cliff Lee is out there, he's so focused, if it ended up being a hit by pitch he would have done what he had to do to get out of that inning regardless. That was one play that was in our favor.
Q. Was there anything in particular going on in the first inning with Cliff that he wasn't in his groove?
RON WASHINGTON: No, there wasn't. You know, I mean, first game of the playoffs, there's a lot of energy going on out there. You know, it happened to Price in the first inning and it happened to Cliff in the first inning, but after that I think they both began to settle down. We took advantage of some opportunities and we cashed in, and Cliff limited the opportunities that they had. You know, I mean, tomorrow the energy level will be the same. We're in the playoffs right now, so even the best sometimes go out there and it takes them a while to find the feel.
Q. In the 9th do you think he was just nervous or uncomfortable and got rid of the jitters now?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, once again, nervous? No, I don't think the kid is nervous. He knows exactly what he's capable of doing. Once again, I just think it was anxiety, it was being over hyped, but he settled down. That was his first time out there, too. He's a young kid. He took over the closing role, and now he's closing a ballgame in a playoff situation. He definitely has the stuff. He finally settled down and he did what we needed him to go to get us to three outs. Next time he takes the ball, he'll probably be better.
Q. Are you aware that you broke a nine game playoff losing streak by the Rangers and you scored more runs today than the Rangers did in their last two playoff series?
RON WASHINGTON: No, I wasn't aware of that. The only thing I was aware of was that we were in some serious competition out there today. I have a pretty good ballclub, and we're going to fight. You know, I guess whatever happens from this point on will be history in Texas Rangers folklore. I'm just happy my guys were relaxed today and they were able to go out there and play the type of game that we know we can play, and today we got the win. So we'll just enjoy it and prepare for tomorrow.
Q. Just generally what does having Cliff Lee out there do for the team as the game goes on and he settles down? Do you get a sense of a change in the emotion of the team with him doing so well?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, no doubt about it, but you know, we put some runs on the board, too. That helped. That play that Elvis didn't make up the middle, you hit that ball 99 more times, he'll make it. There's still some outside energy working, but it definitely settled us down knowing that once we got ahead, we had Cliff out there, and then once we put some runs on the board he goes out there and goes one, two, three. That's what you like to see pitchers do. He did a great job of doing that. They worked him hard. He got through that seventh inning and then it made it easier for us to go to our bullpen.
ALDS Game 1 postgame interview: Lee
Q. How big of a deal was it to get out of that first inning without giving up any runs?
CLIFF LEE: It felt fine. It's not very often you give up three hits in one inning and they don't score. To get out of that with the zero was huge. It was a momentum builder for our team, and our offense responded and put up two runs the next inning and extended the lead for the next three innings, put up one in the third, one in the fourth, and one in the fifth and gave us a five run lead. That was huge. Any time you can you have runners in scoring position with less than two outs, and you get out of that without giving up any, that's huge. It's basically the same as scoring runs. So huge momentum builder for us, and we responded.
Q. Did you think you had hit Carlos Peña? And what were you thinking about when all the arguing about it was going on?
CLIFF LEE: Well, when I threw the pitch, I knew it either hit his hand or hit the bat. It definitely hit something. I could hear it from the mound. When he did not start jumping around and didn't want to go to first base, I had a pretty good feeling it hit the bat. He wasn't really arguing that strongly, so I'm willing to bet it hit the bat. I haven't seen the replay, but I definitely know it hit something, and fortunately they called it a foul ball rather than a hit by pitch.
Q. Once you got through the first inning and then they get the two runs for you, do you feel you were able to sort of settle down immediately?
CLIFF LEE: Yeah, definitely. I felt good even in the first. They're good hitters. They got three hits, and like I said before, it's not very often you give up three in one inning and they don't score. I felt pretty fortunate and felt like things were going to go my way. I got a little rhythm going and was able to execute pitches. That's the name of the game, especially with an offense like that.
If you're working the corners and staying out of the heart of the plate, then you should have success, but if you're getting yourself in 2 0, 3 1 counts, behind all day, and messing up out over the plate they can make you pay. I did everything I could to work the count and make them swing to be on base. Our offense deserves a lot of credit for the way it put up runs early and kept extending the lead, and a lot of the credit goes to the offense for sure.
Q. When it's bases loaded and one out, I'm wondering about your mental look at things and the way you feel about yourself. Are you wondering at that moment if this is not going to be a good day, or are you still believing I've got this guy?
CLIFF LEE: Yeah, there's never going to be a point when I'm on the mound that I feel like it's not going to be my day. If you lose confidence out there, you're in a bad spot, regardless of what the situation is or what the circumstances are. You've got to stay positive. You've got to feel like you're going to get out of it, and that's the mentality I had at that point and that's the mentality I'm going to have regardless of what situation I'm in. Like I said, if you're doubting yourself, bad things are going to happen. You've got to stay confident, and that's easier said than done, too.
For me, I've put all the work in. I've every off season I work hard, I work hard all season for an opportunity like this, and it's not the time to go out there and start doubting yourself. It's a time to go out there and have fun and stay confident and expect to be successful.
Q. How would you evaluate your performance today?
CLIFF LEE: Good. We won the game. I mean, that's the bottom line, regardless how that happens. If we get a win, it was good performance. There's a lot of different ways to get a win. Obviously I would have liked to have gone nine innings, no runs. That would have been the perfect scenario. But that didn't happen.
I left a pitch up to Zobrist, and he hit it out in the opposite field. I've got to tip my hat to him on that.
But I worked out of some situations, some jams, and our offense responded. Like I said before, a lot of credit goes to our offense for getting the lead early and extending it through the fifth inning. That was huge.
Q. What does it mean to pitch like you have in the post season, and is your mindset any different then?
CLIFF LEE: What does it mean? Obviously that's what I'm trying to do every time I take the mound, whether it be regular season or post season. I want to go out there and execute pitches, get as deep into the game as I can and put up as many zeros as I can. That's what I'm trying to do every time. Obviously I enjoy competition, period, whether it be regular season, post season, playing darts, shooting pool or whatever. I like to compete and I hate to lose. Any time you're playing against the most elite baseball players in the world, it's a challenge. You know, the guys with the bat know what they're doing, too. It's something I enjoy, something that I'm happy that I have this job. I love competing.
You know, any time you are able to have success against a team like that, especially in the post season, you've got to feel good about it, and we've got a lot more work to do, and I'm happy to get us off on a good start, to help get us off on a good start. The offense did their part, too.
Yeah, it's a lot of fun, and I try not to take anything for granted. This one is done. It's behind me. I've got to look forward to either my next start against the Rays or the next team we play. This is where you want to be. If you're a baseball player, you want to pitch in the post season, or play in the post season whether you're a pitcher or whatever. This is where you want to be, and it's a lot of fun for me.
Q. When the offense scores early like that, got the two runs in the second, does it alter your approach in terms of your game plan, or is the game plan the game plan regardless?
CLIFF LEE: It doesn't really alter it that much. It obviously makes things easier. You'd rather pitch with a lead rather than not. If it's a 1 0 game or a 0 0 game, obviously you get a guy on and it's different but when you've got a five run lead, you're not so worried about that guy scoring, you're just worrying about getting the guy out. It changes it a little bit. It allows me to be a little more aggressive in the zone. It allows me to throw more first pitch fastballs and go right at it and hope they swing at it and hit it to someone. Maybe it changes it a little bit, but whether it's 1 1 or 0 0, I'm for the most part doing the same things, but you've got a little more leeway, room for error, when you've got a five run lead.
Q. Along the lines of the game plan and the approach with this Tampa Bay lineup, how do they score so many runs over the course of a season?
CLIFF LEE: Well, they definitely play good defense and pitch well, that's a big part of their reason for success. You know, they've got guys that can drive the ball out of the ballpark. They've got speed. They make things happen. They hit and run, they bunt, they squeeze. They know how to produce runs, and whether it be a home run or manufacturing a run, they're very good at it and they rely on their pitching and defense and speed. That's a huge part of their game, and when you're facing a team like that, that's you can't mess up out over the plate or they can hit a home run. So you try to keep the ball down, work the ball in and out and mix speeds, and that's it.
Q. It's now been six post season starts over the two seasons, and it's 5 and 0 and about a run and a half ERA. The teams you play against sort of describe you as this big game pitcher who's very dangerous in a big game. I was wondering how you feel about the fact that other people around baseball view you that way.
CLIFF LEE: I mean, obviously that's a compliment, I guess. I'm not going to get caught up in that. That doesn't mean that I'm going to have success next time. I've still got to do the work, still got to continue to do what I do and get absorbed in my routine and focus on what I need to do to prepare for the next time. Obviously that's better than being the opposite of that.
But it's not time to sit here and pat myself on the back. We've got a lot of work to do. I feel good about helping us get off to a good start, and hopefully I can continue to do the same. That's what I expect to do, I expect to go out there, give the team a chance, get deep in the game and keep the runs that the other team scores to a minimum. That's what I expect.
You know, I like pitching on a big stage. Just pitching in the Big Leagues alone is an honor, but when you get an opportunity to make it to the post season, that's what it's all about. That's what you play all year for, and I enjoy it and I try to have fun with it.
Q. What do you like about the big stage?
CLIFF LEE: I like competing. I like competing, period. Like I said before, regardless of what it is, I like to compete and I hate to lose. You know, any time you get a chance to play in a situation like the post season when you're playing against the best of the best, that's what it's all about. That's what I thrive on, that's what I enjoy, and I expect to be successful. It's competition at the highest level, and that's what it's all about. I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoy it.
ALDS Game 1 postgame interview: Molina
Q. Did that pitch hit Carlos Peña?
BENGIE MOLINA: To tell you the truth, I couldn't tell. I know it hit something. I wasn't sure if it hit him or it hit the bat. The guys went in and said that it hit the bat in the replay, but I was sure that it hit something.
Q. Just following that up, do you think that turned the game at all, if it had been 3 1 instead of 2 2?
BENGIE MOLINA: I don't believe in that. I think the game could be turned around by anything through the whole game. You cannot say in the first inning, even if they would have scored one run and we came back and scored five or something like that, I don't think you can say that.
Q. Can you talk about your offensive output today compared to what you've done during the season?
BENGIE MOLINA: I just got lucky today. I guess I saw pitches up in the zone, and I got hits. I don't like talking about my hitting so much, even if I do good. I don't like doing that. But today I got lucky. I got three hits and see what happens in the next game.
Q. Can you just talk about Cliff Lee today, what was working and how you two were working out there?
BENGIE MOLINA: He was amazing. He is amazing, period. He's one of the best pitchers in the game, and he's a lot of fun to catch, man. He's unbelievable. He controls the fastball so well. He throws the cutter wherever he wants to, outside, inside. He put the ball up whenever he wants to. He throws that curveball. He's as good as anybody. We didn't use the change up too much today, but he was on today.
Q. How big a deal was it to get out of that first inning without giving up any runs?
BENGIE MOLINA: It was huge. It was huge, and you never knew what was going to happen after that. It doesn't mean we were going to lose or win the game, either way. But it's huge. I mean, we want to stay 0 0 the whole way, I'll take that, but it was huge us getting out of that jam.
Q. In that first inning was Cliff did he just not have good location or were they hitting good pitches? What was going on there?
BENGIE MOLINA: I think that lead off guy got jammed and got a blip over the second baseman. I think Crawford got jammed, hit it up the middle. Those two were good pitches. Longoria hit the cutter away, and he hit it pretty good. You know, they earned their way on, so it's fine, you've just got to work your way out.
Q. Was there a particular pitch or series today that you really enjoyed? You said it's fun catching him. Was there anything today that was especially special coming from Cliff?
BENGIE MOLINA: I think the whole game. You know, I've always been a defensive catcher first, so I enjoy every pitcher, but he is amazing, man. He can go cutter in, curveball away, and he'll get it there. It's a lot of fun just being back there. I don't want to take any credit; he did all the work, man. He's a special man.
Q. Bengie, how did you feel when the trade went through, the Giants sending you to Texas?
BENGIE MOLINA: At first I didn't feel so well because I had a lot of friends on the other side, and I took care of those pitchers and they took care of me good. We were very like a family out there. But then once I came here, you've got to turn the page. You've got to say they didn't want you, and these guys, they really want you. So I took it very nice. I was very positive with it, you know, and I wanted to work hard with any pitchers that they had here, make them better as much as I can, and win. Obviously they already had a great team. I came in to fill in and try to win this whole thing.
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