10/10/10 5:02 PM ET
Postgame interview with Ron Washington
By / MLB.com
Q. Wash, when Longoria came to bat Zobrist got on first and the passed ball got him to second, did you have any thoughts about putting Longoria on in that situation?
RON WASHINGTON: No, I didn't. I thought Derek was throwing the ball well, and just happened to get a pitch in the wrong place.Q. Obviously there's been a huge momentum switch in this thing now. Lee is here to stop that. Is that the issue now? Lee gets the momentum back?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, what it is when we started it was a five-game series. We took two at their place, they took two here. So this is what it's all about. It's down to one game. We've got Cliff going and we certainly feel good about it. We have proved that we can win there, so it's what it's about. Five games and we took it five. So we certainly would have liked to have come home and won one game, but we didn't. So we have to go Tampa and we have to do it. So Cliff is the guy.strong>Q. Ron, you had Tommy Hunter kind of a weird line with so many strikes in the fourth, sort of typified it with the three doubles. What was the fine line with the strikeouts and getting hit hard?
RON WASHINGTON: Just getting the ball up. I thought the one that Peña hit he did a good job of hanging over the plate. It was a fastball going away from him. And he just went with the pitch. That was good hitting right there. Longoria, he went up there looking for a first-pitch fastball, he got it and he didn't miss it.
Just started getting the ball up. But I thought Tommy the first three innings were pretty good, mixing his pitches well. They're a good team at taking pitches and not missing what they want. So when you put something up there that they want, they hit it.
Q. What do you think is happening with your bats these two games?
RON WASHINGTON: The Rays' pitching. I thought the kid today did a good job of mixing. I thought when he had to make pitches, he did. And that's what it's all about. Good pitching stops hitting and he pitched good.
Q. That same line is that all it is with Josh Hamilton? Or does he look like he is not 100%? Hasn't driven in a run yet this series.
RON WASHINGTON: You know, I don't think no one is 100% right now. But you understand Josh hasn't seen live pitching in a month and he's up there fighting, and he's fighting hard. It's not an excuse, but he hasn't seen pitching in a while and he is facing some pretty good pitching right now.
Q. Ron, your starters, does Hunter have to have the least margin of error? Does he have to be kind of perfect with location in order to get guys out?
RON WASHINGTON: Well, that's his style. He's not a power pitcher. He certainly has to be able to spot his fastball. He certainly has to keep his breaking ball down and change-up down. That's just his style of pitching. So I wouldn't say you have to be perfect, because I don't believe there is any perfection in the game of baseball, but when you start elevating the ball, that's when it can be problems for him.
Q. Ron, thinking back to the trade that brought Lee here, is this why you got him, for this type of game?
RON WASHINGTON: Yes, this is why we got him, for this type of game. And I certainly feel great about what's about to happen when we get to Tampa. And we couldn't have a better guy on the mound.
Postgame interview with Cliff Lee
Q. The Rays you pitched against last week are they same?
CLIFF LEE: Same guys. Definitely the same guys. It was a different lineup today that what I faced them a little bit, but same team. They obviously played better here than they played at their place. So it's coming down to one game, and it's going to decide who wins this series.
Q. Cliff, can you explain how the road team has won every game in this series when people put so much emphasis on home-field advantage?
CLIFF LEE: Not really. I don't care whether I pitch at home or on the road. It really doesn't matter that much to me, so I can only answer for myself. I can't answer for those guys and for the rest of our team. But for me, if you had your pick, obviously you would rather pitch at home. But for me it's not that much of a difference really. I feel like I'm able to filter out the crowd and the effect that that has and just focus on the catcher's mitt and trying to get each hitter out.
For me it is not that big of a deal.
Q. Cliff, I was in Seattle the day you were traded and you were talking about how it was tough to leave, but you wanted to get to a place where you would have the big playoff game. Is this exactly where you want to be at this point, Game 5?
CLIFF LEE: Yeah. We're in the playoffs. It's down to one game to decide whether we move on. At that point, yes. This is exactly where I would want to be, in a situation like this. I had no control or choice on the matter, but to end up here and to end up in a 2-2 series, playing the last game for the -- it is win or go home at this point, yeah. It is playoff baseball at its best here.
Q. Along those lines, from the moment you were brought here obviously you would start Game 1 of a postseason, and the hope was if this team faced an elimination game you would be the guy pitching there. Have you been inevitably mentally preparing yourself to pitch in some kind of game in which the entire season was on the line?
CLIFF LEE: I am ready to pitch whenever they want me to pitch. I was ready yesterday in the bullpen. I could have potentially pitched today out of the bullpen. I'm ready whenever they are ready. For me it's not a matter of being mentally focused or whatever, I'm always ready. It's about competition and competing at the highest level. And I enjoy it and have fun with it. At this point in the year, I'm ready. Whenever they want to let me pitch, I'm going to pitch.
Q. I haven't done my homework, but is this the first time you pitched in a winner-take-all game?
CLIFF LEE: I barely remember what happened yesterday (laughing), much less exactly how the series was last year. But I think so, but I don't remember. I don't know for sure.
Q. Cliff, do you go with the same game plan you had in Game 1? Are there adjustments?
CLIFF LEE: I will make the exact same pitches the whole game. The same sequences the whole time -- no, I really don't know. I am really a guy that goes out there and makes pitches and sees how the hitter swings at them and makes adjustments on the fly. Obviously I will have a game plan and what I did last time, a lot of that worked. So they will have to prove to me that they are making adjustments before I will make a big adjustment. That's how I have always pitched. I will make pitches and see how they swing at them and try to make adjustments with that. There's not going to be -- I have pitched the same all season. I do the same thing every time. It's up to the hitter to tell me how to make an adjustment.
Q. Guys in both clubhouses have used the word "warrior" talking about you, do you see yourself that way? What goes into that?
CLIFF LEE: A warrior is someone that is like a gladiator, or when I think warrior it sounds like a fighter. I am not really that. I'm a professional athlete. I am a pitcher. But I'm competitive. I hate to lose. I like to compete. And if that goes under "warrior", I guess I'm that. But I am just extremely competitive is how I would phrase it.
Q. After the first two games of the series obviously this is not the position you wanted to be in. How difficult is it for you guys to stay positive?
CLIFF LEE: It's not difficult at all. We were lucky to get the first two in their place. That's hard to do. And they did the same thing to us. So it's two teams that are really good teams and it's coming down to the wire. When the series started you would have probably expected it to turn into something like this, but after we won the first two, obviously you would expect us to win one of the games at home. No one expected to us win both games in Tampa, just like no one expected them to win both games here. It's why you play the games. So we're going to stay positive. They flat out beat us, but we flat out beat them at their place. So it's coming down to one game. It's going to be fun and we're not panicking or worried or nervous or anything. It's one game. It's win or go home at this point.
Q. Cliff, you are the hired gun for a franchise that has never won a playoff series, now 39 seasons. Do you even know the rather sorry history of the franchise?
CLIFF LEE: I have heard about that, but that really doesn't matter to me that much, to be honest with you. This is a different team that's ever played here. It's a whole different set of circumstances. What has happened in the past, they could have had 60 World Series rings and that's not going to change the way that I am approaching this season and this postseason. Still, we want to get a ring, period. Regardless of whether they've done it every season up until now or never done it before. That's what we're trying to do. And the history of the team has zero bearing for me as to what I'm trying to do and where we're trying to go.
Q. Cliff, in Game 1 a lot of the guys with playoff experience really helped this team, you among them. You've talked about this is going to be fun, this should be a fun experience. Do you have to set the tone a little bit for that quote/unquote fun? And how do you do that?
CLIFF LEE: I don't know if I have to set the tone. Hopefully our offense sets the tone in the top of the first inning. That would be nice. I mean, it's not up to me to set the tone, it is up to our team to play as one unit and everybody contribute and everybody carry their weight. If we do that, good things will happen. I don't feel like it is up to me to set any tone. I feel like as a starting pitcher my job's just to minimize the damage the other team's trying to do and give our offense a chance to get back in the dugout and score runs. I don't know, I don't look at it like I have to do anything special or anything extra or anything after that.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.