10/16/2004 8:45 PM ET
Roger Clemens postgame quotes
Rocket discusses his winning performance
Q. You went with your splitter today in the later innings. Why did you change?
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, it was working a little better. I tried to explain, when was it, yesterday in here, that I came out a little slow, I wanted to make sure my legs were under me after the problem I had my start before at home. My leg, my pushoff leg was bothering me a little bit.
After I knew it was nice and hot, Brad (Ausmus) and I started rushing the ball when we wanted to, going to the split when we needed.
I got a little, obviously, as the game went on, I was sharper and my split was a little more violent.
It worked out.
Q. Could you talk about how it was to go on five days' rest this time.
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I can only tell you that I felt better just for the fact my body felt better as far as stamina. Had nothing to do with three days' or five days', though, I think it had to do with the illness I had. I think each passing day that I had my strength, I feel better out there.
It was nice. Again, I talked about it yesterday, about trying to keep the ball in the ballpark. I go out there, second hitter shoots me out, and on a pretty decent pitch. I'm just trying to stay back, make sure I'm loose, make a good quality pitch down. Walker, he got a good piece of that ball. That ball carried a long way in this ballpark, which they do.
Then I thought I made a pretty good pitch to -- I'm blanking out here -- Jimmy (Edmonds), I made a good pitch, a split to him. It wasn't as nasty as the splits were later in the game, but I caught him right in his zone, I guess. That ball traveled surprisingly further.
So you really can't let it affect you. You just have to continue to bear down. They have guys throughout that lineup that can hit balls a long way. Obviously, it was extremely nice for JK to -- Jeff (Kent) -- to put us right back in the game, get us the lead again.
Then it was a battle from there. Nice win for us. Now we have our foot in the door just a little bit now.
Q. What would you say about the effectiveness of the fastball compared to the splitter today?
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, it was fine. I used my two seamer and my four seamer in the zones when I needed to. I think early I was 90-92 area. I still felt in the middle innings, when I was warm and I was loose, I felt strong, that I was able to get a couple balls up there, 94, 95 I guess.
Brad will visit with me, if not every inning, every other inning down below, I ask him how the ball's getting to him, if it still has late life.
Andy (Pettitte) and I, it's great having Andy here. He knows me extremely well. Him and Jim Hickey, our pitching coach, we were down in the tunnel. I felt like I was getting under balls where I wanted to feel taller and be a little more violent with the split. "You have to put it in play. You have to trust it and put it in play." Fortunately, today it worked out for me.
Q. As playoff wins go, being back home and based on the situation your team was in, where does this one rank?
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I had a couple of the guys from upstairs floating around the clubhouse. I walked in this morning, they were patting me on the back, telling me this is what I signed here for (smiling).
I told them, "I don't know if I was looking at this, exactly what I signed up to do here." But it was a must win for us. I'm glad that the guys responded well.
Fun crowd. Loud crowd here at home. It's what it's supposed to be like. I think everyone involved is enjoying it. I mean, there's added pressure. I mean, no different than a few years ago when I had to do it in New York. Different situation there because this is my hometown. So no matter my age or what I've done in the past, you want to make a good showing. I was just grateful that I have a lot of friends and family here I get to share this with. They enjoy it. I hope mom's not too tired over there. She pitches every pitch with me. She's still breathing. That's the good thing.
MRS. CLEMENS: Need to wrap my arm.
ROGER CLEMENS: Need to ice down tonight, mom. She's not too pissed because she didn't run over anybody in her wheelchair. She can do that, too.
Q. How much do you feel, looking back now, that you were weakened by that stomach virus?
ROGER CLEMENS: I mean, it hit me bad enough that I wasn't able to go out and pitch, and they pulled me from pitching that day. That's all you need to say. I'll go out there with 50, 60 percent because I feel I can get outs for you. Whether it's two or three innings.
But I know exactly how long it lingered because that's why I felt like I pulled something in my leg my last start. I still think it was lingering. I think it tore my body up. I was lucky to get out of there with that last start and go as long as I did.
And then warming up today, I was taking it nice and easy because I knew I still was weak in that area. Tip my hat to the training staff. They wrapped me up nice and tight. My leg stayed under me. That's a bonus for me. I can pitch -- and I have in the playoffs -- with tremendous swelling in my shoulder and elbow, and been able to get through it. I cannot do that when my legs shut down on me, it's impossible.
So just feel, you know, again, tip my hat to Dave (Labossiere) and Rex (Jones) and those guys in that training room last three or four days.
Q. Suppan had some pretty quick innings towards the end of his outing. You were getting out there pretty fast. Is that good for you, because you're in a good rhythm? Seemed like it didn't affect you too much.
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I don't know if it was good, but, right, they were quick. I think the only advantage for national TV, we have a lot of time in between innings so you have a chance to reflect, think about the next guys you're going to face down there, and get yourself together before you go to the mound.
He had some quick innings. I think the only gamesmanship, if you will, is when I go to the plate after the first two guys, he's thrown two pitches, or two or three pitches, and then you step in, you're trying to decide if you want to hack at the first one. Usually the first one as a pitcher you're going to get. You're trying to decide what you want to do.
If you can make him at least throw five or six pitches, that's all you're looking to do. But it was, he threw some nice, quick innings. It was just a great game.
Lidge, like I said, this guy, I can say a lot of things, but this kid is really learning how to shine on the big stage. It's nice to see. I mean, this is great experience for this kid. Another guy that if I would have had for a long time in my career, there's no telling how many wins I would have if I had this guy behind me. He's just got electric stuff.
It's fun; people get their money's worth watching Beltran and Lance (Berkman) do their thing late to get us breathing room. If you get a good piece of the ball in this ballpark, it will jump, roof open or roof closed. It's nice to see.
Q. I was wondering, now that you've faced this lineup in the postseason, how does this lineup compare to some of the ones you've faced in previous postseasons, whether it's ALCS or World Series?
ROGER CLEMENS: I think they have, obviously, they have the power and the guys that can hurt you. But they're just so balanced. Even with their one or two guys they can bring off the bench late on you. I alluded to it yesterday about the number 2 hitter. Larry is not a typical National League hitter. He's an American League type 2 hitter, held true today. He took some good swings on me and I really started to have to expand the zone. He got my attention pretty quick. I thought I threw a good pitch. That ball left here a long way for really being down in the zone, being a decent pitch.
Those guys are strong. You have to keep their leadoff guy -- I faced Womack in 2001. He can do a lot of things with the bat. I've seen these guys. I have a lot of respect for them. I know that I have to be on top of my game to keep these guys down.
So it's one game, we're back in it a little bit like I said. It's one game. We need to come out here same time, same place and do it again with another huge, loud crowd. It's great being at home.
Q. I asked Phil (Garner) the same question: You're obviously an optimist, any thoughts at all about this being your last game walking off the field today? Optimistically, you'll come back and pitch Game 1 or 2 (in the World Series).
ROGER CLEMENS: Never thought about that at one point. Hope that not to be the case. Obviously, I want to pitch again. And this is a ballclub that, we're one of the last four teams playing, we're the last standing.
Again, I'm fairly comfortable very comfortable watching Roy (Oswalt) go tomorrow, he's, again, he has a very, very bright future, also. Should be a lot of fun tomorrow. So not once did I ever think that that could be my last start.
Q. How did you react to the time outs in the fourth inning? Rolen jumped off base.
ROGER CLEMENS: I'm lost.
Q. Sanders' time out, stepping out of the box.
ROGER CLEMENS: I wanted to know if he called it or Brad (Ausmus) called it, wanted to know if he was confused. I don't want to confuse my guy back there. Came close to letting that ball go flying. I don't want to hold on to the baseball. I try and let the ball go regardless. Good thing it was time out so he didn't advance another base.
As far as Scott jumping around, you try and hold your hand. You see him a little bit but I'm still focused on what's happening at the plate. It's not a big deal. I think that would distract the hitter more than it would affect me.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.