You beat the Yankees twice earlier this year, with high strikeouts both times. I think you lasted five and a third in those games. Was it just kind of burnout, did it take a lot of pitches to get to that point or how do you describe your past two times against them?

JOHN LACKEY: Well, there's a lot of things that go into it. We've got a really strong bullpen and I think as a starting pitcher, especially in a series like this and when you go against a team like the Yankees, they like to take a lot of pitches and work counts. They make you work as a starting pitcher.

I think, I mean, as far as a starter, you just go hard as long as you can. I have a lot of confidence in the guys that are coming in behind me, so I'm just going to go as hard as I can for as long as I can.

The meeting earlier in the year after your slow start when Mike Scioscia and Bud Black talked to you about kind of trying to settle down on the mound, what did you take from that meeting that helped you string along the success you've had?

LACKEY: That was a long time ago. It was probably after the second or third start I think. They kind of called me in and just wanted me to get back to executing pitches and not letting just really being focused in tough spots, being able to realize that, I mean, there's certain situations in a game that can mean the outcome of a game. You've got to be able to recognize those spots and execute pitches in those situations, not necessarily throw harder but more so hit spots.

The fact that you were thrown right into the fire as a rookie, winning the game that clinched the wild card in 2002, winning Game 7 of the World Series, how does that help you in a situation like tomorrow since you've already been there and done that?

LACKEY: Any experience you can definitely draw from, especially in playoff games. It's more the stuff around the game that it helps, the experience does. You know, I've done this kind of thing before. I've done the flyovers and all of that kind of stuff. Your routine gets messed with just a little bit. But if you've been through it before, it's not as big of a deal.

When you guys faced the Yankees in 2002, they were coming off of a string of championships and had been in the World Series the year before. Is some of the luster gone from the Yankee this is time around? Do they have less of a mystique about them?

LACKEY: I don't think so. I mean, it's a GREAT organization that's been in the playoffs and won a lot of World Series for a long time. They have got great players over there.

I think as far as our team, we think we have got a pretty good club over here, too, and we can match up against anybody pretty favorably. We have to more so worry about the way we play baseball and not worry about who we are playing.

Last season you didn't get a chance to pitch in the playoffs, you would have been the Game 4 starter. How excited are you knowing you're going to get a chance this season?

LACKEY: Really excited. Actually, Brendan Donnelly in Spring Training this year told me my goal was to at least get to play this year in the playoffs once we got there. So, I mean, that means a lot of things probably fell into place.

Being the Game 2 starter is definitely, you know, it's a big deal for me. I'm excited about the opportunity and hopefully make the most of it.