Mike Lamb postgame interview
Infielder talks about getting the start, hitting against Morris
Mike, I know your teammates have been trying to convince you how important your power has been even though you think of yourself as an average hitter. When you hit a home run in the playoffs, do you realize more how impactful you have been?
MIKE LAMB: I think my power sneaks up on me as well as everybody else. I've always been a hitter that uses the whole field and hits for batting average with the dimensions here at Minute Maid, you know, my ability to go the opposite way has been a benefit. I don't know how many opposite field home runs I've hit in my career before I got here, but it seems like now that I'm here and with the Crawford boxes, there's an opportunity for me there. I thought I hit that ball in St. Louis better than I hit the one today but that one was an out and this was a home run. It's just one of those things I think just playing here at Minute Maid.
What do you have with Matt Morris? You've been dominating him.
LAMB: I don't know, I just see the ball good off him and it seems like I get pitches to hit. I've been fortunate not to miss many of them.
I don't know. I said it in there, 15, 20 years from now if somebody asks somebody, do you remember Matt Morris or Mike Lamb, I'm sure it's going to be Matt Morris. (Laughter.) He's a good pitcher. He has been for awhile now. You know it's one of those things, there's games where your teammates are getting hits and you can't seem to get one and you can't explain that either. It's just one of those things.
Assuming the win in St. Louis gave you momentum, what does this do for your confidence?
LAMB: It was important for to us win the game today, with Rocket going and Qualls coming in and doing the job that he did and Lidge to end the game. Winning today puts us up 2-1, vs. down 2-1, with two more games here at home, you know, it's a confidence booster for us, but at the same time we know that we can't relax. The Cardinals are going to come out hard tomorrow and they are going to play hard. Obviously they are not going to quit. They are a good team.
LAMB: For a week I might have been the starting third baseman for the New York Yankees.
I think it was more flattering than anything else that as an organization they thought of me being good enough to be on the field with those other guys. I mean, I don't know that I ever dreamed that I would be on the same field as Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield and (Jason) Giambi and all of those guys. For them to think of me in that high of a regard, it was flattering, no doubt.
You know, I think it would have been awesome to be there and have the right field bleachers chant my name until I tip my cap, but at the same time, if you have an opportunity to get Alex Rodriguez and he'll change positions, I don't care if my mother is penciled in at third base, she's out of here. (Laughter.)
I told (Brian) Cashman and (Joe) Torre there, if I was you I would do the same thing. It doesn't matter, you're getting the best player to probably put on a pair of spikes and what an opportunity, you can't pass that up.
Clemens did not have his best game today; how nice was it for you guys as an offense to scratch together some runs?
LAMB: Clemens, he's unbelievable. We had not scored too many runs and we gave him a little bit of a cushion today and that allows the pitcher to be a little bit more aggressive. You know, the inning that we had, second and third, one out, he held them to one run. That's what the good pitchers do. It's damage control. You can't let a big inning come out of that. He's one of the best at doing that.
As interesting as it might have been to spend time with the Yankees, was it at that point in your career that you had to be someplace where you could play every day?
LAMB: Well, until Alex got there, I think I was going to play every day. I still had to earn the job, and hopefully one day I can be an everyday player again. I would enjoy it and I think I would like that opportunity again, but being here in Houston has been a blessing for me, there's no doubt. Being in the American League and a bench player, you have to wait for somebody to get hurt to get in there, and at least in the National League, there's a threat of pinch hitting every day. So it keeps you on your toes a little bit.
I've gotten an opportunity to play here. I've got 280 at bats last year and 300 something this year. That's half the season. I'm happy. I mean, it's not an everyday gig, but I get a chance to play, I get a chance to contribute. Like I said, it's a blessing that I was able to get here.
In the postseason, it's either been Chris Burke or you in the lineup. Given how hot he's been, were you a little bit surprised to actually see your name in the lineup?
LAMB: Well, I don't know that I was surprised. I was thankful. I know that he's doing well and it would be really tough to leave him out of the lineup.
I think that the joke was, you know, how loud are the boos going to be if he didn't play today. It's good for him. He's doing well right now. You know, you've got to ride that horse while you can, while he's hot. It stinks that there's got to be an odd man out. It stinks today that Willy Taveras did not get a chance to start. He's been doing okay. He's been holding his own this year, no doubt. There has to be an odd man out. Today was Willy and tomorrow it could be me, who knows.
The thing for me is I can't come in here and just because it's a right handed pitcher I assume that I'm going to play, because I did that in Atlanta, I thought I was going to get (Tim) Hudson that first day and I didn't. You know, it was hard that day. I can't let that happen. It was foolish of me to do it, I guess, but I've learned my lesson. Regardless of if I'm playing or not, I've got to be ready, ready to pinch hit or ready to start, whatever the case may be.
You struggled for a while after the break; what did you do that turned it around in early September?
LAMB: I don't know. I think the only adjustment I made mechanically was I tried to get my foot down a little sooner. I think really, it's frustrating even more that it seems like that was the key and I struggled for five months and not being able to figure that out, something as silly as that.
I never really felt all season like I was that bad, but apparently I was. So it was a tough year, it was something I had never gone through. It was a learning experience for me. You know, September is a good time to come out of something like that. The opportunity arose so that I could play when somebody got hit by a pitch in Philadelphia and could go out and continue getting at bats. I've got to be grateful to Phil, he kept running me out there. You know, somebody that's hitting .200, it's easy to get rid of somebody. He had the confidence to keep me around and believed in me. I believed in myself as well but there's a certain point where you can't wait for next year to start.
I'm glad that I got that opportunity, and took advantage of it more than anything else.
It's been such an uphill struggle for this team all year, overcoming the slow start and not clinching until last day; how do you think as a team you'll handle the prosperity of a 2-1 lead in the LCS?
LAMB: I don't think this team cares, to tell you the truth. This is one of most resilient teams I've ever been on, whether we get shut out, whether we lose, whether we win, this team the next day, it doesn't phase them. Being up 2-1, I don't foresee there's going to be any lack of concentration tomorrow or focus. We played in Atlanta against (John) Smoltz and got shutout or scored one run and it's like, gosh, you guys can't score runs, and we come out the next day and score 10. This team doesn't care, we're going to come out tomorrow and play hard. Hopefully it turns out for the best.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.