10/15/05 9:10 PM ET
Roger Clemens postgame interview
Game 3 winner discusses his pitching performance
By / MLB.com
ROGER CLEMENS: I was trying to stay extremely tall and violent on the mound so my stuff was moving well. Brad seemed to, I can tell by his pitch selection that he's calling behind the plate what he likes what he's seeing, the end results. We do talk in between innings, but I felt good in the bullpen. I think the biggest problem is that I was able to get loose and heated up a little sooner than I expected, with all the intros and everything, I just had to back off a couple times and slow down, because I got warm, fast.
Other than that, it was just a couple cramps here and there, driving the ball off and I was able to work my way through them. So all in all it was a good day.
So your legs held up okay?
CLEMENS: Legs feel fine. Legs feel fine. You know, it was just emptying the tank and using that energy in a positive manner. Two run lead was nice. And then at that point on, you know, it's a battle. They get a couple lead off guys on, a couple hits here, (Mike) Lamb almost made a nice play to his back hand. When those innings start happening, you just want to try and stay away from a big inning.
I tipped my hat to them both times, they were able to get the baseball in the air deep enough to get runs in and I was just trying to go the opposite way. I was trying to have them pound it in the ground or get to a point where I could get a crucial strikeout. It was just a good ballgame.
Mike Lamb said a minute ago that you are one of the best at damage control that he's ever seen. What do you credit the ability to be able to do that to?
CLEMENS: Well, you know, I don't know. I think we talked about it the other day when I was in this room, and the ability to get out of some problems that, some of it, you create for yourself. I know the situation where I had two walks, I was able to get out of that. I just didn't want to leave a ball in the middle of the plate at that point in the game to get any momentum.
But, you know, it's just experience I guess, sometimes especially this time of year, you have to will yourself through some innings. But yeah, I mean, I appreciate, I turn around and talk to those guys quite a bit and try and especially on the corners to Lamb or to Mo (Morgan Ensberg) at third base, because they are not able to see the pitches. I'm just real fortunate. It's a battle. We see each other so much in this division, so it's a battle.
CLEMENS: Well, it was my fault because once he made the play, I thought it was going to be somewhat of an easier play, and then we made eye contact, that's when I started to him, to take it himself. We talked after the fact and I told him I'll make sure I get over there in time if he's going to continue to play deep. It's nice, because he becomes a fielder and then I can become first baseman. It's a nice situation to have.
Does running the bases affect you the next inning when you're pitching at all?
CLEMENS: Not really. Not really. You're just trying, in postseason, you have a little more time in between innings, so it didn't affect me this time. I'm not going to say it won't somewhere down the road, but it didn't affect me this time.
Maybe this is nitpicking a little, but looking at the one strikeout, this is maybe a not typical Clemens performance, was there a reason just a credit to them or were you not as sharp as you'd prefer to be?
CLEMENS: I was aggressive in the strike zone and they are aggressive, too. Again, we've seen each other so much. I mean, that's really the only thing that I can tell you. I'm not concerned about strikeouts other than if I get in a certain situation with a man on third and less than two outs. That's when I'm really going to try and get a strikeout if I can. If I can get to that point.
You can get in trouble trying to strike somebody out with your first couple of pitches. Just like we talked about earlier, like Lamb said, it's damage control. You want to stay away from a big inning, and especially, I threw a decent slider, they found a hole, one bounced off his glove and here we go.
You're going to get tested. I've been in this game long enough to know that you're going to get tested. Throughout the ballgame at least twice, you're going to have to get out of trouble. And in low scoring games, that's always the case, especially in this ballpark.
It didn't seem like you had great command with your breaking pitches today; how much of a struggle was it not to have your fastball?
CLEMENS: Total opposite. My slider was fine, I threw it where I wanted to and I tip my hat, they laid off some tough splits. I threw some splits in there and they laid off of them. So it was really just the opposite and we were just trying to pour on the fastballs, moving the fastballs around the zone. I would have liked to have gone up a little bit higher because I felt that they wanted me to elevate the baseball so that they can get the ball in the outfield and I needed to get one a little higher, maybe get a swing and miss or maybe got a pop up in the infield.
It's a constant battle. You know, there's a game within a game, 60 feet, I'm looking at these guys and they have seen me enough. I'm going to find out, I'm going to try and find a weakness if I can, and if not, just sit out there and grind them and make them earn everything they are going to get. I can't say it any more simply than that.
It seemed like at times the crowd was trying to help you through this, cheer you through this, what advantage is it being 2-1 now being at home in the series?
CLEMENS: Well, my thoughts going into it was to give the kid tomorrow a little leeway and not have it rest upon his shoulders. Now he can go out and relax and pitch his game. We're looking at that game squaring our eyes right now, that's the most important thing we've got going. So, you know, you didn't want any extra added pressure on Brandon and now he can go out there and throw his game and shine like he has in the past in his young career.
Before the game, Tony La Russa was in this room and said they was worried that Wally would get caught up in the moment and expand the strike zone with you.
Did you detect anything like that during the game?
CLEMENS: I'm going to pass on that one. These guys, they do a good job back there. I'm not going to comment on that.
In that sequence where they hit the ball to the right centerfield fence, left centerfield fence, down the line, is that you using the big areas of this ballpark, or was it a matter of some luck or a combination of both?
CLEMENS: Well, I hope it's a combination of both. I had good movement on my two seamer and I was able to ride my fastball when I needed to. I was fortunate, I was able to beat a few guys in the zone where the ball stayed in the ballpark.
Albert, you know, I took a glance at him, I threw a nice two seamer away and it ran a little bit more. At times, that's just the way it is, I'm 43, sometimes I come off the mound a little differently and it comes a little more than I want to and he's a tremendous hitter. I enjoy those situations and they are fun, especially when you come out on the lucky side, I guess, if you want to call it that. He hit it to the big part of the ballpark, but as long as Albert it hitting singles, I've got no problem with that. (Laughter.) He's a very good, very dangerous hitter, and again, I think the fans ought to be not only here, but in St. Louis, ought to be, it's a neat thing to see when you have great players in our league like him.
After the All-Star Break, the Cardinals swept you guys and now the whole tenor of this series seems different. The easy answer is it's the freakin' playoffs, is there another reason why the whole mood of this match up seems more intense?
CLEMENS: I think we played some great games throughout the season with them. I know that I had my hands full. I think that I had, for me, a very tough game against Carpenter earlier in the year in St. Louis. He went through us fairly easy that day I thought. We didn't give him a lot of tough outs, a lot of tough at bats, and I had another one with Mulder when he pitched like ten innings and his pitch count was way down. For the most part, I thought he was just throwing the ball down the middle and we were getting ourselves out.
But again, we're familiar with one another, and this is the way the playoffs are supposed to be. You get a break here or there, play some defense. Adam Everett was unbelievable, and they made a mistake today and it worked out for us.
Who knows what tomorrow is going to bring, but the guys, our guys are loose, and we are just trying to play the game the best way we know how. So like I said, this time of year is a lot of fun. It's a lot of fun to have everything to meaningful it makes it worth it.
Along the same lines, is there any different mood, or feeling in the clubhouse being up 2 1, as opposed to being down 2-1 last year?
CLEMENS: I'm not even, I couldn't even tell you what happened last year.
Is it a different feeling in the clubhouse being up 2-1, as opposed to being down?
CLEMENS: Some of your biggest cheers after the game was for our USC guys when they beat Notre Dame. That's the way this team is. I'm in there trying to shake hands and they don't even know I'm there, their eyes are all glued to the TV. (Laughter.) I think some of our biggest cheers came there, probably even louder than when Lamb hit the home run. I know I was cheering the loudest at that point.
Yeah, it's a good feeling to get the first one here at home and we know that we're here for two more, and we'll see what happens.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.