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Justin Verlander WS Game 1 pregame interview

MLB.com

Q. A.J. informed us you hit a home run yesterday. Some thoughts about hitting? And as I told A.J., Brian McCann says he has a man crush on Yuli because of his hair. As far as hitting, what do you think about Yuli's hair?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: Hitting, it's fun during the regular season. You kind of get to break up the monotony a little bit. We have fun with it. But the World Series is a different animal. You can change the outcome of the game whether you get a bunt down or whether you can squeak out a hit. I'm not going to try to get a home run. I hope I'm 0-for-0 with four sac bunts. That's the ideal plan. But I guess when you're up there you just -- if the situation calls for it, you try to do the best you can.

Q. A.J. informed us you hit a home run yesterday. Some thoughts about hitting? And as I told A.J., Brian McCann says he has a man crush on Yuli because of his hair. As far as hitting, what do you think about Yuli's hair?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: Hitting, it's fun during the regular season. You kind of get to break up the monotony a little bit. We have fun with it. But the World Series is a different animal. You can change the outcome of the game whether you get a bunt down or whether you can squeak out a hit. I'm not going to try to get a home run. I hope I'm 0-for-0 with four sac bunts. That's the ideal plan. But I guess when you're up there you just -- if the situation calls for it, you try to do the best you can.

We're at a pretty severe disadvantage, having not seen a pitch except for once or twice a year. That's a whole different thing, we can get into that.

As far as Yuli's hair, it's interesting. I'm a fan of Yuli, so I guess I'm a fan of his hair.

Q. Remembering your games against the A's in those two Division Series and how well you pitched, do you walk in and go to a higher level when you get to the postseason as opposed to what you may do in the regular season?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: Yeah, I think you do. I think the mental focus is just another level. I think it's something that would be easy to say, why don't you just do that every game? It's unsustainable throughout the course of the regular season. If you were that mentally focused, you'd just burn out. It's just another level. I don't know how to really explain it.

There are times throughout the course of the game where I lose track of where we're at in the game and don't really know what's going on. It's just my sole focus even between innings is thinking about what I can do to execute and thinking about what pitches I should throw and what I've seen and what my instincts are telling me, you're just that much more focused on the task at hand.

Q. This summer while you were waiting to see what happened with the Tigers and whether they'd move you, there was a lot of talk that you were interested in coming to Los Angeles. What was so attractive to you? And also is it sort of an all's well that ends well thing? Here you are starting a World Series game at Dodger Stadium after all?

:: World Series schedule and coverage ::

JUSTIN VERLANDER: I think a lot of that was blown out of proportion because I bought a house out here. I think it was easy for everyone to say, "There's been rumors of Justin going to LA and he bought a house; it's the perfect fit."

Really for me, my whole time in Detroit I was really focused on being in Detroit. And I know that sounds cliché, but I thought it was doing a disservice to that organization if I allowed my mind to wander and think about other organizations that I'd want to visit. That's why when it came down to a last-minute decision, I had a lot of homework to do and a lot of information to try to decipher, because I hadn't allowed myself to think about it very much. LA is fantastic and great, but I hadn't put my mind to specific organizations that I would prefer over others.

Q. How important is for you personally having the opportunity to give the Astros fans the first title?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: I mean, I think -- in any organization the opportunity to win your first championship is something special. But really with what's going on in Houston now specifically I think it makes it even that much more special. I mean, giving this opportunity, if we come away successful, you leave a legacy and mark on people that won't be forgotten. So it would mean a lot to me, and I know a lot to a lot of other people that really can use something to cheer for right now.

Q. You talked in the last series about not pitching twice in five days or backing off your workouts and how you thought at this time of year might even drive you to a different level. Can you get into your preparation offseason and is it running, lifting? What was sort of the genesis of it and how much has that contributed to you lasting so deep in the seasons and pitching so well in October?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: I attribute a lot of feeling strong for a whole season to what I do in the offseason. I'm a big believer that -- in season I really limit my workouts. I tailor them to what I think is most necessary in season, which is recovering. I focus on sleep. I focus what I can do in between starts, so I feel as fresh as possible every five days. Sometimes it's light lifting. A lot of times it's running, doing some stairs. All of my strength work is in the offseason.

I actually got a text from my trainer yesterday saying, it's funny, this time last year we were in the gym getting after it right now, and here you are in the World Series. Crazy how things can change in a year. But I take off about three weeks at the end of the season typically. And then I start getting after it pretty good. I wouldn't say long-distance running, I do a lot of cardio training, inner vascular work -- I'm sorry, interval work. And the strength training is pretty important to me, especially the core and lower half. That's my main focus. I do do some upper body. But I try to get my legs and core as strong as I possibly can. Running into Spring Training. Spring Training starts and tapers off a little bit. But after the last three or four starts of Spring Training, I try to work into my regular season regimen. And just carry that out through now.