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Oct. 14 John Lackey workout day interview

Q. A lot has been made of the way the Tiger starters have pitched the first couple of games. What have you thought in watching Lester and Buchholz?

JOHN LACKEY: Lester pitched real good. Clay started off good and ran into a rough patch at the end. They've got a great lineup. That can happen pretty quick.

Q. What kind of boost did the win give the team going into Game 3?

JOHN LACKEY: It was a lot of fun last night. It was great. Guys kept fighting to the end. To win that game was huge for us, obviously. Coming over here down two games would have been tough.

Q. Before you got to Boston you had a pretty long history facing Ortiz over the years. What was your approach to him and did it get a little tighter in big spots?

JOHN LACKEY: Tried to get the guys out in front of him so he wasn't up there with a lot of people on base. He's tough. He's one of those guys you can't pitch one way. You've got to vary what you do to try to get him out. He's just too good to go about it one certain way.

Q. What are your memories still of the 2002 World Series and how do you think getting that postseason experience when you were so young helped you over the years?

JOHN LACKEY: I obviously have a lot of memories about it. It was fun. I was just kind of a young guy trying to help out a group of veterans that year, staying out of the way, being quiet and doing my job. I've done it a few more times since then and been a little bit more involved as someone on the team more as the leader of the pitching staff, that sort of thing.

Q. Just getting back to Ortiz, you saw him do that against your team a lot before you got here. Why do you think he's able to just rise to that occasion so many times in the biggest moments?

JOHN LACKEY: He genuinely likes it. He likes being up there in those spots. He enjoys all the lights on him. You saw last night he didn't get that fired up about it at the end. It was almost like he expected to do it.

He's a special player. He's fun to play with.

Q. Can you talk about this Tigers lineup and what challenges they do present you?

JOHN LACKEY: They're good. It's a deep lineup. 1 through 9 you've got to make pitches. They wouldn't be playing at this point in the season if they're not pretty good. All of them have some power and it's going to be a tough challenge, for sure.

Q. How do you pitch to Cabrera? He's probably the best hitter in the American League. How do you try to get him out?

JOHN LACKEY: I'd be kind of dumb to tell you how I'm going to do that right now, I think (laughter).

He's like David. There's not one way I can go about it. I'm going to have to make a lot of good pitches in a lot of different spots. He's really good.

Q. You were just talking about your postseason experience. Can you remember a moment where not only a game but an entire series changed like that, with one swing by somebody, a lot of things changed with that one play there?

JOHN LACKEY: I've been a part of some walk-offs on the other side. Manny walked us off in Fenway one time when I was with the Angels to end the series. I don't know, that was a pretty big one last night. It was fun to be on that side of it, for sure.

Q. What's your mindset in terms of blocking out, when you're going against such a great pitcher like Verlander, blocking out what he's doing to focus on what you're doing in terms of not getting out of your game?

JOHN LACKEY: Obviously, yeah, he's a great pitcher. But you pitch this time of the year, you're not going to go against anybody that's not pretty good.

We've got a great lineup. I'm going into the game with a great group of guys behind me. Those guys are going to fight him. He's kind of our lineup's problems. I've got my own problems with their lineup.

Q. Do you feel like you've gotten yourself all the way back to the pitcher you were before the injuries or are you a different pitcher now?

JOHN LACKEY: Probably -- as far as arm strength-wise, that sort of stuff, I'm probably about as good as I've been. And with some experience, knowing how to pitch and that probably helps a little bit.

Q. With all that you've been through and continue to go through this year did that first start getting it under your belt help, maybe saying, okay, now you can focus on this start and maybe feel more comfortable out there in the postseason again?

JOHN LACKEY: Maybe a little bit, yeah. I think more so my last start. I think the time off kind of got me a little bit. As far as the touch and feel as far as pitches and stuff. My arm felt good as far as health-wise. But just the feel wasn't quite as good as it had been in previous starts before that.