Oct. 17 Phil Coke pregame interview
Q. Phil, the core of this team is all players under 30 years old. You guys have already had a strong run over the last year. I am wondering how sustainable you think it is going forward considering how many players on this team are still pretty young.
PHIL COKE: Based on your question of age, and it being as low as it is, I think it is pretty sustainable. Last year we got to the ALCS and felt like we fell a little short. I felt like it was because of injuries at the wrong time of the year, and I felt like we had a chance to make the next step last year, but I also felt like we had an incredibly good team and talented team in 2010 when I came over. So I think it's pretty sustainable.
Q. Phil, you were involved in the three team deal. Do you take a look at what the other guys who were involved in the deal, how they are doing or how they are performing?
PHIL COKE: Correct me if I am wrong, but Ian Kennedy had a ridiculous year last year and pitched his team into the playoffs, a former teammate as well. Edwin Jackson, right, with the Nationals, he was just in the playoffs recently. Myself, Scherzer, Jackson, Daniel Schlereth, and forgive me whoever I am forgetting in the deal. But it seems that each team has benefitted greatly by the trade that was made. So I don't see there being anybody getting the short straw in any of the deal, so.
Q. Phil, it seems like a lot of Detroit has their opinions on your skipper, Jim Leyland, and whether they are good or bad, but from obviously you would know better than any of them, just what makes him a good skipper, especially in these situations where you are one game away from the World Series?
PHIL COKE: He handles me very well. I am definitely the type that isn't very forgiving when it comes to small things, like walking around with your shoes off or something like that. I will get on you. And he handles it pretty good.
Honestly, he's phenomenal dealing with the pitching staffs as far as like making sure there's days off when they're needed. And letting you go. If he is watching you, he is paying attention to your pitch count and everything like that. If he has a decent feel for what's going on with you, he's either going to let you go or going to pull you out.
He does a really good job of managing the game for us and making the right call on a regular basis as to how he's feeling and how he sees guys performing and so on and so forth.
I don't think he's earned the need to be questioned so much.
Q. Phil, how would you describe Delmon Young both as a hitter and, he is maybe not as outgoing as you are, how would you describe him as a person?
PHIL COKE: He has been phenomenal for us on the field and in the clubhouse. He keeps the mood light. I mean, he's a good dude. I enjoy Delmon as a teammate and as a person, and I don't know why it's really a question.
Q. I am just curious if there is an example. He doesn't seem like the sort of guy that would keep the mood light. How is an example of that?
PHIL COKE: Maybe it's just because he is good at pulling wool, man, right over your eyes.
Q. Phil, this season was kind of a strange one for you numbers wise. Has something changed for you in the postseason? Or are you just more energized or anything different?
PHIL COKE: I don't have any idea what's going on. I just know I'm having a good time. And we have a common goal that we're trying to achieve, and the last thing I want to be known for is the one that didn't do his job.
So I am going out there and taking everything quite seriously and every situation and allowing myself to at the same time step back out of my own way and just let my body do what it is supposed to do.
Q. Phil, you mentioned the trade earlier and how it helped everybody. Can you just elaborate on the two other guys besides yourself that are on this playoff roster from that deal, Max and Austin?
PHIL COKE: Well, I don't know what kind of elaborating I need to do. I just tell you go look at the numbers and they do it for themselves. I mean, honestly.
Those guys, Austin has been unbelievable in the field, as well as at the dish, so, I mean, there's no need to really elaborate on the season he's had. His rookie year last year was technically a down year, sophomore slump, whatever you want to call it. And then this year he's been unbelievable yet again.
And then Max Scherzer has done nothing but consistently improve each season I have seen him pitch as a teammate. And his pure determination seems to be something that's really driving him; that he wants to be highly touted in the organization and known as one of "the guys."Like he wants to be like Prince and Miguel. Justin and Max.
But that's how our staff is. Everybody wants to be on that level, and that's probably what makes everybody in their own situations on the squad as good as they are.
Q. After Valverde pitched poorly in the first game, Leyland said that he was going to choose his relief pitchers at the end of the game based on situations. It's been you the last two games, but Jim said yesterday that you would not pitch today, given the unpredictability. What is it like in the bullpen out there for you guys not knowing what the roles are going to be that night?
PHIL COKE: I don't think anybody in our bullpen puts any weight behind any of the hype that's being made out of any situation. We just get the ball when given and go out and do our thing.
So we don't I'm speaking for myself especially. I'm not worried about anything that everybody else is worried about. I'm just going out there and doing what I need to do. And whether it's to end the game or it's to be in the fifth inning and throw a couple innings, it doesn't matter.
My job is not to worry about that; it's to throw strikes and get outs. That's what my job is, and that's where my head's at and that's all I pay attention to.
Q. Phil, I know you're a professional athlete, so your mindset is going to be
PHIL COKE: Thank you, man.
Q. But your mindset is going to be a lot different than, say, me. I would be scared to death out there with the ballgame on the line, and I think a lot of people would be. Have you been nervous out there? Were you nervous last night?
PHIL COKE: No, I was extremely excited. I was very pumped up. And when the stands erupted in absolute craziness, probably was the most fired up I was really excited. And they went crazy, and I got really, really excited.
And then I gave up a hit or two, and then I got really, really, really more excited when I went 3 2 and got the punch-out. And it was really cool. I didn't know there were that many levels of adrenaline or excitement that you can go through, but I have done it.
Q. The slider that you threw on 3 2 to Ibañez, there had to have been a level of you talk about excitement, gratification now, because that's a pretty nasty pitch to have to get across on 3 2. Can you take us through what you allowed yourself to think about at that moment?
PHIL COKE: Don't hit it, don't hit it, don't hit it, don't hit it.
I actually had no thoughts whatsoever outside of locking on my target and letting it go. I really there was no second guess. There was no "please break." There's no prayer in between coming bringing my hand out of my glove and releasing the ball. Nothing like that.
I wasn't like you, "Oh, you guys, please take care of me." Nothing like that. It was just here it is, boom, and it came out of my hand really nice. And he put a huge swing on it and didn't hit it, which was even more nice. And the game ended in that fashion, which made it really, really sweet.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much for coming in.