Q. Alex, in the first two games what did you learn about the Boston hitters and how to pitch to them?
ALEX COBB: I mean they're aggressive. They're one of the best hitting ball clubs in the League, National and American League. But we knew that as a group going into this series. If there's a blueprint on how to pitch them, I think it would be out by now.
But there just isn't one way to go about it. It's too many tough tests. You have to feel things out, pitch to your strengths and sometimes hopefully they get themselves out. But you just execute pitches and that's all you can do.
Q. You've talked about you always love pitching in big games, big moments, and obviously a huge one last Wednesday. What are your emotions going into tomorrow?
ALEX COBB: It's going to be the same mindset: It's win or go home. So I don't want to be the one sending us home. I'm going to give everything I've got out there.
I learned a lot from the last game, definitely. And the fact that sometimes you've taken a little bit off can definitely help you, definitely helps with the action on the pitches a little bit more when you're a little amped up, things tend to stay up in the zone and you don't execute pitches as finely as you'd like.
Last outing was a good learning point for me, and hopefully I can attribute that to tomorrow night.
Q. Going into last game you said the adrenaline hit you right at the last out with the Texas game. Was it a lot like that yesterday going into tomorrow?
ALEX COBB: No, this time around has been a lot more calm. Once you go through something once you know what to expect. You're able to wrap your head around it a little bit better with the time beforehand. So I know what to expect tomorrow night. I know how I'm going to feel going into the game, the concentration level and the adrenaline level. A lot more calm, collected this time going into the game.
It's not going to be easy, but I feel like being able to have gone through this situation with our backs against the wall we've done it before, we know what it takes to do it again. And it was just something different about the way this ballclub played when our lives were on the line. Hopefully we can see that show up tomorrow and the next three nights.
Q. After David came back Joe would say that David learned to appreciate the game more since he'd been away from it for a while. With your situation coming back, being out a few months, were you the same way at all or did that affect you at all?
ALEX COBB: Oh, absolutely. Anytime you get any sort of injury in this game the worse thoughts start going through your head, especially with the type of injury I sustained during this season. Obviously all those thoughts crept into my mind, and watching us play on TV every night and when we're on the road and winning and the team was rolling pretty well. I was extremely happy that we were doing well, but at the same time I had an empty feeling of wanting to be back out there. I knew I would get back, I'd give everything I had to get back. And when I did get back I wouldn't stop appreciating it more so than I had before.
I've never taken this game for granted. But you lose sight of some things sometimes when you're just controlling what you have to do night in and night out. So you start to lose perspective sometimes. But sometimes you've got to get reeled back in a little bit and appreciate and look around and just be thankful for everything you have.
Q. How tough was it to get back on the mound, 60 feet 6 inches from home plate?
ALEX COBB: You know, there was such a process into it that I wasn't able to stop and think about how difficult this is or just the possibility of not being out there. I was just so focused on getting better day to day and working on strengthening my body back up to get back out there that it really didn't sink in to how difficult it was to get back out there. It's something you look back on and you appreciate the process that you went through. But during it I never sat down and said this is so hard I can't do it. It was just what do I need to do to get back at it.
So once I did get back out there throwing again it took a little while for the rhythm to kick back in and the mechanics to start being in sync together. It felt like the beginning of Spring Training for me. That was the only real difficult time I had was trying to hurry up and get those mechanics ironed out and the rhythm back and be able to go out there and help the team again. So that was the only real difficult time it was.
The mental side of it, being worried about getting hit again, I had my ways to figure out how to try to get that out of my mindset. And fortunately, I was able to. I know a lot of guys that have been hit still have those thoughts creeping in their mind when they make a specific pitch or whatnot. I'm very happy that I've been able to kind of get those thoughts out of my mind.
Q. I know you spoke to Boston's lineup. In the regular season they hit .208 against the Rays, they put up 19 runs the first two games this series. What do you see differently in the regular season versus these two games in the ALDS?
ALEX COBB: I don't want to take anything away from what Boston did these last two games. They're a very aggressive offense. They played to their advantages of their home ballpark. There's a lot of balls hit off that wall that were typical outs here. A lot of balls finding holes for them, a couple of 90 feet doubles they hit.
I felt we pitched a lot better than what the box score looked like. I'm not taking away those 19 runs that they got, but there's definitely a different game to be played outside of Fenway Park. I realized that, the pitching staff realizes that, so I don't need to be nervous going into tomorrow night. But those 19 runs are something to -- they're a great offensive league. But the game is played differently in Tropicana than Fenway Park.
Q. An elimination game, does your mindset or things come into your head that change or is the key for you to just stay mentally composed and relaxed on the mound?
ALEX COBB: It's back and forth. Leading up to the game you can put all the pressure in the world on you, but going through the last game, elimination game, the Wild Card, a lot of thoughts crept through my mind before the game. But once I went out and started stretching and getting in the bullpen, everything felt the same. It felt normal. Obviously a little bit added adrenaline, but the negative thoughts don't creep into your mind anymore. It's execution. It's adjustments being made.
So you don't have time to think about the negativity or the what ifs that could come with a loss. So once you're out in between the lines and the game starts going, it's all about then and now and working to get better and executing pitches.
Q. You mentioned Red Sox lineups is one of the best ones in the League. You've watched Ortiz over the years, a guy who doesn't drop off at all at his age. What makes him unique as a power hitter, so tough to face?
ALEX COBB: You know, I don't know him personally or been around him on a day to day basis, but you'd think a guy that's been in the League that long has an incredible work ethic. The fact that he's been able to DH most of his career kept him off his feet in the field, definitely preserved his health more than a typical defender.
But he's just got the best hand eye coordination in the game. One of the quickest bats in the game. And most disciplined zone. He doesn't chase much. He's one of those guys that you just -- all you can do is execute your pitch and hope that he gets himself out. Some guys can overpower him, I'm not one of them. I'm one of those guys that has to execute the pitch and hopefully he rolls over or maybe takes a borderline pitch or two.
Q. You would have started here against the Red Sox in June, they got you for a first big inning and then you settled in. What would you take about that start against this lineup?
ALEX COBB: It was a weird outing. It's not one I can put my finger on why I gave up 6 before I got an out or why I didn't give up a run after that. What I did take away was that when things were going hectic I was able to settle down and control my emotions and be able to execute pitches and try to keep the team in the ballclub.
But there's not too much I took away from that game. A lot was going on in that moment. So it's just one of those games that I have to kind of chalk up as a fluke. They hit some really good pitches and later on in the game they weren't hitting those pitches. I was kind of confused walking away from that game.
Q. You pitched well at the Trop. Is there anything particular about the atmosphere of the mound or what makes it kind of different for you?
ALEX COBB: Whenever you pitch somewhere multiple times you get comfortable in that park and on that mound. Every mound is different, even though we have regulations. Every mound is different, the background is different.
I've been here my whole career, so I've had a lot of starts here where I've been able to get that comfortable feeling. When I go out there I know what to expect. And the mound is the same. Every time I go out there, going from the bullpen mound to the game mound. The grounds crew does a good job keeping it the same for me.
A lot of things go into a home start. You're able to eat at the place you want to eat the night before, you're able to wake up in your bed, you're able to go the places you want to go before a start. And having that home crowd behind you I don't think is as appreciated in this game as other games, like football and basketball. But it's a great help for the starting pitcher, to have the home crowd behind you instead of against you.