Q. You came out of the pen in the Wild Card game, just describe how you're feeling and what you told your manager about your readiness to prepare for this game tomorrow?ROBBIE RAY: I feel great. My arm feels great and ready to go. I wouldn't lie to him. I wouldn't
Q. You came out of the pen in the Wild Card game, just describe how you're feeling and what you told your manager about your readiness to prepare for this game tomorrow?
ROBBIE RAY: I feel great. My arm feels great and ready to go. I wouldn't lie to him. I wouldn't give this team anything about 100% of myself. I feel like that would be cheating me and cheating the team. So I feel 100% and I feel ready to go.
Q. What would you say is the biggest key for you this year? And it seemed like right after that Pittsburgh start you really put it together, what was kind of the deciding thing for you?
ROBBIE RAY: Adding the extra breaking ball, I think, was the biggest thing this year. Curveball has been a huge pitch for me. When it's on, it makes my other pitches better, so I think that's probably been the biggest thing for me this year.
Q. On your way up you were acquired a couple times by teams wanting you to advance to this point, to be here right now. What does that mean for you?
ROBBIE RAY: Yeah, it's huge. It's a great feeling being here. To be in this room and playing for something special, it's a great feeling. It's probably just as good for them knowing that they made the right decision. But, yeah, it feels great.
Q. You've pitched extremely well in this ballpark. 14 strike outs back in September. What are some of the reasons and factors you think you've performed so well here?
ROBBIE RAY: Obviously, the atmosphere here is different the fans are loud. It's pitching against the best team in baseball, so you obviously want to bring your A-game, your best stuff. So I think it's just a combination of all those things.
Q. Torey was just asked about this too, the fact that a lot of aces already in this short postseason have been roughed up a little bit. Obviously we know pitchers go every fifth day, hitters are every day. Do you have a theory on that? Is it something that maybe hitters do a little more diligently in the postseason? Is it the end of a season for pitchers? Do you have any thoughts on that?
ROBBIE RAY: I mean, I really don't know. You kind of have seen it with every game. The starting pitcher has kind of given up -- maybe it's emotions. Maybe hiding emotions throughout the postseason whereas in a regular season game those emotions aren't there. With the Wild Card game, it's win or go home. So in Game 7, you're thrown into it right there. But I don't know if there's anything physically different. It's still baseball.
Q. After pitching in the Wild Card game, was there any doubt in your mind that you were not going to want the ball in this game?
ROBBIE RAY: I want the ball every game, honestly. I mean, if you didn't, probably shouldn't be here. But I was going to get myself as ready as possible for this game.
Q. Last year over 200 strikeouts but high ERA. When you went into the off-season, how did you evaluate yourself, and how did you stay positive about it?
ROBBIE RAY: That's a good question. I knew I had good stuff. I knew that my fastball played up. I knew that was the biggest thing going into the off-season was adding another pitch. I felt like if I could add one more pitch to my arsenal that it would help all my other pitches. Basically last year I was a two-pitch guy. My slider was more of a strikeout pitch than anything. It was tough to throw it for strikes. So I needed something that I could land for strikes that wasn't just a fastball. So I was confident going in that I knew it would be a journey, I knew it would be tough, but I was going to learn something new.
Q. How much of a curveball did you have before? Do you consider this a new pitch or just you refined what you had?
ROBBIE RAY: In the Minor Leagues I did have a curveball, but I kind of scrapped it for the slider because, obviously, my slider was a strikeout pitch. So I kind of always had it there. But it's basically just resurrecting a pitch that was there.
Q. A lot of the guys that have been hit hard here this week have been young starters making their first appearance. Do you think there is any advantage to having gotten an outing under your belt emotionally, already here in the postseason heading into tomorrow?
ROBBIE RAY: Yeah, I think so. Obviously, getting into that game, it kind of gave me a taste of what to expect emotionally-wise, and I felt like I handled it pretty well. I was able to control my emotions. But I felt like a start is a little bit different, knowing that you're coming into the game and setting the tone for the whole game. But I do feel like getting into that game gave me a little bit of a taste of it.