Q. Dustin mentioned to us after last night's game that at some point during year, to give you a little bit of support, he predicted you would be on the mound for a game with the season on the line, or something like that. Could you tell us what you
Q. Dustin mentioned to us after last night's game that at some point during year, to give you a little bit of support, he predicted you would be on the mound for a game with the season on the line, or something like that. Could you tell us what you remember about that, when, and how you reacted to it?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: Yeah, you know, like I've said before, everybody goes through some struggles at some point at the end of the year. You know, mine were a little bit more extreme than others, but that being said, you know, we're all here to win games; to play for a championship, and whenever things are going wrong, especially in this atmosphere, this environment, this organization, you're expected to be really good every time out, and sometimes that can pile up on you.
We have a real good group of guys. Pee-Wee has been here longer than I have. It's just part of it sometimes. You just need to let somebody know that it's all going to work out in the end. It might not be working out right now but it's going to work out in the end, and I think that's where he was going with that.
I thought in my mind I would be on the mound in a deciding game, as well. It was a little far-fetched at one point this year, but you know, I'm still here. So I'm excited for the opportunity.
Q. Do you remember when that was?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: I believe it was down in the batting cage area. It was during a game.
Q. But like on the schedule --
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: Yeah, it was probably at the peak of my struggles, whenever that was. I try to forget all that.
Q. With all that said, does your approach change at all with your team down 0-2?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: No, we have our backs against the wall. That's part of it. We're also at home and we have our fans behind us.
If we win one game, that puts some momentum in our favor, and that's all you can ask of your guys, to go out and play hard; and myself to go out and throw a good ballgame and make quality pitches. Everybody knows what kind of team they have on the other side. If you've got to pitch around a couple guys at some point during the game, do that, and don't give in and try to keep your team in the ballgame. If we're able to do that as a pitching staff, with the offense that we have, I think I like our odds.
Q. Dustin said yesterday in the first two games that your team has lost your identity. When you think of the Red Sox and their identity, what is it and how as a pitcher going out there tomorrow, can you get it back?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: You know, Pee-Wee, like I said, he's been here for a long time. We have a lot -- it's a lot younger team right now than it's been in the past, and I think that's partially what it is. It's a shell shock sometimes when you're going out there for your first time in the post-season and realize that, you know, it's the best-of-five, or your season can be over.
So there's a lot of stress that you can put on yourself. As a player, been here before. You know how to respond to it, and I think that's what Pee-Wee was trying to say was that we don't have to do anything extra. We're the Boston Red Sox. We know how good we are and we're here for a reason.
As far as myself, it's go out and make quality pitches. Like I said, the game's no different. It's just on a little bit bigger stage and to get to the next stage, you've got to win three of these five games. We've won 11 in a row at one point this year. I think we're set up in a good enough spot to do it again.
Q. That young core of this team has been a big part of the team's identity throughout the season. Guys like yourself, Dustin, David, guys that have been around, played in games like this where the stakes are high, must-win games. How do you guys now, not so much enforce your identity on this team but let them know what it's all about; that you guys have been here and come out on the other side of it?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: Yeah, you know, we just sat down and had a little talk in the clubhouse, and that's mostly what it was about. It's about you're not out until the final out is made, and the only reason that we're here is because of everybody and what they have done throughout this year.
We have a potential couple MVP candidates, potential Cy Young candidate on this team. We're a really good ballclub and there's no need to put added pressure or added stress on one game because of what could happen. You know, you've got to play the game for what it is at the time and not worry about anything that's going to happen afterwards until that game is over. I think that's one of the maybe points that was being made down there.
Q. You're 24 hours out from this start, obviously a post-season start. In terms of your preparation, your mind-set with one day to go, is it different right now for you than it would be for a start during the regular season, and if so, how is it?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: No, I don't think so. That goes back on to adding more pressure and more stress to it. It's a baseball game. Like I said, it's on a little bit bigger stage, but you've still got to go out and do the small things that you're capable of doing, and that's making pitches whenever they are called upon.
You've got to minimize the damage. I think that's the biggest key in post-season is whenever some bad situations present themselves, you've got to know how to minimize them or get a ground ball when you need it.
When you do that, I think that adds to your team coming back in the dugout, to get back in the box and score some runs.
Q. Progressive Field seemed electric; did that help them, do you think, and do you think that could work here in your favor?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: Yeah, it was loud. 2007, it was really loud there, too. But that's how the home-field advantage is supposed to work. I think when you're around your home fans, you feel them behind you, and when that big moment comes up during a game, that's a little bit of added motivation to push forward.
That's what Fenway has always done for us; not even in the post-season, but the regular season. That's how Fenway has helped us out over the years. I definitely think it can help.
But regardless of that, if something happens that we find ourselves pushed up the wall again, there's no reason to worry about everything, because everybody knows what our offense has done this year. I think we have a really good pitching staff, too, and our bullpen is good, as well. I don't think there's anything to be afraid of or timid of. It's part of the game; you have to play the full nine innings.
Q. You guys had a meeting just a little bit ago. Who called that meeting and who maybe sort of took the reins and sent the loudest message?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: It was a players meeting, but all the staff was there. It was basically a meeting to tell everybody in the clubhouse, the young guys, the veterans that it's not about those last two games. Forget about them. If you are worrying about what happened 24, 48 hours ago, that's not going to help you moving forward.
I think the biggest message was to go out and be ourselves. We're the Boston Red Sox. We know what baseball is about. Our front office and ownership has put a really good team on the field and up until this point we've been a really good baseball team. Won the best division in baseball, this year. I think that was probably the biggest point was not forget who we are and go out and play the game.
Q. What was the mood flying back and once you got home, did that help to flip the script?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: Nobody likes to lose. Losing is not a good feeling, especially knowing the circumstances that come along with it. It's a five-game series. We lose one more, we're out. I think that's where we're going to help everybody moving forward is to know that there's no pressure on us. It's just we go out and play our game.
I think we can pull those three games out. I think everybody else in that clubhouse feels the same way. We've just got to do the little things right and not worry about everybody else is doing, worry about yourself and some aspects of it, and do everything we can to help the team win.
Q. Obviously it's supposed to be raining tomorrow. How do you feel like you've pitched in wet conditions in the past and what challenges does that present for you?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: I've done it a lot. There's been a couple years where it felt like it was raining every start that I had. It depends on how wet it is and how cold it is and if the wind is blowing. There's a lot of things that come into it. But once you step in between the lines, you can't really think about how wet it is or how cold it is. It's more, as a pitcher, get the ball, throw it, try to execute your pitches and go from there.
Q. Given how they handled Rick and David, what are your concerns and how are you changing your approach?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: Approach is not going to change. Rick, the ball was flying in Cleveland obviously. It was flying more than I ever remember it flying. I mean, my approach is to go out and attack the strike zone. If you have to work on a couple guys, like I said, pitch around them if it presents itself and do that, but try to command the strike zone and we'll go over the lineup tomorrow whenever we get it.
But I mean, I'm going to try to do the same thing I've done in the last month and a half, and that's to go out and throw the ball with conviction and for strikes.
Q. What can you tell us about your relationship with Josh Tomlin? I know you played together way back. What was that like?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: We were teammates at Angelina in 2005. He was more of a position player there. This is a pretty cool story. We talked about it the other day. He's one of my good buddies, but I don't think this has happened very often as far as two prior teammates getting to pitch in a playoff game against each other. It will be his first go-around with it. Yeah, it should be something else. It's a small world when it comes to that.
Q. To follow up on that, Josh was talking a little bit about competing for the shortstop job when you got there. What were your first impressions of him and then competing against him? And I guess was there anything about him then that you think reflects on what he's done in his Major League career?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: You know, he was a really good athlete, really good shortstop. He pitched every now and then. He wasn't like a four or five guy. We had a pretty good rotation when we were both there. But no, he's a competitor. Obviously you can look at his charts. He's not going to overpower you. He's a very good command, control pitcher, can cut, sink the ball, has a good curveball and he's had that ever since I first met him.
But like I said, it's really crazy how some things work out and here we are.
Q. Obviously you guys want to keep the series going, but how much is there a driving force to not let it end this way, for David to not have his career kind of end like this in the first round?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: Yeah, I mean, everybody had it mapped out in their head in spring training what we wanted to do, knowing that David was not going to be here next year. We reached the first goal and that was to get in the playoffs and win the division.
Second part of it has not worked out the first two games, but I don't think there's anybody on this team that's more confident than David Ortiz about us moving forward, and whenever he comes up to bat, he would love to put himself in the most pressure-packed position and get a knock. That's just what he's done over his career.
Yeah, nobody wants the season to end without holding the trophy, but there's only one team that gets to do that, and it's the one that travels the best and gets through the low times within the series and comes out on top. So I think that's what we're all looking forward to.
Q. After how loud it was in Cleveland, is there any message for the Red Sox fans tomorrow night?
CLAY BUCHHOLZ: It's a battle. We have two really good teams that are going to be playing for one goal, and definitely home field can push you forward and it can make you a better team. It can make you dig down and reach for a bit extra. I think it helped them out in Cleveland, and that's why it's a series, that's why we're back home. Hopefully we can get everybody to pull together and help us out when we need the help and cheer us whenever we need to be cheered.