Q. Over time you pitched in more and more postseason games. How has that helped you, the repetitions to deal with the emotions?
CC SABATHIA: The older I have gotten, the bigger games I have got to pitch in. Especially being here, you know, getting a chance to play in Boston, you know, New York games, you know it is always a big game. So since I have been here, I think I learned to keep my emotions under wraps and being able to go out there and, you know, perform well. I think in 2007 my emotions got the best of me definitely in the playoffs, and I didn't have a good run. But the older I have gotten the better I have got, I think.
Q. It looked like in the beginning of the eighth inning you began to lose your command. Was that a matter of being tired or a mechanical adjustment you had to work through?
CC SABATHIA: Back to the emotions, I was trying to back off a little bit and not try to overthrow, and leave the ball over the plate. After I got a couple of runners on, that went out the window, and I was back to being fired up and trying to be aggressive with fastballs. Obviously that didn't work, and I was all over the place. So that late in the game in that situation, I can go ahead and let it go and just be aggressive.
Q. You talk about pitching in bigger games as you get older. With this being an elimination game and everything you went through this year, where does this performance rank for you?
CC SABATHIA: Right now it ranks at the top, the last game I pitched. So I will go out and hopefully keep it rolling the next time out. And, you know, let that one be, you know, the top performance. I try to go outing to outing and, you know, good or bad, erase the last one, and keep going.
Q. When you decided to sign here four years ago, was pitching in games like this a big lure to wanting to come here and pitch in New York?
CC SABATHIA: Of course. Pitching in games like this, having a chance to win a championship every year, the organization gets exactly what you need to try to put together a championship team. And that's all you can ask for as a player. And to be able to come out here and play in these games, especially in the Bronx for this organization, it feels good.
Q. Where did your mind take you when the umpires left the field to check on McLouth's foul ball?
CC SABATHIA: The next pitch. Honestly I didn't know if it was fair or foul. From where I was standing, I didn't really know. And whether he was coming back up or Hardy was coming back up, I was thinking of the next pitch and trying to make the pitch.
Q. What is the difference in your evaluation pitching 8 2/3 in the first start and nine innings today?
CC SABATHIA: Just being able to finish. The other day I got ahead of myself and left the pitch up to Lew Ford, and he got the double. And tonight I was trying to stay locked in, stay in the moment and make the pitch.
Q. When you're handed the ball and asked to save the season, understanding the consequences of failure are as severe as they were, what is that responsibility and burden like?
CC SABATHIA: It is what I am here for. It is what I play the game for. I guess I should feel, you know, a little pressure or something like that, but I don't. I mean, I feel like that every time out. It can be Game 1, it can be Game 15, it don't matter. You know, I feel like I need to go out and win every time out. And I think that takes a lot of pressure off me, the outside pressure off me. I put so much pressure on myself to go out and perform well that I expect it.
Q. Even with as many postseason games you pitched now, you hadn't done this before, pitching the deciding game like this. Did it feel any different to you?
CC SABATHIA: No. I mean, I pitched in last year's game at the end, came out of the bullpen, you know. But being able to start it, and like I said, I was just trying to make sure I kept my emotions under wrap. And I am very emotional and I can get excited. So I was just trying to make sure I kept that under wraps. And I felt like if I can do that, stay even keel, I had a chance of pitching well.
Q. With the season you had, being hurt a couple of times and a couple of games you weren't quite satisfied, did you feel a little bit more with the performances you had here?
CC SABATHIA: Did I feel a little more?
THE MODERATOR: Satisfied.
CC SABATHIA: Sure. It is still a long way to go. I still got hopefully three or four more starts. So the job is not done yet. I have to keep going, working hard and trying to build off of, you know, these starts and keep going.
Q. You had bases loaded and the season basically on the line, and the guy at the plate who almost hit a home run against you. Did you feel you had to be especially careful with McLouth?
CC SABATHIA: No, I was just trying to make the pitch and try to get the ground ball, get a double play. You know, I know he's being great for them. He has gave us trouble, a lot of trouble this postseason, and definitely during the season he gave me some trouble. I was just trying to make a pitch, and ended up getting two strikes and was able to throw a cutter. A pretty good one he swung at.
Q. Was there any kind of conversation about going out in the ninth between you and Joe? If so, what was it? What was the value you put on it considering your team is playing tomorrow?
CC SABATHIA: There was no conversation; I was going out for the ninth. The bullpen, these guys have been working really all year and definitely the last couple of games. Sorie has thrown two innings, and I wanted to go out and give these guys a rest, especially we do have to play tomorrow. But there was no conversation.
I felt like there was nothing to say. After I got out of the jam in the eighth, I felt like I was going back out.
Q. Two quick ones: Going into the series tomorrow, you won't see the ball again until Game 4 most likely unless it is on short rest. How hard to watch the first two or three games and know you have to wait to go?
CC SABATHIA: It is always hard. I am more nervous watching the game than when I am out there. It is always tough. But when I get the ball, hopefully I get a chance to go out there and give us a chance to win. I mean, there is nothing you can do about that. I will be sitting out there rooting hard for everybody.
Q. And we asked you a lot down the stretch if you thought the time off and the 40 less innings would help you in the postseason feel better. You said "ask me then." You had two starts. Do you feel you benefitted from not pitching as much in the regular season?
CC SABATHIA: Ask me at the end. (Laughter).
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.