Ted, I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit about the job that Lou Piniella did this year, especially kind of coming down the stretch. It seemed like things stayed very calm even though you guys were in such a tight race.
TED LILLY: Yeah, you know what, it was a lot calmer when we were winning. It was definitely -- you know, coming down the stretch there, it wasn't like we had a seven game lead to work with, so we knew that every game was big. I think that there was some pressure that we had put on ourselves, which made it tougher, and you probably saw that when we went down to Miami and got swept by the Marlins.
We were able to come out of it, and I think now guys are just going to go play hard. One of our goals was to get to the postseason, and we've done that, and now it's time to just lay it all out there and get after it.
What has Larry Rothschild meant for you and the rest of the pitching staff, because it seemed like both him and Lou were able to keep you guys fresh, taking you out sometimes with 85, 90 pitches, and you guys seem to be in good shape going in right now.
TED LILLY: Yeah, well, there's no question that they both did a really good job, and fortunately we had the bullpen to where they were able to do that and they were able to utilize our bullpen properly, because I think we all see how huge that is, especially coming down to the end of the year when everyone is kind of grinding through the last month of the season.
I feel like our bullpen is pretty strong, and part of that is a reason is because of the way that I think that Larry and Lou managed our staff entirely.
How much influence, if any, does a large contingent of Cub fans that follow you around? How much influence do they have on you guys?
TED LILLY: I don't know. It's fun, though. It's a lot of fun. I remember with New York it was similar to that where a lot of the fans traveled, or if they didn't, it seemed like when you went on the road there were a lot of fans, and that's how it is here. It's just so much fun, and you really appreciate it.
I was amazed at what I saw in Cincinnati, and I know that's relatively close, but there was a huge following, and I just think that -- you know, probably throughout the country there's a lot of support for this club and there's a lot of people that would like to see us have success in the postseason, and we'd certainly like to make them happy.
Do you consider yourself as one of the more competitive guys on this team, or would your teammates judge you as that, do you think?
TED LILLY: I don't know what they're going to think. I definitely feel like we have a huge responsibility. I have a huge responsibility to my teammates and the city, and I feel fortunate that I'm in that situation where there's people that rely on me and expect me to do certain things and to be able to contribute.
I'm definitely -- I guess I just feel like I'm lucky to be in this situation, to be able to be here and to have an opportunity to start an important game for the franchise. I mean, this is all you ask for going into the off season last year. This was -- one of the most important things was to have the opportunity to play in October.
From your standpoint, how much more preparation do you put into a postseason start than a regular season start in terms of watching film or watching them closely today?
TED LILLY: Well, I think the first thing is you try not to change it up too much. I mean, there's certainly I have no chance of trying to ignore the fact that this is the biggest game of the year. I'm well aware of that. But you try not to go into it and make a whole lot of new adjustments and go about your game plan. You know, I feel like well, this is a game of adjustments constantly. For me personally, what tomorrow is going to bring, I'm not exactly sure, but I'm going to have to be prepared to try and do whatever is necessary to win the game.
As far as watching film and stuff, I do a little bit of that. I try not to get too caught up in the other team, but I feel like if I do what I need to do mechanically and I'm right, then that's what I spend the most time on as opposed to scouting the other team so much.
This is the first year you've really seen the Diamondbacks' lineup. They don't get a lot of credit or publicity. What are the challenges that you've seen from watching and pitching against them so far?
TED LILLY: You know, my view of this lineup, you look at a lineup and they don't have a lot of guys that have huge numbers, huge individual numbers, but it's a scrappy lineup, and I think it may be a lineup that's been underappreciated from the rest of the League possibly and has been taken lightly, and those guys have taken advantage of that. I think that's possible.
You have to know going into it that they're not going to lay down and give you anything, and that's a club that I expect to fight for every last out. I'm sure every game, every game of the series, we're going to have to earn it. We're going to have to take whatever we want. I don't expect anything to be given to us.
What does Geovany have going for himself as a receiver?
TED LILLY: Well, talent. He's got a lot of talent, I think, and that sure helps. He clearly doesn't have a ton of experience, but he's -- I think right now he's got a ton of confidence, both defensively and offensively. There's something to be said for that.
You know, you guys have seen what he's done up here at the Big League level, and then you look at the numbers that he put up in AAA, and I think he's doing it for a reason.
To me, you look at his swing and you look at the things he does behind the plate, and he's certainly got a bright future ahead of him.
A lot of people seem to be picking you guys, not only for this series but beyond, maybe to get to the World Series, and it seems a little unusual for a team that won 85 games in the regular season. Do you have an explanation? It seems like public sentiment is behind you guys, and I wonder if maybe the team's history is behind that or what.
TED LILLY: Yeah, I mean, I think that's possible. There's a lot of people out there that root for underdogs, root for a club that -- this organization. The Cubs haven't won a World Series in -- it's been 99 years, I think, so there's a lot of people out there that would like to see it.
When Boston won in '04, I think that was good for baseball. But even if that's the case, I think that we all know that just because we have support throughout the country it seems that we're going to have to compete harder than we ever have.
I mean, this is going to be an intense postseason and we're going to go after it 100 percent, and like I said, leave it all out there.
Given that history of the Cubs, is there extra pressure on you guys than the normal team, or is it just can you all compartmentalize it into this is your postseason, not worry about the past and the history?
TED LILLY: I don't know if there's extra pressure because of that reason. I think there's just -- when you get into this situation, there's pressure. But this is kind of -- at the same time this is what we all play for is to be in this situation where there's pressure and there's much expected and everything is out there on the line for the world to see. This is what you want; you want to be in a situation where there's pressure.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.