Interview with Matt Clement
Right-hander returns to Chicago to pitch Game 1 of ALDS
You have good memories here. You pitched in the division clincher about two years ago. Tell us about your motivation coming back and pitching such a big game here in Chicago.
Matt Clement: I'm motivated just because I'm pitching in a big game. The Chicago factor, with all due respect, doesn't faze me other than I know where I'm at, I'm in a comfortable spot as far as getting something to eat tonight.
I seem to have two home medias here right now, being in Chicago. Maybe if I was on the other side of town, it would be different. But this is the playoffs and this is where you want to be. Getting to pitch right now, at this time of year, is more important than worrying about where I am at.
How aggressive were the White Sox, trying to sign you in the offseason as a free agent? Have you ever stopped to think about it?
Clement: I really haven't. They are a classy organization. Ken Williams was great when I talked to him. He treated me with a lot of respect and I was the same with him. I try to do the same with them. It just came down to a situation where I talked to six great teams, six great teams that were interested. I was blessed to have that situation where it turns out I had to make a decision. Boston was the one I chose. They've done all right for themselves.
Do you feel that you have a familiarity with the White Sox lineup having pitched against them? Do you have a feel for them?
Clement: Maybe not. Maybe a little bit. But not as much as anyone else, now that I've pitched in both leagues. I feel like I have a bit of familiarity with everybody. I guess I've faced Podsednik probably more than anybody else there, but the White Sox I faced when I was here was a little different than when I was with the Cubs. The lineup has changed. You don't have the best record in the league without playing good baseball.
The White Sox have won 99 games and yet there is a perception out there that they are the underdogs. How do you feel about that perception?
Clement: We're the Wild Card. I mean, we're the Wild Card. It's always nice to be the underdog, it's always nice to be the favorite, but all that stuff can be thrown out the window. I have a lot of respect -- I think we all have a lot of respect -- for what the White Sox have accomplished. It's not easy to go wire-to-wire in first place, especially when you know it's hard not to hit a slump. It's hard not to hit a slump. When they hit that slump, the media is triple on them and acting like it's all over. They have to have a lot of respect for what Ozzie and the whole team has done.
I don't think we're worried about who's the underdog or the favorite, we just get to the postseason and now you have the opportunity. Hopefully, we can seize it.
What do you think the key to the White Sox offense is? Is it as easy as keeping Taguchi and Podsednik off the bases?
Clement: Obviously, with the number of bases Podsednik has been able to steal and the way he has changed, he's a difference maker.
He can make things happen. It's not just him. They have a group of guys that can run the bases and wreak havoc on the bases. Obviously, it's a little cliché, but it's as simple as keeping guys off the base. Whether they're stealing bases or batting or anything else, you're better off without guys on base. It's just being aggressive and battling and don't give up base hits and keep guys off base.
Can you just talk a little bit about how it feels to be known as the Game 1 starter and about your season after what happened in Tampa earlier this year.
Clement: It's been a strange season from the get-go. For the first time in my career I got to decide where to play. Switching teams from a place where I was really comfortable and going to a place where I didn't know much about and, you know, having a pretty good run at it early, it took a little time to get back on my feet. I was pretty lucky to ever throw another pitch after getting hit in the head. I was really lucky that the Lord was with me throughout the season, and I was pretty fortunate with how things turned out.
Back in September there's been some issue with almost every one of your starts. Do you have any feeling as to why September has been so different for you than the earlier parts of the season?
Clement: (Inaudible) I had probably one of the -- if not the -- worst starts of the year. That's going to put you statistically behind the eight ball.
However, I think in the other games I competed really well, especially the last two games. I felt probably as well as I did earlier in the season ...
But I thought I threw the ball well. Of all those games, I think I had a 3-0 loss to Anaheim early, and then in the last game I thought I threw pretty well. But stats are stats; I have to step it up and be ready to go tomorrow.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.