Konerko postgame interview
First baseman discusses his play in the Division Series
Tell us what this means to this group of players.
PAUL KONERKO: I think this team has had a good, like the Red Sox last year, you know, I think blocking out what's happened to the organization in the past is key, because if you start thinking about failures or what other teams haven't done, you might try a little harder and put pressure on yourself, and you'll carry that with you.
This team is real loose. It starts with Ozzie and that's the way I look at it. This team is the 2005 White Sox. We're not trying to change when we see in the past, just trying to play the best and see what happens.
Paul, talk about what it meant to you, in terms of a lift, seeing El Duque come in, bases loaded, and get you out scottfree.
KONERKO: When we had the three games in Cleveland, he came out of the pen. When he was starting he was picking up anywhere from 88, 89, 90, 91. When he was in Cleveland last week he was 92, 93 and dominating their best hitters. We knew he was feeling good.
To get out of there with no runs, that's a different story. To me, that's the story of the day. We have won games like that all year, but if you're going up against the Red Sox, you don't know if it's enough for them, because they're so good.
I think we were hoping to get out of there with a tie and play a 2 inning game or 3 inning game and see what happens. But it definitely gave us a boost getting out of there with no runs.
Before your home run, the previous inning Ortiz had went out deep in center field. Did you feel disappointed making that out? Did you seize on that?
I didn't sense any panic on their part by any means. When he hit that ball, I sensed they were thinking, we've got these guys on the ropes, even though that ball didn't go out. We didn't want to give the ball to Schilling tomorrow. We've seen his act. Who knows what he's going to do. We wanted to close them out today.
Talk about the play you made on them in the 8th inning, and then the defensive play throughout the series in general, you only had one error?
KONERKO: Our defense, along with the pitching, has been a strong point all year. I think the pitching stepped that up, and they keep everybody into the game. As far as the play in the 8th, or whatever it was, I was guarding the line, no doubles, and that ball was flying right at me, and it was to the right, and I got a real good quick step on it for once and made the play.
Following up on that question about the fielding, the shift you guys used against Ortiz, which a lot of teams used, it seemed like all the moves and positions you guys seemed to be in the right place and right time, and double play, 5 unassisted, on a guy going from 1st to 2nd, you don't see that very often. Did you feel like you were on a roll being in the right place at the right time?
KONERKO: I think in a five game series, when you get off on the right foot, these things go by quick. If we played the Red Sox next week, they could beat us. We know that. We don't think we're superior to them. These series happen real quick, and momentum counts.
The coaching staff, I think that has a lot you know those guys prepare. I know Ozzie gets the reputation for the other stuff and all of that, but our guys are organized and they study the game while it's going on.
Were you aware of the positioning on Ortiz?
KONERKO: I couldn't tell you. I really don't pay attention to the defensive. I know I look way back, and he's way back there. I couldn't compare him to what other teams do. I know I was playing way deep, and my foot wasn't on the grass.
Walk us through the home run.
KONERKO: Just the first couple at bats, I was forcing it a little bit, trying to make something happen, and I walked up there, and JD had a heck of a bat in front of me to get on base, just trying to let them come to me, and not I didn't try to do too much. I just tried to stay up tall and let it come into me and swing hard in case I hit it. That's basically what happened.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.