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October 22, 2005

Andy Pettitte


Q. How much more fun is this or is it more fun than going through a postseason with the Yankees where there's so much pressure and expectation, whereas here not having been here for 44 years, everyone is delighted to be going through this?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, it's definitely a little different. To tell you the truth, for me, personally, a lot of pressure. I know I was putting a lot of pressure on myself for that reason, 44 years, never been here, the opportunity to get here was just right in front of us. And I think like I've been saying for me, this is right there with my first trip in '96. Obviously we went so many times after that in New York, but this is just extremely -- it's been extremely special and gratifying to be able to help this organization get to this -- get to this World Series.

Q. When you and Roger came back, I'm sure you hoped this would happen. But the fact that it did happen and it happened so quick, do you guys look at each other and laugh at just how fortunate it all was?

ANDY PETTITTE: I think when anyone asks me so far, I just say -- I just smile, you know, just like I can't believe it. Again, I can't believe it. From where this team came from to lose the guys that we lost last year offensively. We knew we still had a good pitching staff. We felt real comfortable with that and our bullpen and everything else. But are we really going to be able to pull this off, no matter how good our pitching is. So just real happy that we came from where we came from, as far back as we were, got to .500 and was able to still make another run to be able to get the wild card like we did is pretty amazing.

Q. Overall with the hometown, Houston aspect, is that a more emotional experience for you?

ANDY PETTITTE: I mean I guess in a sense. I would just have to say that everything goes back to the first World Series, I guess, because as a boy that's what you grow up, whether it's hometown or whether it's -- whether it was in New York. New York was home for me, it seemed like, you know. So that was very emotional, being able to get there for the first time. I know it wasn't that long, but it just seemed like in New York's eyes it was so long since they'd been back to a World Series. So I can just relate that back -- it's almost like I'm 24 again and I'm, "man, we got to a World Series, it's unbelievable." It's very special to be able to go home and pitch. My family, all my friends that I grew up with, everybody will be able to see me throw finally and compete in the games. And then being able to see me go through the postseason and something like this. It's definitely been very special.

Q. Back to that first World Series, how did it compare to those childhood dreams when you pitched your first World Series game, how did it compare to the childhood dreams you had?

ANDY PETTITTE: It was everything you could imagine. It was so gratifying. You talk about going to a World Series and obviously my rookie year we talked about, when I was with the Yankees, we talked about trying to get to the World Series. It didn't happen in '95, obviously, and then again so quickly in my career for that to happen, I just -- everybody keeps asking me, I don't know what to say. I'm very thankful and feel like I've been very blessed, obviously, to be able to be playing in this League for 11 years now and this is my 7th trip. So it's just -- just very thankful that I've been extremely blessed and been on some wonderful teams and around a wonderful group of players, with the Yankees and these guys. With the Astros now, I've had an ideal situation in my career right now.

Q. Just as far as personally, as a competitor, do you think about your last start in the World Series, when it ended the series and you lost to (Josh) Beckett or is that no relation at this point, and just -- going out to maybe erase that one at all?

ANDY PETTITTE: Not really, because I just -- I felt like I really pitched well. I felt good about it. So not really, I felt like I had a real good World Series that year. We just weren't able to win it. So it's not like a whole lot of redemption for me, from that standpoint. The only thing I can say is just -- I know in 2003 I wanted that World Series as bad as I wanted any of them, besides the one in '96. I don't know if we just became so used to going to the World Series and winning the World Series and stuff like that. And then in 2003 it was several years since we had won one. So I know that we were really hungry that year and just weren't able to come up with it. You definitely still have that burning to try to get into another championship, as many as you can, because you realize, and I realize that -- sooner or later this opportunity is not going to continue to present itself, you know, like it is right now. I realize that and obviously you want to get another one extremely bad.

Q. Would you just talk a little bit about the White Sox lineup, in particular Podsednik at the top and the power guys in the middle?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, they've changed so much since I was in the League, as far as their personnel and stuff like that. But Podsednik is the key. Really just like any of the series that we go into, you've got to keep the first two guys off or try to. (David) Eckstein gave me all kind of problems when he was getting on base in the last series, and was a headache for me. So it's extremely important to get those guys off. A lot of talk has been talked about they're small ball and stuff like that. They've got some power through their lineup, and so the key is to get those top two guys off the base, hopefully keep them off. You feel like the guys in the order are going to get their hits, and you hope not a whole lot of guys are on in the scoring position when they do that. I'm just going to go out and try to make pitches and just try to compete as best I can.

Q. You've been a big time pitcher in the playoffs, World Series. First, where does that come from, where do you get that from and how important is it for you guys to win at least one game here in Chicago before going back to Houston?

ANDY PETTITTE: It's definitely important for us to try to get one. I'll feel real good about it if we can get one here and go home. They're going to be tough. They're going to be tough here, there's no doubt about it. So we know Roger is going to go out and give us a great start tonight. Hopefully I can go out and give us a good start tomorrow and we can scratch a few runs out. They're going to be close games, you think. The weather is not going to be great, as cold as it's going to be. Probably hopefully from our standpoint it will be low-scoring games. And again, to answer the other part of your question, I mean everyone continues to keep saying that and keep saying that, like I said, I guess my memory is horrible as far as I think about all my bad starts in the postseason. I realize I've had a lot of good starts, also, but I've had a lot of bad ones. And I really don't know, I mean I have been able to come up big on some occasions when they needed a big start out of me and stuff like that. And I think just the more chances and the more opportunities you have to do this you just feel more and more comfortable with it. So really that's -- I've had a lot of chances to pitch in a lot of big games with New York and it's helped me I think to be able to relax and to be able to calm myself down. I'm like a kid in a candy store, again, though, because I missed out last year. So these postseason games are so different and I didn't have a chance to have those last year with the injury. So this year it's been kind of strange, because you can't compare these to the regular season games, the postseason games. So for me, I've been trying to get back in the swing of just the intensity of the games and stuff like that that you have in postseason.

Q. Andy, you and Roger have been in the World Series so many times, but with so many guys on the Astros who've never been there, any kind of speeches or any rah-rah talk; doesn't appear this team does a lot of speeches when it comes to that?

ANDY PETTITTE: No, there hasn't been. I think there are guys walking around yesterday a little wide-eyed about just the media more than anything, just how much media is around, and just -- you walk out of the hotel and there are a lot of people outside the hotel and outside the bus and stuff like that. I think guys are just getting excited about it, and about being here. But we really haven't said much. Baggs and Biggio are still the guys that have never been here, and when there has been stuff said they've kind of done the talking and that's the way it should be. They've been around a long time and stuff like that. They've never been to a World Series, but we've got some good leaders on this team, and some young guys that have their priorities right and they're so focused on this, and just -- we've been through a lot. We've been through a lot this postseason, and going to St. Louis and to win that Game 6 there shows a lot of what this club is made of. And there's not a whole lot of speeches that have to be done. They're preparing themselves well.

Q. Andy, you have -- in the other dugout there are a number of guys who were your teammates for several years. Has there been any communication between you and them, what's it been like?

ANDY PETTITTE: Are you talking about the guys on the White Sox?

Q. Yes.

ANDY PETTITTE: El Duque and Contreras?

Q. Yes.

ANDY PETTITTE: I haven't seen them. I haven't had a chance to talk to them at all. Looking forward to seeing them, give both of them a big hug. They were a joy to be around in New York. I know I was around Duque a lot more than I was around Jose, but just looking forward to seeing them. I'm glad for them. Jose had a hard time in New York the years he was there, so I'm excited for him that he was able to come here and put it all together, because he's got great stuff. And -- so you don't want to see anybody fail. He went through some hard times there in New York. I'm just looking forward to seeing both of them, and I'll definitely give both of them a big hug and tell them I'm proud of them.

Q. The White Sox have a penchant for hugging the plate. Can you tell us what your philosophy is to pitching to teams like that so that they give you the space for you to get your pitches across the strike zone?

ANDY PETTITTE: Did you say that they got on top of the plate? Yeah, they've got several guys that stand right on top of the plate. Really, you know what, my philosophy is I try not to see the hitter; I try to see the mitt and just try to make my pitches to that mitt and try to block everything else out. Hopefully you can make some good pitches on the inside corner and let them know that you can throw the ball in there. It might open up something to go back away or whatever. But they've got some big, strong guys with some power. You've got to make some quality pitches. But I'm not going to change anything that I would normally do, no matter where they stand, no matter what they try to do. I'll try to continue to pitch my game and I'll take that approach.

End of FastScripts...

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