October 12, 2005
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI: Game One
Q. Chris, just talk about your performance, 16 ground ball outs tonight and how big was the double play, two against Berkman?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Obviously that play was huge to get Lance to ground into that double play. You know, I felt like I kept the ball down in the strike zone and that's why I was getting those ground balls and my sinker was real good tonight and so was my cutter. I can control my game down in the strike zone with them and keep the ball down. It's tough to elevate when you hit a lot of ground balls.
Q. What a nice time to be out at the plate.
REGGIE SANDERS: Yeah, everything is all about timing. I said it before, at least I had the luxury of when I came back for three weeks, not to be under any pressure, just get out there and do my thing. I'm just glad things are paying off.
Q. Reggie, is Houston pitching kind of like home cooking for you it seems this year?
REGGIE SANDERS: Hey, it's not that easy, I tell you, it's not that easy at all. As a hitter all we try to do is just get a pitch that we can handle and lay off the other stuff. So for me, it's just trying to get a pitch that I can consistently handle and that's all that I can do.
Q. You seem to have extraordinary success against Houston this year.
REGGIE SANDERS: Well, I don't know. Only thing I do know is what I'm trying to do up there and that's just trying to stay consistent.
Q. Chris, curious what you were thinking when Berkman hit that ball that ended up being the double play; he hit it pretty well.
CHRIS CARPENTER: Yeah, he put a good swing on it, but it was right at Grudzy and he turned a great double play. They have been doing it all year. They have been doing it in the series against San Diego and they did it again tonight. You can't say enough about the two guys up the middle turning two. They do it all the time.
Q. Reggie, what would you compare your performance over the last couple of weeks to other times in your career, as far as being hot?
REGGIE SANDERS: Wow, well, it's hard to compare because this is under such a big magnifying glass, and so everything is heightened when you come through in key situations. There are times when I've been hot, but it was kind of shoved under the table. So now things are finally going in the right direction for me.
Q. Can you explain a little bit about when you come back from the DL, what you did, you said no pressure in the last three weeks, and then you -- what about other post-seasons LCS's, you have not hit well, what's the difference this year?
REGGIE SANDERS: I'm a lot older, experience, and --
CHRIS CARPENTER: (Laughing.)
REGGIE SANDERS: Why are you laughing at that? (Laughter.) And you learn how to really house all the emotions that you may go through under the pressure. You know, for me talking with Hal and having a game plan and sticking with it and not altering from it has been a plus, too. So really, it's just I think the experience more than anything.
Q. Chris, could you describe how you felt your mood, how you felt a year ago when you were shut down and could not perform here and how gratifying it was to be able to contribute now?
CHRIS CARPENTER: When the injury first happened, I was very disappointed and very frustrated with the year that I had, and knowing that I wasn't going to be able to be a part of it. But that said, there's nothing that you can do about it, there's nothing that you can change. Things happen for a reason and unfortunately I wasn't able to be a part of this last year. Fortunately, I came in healthy this spring and we had a good year and I'm able to be part of it now and it's exciting, there's no question about it, to be able to go out and be on this stage and compete with the best players there is and have a chance for the ultimate goal, and that's to win the World Series. You know, it's been fun and real exciting.
Q. Could you talk about how the difficulty of the first four innings compared to the last four -- I think you split the first four innings, it was about 30 balls and 30 strikes and things seemed to pick up after that.
CHRIS CARPENTER: I didn't think there was any difficulty. I got myself into some situations with some walks, but my stuff was good all night. I was in command of it all night. I wasn't going to let a few guys hurt me in certain situations. You know, that one inning where I ended up walking Biggio and Taveras, to get to Berkman, that's not a smart move, but I'm not just going to lay one in there and let someone tattoo it over the wall. I'm going to try to make quality pitches, and those guys were patient, and didn't swing at quality pitches. I felt like I was trying to execute all night, and I think I did.
Q. As much success as you've had in your career and as much as you've traveled, do you think that this series and this October means that you've finally found a permanent home in St. Louis?
REGGIE SANDERS: Well, that's a tough question. That's a question that's really out of my hands. You know, one thing I've learned over the course is that, you know, go out there, do what you can do and hopefully you can open some eyes and somebody would want you to stay for a while. So for me, I really try not to worry about just the moving part of it, just really going out there and do what I needed to do and if the Cardinals have me back, would I love to come back? Most definitely. But that's a long way away.
Q. Can you take us through the play you made in the field? From my angle it looked like it was going to leave the ballpark, and just being focused and locked at the plate and then bringing it defensively for you as well?
REGGIE SANDERS: That was a ball that just kept carrying, and for me, I didn't want the wall to play me; I wanted to play the wall. So I just wanted to jump up and use the wall as a crutch, and that's all I really could do on that particular play.
Q. The pitch that you hit out of the park, Phil Garner said he thought it was a fastball that Andy didn't get where he wanted it; is that your assessment as well?
REGGIE SANDERS: Who knows. I mean, for me I was just looking in a certain area, and it was there and I was able to get on top of it. I think Phil Garner was saying that maybe he was trying to throw the ball in and he left it out over the middle of the plate. So, you know, I was able to get on top of that.
Q. You're the only player in the majors who has been in three World Series in the last four years, and now you have a chance to possibly go to another one; what does all of that post-season success mean to you?
REGGIE SANDERS: Well, it's what we play for as a player from Florence, South Carolina, never really realizing that he would be here. And then getting the opportunity -- you know, it's all about opportunities. It's really about going out there and having a team that can get to post-season and then from there continuing to move forward. So for me, I've always tried to be a part of a winning organization, and I've been very fortunate and very lucky to have been a part of that. For me, that's all that I can ask for. I'm very grateful for that.
Q. Phil Garner said that Andy Pettitte took a line drive off his knee in batting practice and said it may have been a factor and swelled up; did you notice anything different about his game tonight?
REGGIE SANDERS: No, not at all. We haven't heard anything like that. We were more concerned on what we were trying to do. We had not heard anything about his knee or having any problems with anything. He still looked like he had the same stuff as far as from a hitter's standpoint. So, I mean, it is what it is.
Q. Chris, you guys have obviously played the Astros a large number of times this year, and there are not many secrets between you I guess. Does that level of familiarity, do you think that plays into the pitcher's hands or the hitter's hands in a match-up?
CHRIS CARPENTER: I don't think it plays into anybody's hands. I think that every game is different. I think that if you don't make quality pitches, you know, they are going to get you no matter if it's your cutter, your fastball, your curveball or whatever it is. If you leave the ball in the middle of the plate, someone is going to hit it hard. Fortunately tonight, I didn't do that a whole lot. But I don't think it plays into anybody's hands because they know just as much about me and what I like to do as what I know about them and what they like to do. I think it's a toss-up.
Q. How do you stay in this zone that you're in, first part; and second part, do you have any suspicions that you've been -- since you've been in this particular zone that you have to do every game?
REGGIE SANDERS: How do you stay in the zone? That's a tough question. You know, for me I try not to even worry about it. I try to go at-bat to at-bat to stay consistent. And it starts in BP, it starts, also, from the mental standpoint and trying not to do too much. So for me, it's really just trying to stay within myself and not get too hyped in certain situations and look for a pitch that I can handle and that's it.
Q. When you hit the home run, you saw it go, what do you think about when you see it and then run the bases?
REGGIE SANDERS: It's exciting. You know, whenever you hit a home run, that's the toughest thing to hit, of course, and when you hit a home run in that situation, it is gratifying. Then when you hit home plate, then you've forgotten about it and then you've got to move forward. So it's a lot of fun, but we've still got a long way to go.
End of FastScripts...