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October 15, 2005

Jeff Suppan


Q. How do you keep yourself ready waiting for the start?

JEFF SUPPAN: I think the biggest thing is mentally staying ready. I think physically when you've thrown a whole season, pitched a whole season, your body, throwing in the bullpen here or there, you're fine. Mentally, I think is the key, staying mentally prepared in a number of ways. One, just visualizing that your out there and when you're watching the game, seeing the pitch that you would throw and just trying to put yourself in the situation because it has been a while since I've thrown. So that's basically what I've been doing.

Q. Along those lines mentally, does it change -- from the outside you might say, well, if you go in down 1-2 than up 2-1, does that mentally change how you go about it?

JEFF SUPPAN: The only thing I can control is what pitches I throw and where I throw them so that's where my focus is on. We all have to go out and contribute in our own way. My job tomorrow is to go out and make the pitches that I need to make.

Q. How does this strike you that you have not faced this team, a division team all year, and what do you make of pitching in this ballpark?

JEFF SUPPAN: I think last year I faced them seven times including the playoffs and this year I haven't faced them once. Last year, I faced them a lot so I think that prepares me for this year -- I forgot the last part of your question.

Q. Pitching in this ballpark?

JEFF SUPPAN: Yeah, I think any ballpark you pitch in, you're aware of your surroundings, how the ball travels and whatever. But you still have to know your strengths and pitch your game. Left field, there can always be a situation with the dimensions of the ballpark.

Q. And what about the Astros, what do they present to you as a lineup?

JEFF SUPPAN: They are a very professional hitting team. I think that they do a lot of things well, and they have speed, power, and they have a very strong middle part of the lineup. And I think that going against them so many times last year and watching them so many times this year, you know, they are just relaxed when they hit and they get you into situations, you have a lot of veteran players. I think with that being said, as a pitcher, knowing that, you have to continue to make your pitches.

Q. Knowing how much time you had off, did you exert yourself in any of the bullpen sessions a little more than usual?

JEFF SUPPAN: I actually did a number of them. I threw harder than I normally do in a normal situation. I think I got up one time to kind of go into the game but then it didn't happen, so that adrenaline rush was great to feel. When you're throwing a normal bullpen, the adrenaline is not the same. When you're getting ready for a game or getting to go into a game from the bullpen, it's obviously a lot more. So feeling that in these weeks that I've had off was good to kind of, you know, so I could see how I would feel warming up for this game tomorrow.

Q. The last few starts of the season, I think the downplay was you were more aggressive; was that what you felt in the last handful of starts that you had?

JEFF SUPPAN: There's a lot of different ways that you can look at aggressive. That's been said to me a few times in my career. At one point being aggressive was trying to throw as hard as I could but obviously that's not the case now. I know what aggressive means. I think any time as a pitcher where you're aggressive in the strike zone you're pitches are going to have better movement and your curveballs are going to have better break. But sometimes when you pitch a little more careful -- I think you have to have a balance of both. Toward the end of the season, I don't know how I would describe my effort in those games. I think I was just making pitches. I wouldn't describe it as being careful or being aggressive. As a whole, I mean, if you're aggressive in the strike zone, that's a good thing as a pitcher.

Q. You've pitched in a couple of situations where you guys could clinch, you came through last year; how much has that helped you prepare mentally for this?

JEFF SUPPAN: It has actually helped a lot. You know, I think when you have not gone through it, you're going to say it doesn't matter. When you've gone through it, you're going to say it's helped. So I think the more times you're in those situations, that experience is going to benefit you. I just think that you know what's at stake and you really go out and it helps you focus when you've been in those situations before and the things that you really need to focus about or concentrate on.

End of FastScripts...

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