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October 24, 2003

Andy Pettitte


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy.

Q. It's been a while since this team has been in a position, backs up against the wall, especially in a World Series. An adjustment of the minds, I would think, for this team?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, we've never been down like this in the World Series since we've been on this run. But it's still the same game and we're back here at home. I think we feel very comfortable playing here and very confident. We need to win two games to win a World Championship. We know the fans are gonna be ready for it. I know the team's gonna be ready for it. We're looking forward to it.

Q. Clearly, you had success on three days' rest last weekend. How have you responded on the extra day, having five days' rest like you'll have tomorrow?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I feel good. It's just that time of the year. I mean, obviously, everybody's tired and everybody's banged up a little bit. But got an extra day. Like I said, I feel strong. I felt strong my last start. I hope I feel as good as I did my last start. You never know what's gonna happen. We've been going so hard now. You don't ever know how your body's gonna feel until you step out on that mound. Hopefully, I feel great.

Q. There are guys on your team that have never been in this situation before. What do you tell them about going into tomorrow night's game?

ANDY PETTITTE: There's nothing that I don't think that we're gonna say. We've been through some tough series already, this playoffs. We went to seven games with Boston. Everybody in that clubhouse knows what it takes to win. Obviously, everyone in the clubhouse hasn't won a championship. But the series against Boston was as tough a series as you'll ever have a fight against. Obviously, the Marlins are playing us tough. This is a tough series. We have a huge mountain to climb right now to win two at home. Everybody in there's got a lot of pride. We're just gonna have to dig deep. I mean, this is our home turf. You don't want to come in here, watch another team celebrate on your field; that's for sure. I think this team is very professional. We have a lot of pride in what we're doing. We got to look at ourselves in the mirror when this is all over and everybody's gonna give it all they got. If we happen to not be able to pull it off, then we can handle it as long as you know you gave it everything you got. We'll give it our best shot. We expect to win two games here; no doubt about it, I think.

Q. A lot of changes could occur in this team, the organization, if things don't go well this weekend. How much does that weigh on the players going into this?

ANDY PETTITTE: I can't speak for anyone else. I'm not worrying about that one bit. I mean, there's one thing on my mind right now and that's figuring out how to get them guys out tomorrow night. And all that, that's all out of my hands, all out of everybody else's hands, so you can't worry about that. We need to look at the positives right now. Look at trying to win two ball games and trying to become world champions again and don't want to -- you start looking at too many negatives, that's not the way I think you approach life. So I know I'm not thinking about that. I can't speak for anybody else, but, surely, the rest of the team isn't thinking about that, I wouldn't think.

Q. This is the fourth start for the playoffs for you this year. Every one of them has been in a situation where you've had to pick the team up after a loss. The other was Game 2, you had a little bit of margin there. This one you don't. What do you take out of all those experiences that you're bringing in tomorrow?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, again, like I've said in the previous starts, all that's in the past. All the experience and all the starts that I've made in the postseason isn't gonna help me when I step on that mound tomorrow night. So, again, just hope that I can get out there, get in a good rhythm, get my stuff working and just looking forward to trying to give us a great start.

Q. Going back like 20 years, I think there's been almost -- teams that have gone home down 3-2 in the World Series have won every time except one. Why is that such an advantage at this time of year and how are you guys hoping to capitalize on being at home, down 3-2?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I just think that being home's an advantage, you know? I mean, I never heard that stat. That's the first time I just heard the stats you just said. That's kind of surprising to me, that there have been that many. But you're going home and it's a big game. It's big games and it's a big situation. There's got to be a little bit of home field advantage that plays into that, just hearing you say that stat there. But, again, these guys that we're playing have been real resilient. Went to Chicago, won two games there when I think pretty much everybody in the world thought that they were done. So we expect a tough battle, no doubt about it. Then hopefully we can pull it off, too.

Q. Not suggesting this team has done that, but do you think the baseball fans around the country, baseball experts, have underestimated the Marlins and not given them their dues? A week ago, everyone was saying this is the Yankees' series to win, they're huge favorites.

ANDY PETTITTE: I think so. Again, like I said, I was one of the guys that thought their series was over against the Cubs. I really didn't think they'd be able to go there and beat Prior and Woods in two starts there in Wrigley. Goes to show what kind of team they've got. Got to give them a lot of credit. They've got great leadership over there, obviously. Their manager is doing a great job. The team is fully behind him. They're for real; there's no doubt about that. We know that they're a great team. Give them all the respect in the world. We know we're gonna have to play good baseball. We're gonna have to do a lot of things a lot better than we been doing. We're looking to do that here at home.

Q. Can you just expand a little bit more about that home field? What makes it such an advantage this time of year, especially here at Yankee Stadium? Is it the crowd? Knowing that you have the last at-bat? What's the biggest part of it?

ANDY PETTITTE: I think just over these years that we've been here on this run, I think we've kind of grown accustomed to pulling off a lot of heroics here. We really feel like the game's always ours until that last out has been made and we have to walk off or walk into the dugout and walk up into the clubhouse. But I just think we've created a whole lot of confidence in our fans and in the clubhouse and around our team that we're gonna find a way to pull it off. Again, like I've said, hopefully we can do it again. I mean, we're confident. We're in a hole right now and it's gonna be tough for us. But I really believe that the team will be focused and will be ready to play tomorrow night.

Q. Can't talk about the home field advantage especially for the Yankees without discussing the ghosts, the Yankee mystique. Facing an elimination game, is this the time you start going, banging on the outfield walls, waking them up?

ANDY PETTITTE: I don't know about that (smiling). I like to think more than anything it's just the players that step out on the field or just have that never-give-up attitude. We're gonna find a way to get it done. And I think that's been a big thing here, when you put on the pin stripes, that we know it's a winning tradition, a winning team usually. And, again, I think that more than anything, more than ghosts and mystique and all this, there have been some great players come through here. We feel like we have a lot of confidence that late in the games, stuff like that, we can pull off a little bit of magic.

Q. Josh Beckett is going on three days' rest for the first time in his career. You have just done it. You've done it in the past. What is an obstacle he may face? Is it just getting deep into the game? Also, are you impressed with this kid? Does he remind you of Rocket at all?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, three days' rest, really the big thing is usually later in the game, you would fatigue a little bit more. Your body has become so normally on a routine of pitching every fifth day and a certain amount of pitches. That will be the big thing, you would think, that a little bit later in the game, he will fatigue. I don't think it will affect him early in the game, I really don't. After that, it's just controlling yourself, controlling your body, continue to try to make great pitches, stuff like that. I don't think it's gonna be a big factor on him. He's a big, strong kid. He's young. He's got great stuff. We've got a tough task ahead of us, being able to beat him. And his stuff is unbelievable, you know. He's got a great fastball. I hadn't had a chance to see him pitch until these playoffs. I had never seen him pitch before until I saw him pitch against the Giants earlier. He's got great stuff. Obviously, you stay healthy is the big key. But he's got a great mindset. If he can stay healthy, he's gonna be a big-time pitcher in the league for a long time.

Q. Throughout this postseason you've talked about the comfort level with your personal experience. Couple questions back, you talked about the experience in the clubhouse that makes you think that you're still in it until the final out. Are you concerned there are a lot of your guys in the clubhouse who have not been through this before and maybe there is not the experience that you've had in the past to help you over that hump?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, again, I mean, when you look at experience, we really, when we first started all this, none of the guys in the clubhouse had it then. We were able to get it done. So bottom line is, sooner or later, you're just gonna have to get it done. You hope that you have the players on your team that can figure out a way or are mentally tough enough and strong enough to grind your way through it and grind your way through these series. Like I said, the series against Boston I think showed us a lot about this team and the character that we have. And being down the way we were, in that final game, and being able to fight back. So at this point, I don't think that you can say that -- no matter what happens, that this team can't get it done or whatever. The Marlins, so far, feel like they've played better than us and that's why they're leading this series right now. So I think that all the guys that have been here through this run, I think we feel like this team right here is very capable of winning a championship. And we're right there. I mean, you can't get any closer than we are right now. I've said it before, you just got to have so many things go right for you, little things go right for you through the course of a series and stuff like that to be able to win championships. Right now, the Marlins have the upper hand on that.

Q. Having faced them already, do you change much tomorrow night in your approach and what kind of adjustments do you expect them to make when they face you?

ANDY PETTITTE: I mean, I won't change my approach. I'll go into the game like I go into every game, try and see how I feel that night, what I have, try to pay attention to what they're trying to do to me during the course of a game. That's really just the way I try to pitch a game. So really, the thought process for me is really just the same. I'm gonna go out there, try to pitch my game. And if it requires making adjustments during the game, if I see them try to do something else, then you have to try something else, you know? So really going into it, try to pitch the same way I have.

Q. You've pitched under plenty of pressure the entire postseason. This is the first time this year that it's truly do-or-die. There's no tomorrow. Does it feel any different?

ANDY PETTITTE: I mean, obviously you know that if you lose tomorrow, you're going home. But, really, I don't feel like there's really that much more pressure on me. Again, I just feel like that I know what I'm capable of doing, won't try to do any more than that. Again, I hope that I can have a great start for us. But I'm not gonna put any more pressure on myself. If the series before, I knew if we would have went down two games in any of those series, we might have been in some serious trouble in those series. It's an elimination game; you know that. Obviously, there's a little bit more pressure there in a sense. But I'm just not gonna change anything, my mindset or anything, my approach to this game tomorrow night.

Q. You mentioned a couple times you need to do a few things better. What specifically is it you see; clutch hitting, pinch hitting, hitting spots?

ANDY PETTITTE: I think just looking at the games, from sitting there, I think they've gotten a lot of two-out hits. I think they've played better defensively than we have. I think we could have gotten some clutch hits that we haven't been able to get. And just looking at all that, that's, for them, they're playing better than us so far. That's why I think they're up on the series. So just an all-around, the game, I feel that they've pitched better than us. They've had a little bit better timely hitting than we have. Defensively, they played better than us. Hopefully, like I said, we're still very confident and looking forward to getting these games going here tomorrow night, and hopefully get it to a Game 7. We like our chances.

End of FastScripts...

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