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October 8, 2003

Andy Pettitte


Q. Is it just coincidence or just the way the rotation falls the way Joe likes it that you seem to be starting Game 2, series after series, year after year?

ANDY PETTITTE: I think with just this series, us four went, and the rotation that he had set last series, he's just following us up right in order, I think so we don't have too many days off. You don't want to change too much in that sense I think. It's been a lot of years in a row I've started Game 2 in the Division Series. But I started Game 1 in the ALCS several times I know and Games 2, 3 and 4. I'm definitely familiar with Game 2, that's for sure.

Q. Can you talk about the Red Sox lineup, you've faced them four times this year, and also how different you think it might be without Johnny Damon in there tomorrow night?

ANDY PETTITTE: It will be different without him in there, obviously. He's a great lead-off hitter. He figures out a way to get on base. He's very patient. He can bunt the ball. He can do a whole lot of different things. He can hurt you; he's got some pop, too. That's a little bit of a break for us I think because he's such a great lead-off hitter and having to adjust their lineup around a little bit. But still, I think, Mueller is hitting lead-off for them now. He won the batting title. This guy can hit, also. He will probably do a great job leading off for them also.

Q. You've had a history of success against the Red Sox over the years, and unlike a lot of left-handers, you are pretty equal at both Fenway and Yankee Stadium; is there anything different you do from stadium to stadium?

ANDY PETTITTE: Not at all. I try to go in and pitch the same game that I always have. I feel like I'm a ground-ball pitcher. I feel like I've been that way for my career, and that's kind of -- you know, I've never changed, going there or pitching or pitching here. Obviously, the left field here is so much friendlier, but I've never really put that much into the way I approach the game. I just pitch the game the way I know how to pitch and see what the hitter is trying to do and attack him the best way I see fit, whatever at bat that is. I won't try to change anything as far as that goes.

Q. The last start you had here against the Red Sox, can you talk about that game a bit, and since then, you have been on fire, just a bit about life since then.

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, I remember that game. It started off with Johnny laying a bunt down on me, a drag bunt. It was one of those games that you hope you don't have to have during the course of a season. It seemed like every ball they hit was bouncing right over our gloves and right where we weren't. From a pitcher's standpoint, I felt like I made a lot of good pitches but didn't get a whole lot of guys out. I felt like I threw the ball well, just gave up a lot of runs and just didn't go deep in that game. That was just one of those games that I remember I was real comfortable with the way I was throwing the ball. Again, it's just like every pitch that I threw and they hit it was where we weren't. Just throw that right out of my mind and throw in the good starts I had in my mind against them this year. Tomorrow night is a different game. They are a different team right now. It's post-season. And just like I said before, just focus on them and how I'm going to try to get these guys out and again hopefully I can get comfortable out there and get in a groove again and throw a great game for us.

Q. Right now you guys are going probably as well as any four-deep rotation in Major League Baseball. It all seems to start with the rhythm you set in the second half. What do you think is the key now to the way the rotation is going?

ANDY PETTITTE: It's so hard to say, just because, you know, I think we have four great starters. It's so hard, especially during the course of a season, to keep everyone together and throwing the ball great at the same time. When we are doing that, I feel like as a team and a staff, we are really unbeatable. I think we all had four great starts against Minnesota and we were able to win that series. You know, again, it's all just a matter of, I think all of us, getting out there and getting ahead in the count and getting your offspeed stuff over. We all know how to do it and how to attack these hitters. It's just a matter of getting out there to do it. I really can't put my finger on anything; I just hope it's able to continue. We all seem like we are in a real good groove over the last couple of weeks, the season ending up. We were all making quality start after quality start, and you hope that that can just continue. I think we all feel very good about where we're at right now and the way we're throwing. Again, like I said, last year, I just look at last year, and I know we all felt good going into the playoffs last year and we pitched the way we did against the Angels. You just never know. That's why you just go out and play the game.

Q. Earlier in your career, did you ever think of what most people think of as pressure; when did it start to go away and does any of it stay, even for a veteran?

ANDY PETTITTE: There's no doubt, these games are intense. It doesn't go away. I mean, you know, I think the butterflies you get before the game, if that goes away, it's probably time to hang it up. But that's what we play for and that's what's fun about the game. I think just the main thing is that I've had so many opportunities to experience it now. When you've had that many opportunities, you figure out, and I think you learn how to deal with it. I think I'm just grateful that I've had so many opportunities. I think this is maybe my 27th post-season start. It's been a blessing to be able to pitch in that many playoff games, and to be in a lot of big games and just to know that I can handle that kind of pressure and be able to perform under it, and, you know, I've been able to have some bad ones under that kind of pressure, also.

Q. Boston didn't hit as well in the playoff series as during the regular season. Do you chalk that up to just good pitching in the playoffs or do you go out and worry that they have to break out sometime?

ANDY PETTITTE: You know, they are going to hit, you would think. It didn't seem like they swung the bat real well against Oakland, I guess when you look at the games and how low-scoring they were and stuff like that. But still, you know that they have got a great lineup. You know that you're not going to go out and probably pitch shutouts against them. But you just continue, like I said, to make quality pitches. Oakland it seemed like was making a lot of good pitches and I think they had a pretty good approach the way they were attacking some of their hitters and stuff like that. So you look at all that. Hopefully they are in a little bit of a slump and hopefully they will stay in a little bit of a slump if they are. They have got a great lineup and you know that if they make bad pitches to them they are going to hurt you up and down. They have so much power. They are as tough of a lineup as you'll ever have to face.

Q. Going back to the series against the Braves, the first World Series against the Braves, the game you pitched against Smoltz was a big-time game, and after the Braves won the first game in that series, everyone saw it as a must-game, do you envision yourself as a big-game, clutch pitcher?

ANDY PETTITTE: Again, I've said it a lot of times. I'm very thankful and fortunate that I've been able to pitch in a lot of big games and I've been able to pitch well in a lot of big games. Again, I've pitched bad in some big games, also, for us. Really, I don't think I'm real negative-minded, just keep myself humble, I guess I look more at the bad games I've had in the big situations than the good ones. I don't know, to tell you the truth; I just go out there, try to do my job and try to keep us in the game and I've been able to throw some good games, supposedly in some big situations and just very thankful for that. Got a great team behind me and got a great bullpen so that makes everything a lot easier, also.

End of FastScripts...

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