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October 13, 2003

Carl Pavano


Q. Carl, were you surprised by this start or had the coaching staff been hinting at it all along?

CARL PAVANO: No, it was definitely a surprise. They told me after yesterday's game. And I'm really looking forward to this challenge, this experience that's ahead of me. I had a different role going into the playoffs being in the bullpen, and I'm glad to be given the opportunity to go out and start Game 6 for the Florida Marlins.

Q. I'm assuming that this is going to be the biggest start of your career. Mentally how do you prepare for this?

CARL PAVANO: Well, I've made 32 starts this year. I'm used to starting. I'm not going into unchartered waters. Maybe the unchartered waters will be pitching in a playoff game in Wrigley Field. But I'm looking at it as a fun, exciting and challenging experience. My team is counting on me, and I'm counting on myself to get the job done. The focus and the concentration is going to be part of my success.

Q. Being in the bullpen you've had an opportunity to watch the Cubs the last five games. What have you learned the last five games? What have you learned about them that might help you tomorrow?

CARL PAVANO: They're definitely staying away from the big innings. Base on balls you want to stay away from altogether, keeping guys off the bases. They've got some speed, as well. We've got a great catcher behind the plate with Pudge. But keeping guys off bases, and keeping away from those big innings.

Q. How big is it to keep Lofton off base?

CARL PAVANO: From my experience watching Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo with the speed, obviously it's shown me a lot. And Lofton is going to make things happen. Keeping him off bases is definitely the key. So it's not going to be my main focus, but definitely part of my focus.

Q. I know Josh was a little bit on the brash side. He said yesterday there would be a Game 6 and there would be a Game 7. From your sense, though, how confident are you guys knowing you had the big win yesterday and forced you back here and that kind of thing?

CARL PAVANO: I think what we've gone through all year with the adversity, and especially the end of the season, the schedule that we face, I think that we're just taking this as another game. We definitely don't give up. We're going into it with a positive frame of mind and confident frame of mind. The best man is going to win. That's what it comes down to. Who wants it the most, and who's focused. I think both teams have good shots. I think it just comes down to definitely the pitching and who has the best stuff out there.

Q. What is the thought process going in? Do you feel any differently when you have your bats up against the wall?

CARL PAVANO: This is something that I think every player from this standpoint dreams of. You get a chance to go out and carry your team until it comes down to where your back is against the wall. We all handle it well in pressure, that's why we're Major League ballplayers. I don't think you can take it different than any other game. You

have to go out and give it your best stuff and get ready to compete, and the best man wins.

Q. What kind of atmosphere do you expect tomorrow? Do you relish possibly playing the spoiler?

CARL PAVANO: It's going to be fun. The atmosphere in this field is always exciting, even during the season. I can't imagine that changing, but being even better. Hopefully we can all feed off that atmosphere.

Q. You had some good success against most of the Cubs you faced in the past, but Sosa has been a little bit of a problem for you. Do you remember your pitching against Sammy and the results, and what do you think you could do to remedy that?

CARL PAVANO: I think throwing quality pitches is going to be the key. You definitely want to keep him off the bags and you definitely want to make your pitches too. At any point he could change the outcome of a ballgame.

Q. It could be a little bit cold tomorrow night. Can you talk about your experience in that?

CARL PAVANO: I grew up in the Northeast. The cold weather won't be a factor for me. And with the adrenaline and the excitement I'll have going in to tomorrow's game, I don't see it as a factor.

Q. What would have been the biggest game you pitched in before this, in an amateur youth league, in school ball, what would be the biggest game?

CARL PAVANO: I think the last game I started of the year to clinch the playoffs. We really wanted to end it in that fashion. We didn't want it to go further. It came down to that game, especially knowing the rotation that we were going into. My job was to stop that and set up the rotation, so we could stop that.

Q. There's just been so much made of the Cubs' history and how they always kind of collapse, and some of your guys talked about it yesterday. They've got to come here and be against that history. How do you feel about that? Does that give you guys an edge?

CARL PAVANO: Seeing the character of the guys on their team, I think they're a lot like us. I don't think they read into that hype too much. I think they're out there, focused and know their task at hand, and rules. They all do a pretty good job at that. I don't think it's much on the focus, the focus is more on winning than trying to hush the critics.

Q. Was there anything you were able to learn or absorb just from watching how Josh went about and pitched that game yesterday, especially after Dontrelle had been a little shaky the day before?

CARL PAVANO: Well, Josh pitched amazing yesterday. Definitely it's encouraging for all of us to see him go out, and when we needed him the most, he put in an unbelievable performance. You expect the same for yourself. That's something you want to follow and maybe compete with. So he did a great job. He really picked up the whole team. And I'm hoping that I can step in where he left off.

Q. Carl, the staff has all year kind of tried to challenge each other and feed off of each other. Is that performance something that you feel you could do?

CARL PAVANO: Oh, definitely. I think it's got us to the point where we're all competitors, and we're also all friends. But as soon as we get between those lines, we want to get the job done. And I think that's going to be a key to this series coming up. And I don't see why our attitudes or our focus really will change.

End of FastScripts...

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