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October 2, 2003

Barry Zito


Q. Seems like you struggled early with your curveball. When did you get a feel for the pitch and can you describe it?

BARRY ZITO: At some points in the game you have your curveball and change-up. At other points you lose the feel. I didn't have the feel right off the bat, but you have to keep throwing it. I knew that was a big pitch for me in the game, and I knew when it came eventually it would help me out. It eventually gave me time to get a grip on it and got the seam real good under my finger and then it was breaking.

Q. Was your plan going in to throw a curveball two or three times in the row to big hitters or was it just working well?

BARRY ZITO: The plan going in is basically adjust to the hand you're dealt. If you go out in a game and you don't have your change-up and your fast ball commands real good, you change accordingly. There was never a plan to throw curveballs to everybody, but when it's working pretty good, it's hard to get away from it because you second guess yourself and say, I don't know why I didn't throw my curveball there. It was pretty good today.

Q. Did their strategy of going left/ right, left/right backfire for them and help you?

BARRY ZITO: I didn't even know it was left/right until you said it. I knew there were three lefties in the lineup today. They said they were going to put in their lefties. I just kind of pitch according to every hitter. Their left-hand hitters are great. They have that lineup that's a little different, Walker in third now since the last time I faced them, Ortiz is dangerous and also Johnny. Johnny played with us, I know what he can do. I kind of pitch to each hitter individually, I think.

Q. Did you change at all after the third inning?

BARRY ZITO: Yes, when you have five runs you kind of -- half of you wants to go just make your pitches, get ahead, but then the other half says no, this is still a playoff game, this is still a dangerous lineup, you don't want to give them any leeway. I think you have to pitch the same. I had fallen into that trap for a couple of hitters and then I got back on track after that.

Q. What is the feeling of the team going up to Fenway 2-0?

BARRY ZITO: We learned a pretty good lesson in 2001 when we were up 2-0 coming back home against the Yankees. The fact we're up 2-0 is great. We're not taking it for granted. Just me saying 2-0 against the Red Sox, we know there could be a worst-case scenario. We have to stay on them. We know Fenway. It's obviously a fun place to play, but it's definitely a home-field advantage for the Sox. We're very geared up to go in and rev those guys up tomorrow and start having fun Saturday.

Q. Does the experience in the last three years make this feel more important this year?

BARRY ZITO: I think so, yes. Last couple of years we were just happy to be here, happy to be in the playoffs, a young team. I think now we have something to prove and it was a heart- breaker for us to lose to the Twins in the first round last year, but I think we definitely have something to prove. We realize our guys are not going to be coming back every year. We lost Jason, and the whole Tejada thing, we don't know what's going to happen with that. We don't have a lot more years to say, oh, we'll get them next year. We have to really bear down and get this series as soon as we can.

Q. What time did you leave last night? Did you watch last night's game?

BARRY ZITO: I left in the second inning to just get a good dinner and then I was listening to it on the radio as I was going to sleep. I called my parents and I was just like, listen, just call me when it's over, I can't be listening to this all night. It was already the 11th and then Harden, he walks Manny to lead it off. I couldn't turn it off at that point, so I just kept listening. I was just in bed for another 40 minutes until the whole Ramon thing happened. I think I pictured it pretty well, but I still came in the clubhouse and watched the tape of the last couple of guys, just to make it real and get me fired up for the game today.

Q. Is it nice to know that you might pitch Game 5 if it gets to that and be able to advance the team?

BARRY ZITO: Certainly. It's kind of a helpless feeling when you pitch and then you have to basically sit and be a fan for the rest of the series, because you can't really control your own fate. You just have to basically watch your fate evolve. The fact that I'm available for Game 5 if we need it is definitely encouraging, to myself, as well as hopefully the team.

Q. Do you start gearing up for Game 5 now or later?

BARRY ZITO: I think I'm going to fly back home on Saturday, throw in the bullpen and fly home, just to be back in that mode. You know get past the whole jet lag thing and start worrying about it. I think it starts tonight. You start preparing mentally tonight and going on three days' rest. You don't have a lot of time to really worry about getting prepared, so you just start right off the bat.

End of FastScripts...

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