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October 2, 2003

Kirk Rueter


JIM FERGUSON: We're ready with Kirk Rueter. Questions for Kirk.

Q. The first two games emphasized the impact that Pierre and Castillo can have if they're on base. Could you talk about that approach.

KIRK RUETER: Well, I mean, I think if you've watched them all year, you know, they got not just one lead-off hitter but two right at the top of the order. They're very important to their success. You know, getting on base and causing havoc on the base paths, letting their big guys come up and knocking them in. You know, you try right out of the gate, you bear down, you know, keep them off base, and try and make, you know, Rodriguez and Lee and Conine and Lowell or Cabrera, whoever is in there, hit with, you know, nobody on base. Because those guys can score runs and not even -- you know, if you walk them, steal second, steal third, you know, and score on a sac fly. They kind of remind me of the teams I grew up in St. Louis watching with Coleman and Ozzie Smith and those guys, you know, getting on base, wreaking havoc that way.

Q. What memories do you have from your start in '97?

KIRK RUETER: I don't know. I'm getting old (laughter). That's, what, seven years ago? But, no, I mean, that was the first time, you know, that I'd been in a playoff series. I remember it was fun. I always kid Robby Nen that we won the west, and we had to come down here for the first two games (laughter). I remember that. But it was fun. You know, they had a great team then, just like they do now. You know, I just remember the first two games, went down to the, you know, last at-bat. I know Renteria a got a hit in Game 1. What I remember about Game 2 is the ball hitting the pitcher's mound and bouncing up. I think Sheffield was the guy that scored the winning run. That's about all I remember about that.

Q. (Question not repeated)?

KIRK RUETER: I remember that, to tie it up. I know we went ahead. I think Billy Miller hit a home run in the I think top of the seventh maybe. Then Jonathan hit the home run to make it 1-1. Then they won it 2-1, I think.

Q. Redman said earlier today he's not intimidated by Barry Bonds.

KIRK RUETER: I think, you know, most pitchers, you know, if you're at this level, you're going to go out and, you know, just try and pitch your game. That's how you have to treat it, I think. But watching him the past seven years, and especially the last three to four when, you know, he's just been amazing, you know, I think even if you make great pitches to him, he can hit them out of the park. So you have to be very careful with him. You know, I think that's obvious by the way he's been pitched, you know, the last couple years with all the walks. I mean, getting almost 200 walks in a season's a little crazy. So I think everybody goes into the game maybe saying that, but once you get out there, you know, if it's a tight game, I don't think, you know, a lot of guys over the years have pitched to him.

Q. You've had good success in not allowing people to run, steal bases against you. Is that something that you've consciously worked on or is that natural for you?

KIRK RUETER: Pretty much just my delivery. I've always, you know, even college and in the minor leagues, I was always quick to the plate. I don't have an outstanding pick-off move. I was always told if you're quick to the plate, they're not going to be able to run anyway. Fortunately, that's the way that I've thrown. I didn't really have to change anything in the minor leagues or anything to get to where I am now as far as when I get in the stretch, you know. So that helps me in a lot of aspects, you know, by keeping the double play in order, because I like to get groundballs and get double plays. You know, I just try to negate the running game, and I don't have to do anything special because that's the way I've thrown my whole life.

Q. It seems to be a toss-up right now whether Lowell or Cabrera start in tomorrow's game. Does that affect the way you pitch one or the other?

KIRK RUETER: I mean, they're both -- you know, I think Lowell is outstanding. He's been All-Star. You know, Cabrera, I think he's only, what, 20 years old? He looks like he's got a great future in the game. The game that I pitched to him the first time was the first game back off the DL after two months. You know, I don't know if I can take a lot out of that game. I hadn't pitched in two months. I just know, you know, that they're both great hitters. And Lowell is definitely, you know, like I said, an All-Star. You know, they got two pretty good options, whichever way they go.

Q. What's the sense in your clubhouse, did you lose the momentum in the series in yesterday's game? How do you feel about that?

KIRK RUETER: Well, you mean, you always want to win any game you play in the playoffs, especially at home. But, you know, we got a lot of veteran guys, and a lot of guys that have been around and know what it takes to win, you know, wherever you're playing. Yeah, we would have liked to come here up 2-0. But, you know, we lost yesterday, so we just got to, you know, regroup and go back. I don't know, "moment". I think moment's a little bit overrated. I don't think anybody will be thinking about Wednesday's game once we get out on the field tomorrow. So, you know, we're just going to go out, work out today, get ready for tomorrow's game.

Q. The post-season experience the Giants have come into this series with, will that help you if there's 60,000 people here tomorrow?

KIRK RUETER: I hope so. You know, last year with all the thunder sticks and stuff that Anaheim had in the World Series made for a pretty loud venue to play in. I think, like I said, most of our guys have been around and have been in a playoff atmosphere games. I think most of them are able to just go out and play. That's what I've always said, you know, just go out, and the game doesn't change no matter who's in the stands or what time of day or if it's October or April. You still got to do the same stuff that you do your whole career, as far as it's just going to be 60 feet, 6 inches to the plate. You just try and keep your emotions under wrap and do what you've done your whole life.

Q. In a big game like this where it's a short series, it's Game 3, how do you keep your emotions under control, keep yourself calm, focused?

KIRK RUETER: Oh, I just treat it like another game. I mean, I think if you ask anybody in there, I'm a pretty competitive person when it comes to anything. I mean, playing cards, checkers with my wife, whatever it may be, I want to win. So, you know, if it's April, I put just as much pressure on myself as I do when it's October. And I think that's helped me, you know, in the past in playoff games. I want to win, you know, no matter what's at stake or what's on the line. So I go about every game the same way. I think that has, you know, helped me, especially when we've had stretches in August and September, battling down to the wire.

Q. Coming off injury, could you talk a little about how you were able to fine tune your finesse, get back to where you wanted to be from a pitching standpoint?

KIRK RUETER: You know, I missed, you know, close to two months. I had one start in there when I went on the DL, had one start, went back on the DL. It was kind of like starting over, going to spring training. But, like I had said the last month, I'm just fortunate and glad we had a big enough lead the first couple games when I came back and we lost, it didn't hurt our team. It gave me enough chance or enough time to get back and get in a nice rhythm pitching. That's kind of what my game is: going out and just feeling comfortable on the mound. After being out for two months, I wasn't as comfortable as I would have been if I hadn't been on the DL. First time I'd been on the DL in my career. Just took a couple times, a couple side sessions, bullpens, to get comfortable being back on the mound. Now, you know, hopefully I'm back to where I was before I got hurt.

Q. You had two extra days off from your usual routine. Did you do anything different in that time period?

KIRK RUETER: Not really. Because, you know, they were going back and forth with Game 2, Game 3. So, you know, I didn't do too much different because I didn't really know when I was going to pitch, so I just prepared like I was pitching yesterday. You know, I don't think the extra day's going to be that big a deal.

Q. How much benefit because you faced Florida already, even though it was in a situation where you were just coming off the disabled list?

KIRK RUETER: I mean, I don't know. I mean, you know, you get to see their hitters and how they reacted to some of my pitches. But I do remember that game. I don't think Pudge played because it was a day game. Lowell was out, like I said. They said he might play tomorrow. So, you know, you kind of get a look. I faced most of those guys a lot over the past few seasons. I don't really know, going back and forth, by facing them or not facing them, how much it's going to help or hurt.

JIM FERGUSON: Thank you, Kirk.

KIRK RUETER: Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts...

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