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October 19, 2002

Russ Ortiz


THE MODERATOR: Question for Russ Ortiz.

Q. What have the ticket requests been looking like? You have so much family down here. Has what been overwhelming?

RUSS ORTIZ: Actually, I tried to nip it in the bud. I asked before, everybody else called me, I asked them, "Hey, who wants to come to the game, and I'll get tickets." So we got that taken care of in a nice and timely fashion. So it was pretty easy, actually. But I just made -- I just got it out of the way before I got bombarded with calls.

Q. About how many?

RUSS ORTIZ: I bought 15 extra tickets.

Q. Preparing for this team, how is it different than preparing for the last two teams you had to face in the postseason?

RUSS ORTIZ: The biggest difference is just because we haven't seen them really at all this year. Obviously, the last time we saw them was in spring training. But the only difference is just, for me, when I look at video and hear the reports and everything, it's just try to take in as much information as possible and just go about it like I would at the beginning of the season, just kind of looking at every single little detail. As opposed to these last couple series, to where I saw the guys, and so I learned quite a few things from watching our other pitchers throw, or facing them myself. But this time it's just trying to get a little -- every little detail that I can. Tonight, I'll just watch the game more intently and see if I can pick up something else.

Q. You talked about your approach to Anderson, who would be a counterpart, certainly not Barry Bonds, but a dangerous hitter.

RUSS ORTIZ: Yeah, he's one of those guys that can hit for power to all fields. So, he's definitely one of those guys in the part of the line-up that has been a solid producer. As far as I can see, looking at his numbers, he did pretty well in the postseason. He's been one of their hotter hitters, I think, down the stretch. Just from watching him play throughout the years, you really realize he's not only a power threat, but he's someone that is just a threat, in general, to drive in some runs. So you have to be aware of that and try to keep guys off base in front of not only him, but other guys, but he's one of those guys that you key on.

Q. Have you thought about what it would be like facing Fullmer, given the personal history there?

RUSS ORTIZ: I faced him a couple times in the winter league. I'm trying to remember if I ever faced him when he was with Montreal. I faced him once this year in spring training, and so that was a little unusual, a little weird in feeling at first. It was just kind of facing him, I almost kind of wanted to nod and say, "Hello," first and then get to business. But I think, like he said, you don't generally like to do it, but you realize it's business so you have to go after it in that fashion. But for the most part, I think that's one of the things that's so great about this game, is that you get to see guys that you either grew up with or played when you first broke into professional ball. And everybody kind of sees each other at some point in time. This is the best time to be able to see someone like Brad, who I've known since eighth grade.

Q. Pitching against a team like the Angels where you don't know the hitters, do you rely on the scouting report in terms of trying to attack their weaknesses, or do you just kind of go to your strengths during the game and attack the hitters?

RUSS ORTIZ: Pretty much just stay with my strengths anyways, but I rely not only on what the scouting reports say, but on video. I watch a lot of video, trying to pick up things there, and talking to other guys, other pitchers, other position players that maybe would pick up some other things, coaches also. But, for me, it's just being able to just stay with my strengths and going about it that way. Whatever I pick up through video or reports, I can make adjustments when I need to.

Q. I know you've pitched in American League ballparks in interleague before. When you're not hitting, how does that change things for you? Are you disappointed to not be able to hit tomorrow?

RUSS ORTIZ: The biggest change is just not having to worry about when my spot in the line-up is coming up. Any time I've pitched in an American League ballpark, I had to really tell myself that, "Hey, I don't have to get ready to grab the bat and helmet," and I get to kind of relax. So, it's mostly, what I do in the dugout anyway is just try to think about the next hitter. Basically, that's pretty much what I'll be doing, is just thinking about the next hitter and just getting in my head from the very start that I'm not going to hit. I'd love to hit, but it's just not the case (smiling).

Q. In the first two rounds, the Angels' five through nine hitters have done an awful lot of damage. Before you said Garret Anderson is one of the guys you key on. I'm wondering if you've gone over those hitters, what you think of those guys.

RUSS ORTIZ: I've seen the video and I've watched a couple games whenever I could. I think to enable the bottom part of the line-up to do well, guys either in front of them have to get on base or -- but I think the biggest thing about this team is you can't let up when you get to the bottom of the line-up. As soon as you roll over the line-up, that's when you get into their power guys and they can do so much more with that. So, you just have to try to keep guys off of base. When Garret comes up to bat, then the guys behind him, same thing, you have to keep them off base so they don't try to start anything that could potentially roll over the line-up. Then you're getting into more of a dangerous area in their line-up.

Q. Who's the guy in the dugout that gets things going when things get tough in there? Is there one guy who starts sparking everybody, or is it just Dusty?

RUSS ORTIZ: A lot of it is Dusty. But I think for the most part, Benito has always been one of those guys that has always been a voice in the clubhouse and in the dugout that's telling guys, "Hey, let's get going. Let's try to manufacture some runs, somehow." I mean, there's guys, players, coaches, yelling all the time after an inning when we come back in, saying, "Let's get to work," and, "Let's score a couple here." But I think the one that stands out is probably Benito.

Q. Speaking about Benito, how important is he to you on the mound in terms of being able to turn the game over to him?

RUSS ORTIZ: I think for me, once he figured out what type of pitcher I am, and what I like to do, and once I figured out where he's going and learning from his experience, once we figured each other out, it was easy to kind of click. I can almost, in a sense, put it on auto pilot and let him mostly call the pitches, because he knows my strengths and my weaknesses. So, it's been very important for that to happen, and it's been a real key as far as keeping my focused in the game. So, all that stuff said, it's very important to have someone like that, that knows the game, that knows the hitters, and that especially knows you as a pitcher, your strengths, your weaknesses, how to push your buttons, how to calm you down, how to get you to be a little more aggressive, stuff like that. He's learned how to do that with me, and I think that's why he sticks around so long, is that he knows how to do those things and he can pick those up.

End of FastScripts...

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