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October 8, 2002

Matt Morris


Q. What kind of challenges are presented by the Giants' lineup?

MATT MORRIS: Any time the playoffs come around, everybody is going to be locked in and focused on every at-bat. They have a lineup, I think, similar to ours, where they try and grind every at-bat out and really make the pitcher work from the top to the bottom. Beside that, the middle lineup is pretty stacked in there with Aurilia, Kent, Bonds, whoever else. It's going to be a great challenge, but I look forward to it. I faced them a couple of times during the year and had some success, so I have some confidence going into it.

Q. You talked about the challenges in the middle of the lineup, there are obviously some major challenges with Mr. Bonds; what are they?

MATT MORRIS: Well, obviously, you don't want to throw him anything too close to the plate where he can do some damage. It seemed like every pitch he's getting that's around the plate he's putting it into the seats. You know, in a playoff situation, you don't want to let him beat you. Maybe during the year you feel bad about walking him so many times, but I tell you what: Tomorrow if he gets up with runners on and I have an opportunity to pitch around him, that's what I'm going to do, because he's earned that respect, obviously.

Q. You looked really relaxed out there today. Would you talk about your frame of mind, your mindset?

MATT MORRIS: Well, pitching at home is going to be fun. I'm real familiar with the ballpark, obviously. That helps, to go out there and know the time between and the bullpen and just get ready like you normally do. So that should help. But as far as I go, if I have too much adrenaline and nervousness flowing, it tends to be a disadvantage for me. So I'm going to go out there as calm as I can. I know once the bell rings, I'll be a little hyped up, so I'm hoping I can control myself.

Q. Smoltz said when you have good stuff, and you have an ego, you want to go after the better hitters. With no one on base, would you go after Barry Bonds?

MATT MORRIS: I would like to go after him every time, every at-bat if the situation called for it. But obviously I'm not going to do something to jeopardize the win or the loss. If it's a tight ballgame and he's up with no one on, he has that capability of putting the ball out of the park, if it's around the white of the plate. I'm going to be careful, but I would love to get him out every time up also. So being a competitor, you don't want to get booed in your home park by walking him all the time. But being a winner, you want to do the right thing to win the ballgame, also, and not let your ego get in the way of what you're trying to accomplish.

Q. Barry Bonds did not play four of the six games you played against them this year. Does that make it difficult to judge what the matchups might be like?

MATT MORRIS: We've seen enough highlights on SportsCenter as to what he hits and what he doesn't hit. So, I don't think -- we know what we're going to try to do with him. Obviously, he's probably the best hitter in the game, and of all time, is the way it's breaking down. You know, it's fun competing against a guy at the top of his game in a situation like this. When the situation presents itself, I'm to go after him. I'm going to try to get him out just like everybody else has.

Q. You've said you've seen what he hits and what he doesn't hit. What doesn't he hit?

MATT MORRIS: Well, he doesn't hit balls. So, that's why he's walked that many times. He doesn't chase. He's a disciplined hitter. Man, he's like a good wine; he seems to get better and better. It's phenomenal what he's doing now, but like I said, I look for the chance to challenge him in a situation.

Q. Do you think he's more of a challenge now that he's got the post-season monkey off his back?

MATT MORRIS: Well, I think he's been a challenge for the last couple of years. Obviously, performing well in the post-season gives him more confidence, which, you know, we don't need him to have any more confidence than he has already. Like I said, if the situation presents itself, I'll challenge him. But we're trying to win the ballgame and he's the guy that we can move the ball around and pitch behind and pitch to whoever is hitting behind him.

Q. Not having pitched since last Tuesday, are the juices going to be flowing even a little bit more for you?

MATT MORRIS: Well, I don't know how they will be flowing any more than they normally are, but, yeah, I'm sure they will, just being fresh and feeling like I can throw the ball through the wall. Hopefully my focus is there from the first pitch on. Usually in a situation like that, it will take me an inning or two to hopefully get some quick outs before I start locking it in and getting the ball down.

Q. Anything in particular that impressed you about your matchup with Kirk Rueter?

MATT MORRIS: That impresses me? Well, I know Kirk, he goes out there, especially here -- I believe he's from Illinois, and every time he comes to Busch Stadium, he comes in with a great game and usually dominates. I think our offense has put a good game plan together, like they have all post-season, so I'm looking forward to them putting up some runs, but I know he's going to be tough and it's going to be a situation like a Randy Johnson and a Curt Schilling where you have to go out there and limit the runs. I don't think there's going to be many scored tomorrow.

Q. How important would it be to get Woody back for you guys?

MATT MORRIS: Any time you are missing a key starting pitcher in your rotation it would be important to get him back any time, but obviously, post-season it's going to be all that much better.

Q. Glavine sat at the podium before Game 1 of the Division Series and said almost the same things you have about Bonds. What are your impressions about the way the Braves handled him?

MATT MORRIS: Well, I don't know how you evaluate how the Braves handled him. Like you said, he hit three home runs and started putting the ball in play a lot and walked when he had to walk. He's not a guy that's going to clog up the basepaths, either. Sometimes when you're pitching and you're trying to pitch around a guy, that's when you tend to make mistakes too. You try and be too fine; just get the ball away from him, make a mistake, leave it up and that's when they do damage. So I'm going to go after him whether I'm trying to pitch the ball off the plate or move him back or however it's going to be. But I'm going to be aggressive with it. So if there is a chance with a mistake, I can maybe get away with it.

Q. The Cardinals have the extra game at home. How big a factor do you think home-field advantage is playing in front of this crowd?

MATT MORRIS: I think it's tremendous. Starting off the series here, we were all up last night, just like everybody else, watching the game and wondering where we're going to be, and to know we're going to start here and then come back and finishing here is going to be a huge advantage for us. We're only going to make the one trip out to San Francisco. We're all looking forward and we're excited to the challenge.

Q. Even the umpires who give Glavine and Maddux a lot of calls did not give them anything with Bonds; he's getting the benefit of every doubt, how much more difficult does that make it to pitch to him?

MATT MORRIS: Well, it allows him to shrink his strike zone down, and he's already up there knowing what he's looking for and what he wants to hit. I saw Millwood threw a good pitch down and away that was called a strike last night before he hit a home run. It seems like everything he's hit is up in the zone and those are mistakes you can't make to anybody in the playoffs, never mind Barry Bonds. I'm just going to try to move the ball around to all sides of the plate, change his eye levels, change his views, change the speeds on him, see what kind of adjustments he's making and then go from there.

End of FastScripts...

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