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September 30, 2002

Randy Johnson


Q. Your career record against St. Louis is 5-6, what makes them such a tough match-up for you?

RANDY JOHNSON: I've never really thought about it that way. I know, what was it, two years ago, I basically gave up two runs in eighth inning and got a no-hitter and a one-hitter against me. So that's all relative to me.

Q. How important was home-field advantage for you?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, we kind of let it slip away from us and I think everybody realized that. We were so worried about wrapping up the division as soon as possible, and we kind of lost sight of what we were doing, and next thing you know, we go into St. Louis, get swept there and we're tied with an even record. You know, St. Louis, we had a situation that we needed to take advantage of. St. Louis lost a close game in Milwaukee. I think it was 2-1 and we needed to take advantage of that. We had an opportunity, from that point on, to win our next two ballgames, and we did that.

Q. Following up on that, you said the night you clinched, that in a five-game series, a home-field advantage was more important than in a seven-game series, would you elaborate?

RANDY JOHNSON: Obviously, I think it's going to be more critical to get off to a good start. And in doing so, any team that is going to be at home will have a better opportunity with all of the elements that come into play. You're playing in front of your fans, your ballpark, you are familiar with the surroundings and all of those little things, believe it or not, kind of come into play for a player. I think we just left St. Louis, I think had we lost home-field advantage, I think it would have been a setback because that was something that we never really considered losing. But we never considered losing six out of -- six games in a row, either. So, we just have to play it well. We came back from that road trip and ended a losing streak, and then like I said, on that night, there was going to be someone at every game from that point on the next three days, that was going to stand out and do well. And sure enough, Chad Moeller, Barajas, Matty and Fins and people like that -- and we are playing well right now and that's what we need to be doing, going into post-season.

Q. How do these two teams compare to a year ago?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, we are not at full strength, obviously. That goes without saying. I'm not sure what the Cardinals' situation is with their health. They are obviously playing extremely well; they have in the month of September. We kind of struggled at times. But once again, we are back to playing the way we need to be playing going into the post-season. I think it will be a very good match-up, however long this may last. I think you have a very well-coached and well-managed and a great coaching staff on the Cardinals' side, and we do as well. We both have solid bullpens, good defense and a very solid lineup that St. Louis will throw out there. I think little things will come into play. Whoever commits the fewest errors. I think it will be a low-scoring ballgame, just like it was last year. I think there's no secret what we have to offer with this team, and we've played St. Louis three days ago -- four or five days ago. We know what they are about. But I think the little things; moving runners over, I think who commits the fewest errors, and who takes advantage of those things will probably be the outcome of the ballgame.

Q. The club seemed to have a lot of determination last week, do you think it's more because of what happened to Luis?

RANDY JOHNSON: It's not just Luis. We lost our MVP from the NLCS from last year, Counsell, and earlier in the year,

we had a setback. I believe it was in April, with Danny Bautista, obviously, those players are not replaceable. That goes without saying. One is our sparkplug that gets everything going and the other is our major home run and RBI producer. But, with that being said, they were part of what got us here, and unfortunately they won't be here so, now someone else will have to step up and do what they did last year in the post-season, and that was to be a hero. Both of them, at times, stepped up and Counsell is the MVP of the NLCS and Gonzo with what he did in the World Series. But now, someone else will have to do that. But they will be here and they will be supporting us and we get a little bit of strength from them by their support.

Q. How beneficial is your experience last year heading into this year's playoffs?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, I think it's very simple, because some of the players because that have been here for one full year, like Junior Spivey, came up last year and made an impact, and then he has been here all year long. People of that caliber know what to experience now, and we do, as well. The veteran players, a lot of us, a few of us have been to a lot of post-season games before, and as we get further along and hopefully, that will be the situation, nothing will phase us. We will -- we've been to the top of the mountain and we know what to expect. You take it one step at a time and we have a tough opponent in St. Louis, and we know they are playing with a lot of heart and passion, and we'll have our hands full. They have got a great pitching staff, and probably one of the more potent, if you will, offensive lineups.

Q. Have you seen the Cardinals recently?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, you can only kind of guess what their approach is when you're out there pitching and, obviously, I didn't pitch against them so I don't know how they are going to react against my pitches. I have not pitched against them since April, so I think I've come a little further along since April with my pitches and my mechanics and various things like that. Obviously, I know their strengths. I know from past experience what I do and what I don't want to do. And the bottom line: You can be prepared all you want, but you have to go out and execute the pitches. That's my main concentration, my main focus every time I'm out there, getting a reaction from a certain pitch, from a hitter. That will indicate what you need to continue to do to get him out. But the bottom line is, you have to execute the pitches to get those reactions and get the results you want to get?

Q. Rolen is the only guy on their lineup that you have not faced as a Cardinal.

RANDY JOHNSON: I faced the Phillies a couple times this year and faced him a few times, obviously. When you put him in the mix along with a very strong lineup, it just makes that good lineup that much more deeper. And what you are going to see here in the post-season, from teams that are in the post-season, you are going to see quality pitching, you are going to see a quality lineup and that's why the teams are in the post-season because they have got pitching and they have got offense. The St. Louis Cardinals' lineup, you are going to see probably the best offensive lineup in all of the post-season, in my estimation. I, obviously, haven't faced the American League teams. I guess the next closest team would probably be Oakland, from what they accomplished this year. But when you put Rolen in the mix, it just makes that lineup that much stronger with Pujols and Tino and Drew. The list goes on and that's how you look at it as a pitcher. You don't have two or three hitters that you need to be careful; you have four or five that really command your attention when you're out there pitching.

Q. Since you lost a couple of players this year, do you have to guard against that and be a little more cautious?

RANDY JOHNSON: I don't think you'll sense that from our team or the people that -- the pitchers that you'll see throw for us. My game plan is to go out and whether I've got the 26 hits for me, I don't want to give up runs. I try not to give up big innings and make that many mistakes and try to make it that much more easier for my offense. If we should have a game where runs are plentiful and in abundance, then you take advantage of that. But whether I'm winning seven to nothing or whether it's a 0-0 ballgame, my mindset doesn't change. Like I said, the little things are going to be what loses or wins a ballgame for us. We are going to need some quality pitching. We saw what happened with Matt Morris last year, and Chuck Finley is a top-notch pitcher; and we haven't faced too many top-notch pitchers, left-handed, this year. We'll have our hands full, but we'll take it one game at a time and start tomorrow and get the little things done. It will be my responsibility to keep their offense in check and give us every opportunity to score runs.

Q. The splitter, what kind of effect does that pitch have?

RANDY JOHNSON: I don't know if I'm going to use it anymore. Just another dimension of my pitching out there, something that they can't really, you know, anticipate a fastball or slider, and have the ability to throw all three of my pitches in a full count situation. Obviously, they are going to be geared up for a fastball, but not to say I'm not going to throw a fastball. And it's to my benefit, it's just one more pitch that they need to know that I'm throwing. I'm not throwing it any more now than I was two months ago.

End of FastScripts�.

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