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October 2, 2002

Curt Schilling


KATY FEENEY: We'll take questions for Curt Schilling.

Q. You have a reputation as a big-game pitcher. Do they get much bigger than this one in terms of winning?

CURT SCHILLING: No (laughter). No, they don't. I mean, we're as desperate to leave here 1-1 as they are to leave here 2-0. No question about that. We left here last year 1-1. I think it would be a huge load off us if we could do the same thing this year.

Q. You struggled down the stretch. What's your mindset going into the game? How are you feeling?

CURT SCHILLING: To do better. Everybody was ready, set to make excuses for me in September. My elbow was bothering me. I was not feeling well. I was tired. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I feel great physically. Mentally, yeah, I'm a little bruised. I stunk it up the last five or six starts. No one wants to have their psyche beat like that. But it's the new season. It's a five-game season. Now it's a four-game season. We have to win three out of four. There is no options here. There are no options. You have to go out and you have to pitch a tremendous ballgame to get a win in the post-season. Tomorrow's going to be no exception, especially against that lineup.

Q. What do you make of the notion that your tipping pitches?

CURT SCHILLING: I will pay it the consideration I think it deserves. Look at video, you know, I don't think that's why I've been getting hit. I've been getting hit because I haven't executed, I haven't made good pitches. Certainly something if I feel needs to be addressed, I'll address it.

Q. This is a stage you obviously relish. With that coming into this, is this something you relish?

CURT SCHILLING: If I win, absolutely. You know, for me, the bar is set by how you do in games that truly matter for the entire season. I mean, they all matter. But at this point in the year, they matter, you know, times 10. Being down one-nothing to a team that's this good, you know, going out of here down 2-0 would not be something conducive to us getting into the next round. They beat us pretty good yesterday. If we can come back tomorrow and get one, I think we can mentally feel like we've leveled the playing field.

Q. Last year you gave up a lot of home runs, but they were all solo home runs. The last three have been three-run home runs. Do you have any idea why?

CURT SCHILLING: No, other than, again, not executing. The ball the guy hit in St. Louis was a middle play, fast ball, bad spot. JD was the same thing. The ball that Butler hit the other day was one of those home runs you only see in the big leagues. It was a fast ball, up and in, that somehow he managed not only to hit but to keep fair and hit far enough for a homer. It was an oddity more than anything. You give up three-run home runs, usually you can point to something that happens before the home run, whether it be a walk or a bad pitch, to get runners on. You know, the two in St. Louis were both with two outs. Two guys on, two outs, I had a chance to make some pitches before that, and basically it comes down to execution, and I didn't do that. That doesn't carry over well here. You have to execute every pitch in the post-season.

Q. How would you rate the Cardinals' lineup compared to some of the other top teams in the league?

CURT SCHILLING: Probably as good an offense as I'll ever face, top to bottom. It's always been kind of a marker for Tony's teams, no one hits out of place in his lineups. His number two hitter is a guy that gets runners over, can hit-and-run. JD will probably be in the two hole. He can run. He can hit, well above average, power. All the way down to the bottom of the lineup, they got guys that can pop the ball out of the ballpark. You know, he has guys that get on base. They strike out less than anybody else. All eight pieces in his lineup tend to fit together. That makes it tough. I mean, there's not an easy out in this lineup. In the post-season, it makes it even more difficult.

Q. Is it advantageous having just faced the Cardinals recently?

CURT SCHILLING: I feel like it is. You know, I'm sure they probably feel like it's an advantage for them. But I feel like going over the last game, our history, I picked up some things that I want to address. Outside of two pitches the other day, you know, I thew well. Those two pitches ended up being the ballgame. Those two pitches can be a one-pitch thing in the post-season again. You make one or two bad pitches, you can get blown out. You make one bad pitch, you can get beat.

Q. Your strike-out-to-walk ratio is great most of the year. Is the mental fatigue part of what you attribute to the last few starts?

CURT SCHILLING: No. I just go out there with a plan. I would say probably of the 32 walks that I had this year, you know, 25 to 30 of them were guys that did something I didn't think they were going to do, take a pitch in a certain count or not be aggressive in a count I thought they were going to be aggressive in. You know, command-wise, I feel like I haven't lost anything. The best plan in the world can't survive poor execution. That's pretty much how I would sum up my September.

Q. If you're a layman reading the paper, you see the Diamondbacks lose 12-2 with Randy Johnson pitching, you expect the team come to the park looking like death. You were the exact opposite. Would you explain the mindset?

CURT SCHILLING: You're good (laughter). Could you repeat that (laughter)? Character. I mean, I don't know another word other than "character." I say this with the greatest amount of respect because Darryl was a very good friend of mine. The Cardinals have undergone some horrific obstacles this year, losing Mr. Buck, then losing Darryl. They had some injuries. They bounced back. They found a way, which says a lot about the character of their organization, their manager, their players. On the field of play, as far as pure baseball speak, we've undergone as much, if not more, adversity than any team in baseball. Injury-wise, we've had a tremendous amount of key players hurt, out or gone. But we have found a way. People wanted to compare or talk about the adversity of losing Gonzo. In real-life terms, Gonzo is going to be back opening day of spring training and Darryl isn't. You look across the field and you understand - take a page from their book in a sense on how they've handled this, how they've conducted themselves. I think it's something we've done an extraordinary job of the last two years. We've had our backs against the wall multiple times. I think we played three elimination games last year. We were 3-0. Pretty much the same cast of characters with some new guys in the mix. Some of our stars are gone. There's nothing we can do about that. We've got to go out tomorrow and play a flawless game. We know that. I don't think that makes us feel any less sure of ourselves. We've done it before. I don't believe it's more pressure. This time of the year, the pressure is what it is. It's the post-season, you've got to produce. Mediocre performances are not optional at this time of the year.

Q. In a regular season, you're going to have five or six games like last night's. Last night, do you treat it like a regular season game? Is that part of the mindset?

CURT SCHILLING: You can't treat it -- it's not the regular season. What the media makes out of us losing with RJ on the mound is probably a lot more important to you guys than it is to us. You know, obviously we felt we had a real good chance of winning last night. You know, we didn't play well. We stunk it up last night. There's no question about that. It is what it is. We're down one-nothing. Again, we left here 1-1 last year. We have the ability to come out tomorrow and basically get on a plane to St. Louis, same situation we were in last year. But the only difference between this year and last year is we've already done it. You know, I certainly believe we can do it again. But you have to go out and you have to execute.

End of FastScripts�.

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