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October 4, 2002

Dusty Baker


Q. Maddux has a rather mediocre post-season record. Is it easier to face a guy like that when you have a plan and know where you're going, rather than in the middle of a nine-game road trip in July?

DUSTY BAKER: It's never easy facing a guy like Maddux because he knows what he's doing. As far as his record is concerned in the post-season, I don't know, that really doesn't come into play too much, actually. We know Maddux and he knows us, so it's not like he's a young rookie that's been around for a couple of years. We have an idea of what he's going to do. He's definitely had an idea of what he's going to do to us. It doesn't make it any easier. It's always a challenge when you face a staff like the Braves, future Hall of Famer like Greg Maddux. Probably hit a home run.

Q. Do you like the position that you're in, coming home 1 -1?

DUSTY BAKER: Definitely. You like coming home with a split from there. You think about what you want to do on the road, you want to play .500 on the road. We did; we had a good road record during the season. We played excellent here at our park. We definitely like our position coming home here, 1-1. Tomorrow is a real big game, especially when it's best three-out-of-five; tomorrow is number two for somebody. So it might as well be us.

Q. Jason Schmidt has emerged as a pitcher who has pitched very well after Giants losses; what makes him become that kind of a pitcher?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, number one, I think he's healthy. He's throwing the ball great. Actually, I think it's also helped him and us, the fact that he missed the first month of the season, because he's still strong. This feels like the 1st of September to him rather than the 1s of October. He's throwing the ball great. His velocity is outstanding. His control has been good. He's been one of the League's best strikeout pitchers.

Q. As a manager, what kind of things do you do differently in a short series, as opposed to 162-game series?

DUSTY BAKER: A 162-game series, everybody has been told there's 60 games you are going to win, 60 games you are going to lose and 42 games in between. Depends what you do with those 42 games; depends on whether you are going to be in the post-season or not. The thing that's different, you don't have every one of those games as one of the 60s that you are either going to win or going to lose. In a short series, you manage as if that's the last game, and every game is so pivotal, and what you do, you tend a lot of times not to stick with your starter quite as long. You just try to play the best baseball you can play in a short period of time.

Q. What is it about Pac Bell Park that allows your team to play as well as they have here?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, number one, it's home and no matter where you're from, home is still home. When you are home, you know the wind, the sun, the areas where the ball carries the best. In our ballpark, that plays a big part most of the time. You see our record at home, especially the home runs that we've hit versus the home runs that we've allowed in this park, and our staff has allowed the least amount of home runs at home. So therefore, if you can keep the opposition in the ballpark, and we can hit the ball out of the ballpark more than they do, I think that contributes greatly to our home record.

Q. Sound like a disadvantage that Jason Schmidt is making his post-season debut and Maddux has experience?

DUSTY BAKER: We really don't know until we see how Jason is, especially early in the ballgame. I mean it was no advantage or disadvantage to Russ Ortiz to pitch his first game the other day versus Tom Glavine, who has a lot of experience. I mean, once that first pitch is thrown, the butterflies are gone and it's the same game as if it's a post-season game or regular season.

Q. How are you going to deal with the uncertainty of the starting time for Sunday's game?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, really don't have any choice. You deal with it. You have no choice. I mean, you would rather have a predetermined starting time, but if you see the last couple of playoffs, everything has been -- just see how the Yankees are doing when they are playing, so you really don't have a choice. If they say play at 10 o'clock in the morning, you've got to deal with it at 10 o'clock in the morning.

Q. What is your approach against Maddux and do you change anything at this time of the year?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I really can't tell you our approach against him because then he might hear it. I think a lot of times I think we give away too many secrets too early. I'm sure whatever approach we take, he's one of the masters at figuring out what you're trying to do to him, and then he makes the adjustment and it's up to us to make the counter-adjustment. So in a short series like this, the team and the players that make the adjustment the quickest are generally the teams that win. The quicker you can figure out Greg Maddux's game plan, the better chance you have. The quicker you can figure out anybody's game plan in a short series, you urge your players to try to figure out their evaluation, the opposition's evaluation of them and how they are going to attack their strengths and weaknesses, how they are going attack it versus if there's nobody on base versus if there's somebody on base.

Q. Can you draw anything from the fact that the two finesse guys got roughed up pretty good and the two power guys didn't?

DUSTY BAKER: Not really. Usually it's the opposite way around. Usually the finesse guys are the guys that give guys trouble in series like this because most of the time the hitters are more amped and psyched up than the pitchers. At least the pitcher doesn't show it. You see guys that tend to throw -- (Laughter.).

Q. Have you decided if Livan Hernandez is going to pitch on Sunday, whether you win or lose?

DUSTY BAKER: Yes, Livan is pitching.

End of FastScripts�.

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