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October 15, 2001

Randy Johnson


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Randy, please.

Q. Have you ever faced Maddux?

RANDY JOHNSON: One time in '98 when I was with Houston.

Q. How did it come out?

RANDY JOHNSON: I don't know my statistics.

Q. How about being able to kind of get back on the horse here right away? And how important, a lot of people are saying your role is so crucial in the longer series, you have two starts. Do you see your role as more crucial now, or is it the same role?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, just the exciting thing is it's a seven-game series. There's not as much urgency when a game doesn't go your way, much like there is an urgency when you're in a five-game series, not a lot of room to make errors or not execute in a seven-game series, there's a lot of leeway. Obviously in a five-game series, Curt got us off on the right foot and set the tone. I need to do the same thing tomorrow.

Q. Curt was given the starting assignment in the first game. Do you see the roles as being flip-flopped in this series?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, I mean I didn't sense the pressure was off me. He was chosen to be -- start the fifth game or the first game. I'm just going out there and will pitch and do the best I can. I mean, there's no more pressure now than there was throughout the course of the game. That's kind of my approach. I mean, during the regular season games, no matter how poorly I pitched or how good I pitched, I put the games behind me when I walked out the door. I've done that during the post-season as well.

Q. How much did you throw last night, and will that affect your preparation today for tomorrow?

RANDY JOHNSON: I don't know how many pitches I threw, but obviously adrenaline takes over so you loosen up a little bit quicker than normal. Basically consequent through my routine that I would go through if I was starting the game earlier in the game, about the fifth inning. I went down there and one thing is you have a different perspective of the way the game goes when you're down there being a reliever. A little out of my element, but nevertheless, it was a 1-1 ball game and one out away from coming in the game and one base hit from not having to come into the game. So the latter was much more preferable, and that's what happened. So basically what I did was I got my work in that I needed to get in in preparation to start Game 1.

Q. Can you talk about Maddux's style? It couldn't be any more different than yours, just how he pitches?

RANDY JOHNSON: Really doesn't matter what kind of style you got. He's been obviously very efficient and effective the way he has pitched his whole career, and it doesn't matter how you get the job done as long as you get it done. He is very much a student of the game. In his pitching style, hitting spots is probably a little bit more critical than myself, even though I can still make a mistake with a 97 mile an hour fastball, that was evident in Game 2. You have a little more leeway of making a mistake when you throw a little bit harder. But his ability and time that he's been out there pitching, he's in a situation now that I'm sure he's extremely comfortable in. He's pitched a lot of post-season games. It doesn't matter what kind of style you have. The one thing I truly appreciate that he does is a lot of his games that he pitched, he looks effortless out there. And not throwing very many pitches can keep you a little bit fresher when you go deeper in the game. That's not a luxury that a power pitcher usually has. He can throw 80 pitches in a complete game. I can throw 80 pitches in five innings. That's the difference between our styles. The end result is obviously giving up fewer runs than your opponent, and he has a style of doing that and I have a style of doing that. But there's no doubt that when you talk about greatness, his name is one of the names that comes up.

Q. From your standpoint, how would you characterize this Braves' line-up that you're about to face, versus the St. Louis line-up? Does their veteran experience in post-season make a difference?

RANDY JOHNSON: Any time you've been somewhere and you've been there more than once or twice, you become a little bit more familiar with that situation. I don't think there's any team active right now other than maybe the Yankees that have been there in post-season as often as the Braves. So they're very much familiar with every level that they have been in or are trying to achieve to be in. Their line-up is very similar, I would say in some aspects, of the St. Louis Cardinals. They've got some speed at the top of their line-up, some power in the middle, and essentially not having Furcal in their line-up, that's their speed right there, much like Vina. The thing is not to allow any big innings. There's been a few players in that line-up that have had success off me. But the one game that I did pitch here, I believe it was a 3-1 score that we lost, I gave up a couple of home runs. Other than that, you keep the ball in the ballpark, it's a pretty close ball game.

Q. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Momentum is only as good as the next day's pitcher." How do you feel in light of the way you guys won the game last night and the emotions that can carry over, as opposed to how important it is what you and Maddux do?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, I mean, obviously we have some momentum. Like I said last night after the game and a majority of the players did that were in the game, it's very fitting that the two key people of winning that game last night were Matt Williams and Tony Womack. Tony Womack had a situation this year that we all know about with his father passing away. He probably hasn't really even had time to reflect on that because it happened during the course of the season. So I know that emotionally, he's had a lot of ups and downs. Matty has put the weight of the world on his shoulders being our leader on and off the field. Sometimes you resume that much responsibility, you don't come through in your eyes. Tends to put a lot of pressure on yourself. That's when our line-up needs to pick everybody else up. It was outstanding to see him do that. Just momentum is huge. To win a close ball game like that, now we get into a seven-game series against a team that is very much familiar with post-season, but a lot of players on this team are fairly familiar with post-season. The nice thing about being here is we're opening up the series at home as well, and it's momentum for the fans as well.

Q. You gave up three runs in eight innings against St. Louis. You hear criticism you should have done better. Does that upset you? Do you feel the bar has been set so high for you in the post-season?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, not only post-season, but regular season. But it's something that I guess is a nice situation to be in, if you think about it. I mean, it's nice that people would count on you or expect something from you when you go out there opposed to, "What are we going to get from him today?" I would much rather have the expectations put on me, and have them put on me by my teammates and myself because those are the only two elements that really matter, my teammates are counting on me. To go out there, I count on going out there and pitching a good game. As far as pitching better, like I said, might have been a game good enough to win during the regular season, but we all saw some of the games this post-season. It really comes down to pitching. In a five-game series it really does. Seven-game series you might be able to see a little more offense now that there will be more games played. But my job will be to set the tone, no better place to do that than at home in front of my fans.

Q. Obviously you've got your own job to worry about. Do you also feel there's a part of you that sits back as a fan and marvels at the quality of pitching in this series?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, I was, if you want to use the word "Marvelled," I was marvelled at Game 1, then obviously last night's game, to watch both pitchers go out and perform the way they did in the situation, the pressure situations that they did, like I said, any other day Matt Morris possibly walks away with two wins after pitching that way. But post-season, you just don't know the outcome of the game until the game's over. It was very unfortunate that there had to be a loser in that series, because something as small as an error or not executing a pitch could be the outcome of the game. Very fortunate that we won the game the way we won it, considering you're going up against Kline in the ninth inning. We don't score there, possibly the momentum changes now because we had that inning going in our favor. It will be exciting. I get wrapped up in the days that I pitch, but I also enjoy watching and learning on the days that other pitchers are out there. Because it doesn't matter how hard you throw or your style, you can still learn by watching other pitchers, how they set up hitters. So it's been very enjoyable watching Schilling and Morris pitch, then watching Kile pitch, then it was a lot of fun watching Woody pitch on the day that I pitched. But may come down, once again, to a pitching duel tomorrow and throughout the series. Couldn't ask to watch a better pitching series because you got great caliber pitching on both sides.

Q. Do you have a preference on having the roof opened or closed for an afternoon game?

RANDY JOHNSON: It's not my call. Like I said, I'm not even going to worry about that. I think it's more of a front office, whether there's a chance of rain or if, you know -- I'm not really convinced that if the ball flies better with the roof open or not. But I'm going to be more worried about throwing balls and making quality pitches tomorrow than if the roof's open or not.

End of FastScripts....

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