October 16, 2001
PHOENIX, ARIZONA: Game One
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Randy Johnson.
Q. You watched Curt go out there and pitch great in Game 1 and Game 5. How important was it for you to get this team going on the right foot in this series?
RANDY JOHNSON: He pitched unbelievable. He's been real complimentary since he's been here, since he's been a teammate of mine. He says I raised the bar for him, and I told him when we were celebrating a couple nights ago that after watching him pitch the two games that he pitched, that he's raised the bar for me now in post-season. Assuming someone might say here, "Is this a monkey off your back?" This is more like a gorilla, King Kong. Nothing's easy either. Get two quick outs and get ahead of all the hitters that I faced and give up two base hits, but that's the kind of team that they are.
Q. Were you sort of sinking the ball, taking some off of it more than usual today? If so, why were you doing that today?
RANDY JOHNSON: I'm not going to talk about any of the pitches that I was throwing out there.
Q. Why is that?
RANDY JOHNSON: Because I may have to face them again (laughter).
Q. Bob said before the game you seemed very relaxed as opposed to days where you're keyed up. Was there a difference today?
RANDY JOHNSON: I was relaxed in the St. Louis game. I still don't feel -- I mean, we won today, but I still don't feel I pitched that poorly in post-season. But I know because of what I've done during the regular season, people expect that in the post-season. I mean, I go out there and do the best I can and unfortunately, it's just not quite enough ever. But I was extremely calm today. Very focused. I knew what I wanted to do. You can know what you want to do, the pitches you want to throw, but you have to execute the pitches. I'm as prepared as anybody. I watched videotape today of games that I pitched against the Braves last year, this year, but it's all about executing pitches. I felt like I executed pitches and got ahead of hitters when I needed to and got the big outs when I had to. We had great defense, too. Once again, Womack got up for that line drive. Reggie made some real nice plays out there, especially to Giles out there. Matty made some tough plays that may look easy out there. But when you're on the mound and you turn around and see it's kind of in between hops, he made some big plays, too.
Q. How much of a difference did it make having the early lead? Did that change at all the way you approached them?
RANDY JOHNSON: Well, I think not only is a double play a pitcher's best friend, but when you have a lead, whether it's a regular season game or post-season game, you tend to go out there a little more relaxed. I've told Brenly, he came up to me early in the regular season, he goes, "What do you find harder to pitch in, a game that you got a big lead where your mind may tend to wander, or a game that it's a 0-0 ball game?" And mentally, this game out here today facing Maddux, this kind of game is more mentally draining than it is physically draining. You realize that if you make one mistake, that could be the ball game. Essentially, the last inning, they had the winning run for them, or the go-ahead run, at the plate. So it's just nice to walk off the field and celebrate with my teammates and get one game up.
Q. After the ball Giles hit to the fence, as you walked off the mound, you said, "No more." What was that all about?
RANDY JOHNSON: Well, that was just a pitch that we threw to Giles, and I was just -- I was telling Damian that that wasn't probably a pitch that we should be throwing him (laughter). As funny as it sounds, but the first inning he went -- the first inning he hit a deep fly ball there, and I didn't face him this year when I faced the Braves. So we just need to stay in on him. I just pointed to Damian and that's the difference right there. You got away with the pitch there. I didn't get away with the pitch to Pujols. So we just knew what we wanted to do next time if he came up again so we didn't make the same mistake twice. That was indicated towards Damian though.
Q. This post-season thing, you act like you didn't want to dwell on it. Your teammates didn't want to dwell on it. Now that it's over, you seem to be admitting that it did weigh on you. Would you comment on that.
RANDY JOHNSON: I've always been here to answer the questions after losses, unfortunately, in post-season. It wasn't weighing on me, but I felt like, you know, I was going to continue to hear about this until I won a ball game. It's unfortunate, but I guess those are the expectations that are put on myself when I go out there. It's just -- it was a big game for us. The heck with the streak being over, or whatever you want to call it. We are up one game now and we got Miguel Batista going tomorrow, then Curt going on Friday in Atlanta.
Q. What has Craig Counsell meant to this team?
RANDY JOHNSON: Craig Counsell, there's a lot of unsung heroes on this team. A lot of them have come up through our Triple A team throughout the course of the year, but Craig Counsell has been here all year long. You can't explain or tell someone how valuable he has been. He's been our unsung hero. He's made unbelievable defensive plays. You saw what he did when we were in St. Louis. Had he not done that, we might not be here today. He is a person that if a father and son were at a game, you might want to watch Craig Counsell because that's the way -- my son's not going to be a left-handed pitcher, I'd want him to be a Craig Counsell. He plays the game hard. He plays the game right. I think that truly inspires a lot of the guys on the team. He doesn't get the headlines and all that. I'm sure he doesn't care about that. But he's just as valuable on this team as anybody.
Q. Did he show you his ring?
RANDY JOHNSON: I've never seen his ring before.
Q. When you look at what you did today, you had -- retired 20 straight. You had just a dominating game. Can you take a step back and talk about how great a game you pitched today.
RANDY JOHNSON: I really haven't had time to enjoy too much of the things that I've done the last few years. I mean, in five days I'll be out there pitching again. I'll have to go out there and pitch like this again in order to beat this team. They're a team that has been to post-season numerous times, and we're in unchartered waters right now. That's why this game meant a lot - for that very reason. Have a little momentum, our fans are here. We have the support of our fans. It's just... To answer your question, it's just I don't have time to get caught up in that kind of stuff.
Q. You have said before that Damian sometimes refocuses you. What did he say to you after you walked Gilkey on four pitches in the eighth?
RANDY JOHNSON: Times during the course of the game get a little sometimes too animated, got too much adrenaline. For the most part, most of my career I've been able to utilize it and direct it in a positive way. That wasn't the case when I was younger. Today at times it kind of got away from me a little bit, especially when I was facing Gilkey. He came out to settle me down a little bit, get refocused. That's why I was more deliberate, taking my time instead of getting back up on the mound and getting back up there firing a little bit. Just take a little time between pitches and refocus.
Q. Did you think that Matt might have gotten Chipper at first base in that play in the first inning?
RANDY JOHNSON: From what it looked like on the replay, obviously the umpires -- it's a bang-bang play. But it looked, on replay, that he was out. But once again, it's a great play that Matty made. I don't know what to say. I'm just still trying to come down right now (smiling).
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