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October 8, 2001

Luis Gonzalez


Q. (Inaudible)?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I don't think it matters who wins the first round, I think we have a lot of confidence in the last couple of weeks in the season. We felt like we were peaking at the right time and plus we have two number one guys in our rotation in a short series, we're excited about that. So I think it plays to our benefit to have those two guys in a short series.

Q. Can you talk about that, what does it mean -- how different is the confidence when you've got those two guys working back to back every five days?

LUIS GONZALEZ: Well, first we don't have to face them, and being a player that has played against these two guys, they are both great competitors. They go out there and give you everything you've got and they strive for excellence every time they're out there. And you've seen that this year from those two guys, from day one, they compete, kind of a silent competition between those guys which is nice to have that because they push each other, they don't come out and say it, but they actually do push each other and that's nice to have because you know every time they take the mound, they're giving you everything they got to try to push the guy in their turn.

Q. Having played against them, what goes on in the mind of the opposition when they have to face them back to back?

LUIS GONZALEZ: Well, being a left-handed hitter, I know with Randy, fear, if one. Just the fact that Randy is 6-10, got a good slider and he stands right on top of you, and he's a dominant strikeout pitcher, you know you have been on top of your game, and he neutralizes a lot of left-handed pitchers, we're playing a team like the Cardinals they have J.D. Drew, they have Edmonds, they have a couple of other guys, Vina over there, so it's good to have a neutralizer over there. Sure they might get a hit or two there, but it's kind of uncomfortable for a hitter. Having Curt, he has a good splitfinger and moves the ball around, aggressive guy and goes right at you, when you play defense, he goes right after guys from the get-go.

Q. Inasmuch as you haven't played the Cardinals for six months, do the results of those games mean anything?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I don't think so. I think everybody starts zero-zero, and I think there was no indication of the way they were playing. They've been playing great in the last month and a half, two months. We've been playing great last two to three weeks. I'm sure they know that, and it's going to make a great matchup, everybody is excited about that. We've got Randy going the next day, and we're excited about that. And we've got a good situation here for our ball club. We're opening up at home, and hopefully we can set the tone early here and know that if we can win those two games here we're going to St. Louis, which is a great baseball city. We know how their fans can get over there, they're strong supporters over there, so we would like to get these two games here to make our job easier when we go down there.

Q. Can you talk about Matt Morris and what he features and what you guys have to do be successful against him?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I mean, Matt has, he's probably been overshadowed by the Randy and Curt situation. This guy has had a tremendous year. Two years ago he had arm surgery and to overcome all the obstacles, you have to tip the hat to him. He's a great competitor, he relies on the high fastball to get the guys chasing, and he's also an aggressive pitcher. He goes up there with a here's what I got, you've got to try to beat me with it, and we know that. We know everybody is going to be all excited to get out there for game one, he's going to be excited, our team is going to be excited and we're looking forward to a great match up.

Q. Curt just said this is where reputations are made. How important is it to you after the season you've had to keep that up and raise your level here?

LUIS GONZALEZ: Well, you know obviously Barajas has been listed, so everything is a little more magnified up here. You want to try to limit your mistakes, obviously I want to be swinging the bat well, just as pitchers want to be throwing the ball well. I'm not going up there to try to put any more pressure on me, because the whole season I've relied on my teammates to help me out, surrounding me in the batting order or in the clubhouse, things like that. I've been a loosey-goosey type player my whole career and this year has been a good year. I'm going to have fun. There are eight teams left. So we feel like we're sitting in a pretty good spot right now.

Q. You guys seem pretty loose out there. Is it a different approach than last time, and why is that different?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I think it was just a totally different attitude we have here. Starting from the top and working our way all the way down. We feel like we've got one of the best benches in baseball. Obviously we didn't have Curt Schilling on our staff a couple of years ago. We've had a lot of surprises, Reggie Sanders, Batista, just a lot of different guys. You know it takes a full roster to win, and when you have confidence in your number 25 guy just as much as your number one and two guy, that means a lot. This is a veteran ball club. We don't have many young guys, and the young guys we do have, we make them comfortable, because we might have to give them the ball too, whether they are an ace or last guy on the roster, everyone's important.

Q. How different is the Cardinal lineup with and without big Mac in the middle of the lineup?

LUIS GONZALEZ: It's totally different. With Mac in the lineup, one swing off his bat can change the whole complexion of the ball game. Just his demeanor in the lineup or presence alone, means a lot. But they have -- we can't key in on that one guy. We know they have Pujols who had an outstanding year, J.D. Drew had an injury and came right back where he left off, they have a bunch of guys over there that we know swing the ball very well. That's why we like this match up. We have two premiere pitchers in baseball on our side, and good pitching usually neutralizes good hitting.

Q. Would you follow-up on the difference in the attitude this time around versus last time against the Mets, how has Bob Brenly made a difference?

LUIS GONZALEZ: It feels like he's one of the guys. I mean, you look around the whole season, he's the first guy out of the dugout giving you a high five, yelling, screaming and hollaring, it's just a comfortable feeling, you know he has confidence in everyone on the bench, everyone on the field. It's not a knock against Buck. It's just a different demeanor. Guys have more confidence around here. He has been in the war. He knows what it's like to go 0 for 4 and make errors, and he's not afraid to run you out there. And when you're not playing well, he sits you down, and runs someone else to give you time off. The mixture and things he's done this year has helped our ball club a lot.

End of FastScripts....

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