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October 13, 2001

Curt Schilling


Q. You have a reputation as a big-game pitcher. You had to pay your dues early in your career. Do those two things tie together somehow?

CURT SCHILLING: I don't know if they tie together. As far as being a big-game pitcher, I've happened to pitch in some big games where we've played for the most part incredible defense and we've gotten some clutch hits and in big games and in postseason games, two-out hits and defense are the order of the day. The game I pitched the other night, we had some great defensive plays and Fins came up a huge two. I think what you guys term "big-game pitchers," if you happen to fall in a day when your team does all the little things right, and in postseason, those things magnify themselves.

Q. If it is you and Matt in Arizona tomorrow, Matt said he didn't know if you could pitch a better game than you did in Game 1. How do you look at that?

CURT SCHILLING: I don't need to pitch a better game. We need to win. I need to, at the end of the day, give up one run less than Matt does. Whether it's a better game than the other day or not, the game will dictate. But right now it's -- if your team goes out and scores one, you have to give up none or one. And they don't score any, you have to hold the other team scoreless until someone can get a run late in the game. Postseason, you don't go out thinking about run support in a sense, you think about making sure the game is close and when your team has a chance to do the fundamental things and push a run across it, that run matters and makes a difference in the end.

Q. In the postseason, how nervous do you get, not necessarily when you're pitching but in the off-days waiting around in between?

CURT SCHILLING: It's nerve racking for anybody, especially when you're not playing. You have no control, no input. The guys on the team will tell you I'm a cheerleader. And that's not always said complimentary, I think. It's tough because you have no say so in the outcome of the game, so you're sitting there rooting and pulling for your team, and obviously with personal interests at stake -- last night was probably the hardest game I've ever had to watch in the postseason, just because pitching today was up in the air depending on how the game finished last night. Miguel comes up huge once again for us as he has almost all year. And Counsell comes up huge, again, and it ends up being fun at the end, watching Matty turn that double play to end the game.

Q. Do you have a preference whether you pitch tomorrow here or --

CURT SCHILLING: Tuesday or Wednesday against Atlanta would be my preference. I don't care. It doesn't matter.

Q. Would you talk about your splitter and being able to able to throw it for strikes or whether hitters have to chase it out of the strike zone?

CURT SCHILLING: The key is knowing which hitters are apt to take it than guys who are going to swing, and that's part of the preparation, I think, that I do to get ready for a game. I have an idea of the guys early in the game who are going to take it, and you know there is somebody up there who is going to take it, I try to make an effort to throw a first strike. A lot of times I throw for a strike it's completely accidental, but there are times you want to throw for a strike, because you know a guy is not going to swing. And I think when you throw it for a strike -- the earlier in the game you can throw it for a strike, the more swings you're going to get at the one you throw for balls. It's a philosophy I was taught a long time ago, throwing break balls early in the game for strikes to set up the aggressive swings at the balls later in the game. Steve Carlton did it with his slider, R.J. does it with his slider, and Clemens does it with his split at times. You don't get good hitters out in the middle of the strike zone. You get them up out up above the strike zone, below the strike zone, and in and out.

Q. Some of the Cardinal hitters are struggling a little bit right now. Does that make it more difficult in that you don't have the track record of the way they normally would be swinging?

CURT SCHILLING: No, I think it's the big difference between what you guys do and what we do. You write they're struggling, people assume that's true. I know they're not struggling on either side. Both teams have pitched a phenomenal series. The guys in the other dugout have had -- Dave Duncan has his pitchers prepared and has a tremendous plan. Everybody that I know that has pitched for Duncan has said that he gets them prepared. So you knew coming into this series, they were prepared to pitch to us. But once a guy goes 0 -5, 0-6 in a five-game series, it's now in the papers that somebody is in a slump. I would like to think we know better than that. We've pitched them very tough and they've run some great arms and they've pitched us tough. And I don't think anybody's swung the bat poorly, I think there has been exceptional pitching in the series.

Q. Is there a reason for the great pitching? Just guys stepping up?

CURT SCHILLING: I think the guys out there are good pitchers. It was funny to watch Miguel go out there with very little fanfare last night. A guy there's no possible way we would be here without, and he goes out against one of the better lineups and shuts them out for almost seven innings and in the postgame press conference, they asked him two questions and they were done with him. He did a hell of a job last night. He pitched six of the most important innings of our season and made one mistake. And we won that game because he gave us a chance to win, and -- I guess it's not a glitzy story so it wasn't a big deal. I'm looking at it as the best pitching performance we've had all year so far.

Q. How much do you talk to other pitchers during the game or do they seek you out?

CURT SCHILLING: Well, I think if you ask them, they would say too much. I don't seek guys out that are pitching. If someone asked me a question when they're pitching I would certainly try to answer it. I watch guys throw just because -- I've been with these guys all year long and pay attention to what they're doing when they're on the mound. You start to get a feel for how the day is going to go because you know what a guy looks like when he's right what he looks like when he's not right. That's what we have a pitching coach for.

Q. How confident is your team right now the way the series has gone?

CURT SCHILLING: No different than we've been all year. We're up to 2-1. We have to win the third game. I have a tremendous amount of confidence that Albie can go out there and do what he did against Milwaukee. And I'm sure our hitters are thinking they've got an idea what they're going to do and they have a good game plan. One thing we've never done all year is assume anything. Our confidence is tempered with, I think, experience.

End of FastScripts....

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