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October 6, 1999

Andy Pettitte

NEW YORK CITY: Workout Day

Q. Do you feel that because the Yankees won Game 1 that it takes a lot of pressure off you in Game 2?

ANDY PETTITTE: I think so. I mean, you know, obviously if you're down one, it's a lot more important game. But it's still important. You know, if we can get the second game here and go there to Texas up two, we feel real confident.

Q. How meaningful was it to have Joe Torre's support during the rough periods for you this year?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I mean, you know, I've talked about it all along. You know, the support that he had given me whenever trade deadline and stuff was coming up, it was able to help me relax. I was pretty relaxed anyway, I really wasn't carrying a lot on my shoulders or whatever, worrying about being traded. I was just trying to figure out how I could get some people out. Like I said, I feel like me and Mel worked hard and continued to work hard no matter what was going on, and, you know, through all that time, and I was able to iron some stuff out and I was able to locate my two fastballs. That really helped me.

Q. Did you watch the end of the Mets game by chance? Have you thought about the prospect of a subway series?

ANDY PETTITTE: I watched it last night when I got home, you know, you're still awake. I saw Alfonzo hit the home run. I was so tired, I couldn't hold my eyes open. As soon as he hit the home run I turned the TV off. I haven't thought about that. I think they have a great team, I think they have a great shot at getting to the World Series. We have two teams to worry about before we get to the World Series. That's a little down the road right now.

Q. At the trading deadline, at the end of it George said this second half was a defining moment for you and that you had a lot to prove. How do you prove that?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I mean, you know, you're talking about Mr. Steinbrenner, that's up to him to decide whether, you know, I have proven anything or not. I felt like that I turned it around the second half, and as bad as I struggled and as much as I was going through in the first half, you know, I was very happy with the way I pitched in the second half. I wish I could have had a little bit solid start as the last two starts of the season, but I will feel good right now. I feel healthy. You know, I'm just looking to try to give us a good start tomorrow.

Q. Talk a little bit about your confidence right now and the depth of the Yankees starting staff.

ANDY PETTITTE: I feel good. Like I said, you know, I feel real confident. I've had success against, you know, the Rangers here at the stadium, and as far as our starting staff, you know, it makes you feel good to know that if something happens and you do struggle you're going to have Roger Clemens behind you and David Cone. So, it's an ideal situation for -- to be in this rotation.

Q. Over the years, because you won the big game in the '96 series and Game 4 last year, you've gotten a reputation as a guy who wins big games. What does that mean to you confidence-wise, what does that mean to your teammates, do you think, and does it give you more confidence going into the game tomorrow?

ANDY PETTITTE: I think it helps, you know. I mean I still consider myself fairly young. I pitched in a lot of post-season games already, and I've been able to pitch in some big games and have success. You know, the first game of the '96 World Series I didn't have a lot of success in that game and that was probably a big game. I think it's just a matter of getting out there and relaxing and sometimes you feel like you throw the ball decent and things just don't work out for you. So everything -- I just keep everything in perspective as far as that goes, and I feel like if it's a big situation, I really feel like I'm going to have a good start.

Q. Al Leiter said after the Mets playoff game that he knew the Reds were tired and they swung at some bad pitches and helped him out. With the Rangers having scored one run in 42 innings in you guys against the playoffs, how do you use that to your advantage?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I think obviously the beginning of the game you have to set a tone and show them that you're going to throw strikes and be aggressive. We'll get a lead again, get them to start pressing a little bit. That's when teams start swinging at bad pitches. The game will dictate that. I think the key for me is just to go out and try to get my command of everything and get strike one and throwing strikes. Then you can start expanding the zone obviously.

Q. Based on the pressure that you went through midway through the season, struggling to find yourself, does this pressure not even compare to the kind of self-doubt you had there?

ANDY PETTITTE: You know, during the season whenever I was going through that time, you start getting hit around a little bit. You know you're struggling with mechanical stuff and stuff like that, then your confidence goes a little bit because you're giving up hits and not doing real good. But, you know, it's a different situation, you know, totally. This is a post-season now and every game means so much. You know, it's almost like it's more of a team aspect now, you know, where you need to do good and then it was almost like I was fighting for my life it seemed like, individually.

Q. Was there ever a point during the struggles that you worried that the Yankees may play in October and you may not?

ANDY PETTITTE: Not really because it was such a -- you know, two and a half months ago, three months ago, there's so much time left in the season at that time, I really wasn't even thinking about October. I was thinking about how I could try to help the team win during the season. You know, Boston was still playing good, and I felt like they needed me to start pitching better so we could have a shot winning the division. The main concern during the season was that.

Q. Do you think good outings by other pitchers carry over, and what do you take from El Duque's start yesterday?

ANDY PETTITTE: I think so. You know, last year I got the opportunity to pitch -- Boomer pitched Game 1; obviously him being left-handed is a little bit more to my advantage, watching El Duque pitch, there's not much I can take from his game into my start. But I think, you know, we definitely can feed off one another. We were able to do it last year I think in the post-season. Hopefully we can continue this. Hopefully I can continue the string of good starts that we've had against these guys, and, you know, be successful tomorrow night.

Q. How do you explain pitching well against the Rangers here and so terribly there, although you did win the last time you pitched there?

ANDY PETTITTE: Again, I think that, you know, with the first couple starts at the Rangers' Stadium is when I first came up in the League, had a lot of family and stuff like that there. I just put a lot of pressure on myself the first two years, whenever I had starts down there, to really, I don't know, just be -- you know, pitch a great game and stuff like that. Wasn't really focused like I needed to be on the game. But you never know. They got a great line-up. They're tough on left-handed pitching. The family and all that might have nothing to do with it. It might just be they had a great line-up and I didn't pitch well in those days. I really can't explain it. You look at it, say that's baseball, or you can say mentally I wasn't in it.

Q. Johnny Oates said last night that it's mind boggling that his team has not been more productive against yours. Do you find it mind boggling also?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, obviously, you feel like you're going to have to score some runs to beat them because you don't think you're going to go in and shut them out. But, again, if you make quality pitches and, you know, you make the pitches when you have to and defensively you get some plays that you need to get you out of some innings and stuff like that, you're going to be able to shut teams down. And, again, a good pitch is going to get a good hitter out most of the time. And that's kind of been our philosophy. If we continue to do that, we'll be very successful.

End of FastScripts…

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