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October 8, 1999

John Smoltz


Q. John, Bobby Cox said you're a hundred percent and you throw it just as good as a new angle?

JOHN SMOLTZ: I'm throwing just as good as I can with the new angle, and I think given the opportunities presented to me I feel confident I can live up to all the postseason games I pitched in the past.

Q. John, would your men approach any different if the team had a possibility to clinch it tomorrow?

JOHN SMOLTZ: As far as I'm concerned, every game I pitch I think I'm going to win. Obviously, the juices flow a little bit easier when you got a chance to clinch versus the chance of elimination and, you know, there's nobody that wants to be able to, much like I did two years ago, I believe, pitched five out at a clinching game and know that you're going on. If I'm presented that situation, obviously, I will again relish the role and have a lot of fun doing it because every game I approach in the postseason, I have fun, regardless of the circumstances.

Q. John, can you take us through how you approach the new arm angle and how did you come up with the idea?

JOHN SMOLTZ: Well, I tried everything that I possibly could. Three months ago all I wanted to do was help this team in any fashion I can while they have been in the bullpen. The reason I made the change is not a selfish reason. What I mean by that; it was for the team. As much pain as I was going through, it would have been real easy to sit the season out and wait for my elbow to heal up or I felt I'm not afraid of change or any kind of situation because if I was, I don't think I would have ever tried it. I put myself in a pretty tough situation to fail and trying something totally new midstream; but I was fully confident, given the amount of time that I thought I would have from that point to the rest of the season, I thought I could make the necessary adjustments to put me in a position to help the team win. Obviously, no one wants to pitch more than I do in a postseason. That's what my eyes are focused on; being able to pitch in the Mets series. From that point on, every game for me as was a play-off game. I felt from that point on, I pitched as good a straight pitch game as I could have.

Q. Do you like pitching in this building and do you approach it different?

JOHN SMOLTZ: Sad to see it go. This is a park that I obviously have a lot of good memories. It's a pitcher's park. My results have not always worked out the way I like them. When you come here, you know the conditions are perfect and it's a pitcher's ballpark and you can take a little more chances in this ballpark than you can in most. Even though they brought the fences in four, five years ago it still is a credit to what Jeff Bagwell has done playing here hitting that many homeruns.

Q. Question. Were you considering knuckleballs tomorrow?

JOHN SMOLTZ: Definitely. Did it in the Met game. It was one to one. We were only one game in the standings. Anything I bring to the park I'm not afraid to do, not afraid to throw. I don't do anything when I pitch with the feeling that it might fail. You know, that's why I think I've been able to rise to the occasion at this time of the year, and I'm sure you'll see some knuckleballs if the situation presents itself and you know I've thrown enough of them in the last couple of years, and I'm sure scouts know it, and I think I have change in enough angles so that they don't know exactly what might be coming.

Q. John, if you had to vote for the Cy Young, who would you vote for this year?

JOHN SMOLTZ: Obviously, they say the votes are in before the playoffs, but, you know, it's tough and I would be bias to say Kevin Miller had one of the most dominating years on our staff, but you can't take anything away from the other two pitchers; one being here and the man we are facing today, and then Randy Johnson just was dominating. I mean he lost that stretch of six games where he didn't give up nothing, so this might be one of the tightest races. I know last year with Glavine was tight but with three or four guys, two from this team, I don't know how the votes are going to split it off. Selfishly, I would like to see Kevin win.

Q. Having eight days, has it helped or hurt at this point, John?

JOHN SMOLTZ: Well, I've been chomping at bit, and I always used (inaudible). I'm going to use it for a positive. Whether it's a positive or not, I'm going to use it for it. I've had some rest and anytime you get some rest at this time of the year, you welcome it instead of fight it. In '93, I think I went 13 days without -- '95, I went 13, somewhere around there, without pitching and, you know, you just deal with whatever the situations are presented to you, and I'm sure I'll be stronger and my key, obviously, is with the ball moving heavier than it has in the past, low key, anything I have.

End of FastScripts….

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