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October 8, 1998

Greg Maddux


Q. How are you feeling, Greg?

GREG MADDUX: I'm feeling all right.

Q. Can you put a finger on what happened with your struggles in the second half, and are you back to your old self?

GREG MADDUX: No. I feel good about how I'm throwing. I didn't locate as well as I would have liked to have, but I'm pleased with how I've thrown the ball lately. And it doesn't matter. What matters is how I pitch tomorrow or Saturday.

Q. Did you feel better about everything in your delivery against the Cubs than you had, say, some of the games that you had not been as -- held the score down as much?

GREG MADDUX: Yeah. I felt good about it all year, really. Sometimes it's a funny game. Sometimes you get away with mistakes and you give up less runs than you probably should, and sometimes you give up more than you probably should. I never felt I was really all that out of sync. I think it's easy over a short period of time to have two or three games kind of inflate things.

Q. Can you talk about the challenge of pitching to Tony Gwynn?

GREG MADDUX: Well, the challenge with him starts with the guys in front of him. That's half the battle in pitching to Tony is to get the guys out in front of him. And you pitch to him with nobody on base; that's how you want to pitch to him.

Q. Do you say that because you feel like he's going to get his hits anyway?

GREG MADDUX: You feel like he's going to put the ball in play, not necessarily you feel like he's going to get his hits, but you feel like he's going to put the ball in play. And they hit-and-run a lot with him. He handles the bat as well as anybody probably ever has, and you try to pitch to him with one or two outs and nobody on.

Q. Greg, Randy Johnson was saying in the Houston-San Diego series: If he ever losses a game, it's magnified so much because it is Randy Johnson. Do you feel it's the same way with you, especially with your history and the championship series, people make a big deal out of just because it's you?

GREG MADDUX: They make a big deal out of everything; the wins, too, it goes both ways. That's part of it. You expect it. It's the norm. You go out there and you know that you didn't pitch good, but you only give up two runs, and your team scored eight, everyone is going to say how good you did. And it works the other way, too. When you go out and pitch pretty well and you happen to give up three or four runs, and your team doesn't score, it's magnified the other way. That's just how it is. It's no big deal.

Q. With a long rain delay like last night in a postseason game, how hard is that for a starting pitcher, and even though you weren't the starting pitcher, how long was the rain delay last night?

GREG MADDUX: Well, everybody is different. I'm sure it's a lot tougher on some guys than other guys. Personally I think what I like to do is I like to get in a card game. And I could kill three or four hours with the best of them playing cards; so it's not a problem. And I'm sure Smoltzie kept himself occupied last night, where he was able to not totally be 100 percent baseball. He was able to get away from it and flip the switch when he had to. I thought it showed. I thought he threw the ball great last night.

Q. What did you do during the rain delay?

GREG MADDUX: Played cards.

Q. Do you worry about unearned runs during the playoff games?

GREG MADDUX: Never. What you try to do is you try to do the things you feel you have to do to play the game right and not worry about the things you have no control over. And you do what you can to play the game right. Those guys are there for you. Those guys are going to back you up. They're not going to make every play, we know that. We're not going to make every pitch; we know that, too. You do the kind of things you can to play the game right. We're a team. If that play happened again tonight, we'd probably get two outs on it, instead of none.

Q. How does this team, and this line-up in particular that you're facing with the Padres, compare to the Marlins last year?

GREG MADDUX: I haven't really tried. Really all the teams are the same that you face. Everybody has one or two guys that can run, one or two guys that hit for power, one or two hit for average. Some righties and lefties thrown in there. It really comes down to making your pitches. And I think this whole pitching staff believes that good pitching will beat good hitting any day of the week, regardless of who you're facing: Whether it's last year's team or this year's team.

Q. Greg, how much is it an advantage that the Braves have been here before, seven times, and the Padres have not, in a while?

GREG MADDUX: You know, I think it's a much bigger advantage in the first round of the playoffs, because I think one of the hardest things to control early is nerves. And having gone through it as much as we have, I think that's a big advantage for us. Like with our series against the Cubs, I think that played a big part in that series. But once you get to this point, you've had that 3, 4, 5 games to kind of get that under control, and I don't think it plays as much an advantage had there not been a wildcard round before.

Q. Do you approach this just like another game? Has it gotten to that point with you, Greg?

GREG MADDUX: No, no way, not even close.

Q. You can sense what's at stake when you're out there on the mound and every pitch becomes heightened?

GREG MADDUX: Yeah. Playoffs never get old, never. It just doesn't. It's better than Christmas.

Q. Can you talk about going on the road, pitching in San Diego?

GREG MADDUX: We've played there a lot. I don't think there's going to be a lot of differences except for the fact that there will be a lot more people there, and it will be a lot louder. But I think everything else will be about the same.

Q. In your mind, was this a standard Tom Glavine year, or was there something special in his performance this season?

GREG MADDUX: I think it was pretty standard, with the exception I think his control got a little bit better. I think he pitched better both in and out of the strike zone. He probably pitched to lefties a little bit better this year than he has. But the guy's been good, a lot.

Q. He, himself says he's a better pitcher than when he won the Cy Young some years ago. His consistency this year from start to finish -- and I'm asking for your judgment.

GREG MADDUX: Yeah, I think he's better now than the first year I ever came over here, and I think that was the year he won the Cy Young. So I've seen improvement in the six years I've been here. I've seen a little bit of improvement every year, just about. I think health is big, too, right there. I think he's probably felt better the last year or two than he has, but who knows? He would know more than I would. But it seems like his fastball has gotten better.

Q. Can you talk a little bit more about pitching in and out of the strike zone, particularly outside the strike zone?

GREG MADDUX: Yeah, outside you want to get them to fetch something. In, you're taking your chances they can hit it, but out, you're not. But again you have to pitch out of the strike zone close enough to the strike zone to try to get some swings. Out is where they can't hit it. You hope -- in, you hope to get a foul ball put in play, weakly.

Q. The Cubs were saying during their season that the Braves pitchers just get an elongated strike zone because they are the Braves pitchers. How do you respond to that?

GREG MADDUX: I really think the strike zone is no different. I sit there -- we chart a lot of games. I charted Smoltzie. I've charted Glavine. I've seen the pitches they've gotten, and I've seen the other pitchers get the same pitches. And I think we throw them there, and I think that's the difference. I don't mean to belittle the other pitcher, but the other times we might throw three or four pitches in an inning, where they're throwing two or three. And that's probably why it seems like we get more pitches. I think last night, I saw a couple of innings on TV, and I thought the strike zones were exactly the same for both pitchers. I don't believe them.

Q. Is it difficult for you to wait your turn for starting Game 3, when you're used to being up there in Game 1, especially now since you're trailing the series?

GREG MADDUX: No. Being a starting pitcher you get used to waiting. You're usually waiting four out of five days. I've learned -- I've learned how to sit on the bench, I have. We spend more time on the bench than we ever think about spending on the field. I've learned how to sit on the bench.

Q. Can you talk about the players and a sense of pride that it takes, as opposed to urgency with the World Series?

GREG MADDUX: Yeah, no urgency at all, I don't feel that way. The organization, I don't think, makes us feel that way. I think exactly what Glavine said: It's pride; you want to win. You always want to win. Even if it's April or May, you're out there, you want to win. I don't think anybody likes to be embarrassed. We want to win. We don't feel like we have to win or else. There's not that sense there. But I think for our own satisfaction, for our fans, for our city, for our families. I think those are the reasons why we want to win.

Q. Greg, you said you were watching last night on TV. Do you scout better watching on TV than you do from the dugout?

GREG MADDUX: Yeah, easily. What you see on TV -- well, the majority of time the shot from behind the pitcher is what you see on the mound. And what you see sitting on the side in the dugout is not what you see on the mound. And for me it's a lot easier to see things on TV.

Q. When they switched that shot to the catcher cam, what do you think of that perspective?

GREG MADDUX: It looks cool and all that, but you don't really get -- as far as, you know, what the pitch is doing or the location or all that. I mean, that kind of -- that loses me.

Q. Is it harder to chart?

GREG MADDUX: Yeah, you flip a coin. Well, I'd have threw that pitch; so you write that down.

Q. Could we get your opinion on who should win the National League Cy Young Award? You can include yourself.

GREG MADDUX: I think you've got to go with the wins; play the game to win. We all know who won the most games, that's why you play. You don't play the game to strike guys out. You play the game to get guys out. You don't -- you play to win. And Glavine won more games than anybody.

Q. You alluded to being able to see the game, the pitch, better from the dugout. Would you carry that over to other aspects of how good or bad an overall vantage point is for anybody, if a manager could watch that game in the dugout is?

GREG MADDUX: Well, I think it's definitely a bigger advantage to be out there. I think just as far as the pitch selection, maybe pitch location. I think you get more of an idea seeing it on TV. Catchers these days are so good at framing pitches. I mean, like you'll see pitches on TV that are a foot outside and you hear the dugout yell: "Where was it," and all that. And there was a ball -- a lot of time guys will hit balls off the end of the bat when they appear to get jammed. And you can tell it was off of the end of the bat on TV. The way he swung at it and hit it, it looks like the ball was in on him. But on TV you can tell that the ball was away on him. And that's where I kind of get confused sometimes; was that ball in or out? If you're not watching exactly which way the catcher moves, and sometimes you see them going back and forth, and all that, too. I think it helps a lot just to see where the catcher is setting up.

Q. How much of a game do you watch from locker room TV? Is it the night before you're going to pitch or does it matter when you watch?

GREG MADDUX: Yeah, usually you just watch the game on TV the night before you pitch -- I mean, you chart the game. The day before you pitch you chart the game. So a lot of times you'll sneak up there during games, maybe you need treatment or whatever, or you want to get a Coke or something, or whatever, you want to go to the bathroom, you might see the game or whatever. But usually it's just the day before you pitch.

End of FastScripts….

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