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October 2, 2006

Barry Zito


Q. What do you remember about the division series here last time in 2002?
BARRY ZITO: You know, it was a crazy series, we were 1-1 coming into here at the third game. We ended up beating Minnesota that Game 4-3, I think. And the noise was kind of inspiring and also startling to us.
And the next day it was really crazy, Hudson pitched, and there was a lot of funny stuff going on, 2-2, and we went back to our place and Mulder and Radke were a great game match-up, and some other funky stuff went on, we ended up losing, but good memories, though.

Q. What do you think of the whole notion of a short playoff series being a "crap shoot"? Do you buy that?
BARRY ZITO: You know, I think there is -- there is good and bad about this sort of series. You can be off your game and somehow squeak by, some bad things that put you in a losing situation over the course of a week or two. But on the other hand, you can go out and have a game, and some crazy stuff can happen and you can lose a five-game series, and, obviously, be the worst team in the public eye, but be the better team.
Pitching has to set the tone starting tomorrow and we need to carry that off and hope offense can stretch a few across because they are very much defense-oriented.

Q. Keeping up on your point of the public perception of your team, does the past four playoff series weigh on your mind or your teammates' mind?
BARRY ZITO: No, it's a completely different team. I don't even know how many guys are still on this team from '03 so I don't think many of us or many of them feel like some kind of first round jinx or anything like that.
I think that's Chavey and myself, Ellis. I can't remember anyone else, maybe a couple guys. But it's a new team, you know, so we are just going into this with a fresh outlook.

Q. The Twins, if you look at their rotation, they seem to be heavily dependent on Santana, whereas your rotation seems to have more depth.
Do you look at tomorrow as a possibility to do really well -- maybe a knockout to the Twins in Game 1?
BARRY ZITO: I think so. We are pretty strong 1 through 4, 1 through 5, whatever it is. That gives us the ability in the middle part of the series to step it up offensively against these guys, but you can't take any of the starters lightly. These guys have all got success and play in the playoffs, so I want to go out and set the tone and put up a good outing, and hopefully it will turn out.

Q. Is it tough for you guys to wait to see who you are going to play until the last day of the season, and you're here for a late workout and then play tomorrow at noon, essentially 10 o'clock on the West Coast?
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, last night, we got in and tried to all get to bed immediately and wake up early and get on schedule, myself included, and, you know, just try to get to bed early tonight and come out tomorrow and just wake up and get ready to go.

Q. What specific problems do the Twins pose?
BARRY ZITO: Let's see, offensively, they got a great lineup. Obviously, they got some tough players in there. Punto has really had a great year, Torii Hunter, Cuddyer, all the way down. They got some scrappy guys that can run, bunt. It's a great team. I think they feel comfortable here at home, so we have to just be more focused out there and a little more determined to send these guys a message.

Q. Is this a different Twins offense than you have seen maybe in the past? They have kind of always been real scrappy but now they have a couple 30 homerun hitters in their lineup, and even the guys at the top of the lineup are hitting around the 300 mark. It seems maybe a little more balanced offensively and defensively than they have in the past?
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, the Twins have always been a team -- guys like (inaudible) play, and now they are going for a little more power, a little more of kind of a normal playoff kind of team lineup and a lot more guys in there, guys that can hit the ball, obviously, field, and guys that also can run.

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