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October 17, 2001

Bobby Cox

Tom Glavine

Javy Lopez


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Javy, how's your ankle?

JAVY LOPEZ: Ankle feels good. Not 100 percent, but it was good enough for me to start a game today.

Q. What makes you swing at the first pitch after a four-pitch walk?

JAVY LOPEZ: That situation, I was trying to get ahead on the first pitch. I figured that that was something that he needed to get some time. I figured he was coming around the plate. He walked Andruw Jones on four pitches. I was try to be aggressive on that first pitch and showing rightfield all the way ever since I step on that home plate.

Q. Tom, can you talk about Batista's performance tonight?

TOM GLAVINE: He threw the ball well. I think we expected that. He's thrown well for them coming down the stretch. He threw well in his start in St. Louis. So, you know, I think we went in anticipating that he was going to be a tough competitor out there. He's got good stuff. He always has. Looked like he was a little bit out of synch in the first inning but settled down real good. Gave us a run for our money there until we were fortunate enough for Javy to hit that two-run home run. He pitched a good ball game.

Q. Tom, you had a 1-0 game. How upsetting was it for you to get in trouble with two outs in the sixth?

TOM GLAVINE: It's upsetting. You obviously go out there and you do your best to get the leadoff guy out. Once you accomplish that, obviously you're trying to get the next guy. Then with two outs you're trying to get through an inning as quickly and easily as you can and get your offense back at work. Particularly with a two-out walk, it's frustrating. But it's one of those situations where you got to continue to bear down. The game was probably on the line right there with Grace up. I was fortunate enough to get him out. Again, we came back, give your offense a chance, we got a two-run home run and we got a 3-1 lead again. So that was a big point in the game.

Q. Javy, yesterday after you struck out, you said, "It has to get easier," especially with Randy Johnson. How did you feel out there today? Was it easier?

JAVY LOPEZ: Well, facing all the pitchers, any other pitcher besides Randy Johnson, I think is much easier. Especially the way he pitched yesterday. Even the guy who start a game couldn't even hit him. Imagine the guy who came out of the bench and try to hit a home run basically, because the game was pretty close. If I go out there, I try to hit a home run, just to try to get the go-ahead run.

Q. Tom, how often do you see four left-handed swingers in the starting line-up against you? Do you like seeing that?

TOM GLAVINE: I don't see it a lot. Generally when I pitch against somebody, if they're the better left-handed hitters in the game, they tend to stay in the line-up. Certainly, these guys, with Gonzalez and Finley, they're two of the better left-handed hitters I think. Both have good approaches. Both have good swings. Really don't give grounding against left-handed hitters. Counsell obviously has been swinging the ball well. Same for Grace. Grace has always been tough. It is rare, but certainly not in this instance. I figured last night after the game that I wasn't going to see much of a change in the line-up from yesterday's game. Certainly didn't do that. As far as having lefties in there, yeah, I don't mind. I still feel as though with a lefty on lefty matchup, that's to my advantage. Hasn't always been that way, but I think over the last two years it's been a lot better since I have become a lot more effective with my slider and changeup against lefties.

Q. When Javy got hurt, did you think he would be lost for the whole post-season?

BOBBY COX: Yes, with a high ankle sprain, it generally takes six to eight weeks. The best that we could get from a doctor would be six to eight weeks. A chance for the World Series. That was probably less than 50-50. I said last night in here or this morning when we had our conference that Dave Pursley and Jeff Porter and Doc Chandler have done a super job, and Javy's gone through all the treatments early in the morning, late in the afternoon, late at night and all that, and they got him ready somehow. It's kind of amazing. He's playing with a brace on that he likes, and it's working right now. Javy came in last night after the game and said he's ready to go. So I told the coaches that, "Let's get Javy in there. He might hit a home run, produce some runs." That's exactly what happened.

Q. It's hard to really look at Game 2 of a seven-game series as urgent. Just the fact the way the Big Unit yesterday, then Schilling just being sandwiched in between those two guys, did that make it any more urgent?

TOM GLAVINE: I always feel like honestly Game 2 is an urgent game in any series. So much can happen one way or the other. To me it's a huge swing game. You can either go up two, down two or tie a series up. Either one of those situations are vastly different than any of the others. To me it's always been an important game. In this instance, it's probably magnified a little bit with Curt coming against us in Game 3. I mean, he's throwing the ball so well. Pitched extremely well in the post-season. So, you know, we certainly didn't want to go down two with the prospects of facing Curt. But beyond that, I think in all honesty our focus was just on trying to get a game here and get out of here. Try and get our split, go home, and try and take advantage of our home-field advantage. Obviously, with Curt being the first guy we're going to see, it's going to be, again, a big task for us. But you got to figure sooner or later he's not going to be as perfect as he's been. Hopefully it's going to be Friday night.

Q. Tom, you've had obviously a lot of post-season experience. I'm wondering what you think about the playoff atmosphere here at this park, the crowd? Anything unique about it?

TOM GLAVINE: I thought the crowd tonight was great. I think sometimes you can get intimidated by the crowds on the road but I've always thought it was kind of fun. It's neat to see everybody into the game. It's neat to feel the excitement level. It's neat to be the opposing pitcher that's trying to do what you can to keep those people out of the game. But to me, they were into the game. They were respectful about it. I got the usual razzing in the bullpen that you usually get but probably not as bad as it could have been. I thought that people were, at the start of the game, I mean I had goose bumps out there in the bullpen with as loud as they were and as into it as they were. Like I say, as a starting pitcher you know that's your biggest task probably is to go out there and pitch a good game and do what you can to take them out of it.

Q. There's a bunch of the guys on the team that can hit home runs. Javy has the brace on. You said he was the guy that might hit a home run today. How do you know something like that?

BOBBY COX: We don't know that (smiling). If we did, you know... We could win every game. But Javy's not playing pain-free, I'm going to tell you that right now. It's still hurting. Don't get me wrong, when I say he's ready to go, he's not 100 percent. But he's a guy that we call him the Iron Man, because he can take foul tips off the wrist, off the arm, broken fingers he's played with. When you play with an ankle sprain, it's different. It affects everything. No. 1, he's not pain-free, but he's good enough to go. We felt the way he's been swinging the bat in batting practice, he's been hitting them over the centerfield wall here. The practice day that we had, and things like that, that, "What the heck, let's go and if it's hurting, then we get him out of there."

Q. Javy, your manager was telling people before the game you had a chance to hit a home run. Was he telling you that?

JAVY LOPEZ: I'm glad I didn't hear that. But of course, he give me the opportunity to play, he give me his confidence. I guess one way or another, I got to contribute to win a game. Whether I hit a home run or double or base hit or whatever, I was gonna go out there and try to do my best. And I was gonna be honest with him. If I was so, you know, hurt that I couldn't play, I was gonna tell him and say put Bako in. Honestly, the whole game, it feels good. I didn't have any kind of pain. And hitting is not the problem. The problem was catching. Catching, I did pretty good today.

Q. Javy, you hit so many late-game home runs in post-season. Where does tonight's home run rank versus the other post-season home runs you have hit?

JAVY LOPEZ: Well, I'm not living in the past (smiling). Today is the most exciting, the one tonight. Because the past is already in the past. I'm living today.

Q. It looked like when you came into the dugout after they scored that Leo sort of agreed with your assessment of the ball four to Sanders. What did you guys say, and was that a little out of character even for you in the dugout before coming back out again and pitching in the seventh?

TOM GLAVINE: I guess my tirade, if you want to call it that, is a little bit unusual for me. But I mean, it's the post-season. Everything is so magnified. Everything is so important. Your emotions get going a little bit more this time of year than they do any other time of year. I was hot. There's really no other way to put it. In a situation like that, with a one-run game going on, you want the benefit of everything you can get out there and when you don't -- and then the inning transpires the way it did and it ends up being a tie game. I was mad. I guess really all Leo said to me was, "Hey, forget about it." When Javy came up, he said, "Maybe we'll get lucky and Javy will hit a two-run home run up here," and he did. I guess Leo was always as prophetic. Once you get off the field and the inning is over, you got to forget about it. You have to channel everything you can to get going to go back out there and try to pitch another solid inning. Once Javy hit the home run and we got the lead, that became even more important for me to go out there and have a scoreless inning and get us back off the field.

Q. Bobby, has Giles been a first-pitch hitter more often than not?

BOBBY COX: Marcus has never been a leadoff hitter. When I stuck him in the leadoff position, I told him, "Don't change anything. Be what you are. Do what you do best. If you're a first-ball hitter, swing at it. If you like it. Don't change anything." So he's very much a first-ball hitter, yes.

End of FastScripts....

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