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October 2, 2007

Carlos Zambrano


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Carlos.

Q. Looking back to the last time you pitched in the post season, how much more prepared do you think you are now? How much more suited to it? I mean, how much better do you think you are suited to getting some big playoff games now than then?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Well, I think I got the taste, had the taste of the last one, and still there. I just want to do my job, and I'm going out there to have fun and enjoy this playoff.
You know, I'm ready. I'm ready for this playoff. I'm ready for this postseason, and I look forward to being in command and do something for this team.

Q. The Diamondbacks won more games than you guys did and have home field advantage, but the perception is still you guys are the favorites. What do you think about that?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Well, every year there is a lot of teams that are the favorite but they don't go nowhere. So we don't think about who is the favorite, who is the best team. You know, you can have a good team but if you don't have good chemistry, if you don't play good, you don't go nowhere.
We just want to play good and do what we're supposed to do and play smart ball. Like I said, have fun. It's nothing about who is the favorite. You can be the favorite, but if you don't play good you stay in the first step, like I said, you know.

Q. Do you have some thoughts on this Diamondbacks lineup you're facing?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: There's some guys that I've never faced in my career. I think between today and tomorrow I will watch some videos and have an idea how to face them, all those hitters that I've never faced, and have a game plan.
The most important thing is have a game plan and go out there and use it, use the game plan and use what you have and trust yourself.

Q. Do you think there's any kind of intimidation factor when you're going against a team that starts four rookies and guys that might be a little wide-eyed in this kind of situation?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: No, I don't think there's any intimidation. Like I said before, any team can -- if they play good, they can beat us. If we play good and we play like we know, we can beat them. But I don't think there's any intimidation either by them or by us. I know they have a good team.
For some reason they won 90 games this season. For some reason they are in the playoff. So I mean, they have a good team.
If they're here in the playoffs and we're here, it's because we both have good teams.

Q. A couple of months ago when Lou got suspended, he threw kind of like a fit and you had to dust up with Barrett. It seemed like you guys started playing better after that. Does stuff like that kind of light a fire under a team?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Let's talk about the playoffs, man (laughing). We're in the playoffs. Whatever happened in the past, let's leave it there. I don't like to remember bad things about what happened in my life or my career. What I like to remember is the moment where we are now. We are in a good situation.
Like I said, sometimes things go some way that you don't like, but if things have to happen like that, things happened for every team this year, and just keep moving forward.

Q. You pitched for the Cubs in the 2003 playoffs. How are you a different pitcher and a better pitcher now?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Well, I think I have more experience. I know most of the hitters now. I've faced a lot of batters since '03. Just the fact that I have more confidence in myself and more pitches, also. Back in that day, back in '03, I didn't have cutters, I didn't have a slow slider and a fast slider.
Sometimes when you can take off your fastball and you have more experience in what to do, it's a little bit of an advantage for yourself.

Q. Getting to start in Game 1 is an honor. Are you pumped up more than usual? How is it for you?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: I don't want to be pumped up. I want to be calm and let the moment come and let the game come and pitch my game. I don't want to be too excited. I don't want to do too much. I'm just going to go out there and do my job and pitch my game.
Sometimes when you are too excited you try to do too much, and that's when the problem comes. You don't have control of yourself. So just be yourself, and like Larry Rothschild was telling me, let the ball come out of your hand and just let it happen.

Q. A lot of people think that as you go in this series the Cubs will go. How much responsibility do you take in making this happen in this series?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: It's not only me, it's about 25 men in this team. It's about every single man that can do something for this team, and I know that we can do the job. I know that we are a good ball club, and everything is going to be new from tomorrow. Everything is going to be from the beginning.
Like I said, it's not only about Carlos Zambrano. I will pitch tomorrow, but I can't pitch the next day. I can't play first base. I can't play second base. I can't play third base. I can't. So it's about everybody on this team. It's about teamwork.
I know if we stay doing the job as teamwork we're going to have a good playoffs.

Q. Just as a follow-up, you've had some trouble on some opening days. How much of this is a chance to maybe step out as a big game pitcher?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Well, this is different than opening day. I think here there's more responsibility. I don't think it's going to happen something like opening day, hopefully not. But like I said before, just take that out of your mind and just think about this is a normal game of the regular season and go out there and have fun.
I mean, that's the most important thing. The most important thing is go out there and do your job and have fun.

Q. You just said that you want to -- you don't want to be pumped up. You want to be calm and let the game come to you. How do you do that and still be you, because you're an exciteable guy?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Well, I think you have to know yourself. I know myself. I know what I can do. I know when I can calm myself, and sometimes things go out of my hands, out of my head, and I can't do nothing about it.
But sometimes when you come to the ballpark and you put more effort in your mind to be calm or to have your game on the line, you can do it. It's all about up here (indicating the head) and not here (indicating heart). Have the game in your mind and not in your heart.

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