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October 5, 2007

Rich Hill


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rich.

Q. What do you do both before and during the game to make sure that you're really just pitching the game and not getting caught up in everything that's going on around it?
RICH HILL: Just stay consistent with the same game plan, not change what you've been doing all season long and what's worked for you, and that's really about it. Just go in there with the same attitude that you've had from the first game of the year all the way to the last game in Cincinnati and keep it simple.
That's all it is. It's just another game, really. If you try to make it more than it is, yeah, outside the lines, it's hyped up and it's the playoffs, it is a big deal. But when you get inside the lines, it's the same exact mentality that you've taken all year long, attack and be aggressive.

Q. Is it kind of hard to wait until the third game to get in there and mix it up? You're one of the guys who hasn't been able to have an impact on the series, and now you're kind of entrusted with it?
RICH HILL: Yeah, I mean, it was a lot of fun, you know, the first playoffs that I've been part of. It was a lot of fun to watch it in Arizona and be a part of it, and now to get to play in it is going to be exciting.

Q. I asked Lou about this. The first two months of the season compared to the last four, and now it seems like that first two months' Cubs team has kind of shown up these first two games. How would you describe the difference this club has gone through?
RICH HILL: Well, I think just during the last couple days I think some of the things that we're doing -- it seems like we just need to be a little more aggressive, just stay aggressive and stay on the attack, and if we make mistakes, we make mistakes, aggressive mistakes.
But either way we have to make a decision on which way we want to go, if we want to be aggressive or not aggressive, but I think if we stay aggressive, we'll be fine.

Q. This is kind of along the same line. Some people might look at you guys in the first two games and say you were playing a little bit tight and loosen up. And when you get out here in front of a home crowd tomorrow, how do you personally avoid falling into that kind of trap or getting nervous about it?
RICH HILL: Like I said before, just keep the same way you've been keeping it all year long. It's not -- hey, whatever happens, happens. If we go out there and we win, we win. If we lose, we lose. You just go out there and leave it all out on the field, as cliche as it sounds. That's the way it is. That's the way it's supposed to be all year long.
You can't hold anything back. You can't -- that's the way that I pitch and that's -- my mentality is to go out there and stay aggressive and attack. You don't leave any room for error when you pitch like that or you play like that or you really do anything like that. Because if you make aggressive mistakes, at least you were going after it and you were aggressive on the attack and not kind of maybe timid. That's the way I look at it.

Q. A lot has been made about this being a rather anonymous Diamondbacks' lineup. Is there anyone there that you've noticed and that you're particularly concerned with, either from the way they've approached the plate or the way they might match up against you?
RICH HILL: I've been impressed with Augie Ojeda. I've been really impressed with him. I've been impressed with the whole lineup. Those guys are going out there and taking swings and playing. They don't have anything to lose. That's the way they played in Game 1 and Game 2.
Now we're in that situation. We don't have anything to lose. That's the way we need to go out there and play aggressively.
That's what I was impressed with, that whole lineup, is that they came out, they were ready to play, and they just let it fly.

Q. Two starts seemed to have an impact for you in this game. One, you're starting against them in July and Lou also talked about your last start in Cincinnati. What did you learn from each of those starts?
RICH HILL: Well, more so the start in -- the last start of the year in Cincinnati was just go out there and, you know, again, be aggressive. I use that a lot. That's just keeping it simple for me. From a psychologist standpoint, I guess, keeping it simple, staying aggressive, and really just going out there with nothing to lose.
That game in Cincinnati, I think it was just almost a game where there was no pressure. We had won the division, and I came out there and pitched relaxed. I felt all year long there were a few games out there where I fought myself.
But, again, that's part of the learning process. I look forward to tomorrow, just going in there nice and relaxed and not thinking too much, and it's just another game.

Q. How much do you personally relish pitching what is for the team the biggest game of the season?
RICH HILL: Well, it'll be fun. It'll be a lot of fun. I know that the crowd is going to be behind us 100 percent, whether we're up or down. It doesn't matter, they're going to be there for the whole nine innings.
I mean, this is -- for me personally it's going to be just fun. I mean, I don't know how else to put it. To go out there -- this is something that I've said -- I said yesterday that we're in a good position here coming home.
We get to play in front of a great crowd, some of the best fans in baseball, and we're down 0-2. But we have a great advantage going into this series right here in these next two games.
Like I said, you've got to look at it from a positive standpoint, not, Oh, we're down 0-2. Our backs are up against the wall, but we're home and we have very good advantage.

Q. Livan Hernandez was talking about before ten years ago pitching in a World Series and how he'll be so much more calm in a postseason game now. Can you talk about what was the biggest game you've ever pitched in in your last ten years?
RICH HILL: My last ten years? No, I can't (laughing). The good thing is that as a pitcher my memory is nice and short, so I don't really have to think about my biggest game or worst game I ever had.
Biggest game, probably the game last year against the White Sox. That was probably my biggest game, biggest failure, best time to learn. To go into an environment where it's a playoff type atmosphere and fail like that, I learned a lot.
So it was something that you go and you take away a lot of positives from a game like that. It goes to show you that you put -- it's just all what you put on yourself and the pressures that you put on yourself is what you make it out to be.
I made that game out to be like it was Game 7 of the World Series because of the position that I was in as a young rookie coming up and putting a lot of pressure on myself to perform. I failed but learned, learned a lot from it, learned how to handle myself on and off the field.

Q. Compared to a regular season start, how much more preparation has gone into this start tomorrow?
RICH HILL: Again, I take it as the same preparation that I've had all year long. It's just being consistent throughout the whole year. You don't change your approach or the way you're going to pitch.
All of a sudden I'm not going to become Sandy Koufax, and Nolan Ryan is not going to show up and start pitching the game for me. It's going to be the same guy that's been going out there all season long.
It's not going to be -- it's just go out there, stay consistent and do what you've done all year long and not make it into anything more than it is. I mean, we're not going out there -- I don't know, it's just a game, as simple as that sounds. That's the way I view it and the way I would like to take it.

Q. There have been three teams that have come back from 0-2 series deficits in the Division Series play, and Lou Piniella's Mariners team in '95 is one of them. Has he addressed that to you all and to you personally?
RICH HILL: No, I think the whole thing is just going out there and being relaxed and just taking the pressure off of ourselves. Like I said, we need -- if we go out there we need to be aggressive, make mistakes aggressively if we need to make mistakes. Not saying that we're going to make mistakes, but being aggressive leaves less room for error.
It shows that you're confident, it shows that you're poised in those situations. But, no, on that question, he hasn't said anything about that.

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