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October 10, 2007

Jeff Francis


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jeff.

Q. I just wanted to ask you what's it feel like being the poster boy for Canadian baseball these days?
JEFF FRANCIS: I don't know if I have that honor. There's a lot of Canadians doing some good things in baseball. I'm just one of them who's proud to be from Canada and making a lot of people back home proud.

Q. You keep winning you might get an entourage like Kaz following you around. Most people can't comprehend being 17-1 this time of year, can you talk about what it's been like to be part of that and how you guys did that?
JEFF FRANCIS: It happened so fast. I think right before it started we knew we had to do something special to get in the playoffs. I don't know if we knew we had to be 13-1. But we knew we had to do something.
It's been our philosophy all year just take one game at a time. And we happened to do it. It just seemed like night after night, someone was coming through, someone else was coming through. Next thing we knew we were in a one-game playoff to get in.

Q. As one of the young guys on this team, this franchise really doesn't have a rival and Eric Byrnes thinks that the Rockies would be a perfect rival for the Diamondbacks. Is this where a rivalry could begin starting tomorrow?
JEFF FRANCIS: I think so. I think any team in our division, we play them so much that there's no surprises anymore. It seems like every game becomes a title match. It just seems like every mistake it gets magnified. It can cost you a game.
I think when teams know each other so well and play each other so much that people need something else to write about.

Q. The one loss during this 18-game span was to the Diamondbacks and specifically it was you and Brandon Webb, what do you remember about that night?
JEFF FRANCIS: Well, I remember it was us coming home after a big road trip. And a lot of the Rockies fans were real excited. We came home, packed house. Really energetic. Probably was a big game for us, big game for them, and they clinched the division that night when they won. It was a well-played game. I think we lost 4-2.
And just like I said before, it was one of those games where mistakes get magnified. I made a couple of mistakes, ended up losing the game.

Q. I know during that streak nobody wanted to be the guy who wound up being the loser, as well as you've pitched but unfortunately it was you. What did you feel coming off of that streak ended and unfortunately it happened to be you?
JEFF FRANCIS: It felt like at the time, too, that that was the game that knocked us out. And the Padres ended up winning that day and we knew they had to lose the next two for us to even have a chance. It was disappointing, but that's been the resiliency of this team all year.
It seems like every time somebody counts us out, we just jump right back in there and we still had a chance.

Q. Another Canadian-based question. I don't think there's been too many guys that have turned down big scholarship offers from NCAA schools to remain home to play in Canada at a Canadian school. Can you talk about what your thinking was at that time on that decision? And it must have been a difficult one for you too to make?
JEFF FRANCIS: I don't think it was. I really didn't have a lot to turn down. I really couldn't afford to go to school down south. That wasn't much of a prospect. The decision was almost made for me.

Q. There were no scholarship offers coming your way?
JEFF FRANCIS: Not any significant to where it was a good athletic opportunity.

Q. An eight-day layoff for you between starts and five days off for the team, for better or for worse, how does that affect a team like yours that has such great momentum going?
JEFF FRANCIS: You know, I think it's a good thing. I think it's a good time of year to have a few extra days off. The guys that play every day, gives them a chance to rest up and heal up some things that may be bugging them or whatever.
It's been a long year. It's probably the first time we've had four days off in about eight months. So it's a good time of year to have it off. And D-Backs have had the same thing.
So we know both teams will be ready to go.

Q. Jeff, first off, what do you think you do well as a pitcher and the same thing with Webb, what do you think he does well?
JEFF FRANCIS: I think everybody knows Webb's got one of the best sinkers in baseball, along with his curveball and changeup. When you add all that up, with his command, it's not a surprise he's the defending Cy Young winner and maybe even the next one.
He's proven over the last three years he's one of the best pitchers in baseball.
As far as me, I don't have anything electric or dominating to lighten up a radar gun. I just try to command my fastball and change speed and keep hitters off balance. No secrets. It's just trying to keep guys guessing a little bit.

Q. What's the difference between you only had one playoff game obviously, but is there a big difference between when you step in to pitching a playoff game as opposed to the regular season or did the stuff you went through down the stretch help you get ready for that first playoff game and now your second one tomorrow?
JEFF FRANCIS: I think it led up to it pretty well. There is a big difference between regular season and playoff baseball, especially on the road. People yelling at you, crowds are loud, obviously.
And your nerves are a little higher. It's just trying to do the things to calm yourself down and concentrate on execution.

Q. When you were growing up watching LCS games and World Series games they always talk about the number one pitcher. Still being a young guy, does it almost feel surreal that you are the number one guy for your team going into the national championship series?
JEFF FRANCIS: Yeah, I mean, you could label it that way. I mean, the nice thing about it is we've got a team of guys in there that really don't worry about labels like that.
I mean, I happen to be pitching Game 1, yeah, but it could be any one of us, really. I don't think anybody has any concern about those types of things. And it's a comforting feeling knowing that as a team we kind of approach it that way, knowing you don't rely on one guy to get it done every day.

Q. Jeff, you pitched here, I think it was in May, went seven innings, you guys won 2-0. Can you take what you did that day against this lineup in this ballpark? Does it factor at all into tomorrow's game?
JEFF FRANCIS: A little bit. I think a lot of things I've learned as a pitcher in the short time I've been in the Major Leagues is being aware of what you've got working that day. I've had a good changeup working that day. If tomorrow comes around and it's just not as effective as I need it to be, I need to go to something else.
I can't just go out and try to recreate what I did five months ago. It's gotta be in the moment. It's gotta be adjusting to what I've got going and what I see them trying to do.

Q. Thinking back to the trade deadline when you guys didn't make a deal to bring in another arm, was there any doubt at that point or did you feel like they have enough arms to go the rest of the way?
JEFF FRANCIS: I don't know if we ever had any doubt. I mean, you could look back and say maybe we didn't do enough. Whatever. But you look at the guys who have come up, Ubaldo and Morales have come up and done more than anyone expected them to do. They've been lights out in their outings.
Guys stepping in, guys like Schmidty and Koshansky, guys that aren't here. Ian Stewart, who just stepped in and filled their role. Knew they weren't going to play every day and came up with some big hits in some big situations that as a team we've risen above those things.

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