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October 10, 2009

Chad Billingsley


Q. Your last few starts, those first five innings were pretty lights out. Do you feel anything different in the sixth, or what's happening there that you can put your finger on?
CHAD BILLINGSLEY: Um, yeah, I struggled there for a while in the last few starts. Been a pretty drastic improvement, and just those last couple innings, I can't really do anything about.
In Washington it was just one pitch, and then in San Diego, Tony Gwynn, he hit a mistake pitch. I'm just taking from the past two starts the positive parts and trying to build on it.

Q. How do you pitch to guys like Pujols and Holliday?
CHAD BILLINGSLEY: Just try to keep the guys off in front of them, and just got to make quality pitches and not give them anything. Throughout their whole lineup they're very dangerous. When you're trying to pitch to those guys, you've got to make sure the guys in front of them are off base because it's a little bit easier if it's a solo shot compared to a two- or three-run bomb. You've just got to pitch them tough.

Q. You've probably been second-guessed and analyzed more than any pitcher in the starting rotation this season. Where is your confidence level right now?
CHAD BILLINGSLEY: Yeah, second half has been kind of an up-and-down roller coaster. I've just kind of been searching for my rhythm. My last two starts I was able to find that rhythm and feel a lot more comfortable out there.
I mean, when you're struggling, you start thinking and trying to do too much, and sometimes you cause more problems. And I thought I was doing that instead of just simplifying things and keeping it simple, which, I mean, sometimes is easier said than done.
But I mean, the last few starts, I think I was able to do that and take some steps forward going into the postseason.

Q. What do you take out of your playoff starts from last year that you can use this year?
CHAD BILLINGSLEY: Last year was my first year starting in the playoffs. I mean, I had a little bit of experience in '06, but I mean, it was a learning experience.
And this year has been a learning experience for myself. I mean, I haven't really gone through the struggles and everything, but it makes you just a little bit more better to go through those tough times.

Q. You were talking about trying to regain your rhythm. How much does this postseason scenario and not really knowing when you'll pitch next affect that rhythm?
CHAD BILLINGSLEY: Tomorrow -- I'm slotted for tomorrow, and hopefully we can get this thing done. But I've been preparing the same way and just trying to keep things simple. Just hopefully we can get this thing done and go back home and have a couple days off. But I'll be ready for tomorrow and looking at film and going over my game plan if it gets to my time.

Q. What do you feel you have to accomplish having a guy like Chris Carpenter on the other side going against you?
CHAD BILLINGSLEY: He's a great pitcher. I mean, he's had unbelievable success throughout his career, and in the playoffs you usually see some good pitching. I'm just going to try to go out there each inning to each hitter and make quality pitches and get outs. That's the main part in the postseason, just try to keep throwing up zeros and keep the game close.

Q. What specifically have you done with Rick Honeycutt over the last month to try and get things ironed out, whether it's mechanical or whatever?
CHAD BILLINGSLEY: Over the past month or two, we've tried numerous things. I mean, you just get frustrated trying so many different adjustments or tunings, and sometimes it creates other problems.
When I was warming up for Washington, I'm like, all right, I'm just going to concentrate on throwing the ball down and throwing it right at the target, just a matter of keeping the ball down. I just was able to find that rhythm, getting the extension out in front, releasing the ball out in front of my delivery. And sometimes you can't explain it; it's just thinking very simple instead of making things so complicated. It allows you to throw better pitches or do something. It's hard but easier done.

Q. How proud are you that you fought back to gain Joe's trust to be able to be the fourth starter as opposed to maybe being disappointed that you're not 1 or 2?
CHAD BILLINGSLEY: I mean, for myself, it was very frustrating. Like, keep going out there and battling and not feeling like your old self, just going out there every fifth day, I was just battling. I kept believing that it would come back, I would find that rhythm again.
I was fortunate enough, my last two starts were a lot better than the previous ten or however many it was, and to be able to pitch in the postseason, it's an unbelievable experience. I mean, not too many guys are fortunate enough to pitch in it.
Every time you get out there, it's an unbelievable experience.

End of FastScripts

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