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November 3, 2009

Andy Pettitte


Q. You've had experience in the past on three days. It's been kind of a big topic lately. In your experience what is going on three days feel like? And is there a big difference because you haven't done it in a few years?
ANDY PETTITTE: You know, I really don't think there's that big of a difference, I really don't. I think more than anything maybe it's just -- I guess you'd probably fatigue a little bit quicker than you normally would, just because your body gets so into a routine of pitching on every fifth day and then you're shortening your rest time a little bit.
But man, I don't even remember when the last time I went on three days' rest. I know I went on three days' rest in the World Series against the Marlins, and I know that it was a good outing. Obviously that was six years ago, so I don't even know if I've done it since then. You guys would have to tell me that.
But more than thinking I think just mentally people make such a big deal about it because it's just not done very often anymore. The biggest thing is I think just our routines. We get so set in just pitching on our fifth day, and you just don't do it, it's something that's a little bit unusual. For me, my mindset is just going to be the same as normal. I'm not going to try to blow balls by guys. I'm going to try to pitch like I normally would.
Again, for me, if I can get my command and your mechanics are comfortable and stuff like that, you make the adjustments during the course of the game, and I feel like I should be successful.

Q. I realize this is going back a ways, but do you remember by any chance the first time you faced Pedro? And the second part of that, do you see a similarity between you two and the way you approach your jobs that have allowed you both to be so productive for so long?
ANDY PETTITTE: You know, I cannot remember the first time that we faced each other. I know that you just asking that question, me and Derek were talking about it in the clubhouse last night, just how strange is this, after all the battles with him being in Boston. I know I've faced him a bunch of times. I don't know about the playoffs, I can't really remember that. But in the course of a regular season and big series and stuff like that, and then to come full circle, this many years have passed, him with the Phillies and me back over here and stuff like that, it's going to be neat.
Pedro obviously when I look at him and see what he's been able to do in his career, I mean, he was the best pitcher for a lot of years whenever I was over here with the Yankees, the best pitcher that I had ever seen for a stretch, the velocity that he was throwing with, the command that he was throwing with.
You know, I think that what's helped us be able to stick around is when you see our velocities go down and his go down a little bit, but he knows how to pitch. His change-up that used to be like 87, 88 is 75 now, but it's still just as effective. You know, just a good pitch is a good pitch, changing speeds, location, and you'll continue to get guys out. I think a lot of guys have a hard time making that adjustment. But when you can get your mindset to the point where it's all about location and changing speeds and not worry about how hard you're throwing, I think you continue to be successful.

Q. We think it was May 31, 1998.
ANDY PETTITTE: Okay. Well, 11 years ago, that's a long time ago. Like I said, for us both to still be pitching, and then to be able to be pitching in the World Series, I know he -- I'm sure he feels the same way I do. I just feel very blessed, very fortunate to be able to have this opportunity. It's been a great series. I think everybody knew it was going to be a great series. I think everybody knew it was going to be a tough series. And it looks like it's living up to that.

Q. I remember David Cone used to say when he went up against Pedro, he's obviously not facing Pedro, he's facing the lineup, but it was in his mind, thinking about someone that good pitching for the other side. I wonder if that is ever in your mind, obviously preparing for their nine position players but if you think about who's pitching for the other team?
ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, obviously I know he's throwing for them, but you go up against so many guys and so many guys that you know are going to be able to shut you down, and we've had so many hard fought games where it's nothing-nothing going into the sixth or seventh inning or one-nothing I've been down.
I feel real comfortable with our club. I feel like our club is in a real good place. I feel like we're going to score some runs, and I've got my hands full with their lineup. My focus is totally on how to get their guys out. It doesn't matter who's pitching for them. It makes a good story, it makes a pretty good story, I think, obviously, and that will be cool. But for me I really pay no attention at all who's pitching for the other club, no matter who it may be.

Q. You've been in this situation before. Having the chance to be the guy that closes them out, can you talk about having the opportunity to be the guy that closed them out?
ANDY PETTITTE: You know, just what an opportunity. That's really the only way you can look at it, to be able to hopefully pitch the game that will bring a 27th world championship to this organization of this city, it's what we set out to do. I've had the opportunity to close out -- be able to pitch games the previous two rounds, and it's exciting. Like I've said all the way through it, I just feel very fortunate to have this opportunity, be on this team with a great group of guys and hope I can throw a great game for us tomorrow to give us a chance to be able to win another championship.

Q. Two of the best games you've pitched in the World Series were both on short rest, Game 5 in '96 and Game 2 in 2003. What do you remember about those? And at this time of year do you just forget the whole short rest thing, it's the last week of the season and this is your last game of the season and just let it all hang out?
ANDY PETTITTE: Oh, yeah. I mean, again, it's just -- for me it's just not even -- it's not even a concern. I don't know how I'll feel. I know I felt terrible the other night and I was on six days' rest. I just, you know, am going to go as hard as I can for as long as I can.
Joe prepared us the last month of the season, and I know that -- I talked with A.J. and CC when we went into the post-season, and we talked about this. We talked about a commitment that we were all prepared for this, because the rest that we were able to get down the stretch. Joe put us in a situation where in the back of all of our minds, I think we all felt like -- at least us three starters did, that we were going to try to go, and whatever it took to get there, that we'd be able to do it, because physically how we were all feeling.
Obviously I think I was the concern from the standpoint with my shoulder and stuff like that towards the end of the year. But these other two guys were just feeling like horses and feeling great, and fortunately enough we were able to rest us down the stretch like we were to enable us to do this.

Q. CC was saying that the difference is you don't get that extra day off where you sort of can not worry about what's coming up and just relax. Is that the concern -- not the concern, but is that the difference for you, that you don't kind of get that day off, or is it more of a physical concern?
ANDY PETTITTE: I would say for me right now, it would be just a little bit of both. You know, whenever I'm just looking at preparing for the game. Just because I know mentally how focused I have to get for these games just because I know how good my command needs to be, and I know the place that I've got to get as far as mentally to have that kind of command. For CC it's a little bit easier because he's throwing so much harder and stuff, it's so much better. But physically for me, it obviously is a little concern, just seeing how my body is going to feel on that short rest, because I'm just not sure at my age or whatever.
And also mentally, that was a grind for me the other night. But again, you prepare for this. I've been resting the last few days, and I feel like I've had the time off that I need, and mentally I'll be able to get in the place I need to. I mean, I'm hoping for that.

Q. Speaking about adjusting to the hitters and focusing on the hitters, what are you doing in particular, what's the whole staff doing to keep Howard down, because he's got three hits and one RBI in the series?
ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I mean, I think we're making some pretty quality pitches against him. I believe it was the first game, Cee left a few balls in the heart of the plate, and he hit them hard. And I don't think that there's been a whole lot of balls left in the middle of the plate there for him to hit.
So really, that's it. When you see a guy, especially as hot as he was coming into a series, we're just not giving him a whole lot of balls in the zone to hit. If we have left a couple in the zone, we've been fortunate enough to get him out. He's missed them, popped them up or whatever. But it's the same old story. Been able to get ahead of him pretty much and expand the zone a little bit, and when you're able to do that, you're going to get a lot of guys out. That's the biggest thing is, I just think that we've been making some pretty good pitches against them.

Q. How important is it to keep this guy down in the perspective of winning one of the last two games of the series?
ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I mean, it's very important. We'll continue to have to make pitches, good pitches to him, or he's going to hurt us. We need to pitch better to Utley. Obviously he's gone off and he's hit the ball well and has hurt us with the long ball the last few games.
For me I need to make better pitches to Werth. The last couple games I made some mistakes to him, balls that I left right in the middle of the plate, and that's just -- if you leave balls in the heart of the plate to these guys, they're going to hurt you. You know, that's why they're where they're at. I mean, they're not missing the balls that we're leaving in the plate.
For me the whole lineup is a concern. I mean, I'm serious, I don't focus just on one guy. From one to nine, I know that anybody in that lineup is able to hurt me, and if I walk guys and somebody pops a double down the line or something, it changes the games. I don't let my guard down, whether it's the lead-off hitter or the No. 9 hole hitter, really.

Q. Just following up on what you said before, you said you felt terrible last game. Was that more physical, was it more your location, was it your stuff? What exactly didn't feel right for you?
ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, like I told you, I just couldn't get the ball where I wanted it to go. Mechanically I felt a little bit off, just a click off, my release point didn't feel great. Like I told you after the game, it was just a battle to get the ball in and out and move it around like I wanted to. I wasn't hitting my off-speed stuff for strikes like I like to do. When I say that, that's what I meant.
My body and everything felt great physically. I had an extra day's rest. You know, me, as good as I felt the prior three or four games I pitched in the post-season, and my command was so good in those games, I just felt like in my last game, it was just really, really off.

Q. Without your normal between-start work what do you do to try to make sure that is not the case tomorrow?
ANDY PETTITTE: Well, you know, as far as that, I did my little downhill yesterday, which would be the day that I would have normally done it. And then as far as that, you can feel great in the bullpen and feel like you're totally together and go out and feel like you did. I mean, I felt great in the bullpen.
So you don't know how you're going to feel until that batter steps in the batter's box and the adrenaline starts getting going and you figure out where you're at that night. And like I've told you before, you hope that everything is together and you hope it's going to be a fairly easy night. If not, you run into one of the games like I did my last time out, and it's a battle. However long I'm out there it's a battle, every pitch just trying to get the ball where you want it to go.

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