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October 17, 2010

Andy Pettitte


Q. Andy, the rest of us are all talking about Andy Pettitte versus Cliff Lee. You can't look at it that way, can you?
ANDY PETTITTE: No, I can't. I've got to look at it as it's really Andy Pettitte just trying to get stuff going. Obviously, like I said yesterday, I'll do my work today, as far as scouting report, start trying to think in my head what I would like to do to some of these hitters to get them out. But then it's can Andy go out there tomorrow and get locked in and get a good feel for his pitches and throw a game that I would like to throw, really.
That's the meat and potatoes of it right there. It has nothing else to do with it. Like I've said in my Minnesota start, I'll be able to control my emotions, I'll be able to handle myself. It's a matter if I can get the body and the release point and everything else going the way I want it to.

Q. Andy, out of all your 19 postseason wins, is there a couple that stick out to you? And could you talk about them a little bit?
ANDY PETTITTE: Obviously there's been a lot of them that stand out. The first one, the one that always comes back to me, because it was just such a big game, I think, is the '96 game against John Smoltz in Atlanta. We were able to win that Game 1-0. That one sticks out to me.
The World Series starts, it seems like they're kind of a bigger platform to them. So those kind of stand out. I think the most gratifying ones sometimes are the ones where we're down in the series, you know? And especially in some of the short series that we lose Game 1 and then it really seems like there's so much pressure on you for Game 2, and to get a win and to be able to go out and pitch so many of those games, especially early in my career to be able to get wins in those games. I guess those, when I look back, helped us get on to the next level or to the next series and be able to win a couple of championships in some of those years. So those have been very important also.
I would say that '96, Game 5, was one that probably stands out the most to me.

Q. Andy, as a left-handed pitcher and someone who has had success in the postseason, what do you see in Cliff Lee?
ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I mean, you see everything that you want to see in a starting pitcher to be successful. He throws strikes. He throws quality strikes. He gets ahead. He changes speeds. And, you know, I think what is separating him from any other pitcher right now is really his cutter, how late it is. I think when you -- maybe people talk about him, whatever, he doesn't have dominating stuff. People will say whatever. That cutter has to be pretty dominating. It has to be moving extremely well for guys to have such a hard time handling it. I think at this stage right now that's what's separating him from everyone else is to be able to cut that ball like he's doing to both sides of the plate. It has to be moving extremely late for guys not to be able to get their barrel on it the way they're not doing.

Q. Andy, you spoke a minute ago about maybe feeling a little bit more -- I don't know if pressure, but that the games where you guys are down in the series and you pitch, those stand out. How does it compare when you guys are tied in a series? Is there less pressure? Is it different? How does that compare to pitching in a game when you're already down?
ANDY PETTITTE: I mean, at this stage in my career, really, and again I'm not trying to downplay the importance, there's really not a whole lot that's going to bother me as far as if we're down two, up two. All the games are so important. I mean, we were up two in the series against Minnesota last year in the Division Series, and I felt like Game 3 was extremely -- you don't want to give anybody any momentum. So I put as much emphasis on going ahead and hopefully wrapping that game up and trying to get locked in as I would if it was a Game 5 of the Division Series.
It's an important game. It's extremely important. We have home field advantage right now. We're back home. So you want to win. You want to get off on a good foot that first game here at home. It's an important game for us.
These guys won the last one. We want to get that momentum going back on our side and try to keep it rolling over here on our side in the right direction. That's for sure.

Q. Andy, are you almost happy that Lee is getting all this attention? I don't want to say you're flying under the radar. It seems like most of the attention is focused on him. Are you almost happy about that?
ANDY PETTITTE: Really, it doesn't matter. Whatever. I'm pitching tomorrow night. I'm pitching for the New York Yankees. So I'm happy about that. I feel like there's not a whole lot of attention that I get anyways. It's been like that kind of my whole career. I guess I can say I'm used to that. It's always maybe the other guy that's going to get that. That's totally fine with me. I'm not a guy who likes a lot of attention. I'm kind of uncomfortable with a whole lot of attention. I want to go out and do my job. Give us a chance to win that ballgame. I've been blessed and fortunate enough to be able to play in this organization with a lot of great teammates that have been able to help me do some of the stuff I've been able to do in my career. That's kind of the way I look at it.

Q. Andy, the lineup, they have speed, they have a lot of right-handed bats, they have power. What are the challenges they pose to you specifically?
ANDY PETTITTE: They do. They have a really good lineup. They have a tough lineup. But it's the same old story like I've said. I've said it in Minnesota. It's just really important to keep the guys at the top of that lineup off the bases just in case you run into some trouble with the meat of their lineup. It's important to keep these guys in the ballpark because they do have some power in their lineup.
So those are just some of the problems that they present. But they've got depth up and down their lineup. They have some strong hitters down at the bottom of their lineup that can give you trouble.
But, again, it's no different than any other game. You just -- there's more attention paid to it. I'll pay as much attention to the number 9-hole hitter as I will the lead-off hitter or the 4-hole hitter. Just because everything is so magnified in these games.
That's just going to be the key for me, is going to be able to go out there and hopefully get my location where I want it to be, to be able to change speeds like I want to. Like I said in my start against Minnesota, if I don't do that, I won't be successful. If I do do that I think I will be successful. That's kind of the keys to being able to get a good start tomorrow.

Q. Andy, they're really aggressive on the base paths. How do you slow down and stop them from running, particularly with you having such a great pick-off move?
ANDY PETTITTE: They are. We'll mix up some stuff. I'll obviously vary my delivery times and mix in some slide-steps and stuff like that. Hopefully you can take advantage of some of that aggressiveness also. We're not handicapped out there as far as when we're out there and I have the ball in my hand. Hopefully we can get those guys being aggressive out there and do some stuff ourselves to maybe take advantage of that.
It's all -- as far as that goes, it's up to me to make sure that I'm quick to home when I need to be quick, and don't let those guys run too much. If they do, give Jorge a chance to throw them out.

Q. Andy, you mentioned that your success tomorrow will be predicated on location and if you can find your release point and that sort of thing. You said the same thing before your start in Minnesota and pitched very well. Do you feel you found anything in that start that will make it easier to find it again tomorrow, or does the last start have no influence on tomorrow?
ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, you know, unfortunately that last start I don't think will have any impact on tomorrow, really. It's been 11 days, I believe. It will be my 11th day. So, again for me, that's a little bit of length. So you are kind of concerned about that. But, again, going in -- I think I told you all, going into my Minnesota start, I never probably felt so unprepared for a playoff start as I did in that one. And I got it -- I got my stuff together.
So I'm just hoping with the playoffs, the intensity of it, the atmosphere of it and just hoping for that good old feeling to click again, that I'm able to get everything where I want it to be.
So to answer your question, I don't think the Minnesota start is going to literally be any carry-over. I hope I feel like I do in the Minnesota start, but having that much time off, you really hope that you go out there and you find your rhythm early in the game and can hold it.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in, Andy.

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