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October 8, 2001

Albert Pujols

Fernando Vina


Q. Albert, with the phenomenal year you've had, how is that going to help you in the playoffs? What more can you do to keep helping your team?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, I am just going to try to help my team the best I can. I think that's why we play all year long, 162 games, to the last 11 games, if you win at all. I don't think I'm going to change anything. If I see a guy on base hitting in front of me always getting on base, it's a situation, it's my job to bring them home. I play 162 games so far and I haven't changed anything, just tried to do the best I can to help my team out to win.

Q. Starting on the road in a short series, facing a team in Arizona, and the pitching staff you have, what do you think your chances are in defeating the Diamondbacks?

FERNANDO VINA: I think we just got to go out and play good baseball, basically, because we know they have real good pitchers, Schilling and Randy, they're the best. We're going to go out there and have a game plan, and I believe we've got a real good offensive team also, so it will be fun to go out there and see what happens.

Q. Albert, when you look back at what happened this year, and the year you had and the year your team had has had, did you have any idea it would turn out this way?

ALBERT PUJOLS: No. I've been really blessed this year. And that's all I can ask, real healthy and good helping me with a great year and helping my team out. Like I say, I always dream about this and my dream has come true so far, I'm right here and I'm going to do the best I can.

Q. Fernando, if you had a choice of facing Randy at game one or Curt Schilling in game one and knowing you had to face that guy twice, which one would you prefer to face?

FERNANDO VINA: Either way, you've got to face both of them. To win, you have to get by the top pitchers. And for me, you know, I'm a competitor. I'm going to go out there and battle, regardless who is on the mound. You want to get to the ultimate goal we have, beating these tough pitchers, teams, period. Either way, I'm just excited about having the opportunity.

Q. Fernando, the fact that you haven't played in a long time, does that have any effect? Does it help the pitcher or hitter more, or does it make a difference?

FERNANDO VINA: I don't know. Both teams have good scouting reports, that's what we have to go by because we haven't seen each other for a long time. Whoever comes out in the playoffs early and plays well, that's what it's all about. In a five game series, anything can happen. We have to go by scouting reports and see tendencies and things of that nature, but it's a whole different ballgame once these playoffs start.

Q. Albert, even before the season people were saying you had the skills to be a solid player. Was it a process of gaining confidence for you as the season went on? And talk about how that happened.

ALBERT PUJOLS: I guess working hard, I got ready in the off season, preseason. I just went to spring training, tried to do by my best, get ready and work hard, like I said they gave me a lot of opportunity to make the club and they gave me a lot of chance to prove what I can do and start with the club and just try to do the best I can and working hard every day. That's the main thing.

Q. Fernando, the playoffs are often about the teams that are hot. Your team has had a lot of challenges this year. Would you talk about the challenges they have faced and how they have faced them and about the character of your team?

FERNANDO VINA: Definitely we've been up and down this year. The first half was tough, we were having tough times. After the All-Star break, we've played the best in the National League, I don't know what the numbers are, but it's pretty close. The grind is so tough, 162 games, but a lot of things happen. We got hot at the right time and we're playing well the last 20 or 30 games, that's big. You can look at that and analyze it and all that stuff, you still have to play well Tuesday, and that's what it all about. The pressure is different, every ball is different. It's a whole new game. You have confidence going because you played well and you see what happens.

Q. Albert, you have never faced Curt Schilling. I'm wondering what hints your teammates have given you on how to face them and how you will approach them .

ALBERT PUJOLS: We haven't faced them, but like Fernando said earlier, we go by the current report or watch the tape of how he has done this year, he had a great year this far. And we just come out there, and like I say, you go out there and see the ball and do the best I can, and don't try to do too much.

End of FastScripts....

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