10/12/2004 6:32 PM ET
Brandon Backe, workout quotes
Pitcher talks about being named Game 1 starter
Q. When did you learn what we have been given to understand the order has been flipped and Peter (Munro) was going to pitch Game 2 and you were going to pitch Game 1?
BRANDON BACKE: I learned it about probably 15 minutes ago. Phil (Garner) came up to me and said that I've got Game 1. You know, it gives me confidence that he has confidence in me to take the mound on Game 1. I'm just going to go out there and treat it like any other game I've been pitching in and try to get through that lineup.
Q. How has all the big game experience helped, against the Rockies, the Braves? Phil alluded to that. How has that helped your confidence as a pitcher?
BRANDON BACKE: It's helped tremendously. To be in that situation, those were pretty key games that I was in. It's just experience. It's adding experience to me. I haven't been pitching very long. But just to be out there on the field in situations like that definitely helps to prepare me for this game.
But, like I said, I'm not going to take it any differently than the other games. I'm just going to go out there and do what Brandon Backe can do, and that's it, that's all I can do. And just try to get through the game with as few runs as possible.
Q. What did Phil say to you about switching? When he brought you in and told you that you were starting, what did he give you for a reason?
BRANDON BACKE: There really wasn't a big reason for doing it. I think one of the reasons was to be able to pitch Game 5, if need be, in Houston. I feel comfortable there. The fans are great there. Obviously, the numbers show that I've pitched well there, so I think that has a big reason for me starting Game 1.
Q. You guys won several against the Cardinals, six or seven against the Cardinals to close the season. How much of a boost is that for you?
BRANDON BACKE: It helps out a lot. Like I said, I'm comfortable against this lineup. It's a tough lineup. But, you know, I've pitched against them twice now, been through it, and, you know, I've got a plan. I'm just going to go with it and hopefully get the same result as last time.
Q. Was there any resistance to becoming a pitcher when they first asked you to switch, and are you glad it's worked out this way?
BRANDON BACKE: Yeah, you know, Tampa, they switched me in 2001. They wanted me to go to instructional ball as a pitcher instead of a hitter.
It was pretty disheartening, to tell you the truth. I foresaw myself being in the Big Leagues as a hitter. I love the game of baseball. I love, you know, getting dirty, making diving plays and throwing people out from the outfield. That was my dream.
But, you know, it just didn't work out that way. I'm glad it's happened this way. I'm a pitcher now. I've accepted it. I'm in the National League, though, I get to hit, I get to get on base, run around the bases, burn some energy.
It doesn't matter now. I'm here. I'm in big games. This is what I've been looking forward to my whole life.
Q. Do you think you could have made it as a position player?
BRANDON BACKE: I'm gonna say yeah (laughter). It's probably going to be a lot of people that say no, but I would have worked hard and I would have never quit, I'll tell you that much.
Q. Have you ever made a start on three days' rest before?
BRANDON BACKE: No, I haven't. But I feel good. I think the adrenaline's going to take away any soreness or whatever I have.
You know, the big thing for me, you know, three days' rest, four days' rest, five days' rest, doesn't matter. Just the big thing for me is just to calm my emotions down when I'm out there on the mound to just concentrate on the task at hand, you know, take the challenge for each hitter, don't try and get too ahead of myself, and just do what I can do. I can only do as much as Brandon Backe can do, like I said. I'm going to take it one hitter at a time, one pitch at a time, and see where I can go.
Q. In a lineup of stars, Pujols stood out against the Dodgers. What in your mind makes him so difficult?
BRANDON BACKE: He's a very strong man. He's got lightning fast hands. I think he sees the ball longer than a lot of hitters. That's what makes him a very tough out. Obviously, he doesn't strike out very much. That's one of the reasons why.
It's tough to fool him. It's best if you just go right at him and try and make him hit the ball on the ground and get himself out. It's almost impossible to strike him out and go after him and beat him because he's so good.
But as a pitcher, you can't give him too much credit. Every time anybody is in that box, I think I'm better than them. That's just the way I've got to take it.
Q. What was the hardest thing about making the change to pitcher?
BRANDON BACKE: The days off, not playing, and going back down to the lower levels in Minor Leagues. It really wasn't you know, I felt comfortable once I got on the mound after a year or two. It really didn't matter.
But just wanting to be a position player so bad that making the change to be a pitcher and only playing so many days of the season instead of playing every game, I think that's the toughest part, is to not be out there on the field whether we win or lose, just sitting down and not having any, you know, any say, not being a part of the game at all. That's been the toughest.
Q. Growing up idolizing Biggio and Bagwell, how happy are you that they've gotten to this level and that you've had something to do with it?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, growing up, watching them struggle through the playoffs has been terrible for me as a fan. I cheered them on as much as anybody else when I was a little kid, and, you know, just to have this happen and me being on the team is a dream come true. It's incredible.
Just Bagwell and Biggio, they're a class act. They're two guys that I would tell any young kid to be like them. They are the epitome of "baseball player."
Q. With your yearning to be on the field every day, have you ever told Phil you're available to be a defensive replacement?
BRANDON BACKE: I let him know that I have my spikes on every game. He told me when I first got called back up and I first met him, he said that he heard I was a good athlete and that he may use me as a pinch runner or pinch hitter or whatever. I told him, "Thank you, that's all I want." I want to be there if need be, and, like I said, I've always got my spikes on ready to play.
Q. Everybody talks about the intensity of the Yankees Red Sox. This is another intradivision rivalry. How do you stack up with the intensity between the teams and fans?
BRANDON BACKE: This is going to be a very intense series. We've faced each other numerous times in the season. We've had some words exchanged every now and then. But I think it's going to be a really good series. There's going to be a lot of offense. I don't know the history between the teams, tell you the truth. But just going there this year, I think that it's going to be pretty intense. It's going to be intense with any team in this situation.
So I'm looking forward to having a good series.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.