10/17/2004 4:29 PM ET
Brandon Backe pregame quotes
Game 5 starter looking forward to pitching at home
Q. You've sort of fallen into the trend of the Astros playing so much better at home. What do you make of that?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, the crowd's here for you. Every positive thing that happens, they're there behind you. You feel like they're your 10th player on the field.
I don't know. It's fun to play here. It just seems better to play here than it is on the road.
Q. Your excitement level was so high last time, you said it drained you a little bit. Have you learned to tame that for this start?
BRANDON BACKE: Yeah, well, I'm going to focus myself on just using my energy on the mound instead of all the other little extra things that I do.
It's going to be tough. You're telling me to hide my emotions, if I'm supposed to do that. But I'm going to try and do a little better, but I've got four days' rest now and I feel pretty good.
Q. You had said earlier you grew up idolizing Bagwell and Biggio. How did they react to that when you told them?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, they just pretty much just gave me a little chuckle, I guess. No words were really said.
But you could see in their faces that I'm sure it makes them feel pretty good to have someone say that to them. I mean it when I say it. I really enjoyed watching them play.
Q. Phil (Garner) was saying Roger (Clemens) talked to you a little bit about some of the things he does between his starts and preparation stuff. The game would be a lot easier if everybody could do it like Roger does, but what did you take from him?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, to make the conversation short, he basically just told me to map out a schedule for the days in between starts, try to get as much rest as you can in between starts. Just mentally preparing yourself for your up and coming start, basically is what he told me.
He told me things that he does and I also told him things that I did and maybe eliminate some of the things I do or add some. So basically, that's what the conversation was about.
Q. How much does enthusiasm, adrenaline level overcome a lack of experience in this kind of situation?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, I don't know. It's just when you watch these games, just being a fan of baseball, we've been playing some pretty good games no matter if it's us against the Cardinals or just to see a good game out there, it's pretty exciting to watch that.
But I don't know. Experience, it comes along with it, if you're just enjoying the game while you're out there and playing it, I don't think experience has that much to do with it.
Q. How does your body feel, how does your arm feel when you're racking up innings?
BRANDON BACKE: Honestly, I feel the same as I did mid season. The adrenaline that you have out there really pumps you up. If you don't really feel any pain or anything like that...
I feel great. My arm, I seem like I'm holding up. My velocity is still the same. When I'm out there, I feel comfortable. I'm actually feeling better because I've gotten that repetition over and over on a made out schedule, that I'm actually feeling more comfortable out there on the mound.
Q. What do you guys find yourself saying about Beltran on the bench when you watch him? And what sort of presence is he off the field?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, there's nothing -- he's on fire right now. I mean, just to have his ability out there on the field is a plus for not only our team but also individually, a pitcher out there, when he's having such a good series. Every at bat there's a chance for him to hit a home run or do something special out there.
Off the field, he's just a class act. I've had talks with him. He's passed some words on to me of the way to play the game. He's taught me a lot even though he's not considered a veteran, but he sure acts like it. He's going to be one hell of a ballplayer.
Q. What sort of advice does he give you?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, just to focus on playing the game for what it's worth. Basically, we had a conversation specifically in Chicago earlier in the year. We were out in centerfield. Five minutes long, basically he was telling me to play the game to be No. 1. Don't play it just to play and see how long you can last; just play the game to be No. 1 and everything will fall in place.
Q. I know you're much younger, but did you ever have a chance to cross paths with Woody (Williams), just being from this area?
BRANDON BACKE: No, I never played against him. No, I never crossed any paths with him other than this year.
Q. If you have a good start tomorrow, do you think Bagwell and Biggio need to include you to be a part of the Killer Bs?
BRANDON BACKE: I don't know. That's a tough classification to fall into, you know (smiling). I've got a lot more years to be classified as a "Killer B." But I'll take being a teammate with the Killer Bs any day.
Q. Not just this start, but any start, do you think you'd take more satisfaction out of striking out 10 guys or getting hits at the plate yourself?
BRANDON BACKE: (Laughing). That's a tough question.
Q. How about three doubles then?
BRANDON BACKE: (Smiling). I'd take 10 strikeouts. That's what I'm here for. I'm not here to hit the ball. Hitting the ball is a bonus.
Although I'd love to have three doubles or three hits in a game, usually if I'm in the game for three at bats, I'm doing pretty good anyway. So I'd rather take the 10 strikeouts, to tell you the truth.
Q. During introductions yesterday, your ovation was almost as loud as Bagwell and Biggio. Were you aware of that, and what does that mean to you?
BRANDON BACKE: I was aware of how loud it was when I ran out there. I was surprised to have it that loud.
But it really hit me when some of the other players mentioned that same statement. It's pretty nice to have fans behind you 100 percent. To be appreciated in your hometown is something to be thankful for.
Q. Have the last couple of days been crazy for you or have you learned just to be able to shut everybody out?
BRANDON BACKE: Ask my mom that question (laughing).
Yeah, I typically don't answer my phone anyways, even mid-season, just to stay focused. Not that I can't stay focused if I answer the phone, but it gets a little hectic sometimes.
But usually I just let the answering machine take care of it and listen to it later.
Q. Getting back to your normal schedule, how has your body responded since the last start?
BRANDON BACKE: I feel great. I threw a light bullpen yesterday. I felt really good. My arm feels great. I'm excited to start tomorrow.
Q. You've pitched, it seems, so much better here. Is there anything specifically you do differently and is there anything you have to do specifically against this Cardinal lineup in this ballpark?
BRANDON BACKE: Well, other than the fact that the fans are behind you, this is a mound that I'm comfortable with. I know how the mound is, the slope, the background behind home plate. Believe it or not, it affects the look of things in different parks.
You just get used to this mound and it's my home. I've got family and friends here I know. Put all that together, I can't see why I wouldn't pitch better here (smiling).
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.