If you don't mind looking ahead just a little, how you feel about that noon start tomorrow?

PHIL GARNER: Well, if it's for the final game in our favor, it would be all right. I'd prefer it to be a little bit later, but it is what it is. It's nothing really to get all that upset about.

But an hour as a player makes a little bit of a difference. But the bottom line is we've got to be pumped and ready to go no matter what the start time is.

As a manager of a team that plays very, very well indoors in Houston, I'm sure you're happy the roof is closed. Just as a fan, beautiful night tonight, is there a side of you that wishes we were doing this outside?

GARNER: Well, after the rain in Atlanta, we're grateful to have a roof over here, there's no question.

But I think the excitement that's generated when the roof closed is -- far outweighs the beauty of the night if the roof is open. It is lovely when the roof is open and we played with it open a lot in the first few weeks of the season. But the noise level is definitely a factor, I think, that works in our favor.

Why is that?

GARNER: I think there's an energy involved out there. They're cheering for us. It's our team and it's our fans and everybody's cheering for us.

I think the energy that's generated from it certainly works in our favor.

How much of a help is it for Backe to have had postseason experience, successful postseason experience, under his belt as he approaches this Game 4?

GARNER: Well, I think experience is always a little bit of an advantage. Been through the heightened anxieties, heightened state of awareness, the rush that you get from being out there. In his particular case he gets amped up anyway.

So having been able to go through it, succeed from it, I think he learned a little from that. I think we'd all prefer to have somebody with experience when we're going into these big games. Last year was a good experience for him. He pitched brilliant ball for us down the stretch and he pitched perhaps the biggest game of the year last year in Game 5 here, that took it back to St. Louis in a must win situation.

With Backe, the numbers say that he's a different guy in this ballpark versus on the road. Do you see that? I mean, do you see differences in the way he approaches games here?

GARNER: I don't know there's a difference in approach, but there's definitely a difference in what he does. I think he attacks the zone much better here; he has in the past. By that I mean he throws a lot more strikes.

Perhaps the noise level here, with the roof closed, is what gives him a big plus factor, too.

The other thing, I mean, for a guy like him, can the noon start be a good thing because of the energy he has?

GARNER: It's not going to be a factor for him. I don't think it's going to be a factor for the game really. We would just all prefer to be in our routines, and we don't normally get up at nine o'clock and get into a stretching and getting ready to play a game routine. So the noon start's not going to be a factor. It's not going to be an advantage or disadvantage to either team.