10/06/05 12:47 AM ET
Pettitte, Biggio, Ensberg interviews
Astros players comment on Game 1 win
By / MLB.com
ANDY PETTITTE: I've done it before, you know. I know it's shocking. It shocked me, I can promise you that. I think in Colorado maybe a few years ago I hit a double. But that was nice.
I was joking around telling Skip the whole game, I mean, I'm just terrible. I hit so bad, I was like "I need a miracle at the plate." I told Biggio, too, and Biggio said, "You got to believe."
It was nice to be able to get that hit, that's for sure.
Could you talk about what it means, what you get out there, and maybe the second part of the question, in a situation, to get your club 1 0 in a short series?
PETTITTE: Well, the offense did a great job. They came out and battled. Timmy (Hudson), I mean, he's a great pitcher. They did a great job of throwing some great at bats at him.
Like I said before, I'm just thankful, I'm thankful I'm here, I'm able to pitch in these games. It's fun for me to be able to pitch in this situation with the pressure of the postseason. I mean, that's what you play the game for, to get here. I had an opportunity to do it an awful lot in my career, and I'm just very thankful I've got an opportunity to do it again with this organization.
Morgan, can you talk about flip flopping with Lance? You were hitting third, now you're hitting fourth, then coming off in big situations and coming through.
MORGAN ENSBERG: Yeah, I mean, whether or not it's third or fourth, it's not really a big deal with me. Today we happened to be batting, you know, like we were probably for five months of the year. I've only been batting third the last month. I think obviously Skip had a feeling, and it worked out.
Andy, did it feel like a long time since your last postseason start? The last one was with the Yankees a couple years ago.
PETTITTE: Yeah, I mean, I guess it did. Again, we've been playing with so much intensity the last it seems like the last two months or so, that it's just going so hard, it seems like we've kind of been playing postseason games a little bit.
But, I still - you know you don't forget that. You don't forget that feeling and how special that is. So it doesn't seem like it's been that long.
Morgan, Craig was in the middle of everything tonight offensively. How much does it help this team that the guy who's been here the longest is getting everything started? How much a lift does that bring?
ENSBERG: I think it's huge. I mean, what Biggio brings to the table I think is intimidation. He goes up there early and he's a guy that can hit a ball in a gap. Obviously he's not afraid to hit a double. So any time those first two guys get on, there's obviously a lot of pressure going on, but it's nice to have a guy who's definitely been there and kind of done that.
Craig, it's hard to get Morgan to talk about himself. Talk about Morgan and what he meant. He kept coming up in tough situations and getting it done.
CRAIG BIGGIO: He had some big at bats today. He's had an unbelievable season. I think he understands what he can and can't do now. He's had one of the best years for a third baseman in the history of our club.
Today, I think in some big situations he went up there, had some quality at bats and drove in some big runs. He had 100 RBIs over the course of a year, it means you're getting the job done. Once again, he did it today.
This is for all three, but first for Andy. This year everybody talked about pitching, pitching, pitching with you guys. For the offense to come out there and do what they did today, how big is that for the pitcher's confidence going in and for the hitters as well?
PETTITTE: I mean, it's huge again. When you feel like you're going to put some runs on the board, it helps. I mean, it helped obviously tonight. You know, I gave up three runs and gave up three runs early. That was extremely frustrating. We had a 4 1 lead, I believe, and, Andruw (Jones) hit the home run. And made it 4 3. You know, put them right back in the ballgame.
Then, you know, the guys fired right back and had the big inning there late. So it was real nice. I mean, tonight for us offensively I think it was just textbook.
Like you all said, Craig was getting on, seemed like they were pitching around Lance (Berkman) a little bit. Man, Morgan, I mean, came up with the some huge hits with two outs, hits. It was just a real good game for us.
BIGGIO: Well, obviously, we know the difference in our lineup this year and last year. I mean, we had five or six guys that had 20 plus homers last year. It's a little bit different. But that's not to say we don't have any power in this year's lineup. But we have to manufacture things a little bit differently. I think today you saw a big part of that. We got some guys on. Obviously, even when Andy hits a double, you move him over. Then you come through, Morgan comes through with a huge hit.
Little bit different. Different look than we had last year. Once again, we understand what we have to do in order to win. When we have those guys, those big three guys toeing it up for us all the time, we have a lot of confidence in that.
Craig, couple things. The double in the third, was that the perfect time to go for two there even though it was a close play, get to second, in scoring position?
BIGGIO: Once again, for us, there's one out in that situation there. Andruw is running a long way, make a backhander, I know he's going to put it on the bag. We were hoping to beat it out. Sometimes you have to be aggressive. That's one thing we've always done here at the Astros, I think we run the bases real well. In that situation there, I think it was just barely made it.
But it was a good risk at the time.
Secondly, did you ever think you'd be bunting Andy Pettitte over after a double?
BIGGIO: Let me tell you what, the biggest fear you have as a hitter is seeing him or big Rocket out there at second base. No, he's great, did a great job.
Not letting Lance beat them, they walked him a couple times, the intentional walk. Can you talk about the five RBI in the game, when they wanted to get to you and not Lance, then coming through?
ENSBERG: It seems as though the tone has turned somewhat personal, and it's not. They're not trying to get to me per se, I think really what was going on there was they're trying to get a righty on righty matchup, and Lance obviously is an outstanding left handed hitter. He's very dangerous. When you have the option to go after another right handed batter, I think you just do it.
So I think the difference only in those situations, one, is that there's virtually no pressure on me because he's the one that's got to throw the ball over the plate. Two, the second one is you want to put a good swing on a good pitch and I actually got good pitches to hit in those situations.
Without (Carlos) Beltran, without (Bagwell) Bags in the lineup every day, without (Jeff) Kent, this team is not as good offensively, but are you a better team this year than in the postseason?
BIGGIO: I don't know. We're going to find out. Obviously, we had some pretty big bats last year. With that being said, we still got some pretty big bats that are here. We have to manufacture some things a little differently. Obviously, having Willy Taveras, that puts a lot of pressure and a different look than we had last year. Anybody that has a lot of speed, and you have a guy like that coming up there, puts a lot of pressure on the defense.
But this year's team has been pitching and defense. Our lineup isn't all as bad as, you know last year's lineup was great but this year's lineup isn't so bad either.
For all three of you, is it less intimidating in the playoffs pitching and playing in front of a non-soldout crowd like this?
BIGGIO: They're loud no matter what, what they have here. We understand it here. It's very difficult to get wins here in this ballpark. They have a very high success rate here. We're very grateful that we played well today and we're happy with that.
You beat a pretty quality pitcher. Did you feel Hudson was a little bit off his game, or was the game plan just that good?
BIGGIO: I don't know. I think we had some really quality at bats off him. I think last time when we faced him, we didn't have a lot of guys that faced him other than on TV. He pretty much dominated us at Minute Maid. I think today we just had a nice job of having some quality at bats and turned out to score some runs. Once again, we had some guys on and he had, what, two big double plays in the first two innings. Then he helped himself out. He's got good stuff, but I think we did a nice job today.
Do you remember a couple years ago, Andy, against Hudson in the playoffs? Did any thoughts come back to you regarding that?
PETTITTE: No, just going into this game, there's so much being said, I think made with him and John (Smoltz) being switched or whatever. But, man, he's I just knew he was going to be tough.
You know, I was surprised that we put the runs on the board, I mean, I'm not going to lie to you, like we did. Credit to our hitters. He got some big double plays early and got out of some big situations and still kept them in the game. He's tough. His ball moves all over the place. Really, that's all. You know, I just you got a lot of respect for him, I know I do. And don't take him lightly at all.
Long time American Leaguer, how long did it take you to become as proficient as you are with the sacrifice bunt?
PETTITTE: Well, you know, I've been I feel like I've been doing a decent job getting the sac down, and that's really important. Sometimes you'd like to get a hit every once in a while because you've got some teammates who give you an extremely hard time when you can't get on base ever and they're getting hits all the time.
But, the job is to make sure when you have the opportunity to lay a bunt down, that you get it done as far as pitching. And I felt comfortable last year and this year with bunting and just, again, thankful that I was able to, you know as far as when I step to the plate, that's my job, I need to be able to get the bunt down and it's nice to be able to do it when I do it.
Andy, after being, as you said, a cheerleader last year, how gratifying is this for you personally?
PETTITTE: Again, I've said it a thousand times now, just extremely thankful that I was able to, you know, pitch, pitch this season for this organization and be able to help us get to the playoffs, again, because I wasn't able to do that last year.
And then now, just extremely thankful that I'm healthy and I'm able to throw the ball and pitch now in the playoffs.
Andy, you've been blessed with a great career. Has there been a three month stretch as good as this one?
PETTITTE: I guess you start tallying the numbers and what people are telling me and stuff like that, I don't know. I mean, I had a few good years in New York where I went on a good stretch. I don't know if I felt so consistent and felt so comfortable with my mechanics as I have from the beginning of the season till the end of the season. So that's what I would say, is I think it has a little bit to do with the surgery and me just staying within myself and knowing I can't overthrow or I may, you know, aggravate something or whatever.
So that's really been the key to it all, I think.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.