10/11/05 5:13 PM ET
Andy Pettitte workout day interview
Astros pitcher talks about facing the Cardinals in the NLCS
By / MLB.com
ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, I'm feeling better, a lot better.
That was a rough day for me. They sent me home and I went home, fell asleep and woke up in about the 7th inning and saw that we were losing 6 1 I think and was like, oh, gosh, I've got to somehow, some way get ready to pitch tomorrow in Atlanta. So got up, got moving around and tried to get some blood going in my shoulder, played a little catch.
About the 16th inning, after making several calls in anywhere from the 9th inning there to the 16th inning, calling them, do y'all want me to come back up there? I think I might be able to throw if you need me to. Ended up going back up there in the 16th inning when Roger went in and just started to get my uniform on and stuff and heating up just to give them an option. Berky hit the home run and threw my street clothes on and left, so that was my day.
Did you play catch at home?
PETTITTE: Yeah, just at home.
Can you talk about how much it means to pitch in this series after missing it last year and how you and Chris Carpenter both being here changes the dynamics of the series?
PETTITTE: Well, I mean, it's definitely special. Again, when I signed with the Astros, this is what I hoped that I would be able to help the organization do is get past that first round of the playoffs.
Like I said a million times before, last year they did it without me, and hopefully this year I can help us get past this round now.
You've had a lot of success this season against the Cardinals; what do they do to have more success against you? How do they approach you?
PETTITTE: I don't know. I think I've pitched decent. I don't think I've won I don't even know if I've won a game against them and that's really all that counts, really is try to get some wins.
So they have got a great lineup, and you know, you just try to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate. I hope they don't have anything or they haven't figured anything out, and I just hope I can continue to make good pitches, quality pitches against them because they are a tough team to face up and down the lineup so that they have got some really good hitters.
Do you think there's any less pressure pitching in the post season in Houston than there is in New York, and I guess the B part of that is when you saw the Yankees lose last night, did you kind of feel for some of the guys there and the kind of hell that you have to go through in New York when you don't win the World Series?
PETTITTE: Well, I definitely I don't know. I mean, there's still a lot of pressure. Really the pressure that I've ever really felt any time is just come from myself. I can honestly say, maybe besides the first post season with the Yankees or the second when we won the World Series in '96, you know, how badly you wanted to win, for on organization, for the city. That's kind of where I'm at right now, just the pressure of just I want to help this team take that step to get into a World Series and like I said, for the organization and for the city, it's extremely important to me. That's where all the pressure that would come from on me is coming from is that.
I've been there, I've done that. I want to help this team do it now, this organization do it and be a big part of that, it's very important to me.
The other part of your question, you know, it seems like I know it's only been two years, but it seems like I'm so far removed from New York now, it just seems strange. I don't guess maybe feel quite as sorry for them I guess as maybe I did last year when I saw them lose four games to Boston. I knew Anaheim was going to be a real tough series for them, they had a real good ballclub.
How important is it to have you and Roy and Roger lined up, full rest, to go the first three games in this series?
PETTITTE: Well, I mean, we were lined up. I think Skip said, it's lined up like he'll line it up and even if we wouldn't have had a Game 4 or whatever, I mean, it's important, and I think that we feel good about that.
Again, you just don't know, you don't know how everybody is going to pitch. You've just got to go out there, the post season is so emotional, you know, and I just look at the last series, Hudson, the game that he started against me in Game 1, and then came out and said, he was over amped for it. His ball usually moves like it did the other day when he pitched. He was incredible in that Game 4.
You know, you just don't know what you're going to get when you get out there. You're just controlling yourself and controlling your emotions and as a starter that's the big thing that you have to do.
You spent a lot of time with Joe Torre in New York, and now two years with Phil Garner, can you compare their managerial styles?
PETTITTE: Over the years there in New York, it changed so much I felt like, because when we first started the run there that we had, it was more small ball. Then it seemed like we started going a little bit more to the power lineup a little bit more and a few more power hitters in the lineup and stuff like that.
Here, it's small ball and that's just the way we're going to play and we're going to try to be more aggressive on the bases and running a little bit more and stuff like that. You know, I think with Phil we hit and run a lot more than we did in New York and stuff like that. It's just a totally different style. The game in the National League is just so different.
If you had to try and find a reason why you guys started the year struggling so badly on the road, and what evolved after that to the point where you guys kind of changed things on the road, what would it be?
PETTITTE: I really have no idea to tell you the truth. I mean, it was it was a nightmare. You couldn't dream that we would ever have lost as many games as we did on the road. I think at one time we had only won like two out of 22 or 23 games, I believe, and that's just unbelievable.
You can say young guys, you know. Lance wasn't in the lineup obviously at that time I don't believe. But still, you wouldn't think you could be that bad, even with the young guys and stuff like that.
I would just say, I think it's kind of a rut that we got into. I think that we started pressing some of the guys on the road, started pressing a little bit. That might have been a little bit to do with the younger guys and stuff like that. But then all of a sudden we got on a bit of a run and started feeling good about things and that just carried over throughout the rest of the year.
Do you see any or many differences between the Astros and Cardinals, or are the teams pretty similar?
PETTITTE: I'd say we're pretty similar. I would say that their lineup, throughout their lineup, they probably have a little bit more power I would say. I mean, they are the I would have to say that they are the team to beat in the National League. They won the pennant in the National League last year, they won more games I believe this year than anybody else in the National League this year. They are going to be a tough it will be a tough battle for us to win this series.
We feel good about it, though. We feel good about how we're playing. We feel great about the team, I know we've got a lot of young guys and we don't have this and we don't have that, but we've been battling and we're just excited to be here and we feel real good about what we can do in this series.
You started Game 1 against Atlanta, got the win, got the series off on the right foot for the Astros, how do you feel about being cast in that position to try to start out and put your team out with an advantage early on?
PETTITTE: Well, I'm thankful for it. You know, again, really more than anything, like I said, I think last year was so humbling for me to realize that because over the years, I've had problems, and I've just continued to pitch through it. And so to have something just pitch with it and then it just totally pitch with it until I can't pitch any more, basically, it was very devastating for me, because like I said, again, I signed with the Astros to try to help them get to the playoffs.
Last year was very devastating for me, so more than anything, I'm just very thankful to be here, that Skip has shown the faith in me that he has and throwing me right out to start these series off. I'm just glad that I'm able to do what I feel like this organization brought me over here to try to help them do.
Do you guys ever sit on the bench and say, "Geez, I wonder why Phil did that," and then all of a sudden it works? It seems to be amazing sometimes these type of things work.
PETTITTE: Yeah, I'd be lying if I didn't say, sometimes you scratch your head and say why. You do that, I think no matter who the manager is, even in New York, like I say, I've done that. But I think he's kind of he goes with his gut and that's something that I know Joe did a lot, just goes with his gut feeling. You live with the consequences of that. You're the manager and you're the one that has to do it.
He's in that position and I think that's the best way to manage to tell you the truth. You just go with your gut feeling and do what you feel is right at that time.
One year ago, what was the status of your elbow? Was it just a mess at that point? Had you just had surgery? One year ago where was your elbow and what kind of shape was it?
PETTITTE: As far as when I was pitching?
At this time last year when you were hurt?
PETTITTE: At this time last year I had already had the surgery. So it was, from what the doctors told me and our team doctors and Dr. Andrews, you're going to have rehab, six months, and you should be good. Maybe coming out of spring training a little slow and maybe starting the season a little late, but that was how your rehab goes, how hard you work and stuff like that.
Obviously I was able to start the season. But it was rocky roads, you know. I've come a long way from there. I had a tear there in my flexor tendon and it happens to pitchers and Dr. Andrews fixed me up and I've been good to go.
It is a rematch from last year, but starting with yourself and Carpenter, there's a lot of different looks to both teams, can you talk about how the Astros fought through all of the changes to get back here?
PETTITTE: Just a great job by our guys, our younger players that had to fill in, from Willy coming up from AA and being our lead off hitter all year long and what an amazing job he did. You know, Lane getting in there and being able to play every day. Again, Chris Burke playing and kind of a platoon role. Just Morgan after the last year he had, the monster year he had. We had a lot of guys that had to fill in and they did a great job for us.
Our bullpen was just phenomenal this year. That's such a huge part of the game and that was such a huge part of what we were able to do was the bullpen. Obviously we had good starting pitching. But just everybody was just doing a great job, Rodriguez coming in and pitching well for us, Zeke when he came in, just a great job from our minor league system, with guys coming up and helping us to get to this spot. I feel a lot of them have gained experience from this year and guys from last year have gained some experience and they feel a lot more comfortable this year at this time of the year than we did last year I believe.
Among the great lineups you've faced in post season all your career, where does this one with their weapons stack up?
PETTITTE: I mean, it's hard for me to start running stuff through my head because over the years it's been a lot since I've been pitching. I mean, they have a good lineup. I don't know if it would compare to some of the lineups I had to face in the American League back early in my career. I'm just throwing like Cleveland's lineup and stuff like that out there early on, but they are a great team. It's going to be just like any other it's going to be any other lineup that I would go in to face. You try to keep the guys at the top of the order off the bases so the guys in the middle of the order don't do too much damage against and you try to make quality pitches, move the ball around the strike zone and don't walk guys and hopefully you'll be successful and you're going to have, through the course of the game, you're going to have a couple of innings where you've got to make some big pitches and you've got to make some big pitches to get out of big jams. You know that going in and you just hope that you can weather those storms when they come.
You seem to be touching around this a little bit, personally; what's the best pleasure you get out of pitching in the post season and maybe what's the biggest burden about the post season?
PETTITTE: Probably the biggest pleasure is just you know how hard you've worked all year and then the off season and you have like that, you train to try to get to this point and to still be strong and stuff like that. So really just all the work that you put in all year long, that's the biggest pleasure I think is just being able to get there. You put all that work in to get to the post season and try to help and you're able to do that. So you're just kind of like satisfied with that.
Also just again like I said before, for the guys that have never been here and have the opportunity to experience all of this stuff, just it's a pleasure for that.
And then the burden would just be concerned with not being able to pull it off and being right here, being so close and not being able to get it done, not being able to let our town, this organization experience the opportunity or the feeling of going to a World Series.
Again, I've been able to do it, I've been able to do it a lot of times so, it takes a whole lot to excite me. That game the other day excited me a lot and that was something special and we hope we've got something special going here and hopefully we can get this done.
When you left New York you knew you were leaving a team that was in the post season virtually every year and it has continued to go without you, does being here now help convince you that it's worked out for you?
PETTITTE: Well, I mean, even if I wouldn't have made it to the post season with the Astros or whatever, I was extremely satisfied. I just felt like I put everything in God's hands. That's the way I live my life and I just felt like, he's going to put me where he wants me at. That's the way I was going with that.
This is just an extra bonus for me to be able to come here and to help out and see the organization do what they did last year even without me being healthy and then being able to help out now this year getting to the post season. But you're going to be disappointed, that's what you play for is to get to the post season. When I signed with the Astros, I signed with them because I thought they were a team that could get to the post season and be successful. I didn't sign with them thinking I was never going to get back to the post season. I would never have signed with them if I didn't think they had a good team.
Can you talk about Lance Berkman, he's a bit of a different person, can you talk about that?
PETTITTE: Yeah, he is a bit of a different person, yeah, he sure is. No, Lance, obviously, me and Lance are extremely close. He's been a wonderful person for me to be around and to play on this team with. He doesn't take this game too serious but he takes his at bats very serious. He's just a great hitter. He's a great person, but I've been very impressed with the way he's been able to throw quality at bat after quality at bat in this post season. It's obvious that some of the pitchers were pitching around him a little bit and he was still very patient. He's just a great hitter.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.