10/17/2004 4:45 PM ET
Woody Williams pregame quotes
Game 5 starter will take the mound in his hometown
Q. Tomorrow you're either going to be pitching to win the series or break a 2-2 tie. Has the importance of your start hit you yet?
WOODY WILLIAMS: I feel every outing I have during the season, every start, every chance I get to go out there and pitch is very important.
But obviously it doesn't compare to the meaning of tomorrow's game, one way or the other. So bottom line, I have to go out there and just do the best I can and try not to make too many mistakes.
Q. You told us the other night when we asked about how many passes you'll have, you said, "I'm keeping it really simple." How do you do that? How do you keep it really simple?
WOODY WILLIAMS: Well, I try to keep it real simple, but then other people had tickets available. So yesterday it ended up being 51, believe it or not.
So tomorrow I think there's a few, so it's hard because my family's so big and most of those are just family members.
Q. You saw, I believe it was Beltran yesterday, hit the ball off the end of the bat that almost went out. Does that short porch in leftfield at all, is that in your mind at all?
WOODY WILLIAMS: Not really, just the fact that both teams have to pitch in the same ballpark, both lineups get an opportunity to hit here, too. I think one thing is very important, you have to pitch inside and make sure some ballparks you can get away with it; they're a little bit bigger out there, on the opposite field from the hitters. Here you have to make sure you pitch inside.
Q. To the left?
WOODY WILLIAMS: Either way, I believe. I believe rightfield is not too much further than leftfield, to tell you the truth.
Q. You've played in postseason before, but this is the first in your hometown. How hectic has it been? How much has your phone rung?
WOODY WILLIAMS: So far it's been a lot of fun. I think people are being very respectful. During the season everyone's excited but I think everyone knows the importance of these games. It hasn't been that hectic for me. I don't know, you can ask my wife. She may give you another answer.
Q. What's been the most personal series you've been involved with? A lot of people talk about Yankees and Red Sox. Some people have said things have been so personal it's out of hand. Have you been involved in your career in a personal series where it's not just competitive, but it's really personal?
WOODY WILLIAMS: I think one of the most personal is the Chicago Cubs, just for the fact that we play each other so many times, like we did the Astros. It's been a love-hate relationship between the two cities for a long time, and for so many years in the Midwest there was only two teams. You're either a Cubs fan or Cardinals fan.
It gets heated up pretty much throughout the whole season.
Q. Backe had to go through a transition going from a position player to a pitcher. You went through that. What were some of the transitions you went through, some of the difficulties in making that switch?
WOODY WILLIAMS: The hardest thing for me, coming out of college, I played all the time. But with him, he did it at the Minor League level. So I think he got accustomed to how professional ball was. For me, it was hard for me to sit there and just pitch once every fifth game. I think that judging by the way he goes about how he pitches, the way he cares about his offensive part of the game, I think that's the one thing that may eat him up or he'll have to learn to deal with more than anything.
Q. You know Jason's (Marquis) game very well. What should we look for today in terms of whether or not his game plan is working facing a really tough offensive club like Houston?
WOODY WILLIAMS: With him, his main pitch is his sinker. It sets up everything else. Speeds the hitters up, makes them more aggressive.
For him, he has to pitch on both sides of the plate with his fastball and make sure he keeps it at the bottom of the strike zone. We all get hurt when we get elevated. His game is down in the strike zone the entire time, not try to get swings out of the zone up.
Q. Is that more important here in this park?
WOODY WILLIAMS: I think for him it's important everywhere. Obviously, when you pitch in the bottom of the strike zone and guys are constantly seeing it there, when you do make a mistake, chances are you get away with a little bit more.
If you're always pitching thigh high to waist high, you're not going to get away with much.
Q. This atmosphere here, how bold can your 51 passes be in rooting for you tomorrow?
WOODY WILLIAMS: I believe they're just a drop in the bucket, but knowing they're in the stadium and rooting for me, it's going to feel good and it's going to be a lot of fun to pitch in this atmosphere. I know it's big for the city of Houston. It's just nice, as a resident of the city, to see how the city has backed them.
Q. Tomorrow will be the 11th time you'll play each other in a little over a month. For you as a pitcher, how does that complicate your situation?
WOODY WILLIAMS: In a sense, when it's a team in your division, you play so many games against one another with the interleague play and the unbalanced schedule, it's kind of a cat and mouse deal where I know what they want to do, their strengths or weaknesses, and they know exactly what I throw and what I try to do.
So it's my job, and it's a difficult task, of staying one step ahead, and if I'm not out thinking them, I have got to make sure that I do locate my pitches very well.
Q. I wanted to follow up on the rivalry thing. Does that make the baseball better, or would you rather have a competitive series, but it's not historic, it's not passionate, it's baseball?
WOODY WILLIAMS: I think we're all, no matter who we're playing, passionate about the game and what's going on.
To answer your question, sometimes it's a lot of fun because a 162 game schedule, your thoughts and everything build up, and all of a sudden you can release everything and then start all over again.
Sometimes it's good, but sometimes it does take away from the game. It's a shame that sometimes it has to get like that.
Q. Your manager comes in here, we never ask him about himself. What are your thoughts on his style, the way he communicates with you guys?
WOODY WILLIAMS: Well, with me, I kind of know where I stand; I know what he expects of me. I think he puts a lot on my shoulders, which I don't mind.
I think with him, he's very determined. You can see that in his face, and the way he answers questions and the way he goes about his business. He's put a lot of time in to prepare us for each and every series. This is no exception.
I know he's behind us, he backs us, and he expects nothing but the best from us.
Q. You've played for a lot of different managers. Have you played for a guy as intense as him?
WOODY WILLIAMS: Well, Cito Gaston was intense, but he never said anything. I was just afraid of him (laughter).
He knew the game very well. He was very well respected. I think it's two different kinds of intensity there. With Tony, a lot of times he's just like one of the players. He gets excited, he'll jump up. It's funny, like in Chicago, he jumps up, gets excited in the dugout and ends up bumping his head on top since it's so short.
He definitely brings fire to the club.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.