10/16/05 3:26 PM ET
Chris Carpenter pregame interview
Game 5 starter talks about facing Astros again
By / MLB.com
CHRIS CARPENTER: You know, obviously no matter what happens today, tomorrow is going to be a big game. If we win, if we can get the game tomorrow, it puts us up one going home. If we don't win today, it's a must win game or we don't continue to play.
But my approach is going to be the same as it's been every start of the season, and every start of this post season. I can only control what I can control and that's go out and try to make pitches and keep my team in the game and give them a chance to win. So that's all I'm going to do.
What would you say about your post season in general; do you feel like you're back in the groove that you were in in the middle of the season?
CARPENTER: Yeah, I feel good. But each start is a new start, a new game. I can't take anything from last game into this next one except to continue to try to throw strikes down in the strike zone. I feel like my stuff is pretty good and I feel like I was able to control counts and I'm going to try to do that again.
The way your stuff works, you know that the Astros are going to make adjustments. Do you go into it thinking, I may have to do something different, or do you just challenge them and say, hey, you saw what I threw and I'm going to do it again?
CARPENTER: My stuff, when I come out to a game, this is what I've got and this is what I'm going to do. I think that everybody knows that.
The question is execution. I think that's the way that any starter does is goes out and they have their strengths and are going to go out and pitch to those. You know, again, facing these guys, I don't know how many times I've faced them this year, but every game is a new game. They are a quality team that makes adjustments and I've got to be able to keep them off balance again and like I said, keep the ball down. I'm not going to do anything different. If the situation arises, I will.
I think it was Tony that said that after you guys clinched, it was a little bit of human nature that the edge wasn't there, that the focus wasn't there. When you got to your first post season, did you find that it just clicked back on and that the ability to focus under the pressure just came right back?
CARPENTER: Yeah, I felt like I definitely was more focused than I was the last half of the month, the last month of the season.
But that goes by knowing what type of game it is and for me, it was my first post season game of my career and I was looking forward to it, I was excited about it, and once you get that under your belt, the first couple of innings went by and I started relaxing and feeling good and confident in what I was doing and got my legs underneath me and was able to do what I was doing all year. The same thing happened in Game 1 against Houston, too.
How tough of a place is this to pitch in? It's very loud and you have a short porch in left field and seems even closer than it probably is, does that stuff wear on your mind a little bit when you pitch here?
CARPENTER: Again, not really. You can't control anything that happens. You can't control the park, you can't control the wind, you can't control the umps, you can't control the fans. I can't control what my offense does. I can only control what I do.
If I keep that in focus and not press and not be concerned about everything else that's going on, and keep what I need to do in mind, then it's fine.
I actually enjoy pitching here. I think it's a nice place. I like the park. I enjoy pitching here. The mound is good. I mean, everything about it is good. If you start concerning yourself with that short wall in left, the next thing you know, you go away from your game and they have still got to hit it out there. So I don't pitch any different here than I have anywhere else.
You had a couple of bunts the other day and a couple of hits the last week of the season. Can you talk about your progression as a hitter or what a challenge that was pitching in the American League so much and then having a bat in your hand four times a day every time you pitch?
CARPENTER: It's definitely a lot different than when I was in high school, you know. (Laughing) I used to think of myself as I could hit a little bit. But once you come over here and realize how tough it is and the guys that you're facing, the stuff that they have, it's totally different. But I try to work as hard as I can at it because I know that at some point in time during the season, or obviously now in the playoffs, those little things, the bunt, the squeeze, that one game, I think I got us two runs because I did the little things right. And I know that if you do that, and do them successfully, you have a chance to score some runs and it might get you a win.
So I've worked hard all year. I know that I haven't hit well and bunted well and things like that, but I continue to work at it and it frustrates me when I don't get the job done, so I really take it seriously. The question is, trying to get better, and every day I've worked hard at it all year and I feel like I've gotten better at it.
When you talk about not doing things different in this park, is it hard to do when you see something like what happened yesterday, Matt Morris throws a pretty good sinker and Lamb flicks it out of the park; is that harder to do when you see something like that?
CARPENTER: You definitely think about it, but again, there's nothing that I can do about it. That's the things that you face when you come here to pitch. You can't control left field. That's just the way it is.
So if I'm out there concerning myself with, I can't let him hit the ball out to left field, I'm not going to be very successful. You know, I've given up a couple home runs here over that left field wall, and it happens. But you know you've got to continue to focus and continue to pitch and try not to worry about it.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.