STEVE TRACHSEL: Unofficially I guess. It was a postseason game but it was kind of official.
Right. But the two questions I have are, first of all, what do you remember most about that game, and second, you pitched so well in that game, did that give you confidence at all as a "big game" or "post season type pitcher"?
STEVE TRACHSEL: Yeah, I remember lots of things from that game. Obviously, you know, it was a big year for the Cubs. It was the year Harry Caray passed way so the fans were really emotional about that. I remember the big "Harry Caray" balloon hanging over left field and the first inning when I struck out Barry Bonds to end the inning, just the roar from the crowd, I remember all that. I remember Gaetti getting the home run and Rod Beck getting the last out with the little blooper to Mark Grace. That's the only thing I have to compare really to use as motivation and to think about. It definitely helped.
With the rain delay last night and the Cory Lidle tragedy, what's the mindset of the team now getting back out to play baseball tonight?
STEVE TRACHSEL:I definitely think we're focused. I think a lot of guys were definitely shocked with that yesterday, and then there's quite a few guys here that played with Cory, myself included.
It was very shocking, very surprising and obviously our thoughts are with his family. But we're professionals, you find some way to put that behind you, and focus on what you have to do and that's go out there and try to win a ballgame.
Do you guys as a group of starting pitchers have a sense of the responsibility you shouldered, given the injuries, and now the potential of five games in a row?
STEVE TRACHSEL: Not so much. I think what we're trying to do is not make the games bigger than they are and not let them take on a life of their own and just focus on one game at a time and one pitch at a time and keep it as simple as possible. That way it's easier to make adjustments and keep your mind focused on what you need to do.
STEVE TRACHSEL: No, it was a good season. I mean, I look at it from more of a team aspect, Spring Training, we were concentrating on post season and going as far as we could and that's what we talked about the very first week. So our entire team has been focused on that, and we've had injuries all over the place, not just the starting pitching staff and this team has come up big picking each other up when those injuries have happened.
It's unfortunate that we are missing a couple guys in the post season. Obviously it would be a great help. But we cannot linger on that. We have to focus on who we have and what they are capable of doing and use that to motivate ourselves.
As one of the few guys who has been here when things were not as good, what's it like to be in this situation now where you're four games away from being in the Series?
STEVE TRACHSEL: It's kind of like, about time. (Smiling) When I first came to New York, they had just been to the World Series in 2000 and that's the main reason I wanted to come here, and I expected to be in the postseason a number of times already. You know, unfortunately it never happened, but that's why I'm trying to really enjoy this one as much as possible.
I don't know if you've been asked this at all at this point in the post season, but when you take the mound for these games, does it strike you at all that this could be your last start as a Met?
STEVE TRACHSEL: Not really. I haven't really thought about it. It's definitely possible. It was possible last year and it was possible the year before.
So I just kind of block that out and just try to keep it simple and focus on the lineup that I'm given to face and when it's all said and done, the season's over, however it works for us, then, you know, think about all of those other things.
What do you see as the impact of five straight games, either on Tom coming back on three days' rest or the bullpen not getting that break after two games?
STEVE TRACHSEL: I don't really know that it will have an impact. I mean, we've got to really -- basically, we have to see what happens tonight first, and then we can judge what kind of impact it will have on Tom and the bullpen. There are so many variables, it's kind of hard to really think about that at this point.
Given Willy's tendency to pull his starters quickly at any sign of trouble or unfavorable match up; does it liberate you at all to go as hard as you can?
STEVE TRACHSEL: No, the last thing I'm ever going to be doing is looking at that bullpen saying "come get me." I am going to be going as long as I can and as hard as I can.
Knowing that guys are ready to go and now that clearly Willie is being very aggressive?
STEVE TRACHSEL: Everything changes in post season. You have to kind of play it each game and each batter at a time, and the situation that you're faced with dictates what's going to happen.
You know, my focus is simply just executing pitches, and if I do that, then I should be out there for quite a while. You know, score and matchups, those are all very important, and our bullpen has been solid with that all year. We're in a situation where we're leading and it's getting late, you know, I'm definitely wanting our bullpen to be out there because they have been awesome all year.
Is the chemistry, camaraderie on this ballclub as positive as it seems?
STEVE TRACHSEL: Absolutely. Granted, I haven't really been in postseason, but we seem extremely relaxed for what we're going through right now.
You know, it was a lot of excitement in L.A. when we got there. We didn't want to stay there longer than we had to, but you know, again, we're focused on one game at a time and the clubhouse is as relaxed as it's been all year.
Just picking up on that, as somebody who has been here for a long time, how has the team changed and how different is the personality now from when you got here?
STEVE TRACHSEL: It's changed every year. I think talent wise, we've always gotten better each year. The one dynamic we've had is we haven't had the devastating injuries that we have had in the past that have knocked guys out for months at a time. There's a definite relaxation that this team has that other teams haven't, especially in the clubhouse. Can't say if that's the reason for our success, but we go out there and like I said, we keep it simple. If we get blown out, we're able to forget that pretty easily and just concentrate on the next day, and everybody's goal is just to pick up the guy ahead of them if they don't get the job done.
Do we in the media make too much of the impact of a guy like Pujols, or is he the guy, the kind of guy that keeps you up at nights?
STEVE TRACHSEL: I wouldn't definitely say he would -- he's an impact player. When you look at their lineup, he's obviously the guy that stands out. But again, he's the one guy in the lineup, if you focus all your attention on him, the other eight are going to kill you.
So you focus on him when he's at the plate, and after that, you have to just kind of let it go and focus on Edmonds or Rolen or whoever is behind him. If you're thinking about a base hit that Pujols got off you, next thing you know someone is going to come off him and drive him in and then you're really in trouble.
Last week you talked a little about how there's a greater depth to your relationship with Willie this year. Can you expand on that a little bit and I think I saw you talking with him after the game on Saturday night and what that exchange was like?
STEVE TRACHSEL: I mean, last year for me was pretty tough with the rehab from the surgery and then when I did come back, there was a lot of uncertainty about when I was going to pitch and all that.
So we talked a lot last year, but it was kind of strange because I felt like I wasn't pitching as much and it was just kind of a situation where we really didn't know what my role was going to be when I came back. This year started in Spring Training, just kind of put that all behind us and to be more up front with each other and the support that he's shown me, even though I've kind of bounced around a little bit with days off and all that, he's always been in my corner and I've been in his corner. You.
You know, after the game last Saturday, it was kind of a continuation of that. It was, "Congratulations, you've earned it," and we've both worked hard. Hopefully it's something that maybe will continue in the years to come.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less