CHRIS CARPENTER: It has not been
brought up and I expect that Jeff is going to pitch
If for some odd reason he comes up to me
and tells me that I'm pitching and it rains out, I'll
take the ball and go out and pitch.
Your last start you struggled, is
there a fatigue effect at all this time of year?
You have a lot of innings.
CHRIS CARPENTER: No, I felt good. I
struggled with command, which is the biggest key,
and obviously not only in this situation, but in any
situation all season, if you struggle with command,
throwing balls in the middle of the plate and don't
throw strike one and don't get ahead of the hitters
you're not going to be successful. I was able to
throw my breaking ball for strikes during that game,
so I'm looking forward to another chance, and I
don't expect that to be the case.
Did you figure anything out in your
side day that might help you from a mechanics
CHRIS CARPENTER: No. My mechanics
are fine. You know, again, I feel good. I feel
strong. My stuff's there. The other day I was
pulling an awful lot of balls and just not attacking
the strike zone with my breaking stuff.
I wrote it off as it was one of those nights
that, unfortunately, I wasn't able to throw my stuff
for strikes and hopefully, I plan on the next time,
like I said, not being like that.
Have you ever thought how you
would handle Pujols? Chris, sorry. I
apologize. The second half of that, the reason I
ask, do you even take note when another
pitching staff, in this case the Mets, seems to
have handled him relatively well?
CHRIS CARPENTER: I don't think about
how I pitch to Albert because I don't have to as of
right now. You know, again, Albert is probably the
best hitter in the game, there's no question about
But if you make pitches, there's going to
be times if you consistently make pitches that
you're going to be able to get him out. He's
human, you know, and these guys have been
making a lot of quality pitches against him.
The only thing I've noticed is that a little bit
of pitching backwards, where they are slow early,
hard late, throwing a lot of pitches out of the strike
zone when they get ahead. Albert has been trying
to do what he can to help this club, and you know,
he's got his hits. He's hitting three something or
whatever and just hasn't been up in that situation
where he could drive runs in.
I think that, you know, he has done a good
job of, in the key situations where he has had the
ability to drive a run in, to not give him anything
good to hit.
What's going through a pitcher's
mind when you don't know if he's going to start
the game or what time, when you turn off the
adrenaline, how do you prepare mentally for
something like that?
CHRIS CARPENTER: For me, I can't
speak for Jeff, but obviously Jeff's been through a
couple of situations already this post-season. He
got rained out the first game and there's a
possibility he's going to get rained out a second
For me, you're continually, you've got to
stay focused all the way up until they say it's over.
And to be honest with you, you go home, and for
me, I start getting prepared the night before, I start
thinking about my plan and what I'm going to do.
I'm going over hitters in my head. It's just basically
a nonstop process. You're continuing all the way
up until this game is going to be played or not
going to be played, and then if it's not going to be
played, it's a continuing process of getting ready
for tomorrow night. And Jeff's a professional guy,
and obviously he handled it well the first time, and I
believe he's going to handle it well again this time
Just a question on your breaking
ball: In San Diego when you had that masterful
game and you were able to drop the ball over
the plate, what happens from start to start that
you can locate a pitch that well in one game
and two starts later you can't?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Mechanics. I
mean, I was pulling off the ball the other night. I
was cutting balls off and not finishing my pitches. I
was trying as hard as I could to figure out a way to
get myself to fix it. And unfortunately, it was one of
those games, and I had a few this year, that
everything I tried wasn't working for me.
You know, you go back, I believe every
time I go out there that it's going to be there and
I'm going to be able to do it. When it doesn't
happen, you try to make adjustments pitch to pitch
and hitter to hitter, and I was trying to do that all
night long and I wasn't able to do it.
But, you know, I felt good on my side, and
I felt good playing catch, and I believe that it's
going to be there this time, too.
Can you just for the layman out
there just explain what pulling off the ball is.
CHRIS CARPENTER: Well, it's just not --
it's finishing, finishing to the side, you know.
Normally you want to finish --
CHRIS CARPENTER: Straightforward,
going into the glove, going into the catcher. You're
finishing your hand to the glove. I was, my front
shoulder, my head, everything was going, basically
slinging balls in there. You try to get locked back
in, keeping your head still and getting on the mitt
and getting on the catcher, and I was able to do it.
The two Carloses for the Mets have
been cutting a wide swath through the
post-season. What special challenges do each
of those guys pose? And they seem to be
covering both sides of the plate right now.
CHRIS CARPENTER: Obviously, you
know, I've seen Carlos Beltrán play when he was
in Kansas City. I played against him there when I
was in Toronto and I saw him play against us when
he came over to Houston, and obviously did some
damage when he was there. There's a reason why
he's an MVP candidate and hits 40 homers a year
and drives in a bunch of runs and does the things
that he does. He's a great player and a great
hitter. He's a guy that you've got to move the ball
around and really make pitches, and he doesn't
miss mistakes and if you make a mistake he's
going to hit it.
Carlos Delgado is the same way. I played
with him in Toronto. These two guys are great.
They do a great job of driving in runs and
especially in key situations. The two games that
they have won, they have hit some homers. You
know, the first night, Beltrán hits the homer to win
the game. Carlos does damage against me with
the home run ball. But fortunately we were able to
score runs to come back. Obviously Game 3 there
was no homers. We kept guys off base. We kept
that damage control down where if Carlos or
Carlos run into one, it's a solo homer and it might
not hurt you. Unfortunately last night, that wasn't
the case. You know, you're getting first and
second and bases loaded and you get those guys
in those situations where you can't be as careful.
You've got to be aggressive and make pitches, and
all of a sudden you leave one over the middle of
the plate and they do damage.
You had said before your first start
in the series that you had stopped throwing
side sessions for last several weeks, and I
guess you threw a side session this time. You
talked about saving bullets as a reason. How
do you balance the need for the side session
with what you said about saving bullets?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Well, the reason
why I threw this side session, I'm not going to get
into big detail about it, there was one thing I
wanted to work on, and there wasn't an extensive
session. It was just something that I wanted to get
up there and work on a little bit and I got my work
in and did that.
Don't get me wrong, I mean, you know, the
last month of the season, there were times where I
threw sides. You just pick and choose, you know,
where you're at. Like I said before, where you're at
and how you feel and what you think you need to
work on. If there's something you think you need
to work on, you do it, and if you don't, you relax
and skip it. That's not just an opinion of mine, it's
an opinion of Dunc's, too. When we talk about
what I want to do and what I need to work on. If
there's a reason to go up there on the mound and
throw -- a lot of times I get up there and I get
focused so much that I maybe throw a little bit too
much, so I'm better off not doing it at all.
One of the old baseball wisdoms is
that in a series, the second time a pitcher faces
a team, it kind of favors the hitters, I'm not sure
it's true. Do you buy into that, and if so, how
do you counteract that?
CHRIS CARPENTER: I don't buy into it. I
think that you have to go out and execute your
game plan and execute pitches. No matter who
you're facing and what you're doing, I mean, it's
called pitching. That's what you do. You have to
go out and you have to make pitches. And if you
make pitches, you're going to have some success,
no matter -- it happened with me in San Diego. It
happened my last three starts before the series,
my last three starts of the year, I had to face San
Diego at home here and I had to face them twice in
the playoffs. Obviously they got me here, and then
the two times in San Diego, or the time in San
Diego or the time here in the playoffs, I got them.
You execute pitches.
I wasn't able to execute pitches the other
night. I wasn't able to execute my game plan and I
got beat. If you go out there and execute pitches
and execute your game plan and do things that a
pitcher is supposed to do, and that's pitch, off
balance, back and forth, both sides of the plate,
up-and-down, things like that, you're going to have
success no matter how many times you face them.
How does Delgado's ability to hit for
power and to hit really well to left and
left-center affect the way that you pitch to him?
CHRIS CARPENTER: It doesn't affect it at
all. Like I said, I've seen Carlos for a long time and
he's been doing that since I got called up in '97 and
before that. He's a phenomenal hitter, and you've
got to go out and make pitches. If you make
pitches, you have a chance. If you don't -- the
balls that he's hit are balls that are up and away
and balls that are in the middle of the plate, and he
did it off me. The two homers he hit off me, I was
trying to throw a fastball in, and I left it in the
middle thigh-high. Guys that hit 40 homers and
drive in 100 and some runs every year don't miss
Second time I was trying to go the other
way, left it out over the plate and he got it. That's
what makes him a good hitter. If you make good
pitches and execute what you're supposed to be
doing, you have a better shot. Not saying he's not
going to get you, because he can do that, too.
They hit good pitches, too, but you have a better
shot if you make good pitches.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.