Albert, you guys right now have
David healthy and looks like he's getting going.
You've got the two guys behind you healthy
and going well, really as much as we've seen in
a couple of months. How much easier does is
that make your job and how much stronger
does this make that offense when you've got all
those guys healthy and going pretty well?
ALBERT PUJOLS: I won't use that word
"easy," I mean these game is not easy. Definitely
it's good to see those guys like they've been doing
all year. Davey had a great night last night. He's
been hitting great in the World Series. And Jimmy.
I know what my job is and my job is to try to get on
base, to try to create something and help my team
out to win, no matter if there's guys on base or
nobody on base, I just want to try to do my best.
And like those guys, they've got their game plan.
Dave and Dunc and Rolen and Jimmy, they've got
their game plan and they know what to do to help
us win. And they're going to take it out there on
I can't think about what they're going
through, I have to worry about myself and just
make sure I'm ready for the game.
Albert, Scott, I was wondering if
both you guys could compare what the
experience has been this postseason as
opposed to '04 against Boston, just basically
the amount of pressure, the way the games
have gone, any comparisons or contrast
between the two years?
SCOTT ROLEN: To me, you've heard it a
thousand times, everybody talks about being
rushed in '04. And I think that's a mental state
more than it is anything physically when you show
up at the ballpark. I think we celebrated a Game 7
win, which felt like the World Series to us, to go to
the World Series. And when we looked up, we
were down 2-0 and coming back home and facing
Pedro Martinez. So that was what was tough for
I think at that time we played hard, we did
everything we could. I'm not saying we were
complacent by making it to the World Series, but
we had such a rush in winning the NLCS, winning
the pennant, that it crept up on us a little bit and
you're excited to just be there, you're kind of taking
the whole thing in and I think this time through
some guys who had been on that team -- I
personally felt like, hey, we have nothing to lose
right now. Let's go out. Let's play as hard as we
can. Let's play baseball. Let's concentrate on
baseball on the field and not worry about all the
distractions and other things that are going on that
kind of overwhelmed us last time.
ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, I just think like
Scott said, everything just happened so quick.
And seems like maybe the team, we beat Houston
in seven games in the NLCS and we might be
caught up with we were a little bit satisfied maybe
from winning the National League Championship
and we probably lost our edge at the World Series.
And you got caught with Boston Red Sox,
they were just swinging the bat great at that time.
And by that time we woke up it was two games, we
were down two games coming here. And
obviously we thought we were going to have the
fans and everything involved. But seems like they
were clicking right away and just jumped and took
that lead. But that was then and this is now.
And obviously we've been there before
and this year our preparation was so much
different. And it seems like instead of trying to
make everything go fast, we kind of back down and
say, just make sure we stay focused and we make
sure we take one game at a time. We don't think
about tomorrow. We think about what we're going
to do today and the preparation. I think that's why
we have so much success since the first round of
the postseason this year.
Albert, the Cardinals have been so
good under La Russa, even before you got
here. Now that you're closer than ever to
winning that championship, how much do you
think it has frustrated Tony to have had so
many good teams and not gotten to this point?
And how rewarding do you think it will be for
him to finally get there with this group?
ALBERT PUJOLS: I'm not going to stick
up for our manager. I think everybody points the
finger at him. All he does is just write the lineup
and put the players up there and we need to go out
and perform. We are the one that make the big
money. It seems like every time something
happens to the team, everybody point out to Tony
La Russa. It's not sticking up for him, that's the
way it is.
He's not going out there and playing for us.
We are the one, we need to be ready and play
hard for nine innings. All he asks us to is be ready
for the game, try to do your best and if we do that
and our result is great, it's awesome, we have a
good year. If that doesn't happen, you can't blame
the manager for that.
In the past we have some great
teammates, great group of guys in the locker room.
But what is meant to be was meant to be. '04
wasn't for us, last year, and hopefully this year is
our opportunity. But we can't take things for
granted. We need to finish our job. We need to
finish what we want to accomplish, and that's to be
a world champion. But you have a great group of
guys on the other side, they don't want to hand it to
us, we need to be ready to play.
With the way Reyes pitched earlier
in the series, how much confidence would you
have if Game 6 was necessary and he got the
SCOTT ROLEN: We have confidence in
everybody that goes out there. Hopefully we can
finish tonight and there won't be a Game 6. If
Reyes pitches Game 6 in Detroit, and that's the
way it is, we're going to try to win the thing. When
he's on the mound, he threw great last start. When
he gets the ball, we're going to go out and it's not
going to change our preparation one bit. We're
going to go out and do what we have to do.
Even with the guys back in the
lineup clearly the Tigers are pitching you very
carefully. Just wondering how many strikes
you're seeing to hit every night and what kind
of adjustments you've had to make because of
ALBERT PUJOLS: Obviously I've seen
some good pitches. I've been getting some good
pitches. I probably try to do a little too much.
Yesterday with my second at-bat I got some good
pitches to hit. I think they're being real careful, but
I think that's the way they look at everybody in the
lineup. There's not an easy out in the Big
Leagues. When you try to concentrate on me then
you forget about Rolen and Jimmy, you have to
pitch to those guys, too. If you make a mistake,
they're going to make you pay.
The same thing with Dave. You see last
night maybe they weren't concentrating on the
pitch to him, they leave a pitch up and he can
make them pay. I know my game plan. I try to
look for a zone out there. If the ball is in that zone
I'm going to try to do the best I can to put my best
swing of the night.
Both you guys talked about the
frustration of '04. If you were to win one more
game, how much would that erase that
ALBERT PUJOLS: I think that frustration
was erased when we showed up for spring training
in '05. I know I was hurt maybe a month after that.
You can't live forever. You're going to have
hopefully another opportunity. There you go, this
is our opportunity in '06 to forget about all that. I
don't think there's anybody that played in 2004 that
really feels frustration about it. We had a great
year, obviously. Our job was to get the opportunity
to play in the World Series, we did. We didn't get a
great result. We got swept. And that's it. But we
put that in the past. We can't plan our career
thinking about, oh, man, we wish we would have
done this, we wish we would have done that,
because that's going to affect your career and the
So that's in the past. We now
concentrating on '06 and trying to finish strong, and
hopefully we'll be a world champion.
SCOTT ROLEN: You always hear the
ultimate goal is the World Series ring, but I think
before that is the opportunity to play for a World
Series ring. And in '04 we had the opportunity.
You tip your cap to the Boston Red Sox, but we
had an opportunity -- I had one opportunity as a
player to play for a World Series ring and I went
0-for-everything. I didn't get a hit, big goose egg. I
was able to flush that one pretty quick (laughter.)
Albert, you and Placido are such
good friends, and I know you want to beat his
team, but does part of you feel sorry for him
that he's struggling so much?
ALBERT PUJOLS: This is tough. It's
tough. Because I've been through that before.
Obviously I feel like I'm not swinging the bat the
way that I wanted to swing in this World Series, but
we're winning. It looks more easy when your team
is winning, and it seems like I'm forgetting about
things. But he's my best friend, and I told him
when they won and advanced to the World Series,
hey, you're my best friend. I wish you the best,
and whatever happens we both going to be happy
with the result, hopefully after the World Series. If
he gets the ring and if I get the ring because we
know how hard we work in the off-season to get
ourself ready to help our team out to win.
He's just had bad luck. He swung the bat
pretty good the last three games and he hit the ball
right on the nose last night, and that's the way it
it. He can't control anything else.
Everybody knows, Albert, you swing
at strikes and don't strike out much. The other
night against Robertson you kind of expanded,
went after an outside pitch. Do you think that
surprises pitchers sometimes and how often
will you do that to kind of keep them honest?
ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't think I try to --
obviously last night my first at-bat I swing at some
bad pitches. But I try to see the ball. Like I say,
when I think too much about what am I going to do
at the plate, it seems like that's when I struggle a
little bit because I am forgetting about that I need
to see the ball and put a good swing. And I'm
thinking about where's my hands, where's my
lower body, if I'm jumping, and I am forgetting
about concentrating on the ball and put my best
swing. And obviously it was a good pitch that he
At that time I just tried to see the ball. I
knew that the runner was going from first base,
and just try to put the ball in play. I'm not going to
expand my strike zone, I'm going to take my walk if
I had to take it and look for that zone, like I say,
and try to put my best swing and hopefully connect
it good like I did last night.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.