Given the way that your last two starts didn't go the way you would have liked, are you anxious to get back out there? And would you have liked to have been out there tonight?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: What games?
The last two starts.
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: It's in the past. This is a new age, new stage for the Cubs, new ballgame, new team. And I just have to go out there and try to do my job and have fun.
Do you think the experience of last year in Arizona is a big positive since you pitched so well there, and that was your last postseason experience?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: You know, sometimes experience don't count, you know? There's people that have a lot of experience in the playoffs and still haven't performed as good. Just, like I said, if you prepare and you attack the opponet and you come to the ballpark ready and you play good, you're going to win that day.
Can you say right now that you are 100 percent healthy?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Yeah, I am. I've been playing catch and I've been feeling good. Everything is good for me. Just the fact that I wasn't able to throw strikes in the situation that I have to throw strikes, that's it.
I'm just wondering, is there a tangible difference for you, a different feeling with this club with Lou Piniella in charge than before he got here?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Yeah. I mean, Lou is a guy that he likes to win and he likes to do everything perfectly, and he likes to play -- he likes people. He likes players that play hard for him, and that's good. Plus when you have a manager that supports you all the way, 100 percent and you feel the confidence of your manager -- we like Lou and Lou likes each one of us, and we are like a big family here.
Lou wanted to give you a two inning tune up on Sunday but he said you didn't want to do it. How come you didn't want to get into a game situation to prepare for this?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Because I think I thought that I don't need two innings. I'm the kind of pitcher that when I'm going to the mound and the bullpen, I throw a lot of pitches to be ready. So I think I thought that if I pitched on Sunday, it wouldn't be like a pitched in the game, and then pitching Sunday and pitching Thursday, it would be like three days' rest. So we don't need that.
I think I need myself and this ballclub needs me to be fresh. So that's why I didn't pitch on Sunday. Plus we were in the playoffs already, so we didn't need that game. So why take some risk in that game?
How do you look at your season as a whole? You had a no hitter, you had a great first half. How do you look at the whole season?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Anything that comes from God you have to accept it. The most important thing is that we're in the playoffs and this is a new season for us beginning today. You know, my record, anybody's record, today it doesn't count. What counts is what we start today, and that's all that matters.
And also, I'm sorry, I talked to Lou that day, and I said, "Whatever you want me to do." I went to the office and I talked to him, spoke to him, and I said, "If you want me to pitch tomorrow, I can pitch, whatever you want." He said, "No, if you don't want to pitch, it's okay." But I talked to him and I asked him if he wanted me to pitch and he wanted me to be out there. He said, "No, I don't want to take a risk." So....
How do you prepare differently and how do you pitch differently when the weather is cold and you're starting at nine o'clock at night? How do you do that?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: I'm ready. I think it's not that cold like in April. I think it's just 70, 60 degrees, like spring training. It's chilly, it's nice, and just we prepare the same way we prepare in spring training. Just be ready for anything and go out there and don't think about if it's cold or hot.
Plus, you know, when I start warming up, I don't feel that cold. It can be 20 degrees and I don't feel it.
Do you feel like you have to carry the baggage of all these years of Cub history? Is that a difficult thing to do? Do you feel like the burden of all the 100 years is rested on your shoulders? Is there some pressure about that?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: No. I mean, I don't think so. I don't think like that. These players this year, we are at this stage of 100 years. We are responsible to break this 100 years that we don't win. But if we think about that and we keep that in our mind, it would be too much pressure for us. We don't think about that. We just think that we have a good team and we can win it all.
If you had to point to one thing tomorrow that you need to do to be the Carlos Zambrano that threw a no hitter as opposed to one that struggled against the Cardinals, what would that one thing be?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: Strike, first pitch, strike, and challenge the hitters. Sinker. If my sinker is working, everything will be different.
You started opening day last two years for this team, started Game 1 of last year's playoff series. What would it have meant to you to start Game 1 in this series?
CARLOS ZAMBRANO: This is the playoffs, man. We have four quality starters, and like Lou told me, you know, each of the starting pitchers that we have here can start the first game. He decided to go with Dempster, and I agreed with him. I don't have any problem with that. I would be ready for anything, and I don't care who will be starting the first game or the second game. I just want to be there and just want to play for my team, and I just want to help my team to win everything.