Oct 10: D. Johnson pre-game interview

Q. Is there any concern regarding Espinosa? He looks in my opinion a little lost at the plate.
DAVEY JOHNSON: You know, he's just a young hitter, aggressive, tons of talent. You know, just needs to stay within himself. He's made a lot of strides this year. You know, the conditions in St. Louis were pretty tough. I mean, they have got some veteran hitter that have been in those conditions. My guys to a man all had problems picking up the ball and the spin on the ball.
And that, combined with a little inexperience, you can be overly aggressive. I don't hold that against him. He always feels like he's the right guy at the right time to do something, and a lot of times, he does. But it's just that inexperience, you can get overly aggressive and he needs to be a little more patient. But I think you'll see a different hitter here. They are more comfortable here, track the ball better here.

Q. You have a long history with Frank Robinson who will throw out the first pitch today. Wonder if you have a sense of his place in the history of this franchise and what you think of him throwing out the ball.
DAVEY JOHNSON: Frank, one of the greatest players I've ever been associated with. You know, I always when I think of Frank Robinson, I think of the first time I ever saw him, he came into spring training, and we had a game going on in Miami. Said, you want an at bat, and said yeah, and went and got his uni on, had not had batting practice or nothing and I remember it like it was yesterday, and he hit one out of the ballpark, and all of us turned to each other and said, we've got something here. And of course he went on to win the Triple Crown.
Plays the game hard, plays the game right and he was a big influence on me and the whole ballclub. We had a pretty good run within there. I respect him and I think a lot of him. I think he's been just an outstanding example of a true professional.

Q. I think some of your pitchers, like Edwin and Ross, have done better at home than the road and other hitters have hit better here, like Zimmerman; is it the ballpark and the way it plays for those guys?
DAVEY JOHNSON: This is home. The guys are comfortable here. The guys are comfortable in the clubhouse. Guys come early here. It's a very familiar surrounding, background.
You should perform better here at home. But I'm proud of this ballclub. We've done well on the road and performed well on the road, and that has not been the history here. So it's always good to be home. Our fans, as the years have progressed, have gotten more active, more involved. Just a nice place to play. It's a beautiful ballpark. It's nothing but fun here.

Q. Is there any update on how Bryce has been feeling with the fever and whatever else was going on with him?
DAVEY JOHNSON: I think Stammen had it in St. Louis and one guy has it, other guys are going to get it.
But I'm sure he's no matter how I don't care if he's got a fever, if he wants to play, he'll be fine.
But I'm not sure if it was the flu or whatever. But I know that Stammen had it real bad and he didn't tell anybody. I don't know I haven't heard from the trainers that he was really under the weather or anything. I'm sure he's good to go.

Q. How much is today going to be a chess match with Edwin, and obviously the players on the Cardinals know him, and he knows that they know him and that they can pick him based on what he likes to do and what he does do well.
DAVEY JOHNSON: Well, I always think it's an advantage. Remember, I've played behind pitchers, and then when I got traded, I knew what they threw and how they liked to work, whether they liked to work in or out and how they set up their breaking ball. So I think it's a good advantage to know and play behind the pitcher.
But good pitching shuts down good hitting, and if you make your pitches and do the things you're capable of doing, you're fine. It's when you try to do too much, you try to get too fine, you get behind, especially experienced hitters, usually go right after them and be aggressive, make his pitches and be in that attack mode. He's done that great all year. I don't see it being any different today.

Q. Even though Carpenter has been around so long, is he any kind of wild card today because he had so few starts during this year?
DAVEY JOHNSON: You know, he's a big game pitcher. The thing that we go over with our hitters is he likes to pound the strike zone with both pitches, and when he gets ahead, he likes to start it in the strike zone and have you chase it out of the zone. So we just need to be patient and be ready early.

Q. About Ross, tomorrow he'll either have a chance to keep your season alive or a chance to win the series. How much confidence do you have in him in that spot given it's his first time and given that he's sort of come a long way as much as how much confidence he has in himself?
DAVEY JOHNSON: He has really come a long way. A lot of these young pitchers, it generally takes experience wise, generally takes a couple years. These guys have made tremendous progress this year. I give a lot of credit to McCatty, pitching coach, Steve McCatty. They know what they are capable of doing. They know what their out pitch is. They know they need to use their secondary pitches more.
Sometimes the problem that comes with good, young arms is you rely too much on your fastball. But I've seen him pitch some great ballgames. But you know, he's got outstanding stuff, and he's got good poise. I have never seen him get really rattled by the situation.