Oct. 18 Barry Zito pregame interview

Q.   I just wondered, and I'm a St. Louis writer, but as a player and as a fan of baseball, is St. Louis a special place to play or is it just another place on the road to play?

BARRY ZITO:  St. Louis is definitely special to me because my wife's from two hours south of here.  I get a lot of the family coming up.

Q.  Other than that, the environment?

BARRY ZITO:  Oh, yeah, it's always like a college football game here with the fan support.  Everyone is out there wearing red.  It's always been a special place to play.

Q.  You've had a lot of time to think about the start in Cincinnati.  Do you have a better idea in your own mind why you sort of fell back into the mechanical and mental issues that you didn't have in the last starts in the regular season and what you might have thought about over the last few days to improve on that?

BARRY ZITO:  I don't think it was so much mechanical/mental.  I think it was just more about nitpicking on the corners too much, and instead of just being aggressive.  I'm going to go out there and be aggressive tomorrow and let my defense work for me.

Q.  Tonight's a pretty big start for Tim.  Could you talk a little bit about what you've seen from him out of the bullpen and also after Game 1 I think someone asked him about if he comes ‑‑ has come to you during the season and he said he doesn't necessarily come to you, but you've come to him a couple of times and talked to him.  Have you tried to kind of mentor him through what's been a pretty rocky season?

BARRY ZITO:  Yeah, Timmy and I have always been friends.  We just talk about tons of things.  Every now and then our conversations will cover pitching and things related to that.  I don't think it was any like significant moment when I went up to him and said, All right, I'm going to school you right now or mentor you about these things.

But I think it's a situation where we can relate to each other on certain fronts.  It's been awesome watching him out of the bullpen this year in the postseason just going out there and pitching with abandon.  I'm excited to see his start tonight.

Q.  Do you think it will carry over?

BARRY ZITO:  Oh, definitely.  In this game sometimes we forget at times what we're all capable of and I think those are the times when we struggle a little bit.  So it's just a matter of him remembering who he is and what he's capable of and just going out and trusting that and having fun.

Q.  Some of the Cardinals right‑handed hitters have pretty good numbers against you, particularly Allen Craig, I believe Holliday, also.  How much do you factor that in when you devise your game plan?
 

BARRY ZITO:  You just basically look at the past, what a guy has done, and there's certain things that you get guys on a hot streak or sometimes you throw good pitches and guys hit them.  You can't change your game plan too much, though.

You just look more inside the numbers than just at a stat.  You actually look at the at‑bat.

Q.  You told me the other day that the one postseason game that stood out in your mind was beating Santana in the Metrodome when you hadn't lost that year.  What do you remember about that game just from the atmosphere, your thought process on the mound, all those intangibles from that day?

BARRY ZITO:  I just remember how loud it was.  The roof was on at the Metrodome, obviously it was 55,000 people.  It was really, really loud there.  And it was just fun.  I had fun.

I'm excited to go out there and have some fun out here tomorrow.  I love playing on this field.  It's a good team.  It's a good challenge.

Q.  You just said sometimes as players you forget what you're capable of.  I'm curious, in your own words, what are you capable of?

BARRY ZITO:  I'm capable of throwing all my pitches for strikes and keeping guys off balance.

Q.  This may be a question you've gone into before this season, but what you said about Tim remembering who you are, is that one of the things that got you back on track?

BARRY ZITO:  Yeah, I think you just go out there and you look at tape and it's not as big of a difference between kind of good games and tough games.  It's just more about going out there and enjoying the experience and really having fun, throwing your pitches.  So I think that it's productive for all of us to do that, go back and look at some good tape and see what we did and see what kind of pitch sequences we were using and things like that.

Q.  To what extent does it change if Beltran is not going to be in the lineup tomorrow?

BARRY ZITO:  Yeah, I mean, it's definitely a positive.  But we saw what Carpenter could do yesterday.  I don't think it's a huge drop‑off.  All those guys over there are gamers and they're ready to go.

Q.  How much will you think about the series being either 2‑2 or you guys down 3‑1 when you take the hill tomorrow?

BARRY ZITO:  It was an elimination game last time I pitched, so it's not like a new experience to be out there if it is an elimination game.

Q.  A little more about that prep in terms of watching the video.  Preparing for this start, what video will you watch; will you watch other games against the Cardinals or your last start?

BARRY ZITO:  Yeah, I've already watched everything.  I just basically look at what their guys do against left‑handed pitchers.  Certain guys have certain tendencies on certain pitches, things they like, things they don't like.  And I watched my last start that I pitched here this season.

Q.  By tonight you will have seen them for four games.  Does that help or how might that help you in your preparation?

BARRY ZITO:  For me, I like to just watch kind of guys versus left‑handed pitchers.  Whenever Affeldt gets out there or Lopez to a certain extent, he's dropping down a little bit.  Mijares or Bumgarner.  That's when I can really see what their tendencies are.

I know these guys.  These guys know me.  We've all been in this League for a while.  With the exception of a couple of guys in the lineup we all know what we're up against.