I know you don't like to think ahead, but if you win this series, has there been any discussion as to how the celebration is handled?
Actually, no, we haven't really talked about celebrating yet. Hopefully we can discuss that and you can see us doing that here in a few hours. We definitely are not taking them lightly. We don't want to give them any error, any chance to get back in the series. We want to finish them and try to win the game tonight.
In terms of how y'all play these two games, is it just a function of getting guys back or do you think there's some degree of dialing it up when you get in this setting as opposed to the last two weeks of the season and people are discussing y'all not playing as well as most of the year?
That's a good question. I mean, I think it just shows a lot of character with this team. You know, the last few weeks, people were getting on us, I don't know, the motivation, the concentration, our guys on the mound, our bullpen, you can go on and on. It was a situation where we weren't playing the best of ball, you know, the last few weeks. This team has some experience in the clubhouse. We have guys that have been around. To understand that, to realize what kind of chance we have, you know, all kidding aside, you just try to turn the page and say, "Hey, this is serious business now, we need to get going." You lose, you're out. There's no chance of us going out there unless we're playing the best baseball. If we get beat, we can accept that. But if we went into this post-season playing like we did the last few weeks, that's something that would
have been unacceptable.
Are you starting Game 4?
What are your thoughts of Adam Eaton, the possibility of him not being a factor in this series, but as a pitcher, not seeing him?
That's very surprising because I've seen a lot of Adam, you know, over the years. I know what kind of pitcher he is. For him to not to be in the first three games is very surprising for us, especially for me. He's definitely a quality pitcher. When he's on his game, he's one of the better ones in the league. Hopefully we won't see him in Game 4. I'd rather not. I'd rather be moving on. We'll just kind of leave it at that.
How do you feel you're swinging the bat right now? Are you happy with the results you're getting and the cuts you're taking?
Well, in Game 1, I was very happy. I think I hit the ball hard every at-bat. Had some good at-bats up there against Peavy. Just kind of hit it at 'em. Game 2, it was one of those days where I didn't really see the ball all that well. It continued on. Hopefully the daylight and the shadows had something to do with that. I didn't feel really comfortable in Game 2. Hopefully that changes. I feel great physically, so I'm just looking forward for a few a drop and continue to make hard contact. You know, that's all you can do.
Putting the jokes aside, is the starting pitcher for tomorrow something you've discussed at all? Is it something that anybody is interested in or paying attention to?
Well, actually, as players, position players, we kind of go about our business. The way Dunc and Tony work, you know that. They have their ways. They believe for some reason that, you know, it's not proper to come out and tell you what's going on in Game 4. They have their reasons. The team and everybody in there, maybe they know, but we haven't really discussed Game 4. I think we're really concentrating on Game 3 and really focused on this game. If things don't work out tonight, I'm sure we'll hear what's going on in Game 4.
Tony La Russa.
Do you know anything more about Mulder today that you didn't know yesterday?
He's made some improvement. All the treatment, he's got some relief. He's not as sore as he was yesterday, so that's a good sign. But I don't think anybody told me that means he can throw off the mound a particular day. But I know he has improved.
Are you ready to say what you'd do Game 4 in terms of a starter?
I don't think that's a frame of mind our ballclub should have. Why should you talk about Game 4? You have an opportunity to win a game and not have it. I mean, why raise a question that you're even doing the kind of preparation? Our idea is we're going to play as hard as we can, as good as we can. If we're good enough, we don't have to worry about tomorrow. If we do the best we can, they beat us, tip our cap and we'll talk about it tomorrow. I don't even want to have a hint of that messing around with our team.
Given the short turnaround, if there is a game, is it something that you would at least want the guy or guys who are affected to know? Does that complicate at all the fact you could be here till 11, tonight?
I'm going to treat you like you're on our team. We're going to try to win Game 3. We're not going to think about Game 4 until we have to face the fact we know we're going to have to play it.
If it came to a Game 5, what would be the likelihood of Mulder being available in this series, if he was needed?
The likelihood is zero. Now, I'll tell you, if we get to Game 5, Chris Carpenter is the pitcher for that game. He's not going to pitch with three days' rest. I mean, he's not going to pitch on time tomorrow. But Mulder I don't think will be available in any capacity.
Does Mulder's situation add any urgency to tonight's game, to run this thing out in three games so you can have maybe more flexibility how you stack your rotation the next round?
I think that's one of the reasons, you know -- we didn't know when we played Game 1 we were going to win 1 and 2. Where we are now, up two, needing one more, it is important to get this thing over with so you can start thinking about the next round and setting up the lineup, especially your pitching. I think that's true no matter if we had Mark healthy or not healthy. That's just a fact. That's why we want to try to do our darndest to try to win tonight.
Is your lineup the same as yesterday?
I think it's the first time this year you've had the same lineup three games in a row. The fact you can do that this year, I don't think anybody would have expected that in late August or something, how big a difference is this for you now as opposed to then when we were kind of jumping all over you every day with who was going to go out there, who was available?
I think we'd rather play it this way. Probably not as much fun for John (Rodriguez) or So (Taguchi); the guys that enjoyed getting a start. But, you know, I think it's healthy for our club because, playoffs is different from the regular season. During regular season, your lineups are made for all kinds of reasons. When you get to the playoffs, I think sometimes the more stability you can have, you pick up an edge.