Mets Quotebook: Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza homered as the Mets defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in sound fashion Tuesday night, 5-0, moving New York just 2.0 games back in the NL East. <P> Piazza met the media after the game to discuss his home run, the state of the Mets and the race for first place: (Premium Content)

Piazza on the mood of the Mets: We feel the energy here on the ballclub. We're picking each other up and not doing things to beat ourselves. It's good to have that good feeling around the ballclub, but again, I think you've got to keep it in perspective. We just showed we're able to beat a good ballclub. It's not going to be easy, but it's good to get one under our belts and get going that way.

Piazza on the enthusiasm of Mets fans: We definitely appreciate the energy. It propels us and gives us momentum. All in all, we're playing good solid baseball. We're doing the little things well: we're pitching real well – Stevie (Trachsel) pitched us out of some tough jams tonight and picked us up – and we got a few clutch hits tonight. It's good. It makes it fun to come to work. You just want to continue that. We all know how this tough this game can be.

Piazza on Floyd's return to the team: I think it's good, because we get a quality bat like his in the lineup and it makes everyone better. It lightens the burden for us, and just makes it that much tougher on the opponent, knowing that there's those kinds of quality hitters in the middle of the lineup. That also gives confidence to the end of the lineup guys, because they know if we do our job, it'll spark the team a little bit.

Piazza on his home run Tuesday: I'm just looking for a strike. I got a breaking ball down and put a nice swing on it. I've been swinging the bat pretty well; even the base hit (in the third inning) for me was a nice stroke. I'm not trying to do too much, I'm just trying to get the ball in the hole. I'm feeling real good at plate recently, and hopefully that will continue.

Piazza on the Mets making a run: I think we have to start small and do the little things well. It lays the foundation a little bit for bigger things. From the start of spring training, we've tried to do that and not get down in the tough stretches. We have guys on this team who are struggling but we're trying to pick them up and hopefully get them swinging better and rely on them a little bit. It's a good atmosphere to be around. The guys who have been struggling have come up big in clutch situations, like Ty (Wigginton) the other night. That's a big hit; that's a clutch home run (off of Colorado's Vladimir Nunez).

Piazza on the race for first place: I don't think we should change anything in our approach. We should keep the same attitude and not think about standings or first place or anything. We went on a real tough trip, with the deck stacked against us a little bit and we came out fine. We need to concentrate on the little things and hang in there. That kept us in those tough games against those tough pitchers. If we just keep doing what we're doing, we'll keep winning games and winning series. That was the kind of attitude on the (Mets) teams I was fortunate enough to go to the postseason with. (It was just) win a series, win a series, win a series, and don't look at the finish line until you're on the last lap.

On sharing the catching and first base duties with Jason Phillips: I think it's a positive thing. We can have flexibility on any given night. There's not a lot of downside either way. I feel like I'm calling quality games and doing good job catching, and vice versa When the pitching staff feels that, it's a bonus. I feel like I'm getting a little better defensively at first base, and hopefully I'll keep getting better.

On feeling a physical benefit from the extra time at first base: Obviously it's not as physically demanding, but it's definitely not a day off. You've got to be on your toes down there. There's a lot of speed in this league, and I feel like I'm always mentally concentrating on every pitch [even though] I'm obviously not worrying about calling the game or anything. It's a challenge, and I think it's good.


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