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Mike Mussina workout day quotes10/11/2004 3:08 PM ET
Q. What difference, if at all, do you think it makes to their team to have Schilling this year?
MIKE MUSSINA: What is he, 21-6? That's a pretty big difference. I think he's done everything they would have wanted from him. Maybe a little more.
Q. When you look at your guys, 62 come-from-behind victories, what's been --
MIKE MUSSINA: That's it? I think it's more than that.
Q. Whatever it is, your success there, how do you account for that?
MIKE MUSSINA: I don't know if there's a secret. I think we've found different ways to win games this year. I think we have the ability to get a couple of hits and a homer. We can get big innings going in a hurry. It's just, it's a different style than in the past, and because of that, we've been able to come back from deficits and win ballgames.
Q. Your last four or five or starts you've been going up against No. 1 starters, does that help you prepare for a game like this, having been doing it for a month or so?
MIKE MUSSINA: I would say yes. I think it's been two games against Pedro and two games against Santana the last four games. You need games like that to prepare for the post-season to know what it's going to feel like to be in a game that could be 2-1 at the end, knowing that it's going to be tough to get runs. You have to be able to go out there and pitch and deal with the fact that it's going to be a low-scoring, tight game. We're the only game on, and everybody's going to be watching and you have to be able to go out there and do the job.
Q. How much resonance do you think Pedro's "daddy" crack had in the last series?
MIKE MUSSINA: Do I have to comment on that, really? It's just something he said when he was frustrated. I mean, I'm sure he's going to hear it a lot. But he's still going to go out there and pitch a post-season game so I know he's going to be prepared. He knows that it's going to happen. He's experienced. He's been through this before.
Q. Bernie has come through again in October as he seems to do, but he's often overlooked, not by you, but is it uncanny in your mind, the way he comes up big in October every year?
MIKE MUSSINA: Do I think it's uncanny? I think he's experienced. The guys that have been here before can deal with what's going on, a situation that's not new to them. And we have enough guys that if it's not -- if it's not Bernie today, it's Jeter. If it's not Jeter today, it's Sheffield. If it's not Sheffield, it's A-Rod or Posada or Matsui or anybody in the lineup. So you get up there and somebody is going to get an at-bat in a big spot, and if you come through with a hit, then you're coming through, and if you don't, then you hope the next guy does. That's the nature of our team and it's the nature of the team to survive to this point.
I think the Red Sox are the same way. If one guy doesn't get the hit, they look to the next guy or the next guy will get the hit. That's how they won all of their games this year and how we won our games this year.
Q. Going against the other team's ace, when you pitched Game 1 of the ALDS, did you get anything out of that start, that situation, that might help you in this situation?
MIKE MUSSINA: I think every time we step out there we learn a little something. I don't know if there's any one thing this time. I think I've been asked to start a couple series now the last couple of years, and -- last two years in the playoffs, so it's just every time you step out there, you're going to learn a little bit of something about yourself or about the experience or whatever. I'm sure I learned something from it. But it's a different series, a different team, different circumstances.
Q. With so much anticipation and hype going into this game, this series, do you use that to your advantage or do you disconnect from the whole Red Sox rivalry when you're pitching?
MIKE MUSSINA: I don't know if you detach from it. I know this is what everyone was hoping for, I imagine. I think after last year's series, the way we both played this season, we had the two best records in the American League. Playing each other 19 times already up to this point, it's big. It's going to be -- every time we play them during the season, it's a post-season atmosphere, for 19 games.
Now we play them in the post-season, and experiencing it last year, I know that it's even levels above the 19 regular season games. So it's exciting, and this year, I think it's the way it should be, a rematch of last year with the two best teams in the American League this year.
Q. There have been several instances over the last two years where emotions have gotten away from players on both sides. Do you think it's because of that emotion you speak of, what's at stake when these two teams get together, or is there a genuine dislike because you guys have played each other so many times?
MIKE MUSSINA: I don't know. I don't know if either side genuinely dislikes the others. There's probably individuals on both sides that have things with individuals on the other side.
I don't think there's a general dislike. When you compete against other people as often as we compete against them you have to have a respect for them and have an appreciation for what they are able to do and they have an appreciation for what we are able to do.
It's just going to be a fight. We expect to out there and it's going to be a battle, and I know they do, too. It's hopefully going to be as exciting as everyone anticipates it's going to be.
Q. Knowing Mariano Rivera as well as you do and having been his teammate for the last few years, going through the personal situation back home in Panama, and this team relying on him so much, what are your thoughts on him being in this very difficult situation while you guys need him to be at his best pitching?
MIKE MUSSINA: Yeah, I don't -- you know, it's a hard subject to talk about because none of us really know how he feels or what he thinks. I mean, I had to go through a situation in spring training, but it's in spring training. It was March; it's not October.
It's going to be difficult. I mean, your focus is not 100% here, it just can't be, and can he go out there and perform at the level that we hope he can and that he expects himself to be able to, I don't know. I don't think any of us can really know. We'll just have to wait and see.
Q. When you alluded to the 19 games and the post-season atmosphere with the Red Sox, when you think about the rivalry, is it the competition or this atmosphere in both ballparks that makes this something extra? Is it the competition, the atmosphere or both?
MIKE MUSSINA: I think it's both. I think the atmosphere of the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium or the Yankees in Fenway Park, just kind of picks everybody up and you just play at a different level. I mean, I don't know how many games people dive into the stands face first in Yankee Stadium, but we had guys doing this, and that was July.
It's just different. It's not -- it's not like the other games, the other series, it just isn't. I think it's both, it's both things. I don't think it's one or the other. I think it's just a combination.
Q. 19 times you guys played the Red Sox this year, and then going back to last year, who has the advantage in the cat-and-mouse game of adjusting, who is it more difficult to make the adjustment for the post-season, the pitcher or the hitter?
MIKE MUSSINA: Well, you're asking a pitcher, so I don't -- it's a tough question.
We're both veteran teams, both veteran pitching staffs. I think it's -- I mean, the adjustment process is constant for all of us, one at-bat to the next, maybe one pitch to the next, trying not to throw the pitch that he's looking for and he's trying to guess what pitch I'm going to bring in or anybody is going to throw at a certain time in a certain count in a certain situation.
I think the game is constant. I don't think it's one side or the other, whether it favors the hitter or the pitcher. You know, we've played 45 games in two years, and they have been -- I think the difference is one game now. They have won one more game than we have in 45 games. So, I mean, it's got to be constant. It's back and forth all the time.
Q. You said you went through something similar in spring training, what were you dealing with and how did you deal with that?
MIKE MUSSINA: My father-in-law passed away March 1. We had a short spring because of the Japan trip, so I was home for a week. You're trying to get into shape and you're trying to get mentally into baseball after having a three- or four-month off-season. It's not easy. You're dealing with other things and your mind and your emotions are in other places. I probably wasn't as ready to pitch at the end of the month as I was hoping to be, and so I didn't have a very good first couple of weeks of the season. It just took a while.
We're all thinking of Mo and we hope that he can still go out there and do what we're going to ask him to do.
Q. You guys were division champs. I opened up the paper and the paper says that you guys are underdogs in this series. Do you feel like an underdog in this series?
MIKE MUSSINA: I don't necessarily think we're an underdog. I think it's the Yankees and the Red Sox. I don't think -- I don't think it really matters. I don't -- I mean, they say that because we haven't had pitching all year, and that's what everybody said and we won 101 games, 104 games now.
So we're underdogs. We still have to go out there and play it. Doesn't matter what it says in the paper or what it says anywhere else. We still think our chances of winning are as good as their chances are, so we're ready and we're going to go out and play them.
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