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Woody Williams, workout quotes
10/12/2004 3:37 PM ET
Q. How did you find out the score when you landed there, and had the game already started when you landed, flying back from LA? How was it not being a part of that celebration?

WOODY WILLIAMS: First thing I did when I got off the plane was turn my cell phone on, got on the Web and saw the score. When I first turned it on it was 2-1, then it was 2-2, they tied it up.

Different being apart from them. In a sense I think it was the right thing to do. I don't usually fly ahead, but since they were going to get back so early in the morning.

Q. Given that you were almost thinking of packing it in at the start of the season, given what's happened this year, you got the ball in the first game of the NLCS, how special is it?

WOODY WILLIAMS: It's real special. Having confidence in the manager and the team behind me, it goes without saying that it's very special. It will always be for me.

I think the way things went in the first game of the Division Series, I think it had a lot of play on their decision. Hopefully it will turn out as good this time.

Q. Everybody talks about how dangerous and powerful the Cardinal lineup is. When you look at what the Astros did last night, how dangerous is their lineup?

WOODY WILLIAMS: It's very dangerous. I think these two teams are very, very similar. They have a lot of guys in their lineup that have been around a long time, they have a very good mix of older, veteran players as well as the young guys that are following in their footsteps.

So one through eight, and with some of their pitchers even, it's going to be very difficult and I've got to be on top of my game.

Q. What does Carlos Beltran bring to that lineup, which was pretty good before he got there?

WOODY WILLIAMS: They definitely were pretty good before that, but I think he was the missing piece that they were lacking, the last little bit. Obviously, one can take a look at their record since they got Beltran to where they are now, it's amazing, the turnaround they had.

I just believe that, you know, they're just playing with a lot of confidence right now, knowing they can go out there and beat anybody.

Q. Being from Houston, what would this mean to you if you weren't going to start tomorrow and you weren't playing for the Cardinals?

WOODY WILLIAMS: I would be real excited, to tell you the truth. I've grown up there. I've always been an Astro fan. It's a team I always rooted for my whole life. Now I have an opportunity - they got past the first round -to be the one that sends them home on a sour note or have an opportunity to pitch in the series.

It's kind of bittersweet for me. At the same time, right now I'm a Cardinal fan. It's hard to compare the two.

Q. The fact that Clemens and Oswalt won't pitch until this weekend, does that mean you guys need to get off to a good start because you know what type of pitching they can bring when they get their chance?

WOODY WILLIAMS: I mean, I think there's no doubt this is very important for us to do that. But by no means can you overlook the guys that are throwing the first two games. They've pitched big games for them this year. Backe has come up big. Peter Munro is someone that's been around, who knows how to pitch. Bottom line is you have to outscore them. Not the same lineup it used to be with Beltran and the guys playing the way they are with the confidence, it's a whole new ballgame.

Q. Did you and Pete cross paths in your Blue Jay career?

WOODY WILLIAMS: No, I was gone and I think he came a couple years later.

Q. Tony (LaRussa) talked about he only felt heartbreak one time, that was in 2002 because of what you'd gone through. Is there any feeling in the clubhouse that this year would be the same considering the season you've had?

WOODY WILLIAMS: That's a good question, because I've been blessed ever since I had the Cardinal uniform on to have an opportunity to pitch in the postseason and be a part of that for the first time in my career pretty much, as far as being on an active roster.

To say where we came from spring training to get to this point, and say it would be, you know, it would be a heart-break, I would probably say yes.

But we weren't expected to do what we've done, and, you know, we still set out to do the best we can and hopefully win this series. Like I said, Astros aren't going to lay over. They're going to be a very difficult opponent.

Q. What kind of reports are you getting from back home about the excitement in the area? And how do you compare Roy and Roger to some of the great Astro pitchers you grew up watching?

WOODY WILLIAMS: I had family and friends -- I'm watching the game last night, obviously, I had family and friends call me nonstop. My phone was going off the hook saying, "Astros are in, Astros are in." They're all excited.

So to me, they were stating the obvious, but they were just showing me the excitement that's going on in the city. I know it's a big deal for them. Finally get past the first step.

As far as Clemens and Oswalt, I think of (Nolan) Ryan, I think of J.R. Richard, of their dominance. Not the same style of pitchers, but guys that can go out there every time they get the ball and win.

Q. Your family and friends from that area, are they a Woody Williams fan or a Houston fan at this point?

WOODY WILLIAMS: You're talking about Game 1 and 5 (laughter). I think that's how it's going to play out. So it's kind of -- I have left tickets for one of my family member's brothers before, he's sitting there cheering for the Astros. So next time I put him way up the top. That was when I was pitching.

It's hard when you grow up in one place, like mine and my wife's family have, and you're a fan for so long. All of a sudden you have this opportunity. I can understand the mixed emotions. As far as my family's concerned, they'd better not (smiling).

Q. You were put into the role of first starter because of Carpenter's injury. What do you take out of your experience in Game 1 in the Division Series to tomorrow's Game 1?

WOODY WILLIAMS: Well, I treated the Game 1 of the NLDS as a regular start. I think that's what I need to do tomorrow. I pitched against the Astros numerous times. They know what I'm bringing to the table, I know what they're bringing to the table. Bottom line is I need to go out there and execute my pitches.

Q. Two home runs Beltran had on Monday. Do you have any specific way of approaching Beltran?

WOODY WILLIAMS: I'm going to try to miss the fat part of his bat, tell you that.

But he's a very, very talented player. I've seen him hit pretty much anything someone's thrown up there. So at any time, you've got to be very cautious.

But you know what, if you spend too much time on Carlos Beltran, then the other guys are going to get you. Just try to stay sharp and stay one step ahead of all of them.

Q. What are the biggest concerns for pitchers that have to pitch against Larry Walker and Beltran?

WOODY WILLIAMS: It's the same thing. Bottom line is usually if you make good pitches, you get outs. Any time you elevate the ball or you're pitching behind in the count and you have to have the plate narrow on you and the hitter doesn't have to be so selective, he can look for pretty much one pitch in the location.

With the way things are these days, and these lineups are, everybody's dangerous. Larry has done a fabulous job for us. I'm sure he will continue to do so throughout the series.

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