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Matt Morris, pregame quotes
10/13/2004 5:23 PM ET
Q. Just the thoughts about their lineup, what you think of them vs. some of the other teams you've faced in the league, how you've prepped for them.

MATT MORRIS: They've got a great lineup. Their one through eight is solid. Even with Backe going tonight, he can swing the bat pretty well as well.

But it's the same key for me as any other team that we face. Keeping the ball down is I think the key to getting strike one, controlling the counts. When you're ahead in the count you're able to throw the ball out of the zone, get them to fish for it. But a lot of these guys are disciplined enough that they're not going to go after balls out of the zone.

Keeping it down, getting strike one and attacking these guys. We faced them so much, we know how to pitch them, it's just about execution right now.

Q. When you saw them at the end of the season, you guys knew your deal was done already, they were in the midst of their run, did you see anything different at that time?

MATT MORRIS: I thought they were a little more aggressive, even in the last series they played with Atlanta I thought they were -- some guys who normally take a first pitch were swinging right out of the gates, hitting and running, trying to steal bags. Just playing aggressive baseball.

It was kind of good for us to see that the last series we played them, and then to watch them continue on and, you know, they were playing like every game was their last game. So we saw some different tendencies that might help us in this series.

Q. You've seen what Beltran has done with home runs and RBIs. How do you approach a guy like that? He has a lot of talent and he's red hot.

MATT MORRIS: Very carefully (smiling). Like I said, it's about keeping the ball down, strike one, controlling the counts. He's an up hitter, just as most of these guys on this team, you know, Biggio and Berkman and Bagwell. They like the ball above the knee. Controlling counts, getting strike one, keeping it down. You've got to be careful in situations, too, when you're behind. I saw him hit the 3 1 pitch out of the park the other day. That would be a situation where I would be more careful, not just go right at him because he's so dangerous.

You want to be smart, you also don't want to walk the ballpark either. You want to control the counts and attack these guys with your best stuff.

Q. What explanation do you have for your numbers being so different at home vs. on the road?

MATT MORRIS: Are they better at home?

Q. Yes.

MATT MORRIS: Oh, I don't have an explanation. It was just a couple years ago where I was, again, terrible on the road and okay at home, or last year I think I was better in the daytime than I was at night. I think it's just the way it works out.

I'm glad this one's at home, though. It's just more comfortable, you're the first guy starting off the game, your times are better as far as preparation.

Good home cooking always helps out, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow's start.

Q. There's been so much about how Boston and New York hate each other. You guys seem to be a love fest. How do you feel about them?

MATT MORRIS: About Houston? I think we respect them. We try to go about it the same way they do, play the game right, play it hard. There's going to be situations that just come out of competition that might anger you, but you know they're trying to do the right thing and hopefully they know we're trying to play the game the right way.

So you let the talent speak for itself, and you take your best shot and then see which team's going to be on top. But I don't think there's any love lost after the competition. During, it might be a little different. But like I said, they've got a veteran core there that we respect, and we've always respected, and we enjoy competing against them.

Q. Do you anticipate another handshake at the end of the series?

MATT MORRIS: I think it depends who wins (laughter).

No, yeah, it's something that was brought to our attention and we thought it would be a good idea to tip your hat to the other side, win or lose. I don't know if it's been brought up or if Houston has any say on it. We're willing, it's a great we should all be congratulated for a great season, win or lose, both teams.

So at the end, it was a nice gesture in LA. Their crowd was able to cheer on their team for the last time. So I think it worked out good.

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