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10/04/06 8:46 PM ET

John Maine postgame interview

Rookie talks about making Game 1 start

John, just take us through the innings that you pitched. Were you surprised when Willie came to take you out when he did?

JOHN MAINE: I wasn't surprised. I figured they had a quick trigger, short leash on me. It was good matchups, Feliciano, Bradford against those two guys. Those are good matchups. They did a good job. It was the right decision.

David said that the fact that you were not given a whole lot of notice might have helped you, but, I mean, when El Duque went down and you've been thinking all along you were gonna pitch this game, right?

JOHN MAINE: There was always the possibility. It was my fifth day. I was preparing to pitch. You know, hopefully, you know, we want El Duque back. He's a great postseason pitcher. Everyone heard the news and they said, you know, I was just preparing to pitch.

When did it hit you that this isn't a regular game?

JOHN MAINE: I think when I went up there and took BP. But I wasn't really -- I wasn't that bad. My nerves I think were worse in the second inning than they were in the first. It wasn't too bad.

You know, I think I kind of stayed under control and I was able to throw strikes.

When you think about it, going back to March, you had a so so spring, you ended up in Triple-A, called you up, hurt your finger, now you're starting Game 1 in the LDS. Have you had a chance to think about where it came from six months ago or are you just riding it out?

JOHN MAINE: No, you know, I think it's a lot of hard work, and the pitching coaches and the staff, Minor Leagues on up here, same philosophy for me. I've just been working on what they have been telling me to do, my changeups, sliders, my approach. Everyone's been great.

A lot of hard work. I'd like to say hopefully it will keep paying off. Got another start maybe, so hopefully it will work out. We'll find out.

What were you thinking about that double play in the second inning?

JOHN MAINE: I know he hit it good, but I didn't think he hit it, you know, it was gonna go off the wall. I was backing up. I saw the relay coming in. I was like, Okay, they got this guy, then I was yelling at Lo Duca, I was like, "Turn around, there's a guy right behind you." I don't think he heard me, but he turned around just in time to catch it.

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One more thing about that play: Those runs score, you're maybe down 3-0. So the significance of getting out of that inning with only one run?

JOHN MAINE: It was big. Green played it great off the wall. It was a great relay in there. Lo Duca did his job. We've been good at defense all year. So it was just another one of those things and, you know, I'll take it.

You certainly project a lot of equanimity. Carlos Delgado was talking about your cool exterior. Now that this is all over, was your heart racing a little bit last night before going on the mound?

JOHN MAINE: Yeah, I was nervous, but I actually wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. I didn't want to let that get the better of me. I still knew I had to go out there, execute pitches, throw strikes, get guys out. I just tried to take control, and it went all right.

In what way did throwing against the Dodgers a few weeks ago in that appearance help you tonight? Did you recall any sequences of pitches to any of the specific batters, anything of that nature?

JOHN MAINE: Yeah, I remember pitching against these guys. I don't really want to get into too many sequences. I want to keep them guessing, just like any pitcher.

I kind of was a little familiar with these guys, and the scouting reports we went over, just pitch down, kind of helped me out a lot.

Peterson said he didn't tell you until this morning that you were going to pitch. Did you go to bed last night assuming you would? When they told you this morning, what was your first thought?

JOHN MAINE: With El Duque, he was kind of up in the air. I was like, you know what, maybe it was just kind of a cramp or something like that, he might be able to make a start. I was going in there actually thinking he might be able to pitch. I didn't think it was as serious as it was.

He came in there. Once I got here by 11:30, Rick said, "You're starting today." I mean, I was prepared anyway. I was like, "All right. I'm ready."

Willie talked about challenging you from start to start. What does he talk to you about in terms of challenging you?

JOHN MAINE: For me, about staying aggressive. When I'm not aggressive and I start nibbling, that's when I start throwing balls. That's when I don't have any life on any of my pitches. It was great when he comes up to me and says, "You got to do this, you got to do this." Sometimes I don't catch it. It's a good thing when he tells me.

You recognize that?

JOHN MAINE: I'm starting to get better recognizing it but I do need somebody to kind of get in my face. I like it.

What does Carlos' home run do for you?

JOHN MAINE: He had a great game. It was unbelievable. One of those things where, you know, you got to get on the board. You want to get on the board. He did it. Unbelievable. He's been great all year.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.