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10/17/06 5:34 PM ET

Dave Duncan pregame interview

Cards pitching coach talks about Johnson, Carpenter and Weaver

Tyler Johnson has really had a wonderful season, wonderful series, are you at all concerned that the Mets have seen him so often that they are starting to figure him out, that they could figure him out here?

DAVE DUNCAN: Well, they know what he's going to throw, you know, so it's just hitting it is going to be the task. He has a dynamic breaking ball, especially against a left-handed hitter. So he doesn't surprise anybody. He goes out there and he throws it and throws it for strikes, and throws it out of the strike zone when he feels it's appropriate to do so. I don't think it really matters that they have seen him.

Carp told us yesterday that he threw a side with the hope of fixing some specific things between the last start. Did you like what you saw from him there, did you feel like he got whatever it was sorted out? And also, did he go on or is he still here today?

DAVE DUNCAN: No, he left. He's on his way to New York right now, and his bullpen session was a good session. He wasn't happy with the command of his off-speed pitches in the game the other day, and he felt like that it would be important for him to get a little bit better feel of it, and that's what we worked on.

What had to take place to get Jeff Weaver from where he was to where you got him to where he is now?

DAVE DUNCAN: I think when Jeff came over, he was pretty beat up. You know, he really had a tough season. I think he had lost a lot of confidence. And I think that was the main thing that we had to do is help him regain some confidence. So in various different ways, we tried to do that and he started getting some results. His confidence grew as he threw the ball better and got better results, and he's what he is right now, a very confident pitcher that believes he can go out there and pitch competitively against anybody.

Can you just elaborate on the various things that you had to do to try to help his confidence when you got him.

DAVE DUNCAN: Well, I tried to make him understand that there was nothing wrong with his physical ability. And in different ways, I tried to show him that. Sometimes a pitcher can get snake bit and get some poor results even though they are pitching good enough to be an effective pitcher. I tried to show him different games that he had pitched. He made a lot of great pitches and didn't get the results that you normally get and he was -- you know, he could see that. I think the big thing is just him finding out himself, hey, my stuff is still good enough. I've just got to keep plugging away, and that's what he did.

Do you think the way he pitched in the San Diego game, not so much the effectiveness, but the way he went after guys, do you think there's value in that going forward and that he kind of showed another way that he could be successful, maybe that puts something in guys' heads when they face him?

DAVE DUNCAN: Well, if you're not a power pitcher, and I'm talking about a guy that goes out there like Verlander and throws 96, 97 miles an hour, if you're not that type of pitcher, you have to be able to do other things in order to succeed. Jeff has really shown me the ability to pitch according to how he has to pitch against any given hitter or in a particular game. One thing about Jeff, he has very good control most of the time. There's very few starts that he has made for us where he's gone out there and it not looked like he had excellent control of all of his pitches.

I'm wondering if you and Tony, if you could share your opinion on whether or not a critical situation comes up in, say, the 7th or 8th inning if you look to Adam Wainwright in that situation or would you save him for more of the pure save situation later on in the game?

DAVE DUNCAN: I think right now we would go into the game thinking that we are going to save him for the save situation. You never know what might happen during the course of the game. Something might lead you to do something differently. But I wouldn't think the 7th inning would be an inning you would see Adam Wainwright.

What are we likely to see from Weaver that we would not have seen on three days' rest? What is he like on short rest?

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DAVE DUNCAN: I don't know. I haven't seen him either. There's no history to go back and look at. I would assume that it's the same for all guys. You know, when they are accustomed to a certain routine, they generally respond best when they follow that routine. So pitching on short rest is a break in that routine, and over the years, since everybody has gotten programmed to pitch in a five-man rotation, there's occasions when guys do pitch on short rest, but I haven't seen too many of them be really good doing it.

Considering the way that Delgado is not just a success, but the way he's hit the ball, where he's hit the ball, is there an adjustment that needs to be made beyond just the quality of the pitching considering he's hitting everything the opposite way?

DAVE DUNCAN: Well, he's a good hitter. It's not fair to our pitching staff to say that he's beat them up, even though he has, because we have not made good pitches to him. What we've got to do is we've got to control the counts better when he's hitting. We haven't done that. We haven't gotten any off-speed pitches over the plate to him. When we have, we've gotten him out. We have to execute better. You know, that's a tough lineup. Up-and-down that lineup you have to execute. If you don't, you have a game like we had the other night. But looking back at that game, we had a lot of hitter's counts and a lot of balls in a good portion of the plate, and they took advantage of it.

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