10/23/2012 8:00 PM EST
Oct. 23 Barry Zito workout day interview
Q. Kind of obvious difference between this year and 2010 for yourself, but have you allowed yourself to think about that and just how far you've come since then and being a part of this this year?
BARRY ZITO: Not really. It's not important to reflect right now. There's work to do. I'm going to be on the mound here in the next 24 hours, so that's where my focus is at.
Q. It seems like your command people say the command is better for you now. How has that happened? Is it anything that you've worked on? Is it just something that happened?
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, working on a lot of things. There's so many different factors, it's hard to just answer how to get your command good. But on the mechanical side, it's just having the right timing and having the right feel.
Q. Is there any way you can exploit the Tigers in that they haven't played in so long? Is there anything that you can do to gain the advantage over a team that may be a little jumpy and anxious?
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, you know, I'm not sure. I guess we can hypothesize for a while on how prepared they are being that they haven't played these high intensity games. But they're still 25 guys with immense talent, so that's probably going to come to the surface tomorrow night. So I don't really choose to try to exploit something from that angle of them not being playing games lately.
Q. What's your take on your team's ability to survive and have success in these elimination games, and maybe with your own personal experience in your last outing, what was that like for you knowing what the stakes were?
BARRY ZITO: You know, it was a big game, definitely. I just knew that we had to get the series back to San Francisco and we had to get the fans involved, and they came out with more energy than I saw really at any time, even in 2010. That was the difference for us.
Q. Just wondering if you could comment on what starting Game 1 of the World Series means to you personally.
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, it means a lot. Like I said earlier, it's hard to reflect and really become third person about this experience. It's more about right now just going out and preparing for a ballgame against a good team. You know, I can look back on everything when I'm back home.
Q. Can you talk about the excitement of being in this situation? I know on the mound you have your emotions in control, but we're 24 hours away. Talk about the excitement and the joy of being in this situation.
BARRY ZITO: Well, for me personally, to look at the whole story and everything else doesn't really help me because I have a routine I have to stick to. I'm excited to pitch every time I get on the mound. This is a more exciting opportunity than most.
Q. We know your story a little bit, obviously, but talk about how much you appreciate where you are now in terms of your career and the game as opposed to maybe earlier years ago when you were starting out.
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, I feel like I've grown up in this game, you know. When I came up in Oakland, I felt like I was a boy in the game. You have talent, and you just keep going to the next level, and all of a sudden everyone is kind of like looking at you and there's fans chanting your name and stuff, and you're not really sure why.
You know, and then to mature in this game is a big deal. That process is in huge part becoming a free agent, going to a new team, signing a big deal and dealing with everything that comes with that. So I feel like an adult in the game now (smiling).
Q. You've been through a lot. How do you think Bochy has handled you and handled the team over the course of the last two years, and specifically this year where there's been so much going on and so many injuries?
BARRY ZITO: Oh, Bochy has just been unbelievable. I mean, wow. He gets the credit. He gets a lot of credit. But I think he's due even more.
What I always talk about this year is the way he handles the bullpen. I mean, for a team to go out there without a definite, definite closer for most of the season, it's just unreal what's going on. I mean, we're doing matchups in the eighth, matchups in the ninth, one run games, extra inning games, pulling these games out. It's much easier on a manager when you have your obvious 7th, 8th and 9th setup guys, and your closer, and Bochy didn't have that luxury.
Q. He's talked about how you reacted to the situation two years ago, but how about the way he handled you?
BARRY ZITO: He's always handled me very professional. He's always communicated, and sometimes the truth was not what I wanted to hear, but it was the truth, and other times he's said things that felt good to me. He's always been just a great guy personally and a great manager from a kind of player's perspective.
Q. How do you pitch differently in a situation where it's desperation like the last game you pitched versus a case like tomorrow where the slate is clean?
BARRY ZITO: Desperation never came into my mind. Maybe that was what other people were feeling. For me being on the mound is an opportunity to express my talent the best I can, and a lot of the circumstances swirling around, they should not be a factor. Sometimes they are, but it's my job to focus on what's important.
Q. One of your few high points last year was the six shut out innings in Detroit spanning two hours of a nine hour rain delay. What did that game mean to you personally, to go out and win that game?
BARRY ZITO: That was in my top five experiences on the field because I had pitched a double header the Tuesday before, and Bochy said, can you go on three days' rest and pitch Saturday, and I said sure. Then we had a two and a half hour delay, and I came back from it and was able to go, I think, six. That was just awesome, personally just to I think from a body standpoint at 33 to be able to do that. That's pretty big.
Yeah, it was cool to pitch in Detroit, too. I hadn't pitched there in a while.
Q. Can you talk about the chemistry on this team and how it's different from maybe the last couple of years? It seems like as things get more desperate with all these elimination games, the bond between you guys got tighter.
BARRY ZITO: It did. This team has had its tests in the regular season, and so the tests that we encountered in the postseason didn't really make us panic I think as much as it would have if we didn't already have those muscles kind of built up from losing Wilson early, going through the Cabrera situation, just really everything that we had come back from. It kind of makes sense that we had some serious adversity because that seemed to ignite us.
Q. A lot of your teammates cited your experience in Game 5 in St. Louis as sort of giving them the momentum to win this series. What was it like for you after that game, just the thoughts that went through your mind as you're flying home and getting home? What was that like?
BARRY ZITO: It's just kind of it's hard to realize the implications sometimes when you go out there and you pitch. We're just trying to go out and do the best we can and do what we love, and sometimes there's no implications and sometimes there's huge ones. That was a big game, certainly, to cut their momentum down in their own park and to come back here was the whole season as our team. For us to do that was just incredible. It was such a blessing to be a part of that.
Q. Just wondering if you can comment on what makes Miguel Cabrera such a tough hitter to face.
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, I haven't faced Miguel in a while. I think I've only faced him eight times. But I think in '07 I faced him when he was with Florida. He has an ability to get to most every pitch. He can get the barrel on most every pitch, and when he gets the barrel on something, his strength comes into play, and he can put the ball out of the park, every part of the park, even in Detroit's park. It's pretty impressive what's going on there. Really happy for him that he was able to win that award this year.
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