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Mike Mussina pregame interview

Mike Mussina pregame interview

Q. Did your final start convince you that you are exactly where you need to be right now?

MIKE MUSSINA: The token where you need to be question. (Laughter.) It's kind of an in house joke.

Coming back from an injury, I'm just trying to get ready for the post season. We knew we were in good shape. I had three or four starts. Just, you know, just trying to get back into some kind of shape and I felt pretty good about it. I thought I threw the ball okay. It doesn't mean that it's going to carry over necessarily unless I go out and do the same things and focus and prepare and all that stuff.

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So one game doesn't mean anything about the next.

Q. Do you feel like you've become --

MIKE MUSSINA: Did you get the joke, by the way?

Q. I did. (Laughter.) Do you feel like you've become a better playoff pitcher in the last few seasons the more opportunities you've had, and is there such a thing? Is there such a difference as starting playoff games versus one in the regular season?

MIKE MUSSINA: I think obviously the post season is different than the regular season and I think experience is great. It doesn't mean that you can't go out there and pitch well if you don't have the playoff experience.

Once you figure out that it's just a baseball game, and all the hoopla, all the media coverage, the jets flying over, the big flag in centerfield, once you get past all that stuff, you realize it's just baseball, like it's been all year.

So I've been fortunate enough to be in a lot of post seasons now, especially since I came to New York. I think that the experience that I have will hopefully let me get past the other stuff very quickly.

Q. Can you just talk about the opportunity again, if "elusive" is the right word, but just another opportunity to win a World Series, just kind of how you think about how much it would mean to win one.

MIKE MUSSINA: Obviously I think to all of us, to all eight teams still playing, it's what we go to Florida or to Arizona for in the middle of February, what we do all the off season work for, all the preparation, all the travel. But everything that we have to go through in a season, this is what it's about and this is my sixth year in New York and my sixth opportunity. So I don't think I can ask for more than that.

Anything can happen in the post season. Anything can happen in a short series. All we ask for as players is to be given the chance to get to this point and let's see what happens. I'm thankful that I've had that this is my sixth chance in a row, and that I have another chance.

Q. How does it make you feel that your opponent tomorrow grew up watching you when he lived in Virginia as a kid?

MIKE MUSSINA: How does it make me feel? (Laughter.) Young.

I've been really lucky. I've been playing this game a long time. If there's people playing the game now who watched me pitch 13 or 15 years ago and learned something from it or wanted to watch me pitch more often, that's great.

Back then, I knew a lot less about it than I know now, and it just tells me that I'm lucky that I've been able to do this for over 15 years now, and I hope I can keep going out there and doing it.

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Q. In the past, Joe has given you the ball, a lot of times in Game 3, he's always stressed the importance of that. For you, is there any difference preparation wise in dealing with a Game 3 now versus a Game 3 in the past?

MIKE MUSSINA: In the shorter series. In the five game series, I've kind of disagreed with Joe. I always thought the second game was a pretty big deal. And I'm sure he's watching his television in his office, so he heard me say that. (Laughter.)

But after Game 2, there's three scenarios. You're either up two, down two, or even. A lot of times in these series, if it's two games to nothing, one way or the other, you feel you're in a pretty bad spot. So I think the second game is a big deal.

I'm going to look at these games like I look at any other game. No matter what the scenario from Game 1, to take it as seriously as I would take it any other game.

Q. If you could give us a thought on Detroit's lineup, the profile is that they don't take many walks and they strikeout a lot, they are very aggressive and swing a lot at first pitches and will hit the mistake for a home run; do you have any particular thoughts --

MIKE MUSSINA: No, I think you've covered it all. (Laughter.) Who's next? (Laughter.)

Q. How do you pitch to these guys? What sort of thoughts do you formulate when you think about that batting order?

MIKE MUSSINA: Well, they pose a lot of problems. No, they don't take a lot of pitches. No, they don't take a lot of walks. But they feel like they can get it done early in counts and they don't let us as pitchers get to the two strike count very often.

When you get the momentum going in your favour in that kind of situation, it's tough to stop it, to stop the roll. So that's just the way they approach it, and if they are swinging well or whoever is pitching is throwing too many balls in the middle of the plate, then they are going to go out and score a lot of runs, so it's obviously our job to try to prevent that from happening.

Q. Do you ever remember having a really bad start against the Detroit team, you've had a pretty good run against them over the years.

MIKE MUSSINA: I'm sure over 15 years, I've had a bad start here or there, sure. I've probably had one against everybody, or 10 or 15.

But it's the post season, it's a different focus. You don't worry about the regular season. What has happened in the last week, what has happened in the last month; you don't worry about that stuff. Everybody is starting fresh in the post season and we have to go out there and try to be the first one to win three games this week, and that's all we're really focusing on.

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

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