10/15/05 5:45 PM ET
Byrd's pregame press conference
Game 5 starter discusses strategy prior to Game 4
PAUL BYRD: I think so. Depending on today's game and how we do, you know, tomorrow is going to be crucial. You know, it'll be a pivotal game either way in my mind.
I enjoy pitching the big games. I enjoy the pressure, I have so far, and I'm looking forward to it.
I'm just interested to know what's the fatigue factor for a pitcher at this time of year, and how do you feel personally?
BYRD: Well, I definitely felt some fatigue my last start in Chicago, but I'm hoping that was due to a lack of rest, things like that. You know, I think it's different depending on each pitcher. I personally don't throw that hard. I'm not a max effort pitcher, so I expect my arm to rebound well and be able to go late into the game, which I think is not as crucial as it was for our team a few starts ago because our pen is a little bit more rested, but that's what I intend to do, and my arm should be fine.
Maybe I'm using the wrong word, but you said you were grateful or gratified after Game 1 when you got a chance to pitch. When does that sort of emotion go out the window? Now is it more business or how is it different this time around?
BYRD: I guess what I meant by that, I was just excited that, you know, in New York they had the option to go to [Jarrod] Washburn before he got sick, and they wanted to go with me and Washburn the next game. I just felt honored by that because we have a lot of starters who are really good, even [Ervin] Santana may be more suited for the playoffs because he throws 95, 96 [mph], depending on which game he pitches, whether it's a day game, night game. I was just glad that Mike [Scioscia] had given me the ball. In Game 1, they had a lot of confidence in me. Even when I struggled in New York he had a lot of confidence in me even though I was losing velocity.
So I felt honored that they trusted me and gave me the ball. That doesn't change even though the situation is different. I still want to do a good job. Mike, the coaching staff has been great this year. When we take the field, it's a team effort. I'm just honored that they trusted me and gave me the ball.
When you face a team twice in such a close period of time, you were successful the first time around last week. Do you do the exact same thing, or do you know that they're going to adjust and you have to adjust in advance accordingly?
BYRD: Without giving too much of my strategy away, yeah, sometimes you do things different, sometimes you do things the same. It just depends on the hitter and how their approach is and what you believe their approach is when you take the mound. You know, different strategies for some people, and you never shy away from the things that you do great. You just throw those back out there and hope they work.
For those of us who don't cover the Angels, you have a pitching delivery that looks like something out of the '50s or the '60s. Who helped you develop that and what was the rationale behind that?
BYRD: You know what, to tell you the truth, I just hopped the fence one day in spring training with the Royals and just started working on different deliveries. I was coming back from shoulder surgery and needed to get more on the ball. I actually prefer a little bit of motion, a little bit of mechanics in my delivery. Not only does it allow me to put a little bit more on the ball with less effort, but the hitters don't like that. You know, they want to see the ball as soon as they can, and when there's too much going on, I think it's a distraction.
So it's just one of those things. Honestly, I hopped the field and I prayed about it. I didn't know if my career was going to be over. I didn't know why, I just could not throw the ball hard. It was a gut check for me where I was asking myself, "Is it time to hang it up?" I hopped the fence, prayed about it and that came about. I didn't watch any video, didn't see any Warren Spahn video (laughter), but that's just the way it came about. I think it's a nice way to deliver the ball. I think they had something back then.
Can you talk about the [Scott] Podsednik factor and whether he's been running or not? He hasn't been running a lot in the past couple series. If you see him run a lot tonight, does that put you more on the defense and change the way you pitch at all?
BYRD: You said Podsednik?
BYRD: My first plan is to keep him off base. The bruisers they have coming up, Jermaine Dye and [Paul] Konerko, you don't want to walk anybody. You just want to keep them off base. That's my first and foremost my goal.
We know the guys who can run and we have some catchers who can throw them out. They have some good arms. I just factor in the situation a little bit and try and keep him off base, but I have noticed that they haven't been running as much. They've been doing a little more of the small ball stuff, the bunting first. So I'm going to definitely be leery of that, as well.
You've seen Vlad [Guerrero], Garret [Anderson] and Bengie (Molina) all year. Are you a little bit surprised to see them all scuffling at the same time here?
BYRD: I know if surprised is the right word because hitters always go through their little phases, little slumps, but that in mind you can only keep Vlad Guerrero down so long. We're excited about the possibility of him and some other players breaking out at any time.
You also have to keep in mind that you have a great pitching staff over there. It's hard to hit balls when they're perfectly located and (Mark) Buehrle and [Jon] Garland had the best stuff I've seen them have all year. We have to keep that in mind, too, that they're really throwing some great games.
A hit or two away from breaking out, string a couple together and get the offense going a little bit, and I think we can pitch a little better than we did last night, as well. It's a team effort, and we're excited at the possibility of some of our big guys breaking out.
There's a difference in pitching Game 1 of a seven game series to pitching Game 5 tomorrow. Is it different in your mind and will it be different in your approach?
BYRD: Not really because I can't do anything different based on the importance of the game. I just have to pitch my game. I've said that all along, even though it's playoffs, you're going to get 85, 86, 87 on the corners and I'm not going to strike too many people out, not going to give up too many runs, just keep us in the game and battle. I need some runs, some go to people, get our defense involved. I need hitting. That's just the kind of pitcher I am. I'm not going to change anything or overthrow or try to strike anybody out or anything different, even though the game might be a little bigger.
Just to follow up on the delivery thing, did you literally jump the fence or is that a figure of speech? Why do you suppose more guys don't use that delivery?
BYRD: Well, I did not literally climb and jump the fence, but what I did do was go through a gate that was already locked and the mounds were already covered up. It was finished for the day, so the grounds crew wasn't real happy with me when I pulled the tarp back and started working on my delivery.
The bottom line I think is that delivery is not taught anymore. I've never had a pitching coach teach me that delivery. That is considered old school or considered out of date. I don't think that every pitcher should go to it, but I think that some pitchers should.
You know, I think it's something we have guys we have supposedly the best training, best doctors, best staff, and we have guys that are hurt a lot. Is it because there's a radar gun every time we throw the ball and everybody overthrows or is there other reasons for that? It could be, but I think mechanically we go from a resting position throwing the ball. There's nothing wrong with being athletic, getting a little movement and a little rhythm. I think that's what pitching is.
So I prefer it, but to answer your question, I just really don't think it's taught.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.