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Off-day interview with Mark Mulder

Off-day interview with Mark Mulder

Q. What was the mood on the plane coming home last night?

MARK MULDER: Well, it was late. A lot more guys were sleeping than I think we were awake. I mean, nobody was jumping up and down or anything like that. But it was a good win, and we were obviously pumped and excited to be coming home.

Q. You've obviously pitched against some very tough hitters and played with some; how does [Albert] Pujols compare to the best hitters you've faced?

MULDER: He's obviously the best I've ever played with. I mean, I was with [Jason] Giambi the year he won the MVP, but what Albert does, day in and day out, is just so impressive, pitch to pitch, at-bat to at-bat. It's a lot of fun to be a part of and fun to watch.

Q. More than Giambi or [Miguel] Tejada?

MULDER: I'm not saying any more, it's maybe a little bit more impressive, yeah.

But he's unlike anybody else, though. He's a special player.

Q. What does pitching in Game 6 of the League Championship Series mean to you?

MULDER: Well, it's going to be fun. It's a challenge. I think everybody on this staff, including myself, wants to be out there in an important game and be that guy who has got to make the pitches and get the job done. That's obviously where I'm going to be tomorrow night and I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Is there such a thing as home field advantage in baseball? In other words, is this game possibly easier for you to win since it's here, as opposed to if it was played in Houston?

MULDER: I wouldn't say it's any easier. Obviously, for our offense and the crowd and the support of the fans, especially the fans that we have here. I'm not saying it's an advantage, but it's definitely nice to have, I guess is a better way to put it.

Q. You say it's not an advantage but it's nice to have?

MULDER: It's very nice to have. But the crowd isn't going to determine whether I throw the ball. You've still got to make pitches, whether you're at home or away. Just having the crowd with you is obviously nice.

Q. You just saw the Astros a few days ago, what are the pluses and minuses about facing them a few days ago, or does it mean nothing?

MULDER: No, because it's the same as in the regular season. If you face them two starts in a row, obviously, there's more on the line but you still go out there to make pitches. There's no advantage, disadvantage. It's just lots of times you face teams in back-to-back starts. Mine both happen to be at home, so it happens all the time.

Q. Have you ever seen such a drastic change in emotions from one game to the next?

MULDER: No, because that was amazing, you go from one moment, trying to prepare myself to pitch in two days to going, "Alright, well, I guess I'm going home," to, "Are you kidding me?" And then, all of the sudden, getting yourself ready to pitch again.

Everybody would be lying if they said for one minute, one second, you didn't think, "Alright, it looks like we're going home." But all of a sudden, [David] Eckstein gets a knock and Jimmy [Edmonds] walks and Albert swings at a pitch in the dirt and the next ball he hits, it's like you see it going and you almost don't believe it, because it was just such a shock.

But that's the guy. I said to Matt Morris the inning before, I said we need to get two guys on in these last two innings so Albert can get a shot. And he did.

Q. Can you ride those emotions into Game 6, or is it a different game, different day and just start all over again?

MULDER: It's the same as when we lost Games 2, 3 and 4. It's another game, go on to the next day. You can't let wins or losses affect you. Obviously, it was a great win, so we're all feeling pretty excited coming home, but everything changes when you get on the field.

Q. I know that baseball players take games one at a time, but the fact that the Red Sox came back against the Yankees and then the Marlins came back against the Cubs before that, does it maybe make it a little bit easier to think that you guys can come back?

MULDER: I don't think any of us are really thinking about that. We know it happened and stuff, but there's not one person who has said, "Oh, well, the guys last year did it." There's none of that.

It's just that we know what we have to do. We have to win. We have to win ballgames. If we lose, we go home. Everybody is well aware of that.

Q. You've told us about your easy-going personality, and your teammates have told us about that as well. Has there been anything that has ever penetrated that, a game or an event or something where you have not been as easy-going as you would like to be?

MULDER: No. I mean, I'm always the same, you know, but obviously a game like this, you know what's at stake and you get excited for it.

I know when I pitched Game 5 in Yankee Stadium, it's like I felt like I was sitting if the clubhouse for ten hours, the game just never seemed to start. You just get anxious, you want to get out there and you want to get the game going, and I'm sure I'll be that way tomorrow.

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