An Interview with Chris Carpenter

An Interview with Chris Carpenter

An Interview with Chris Carpenter
Q. Can you describe your friendship and some of the things you do off the field with Roy [Halladay]?

CHRIS CARPENTER: Well, it's been a pretty good friendship for a long time. We've pitched together, we've vacationed together, we communicate a bunch during the offseason and during the season. He just invited me to go fishing this winter, so I mean, we've got a real good relationship. It's going to be a lot of fun.

Q. Your thoughts on pitching this game, how important it is, and how you kind of temper it and not get too anxious?

CARPENTER: Yeah, I mean, it's obviously a huge game, but you control your emotions, you can control distractions. I've been in big games before, I've pitched in World Series games, I've pitched in other playoff games.

The game the other night against Houston could have ended our season, also. Granted, this is the postseason and you're facing a quality Phillies club, but the less distractions you have and the more control of your thoughts makes it easier. You go out and you do the things that you can only control, and that's execute pitches.

Q. When you say he just invited you to go fishing, do you mean just like minutes ago or within the last 24 hours?

CARPENTER: No, no, it's been a few days.

Q. Do you recall the first time you met him, and was it pitching that you guys bonded over? Was it fishing? Was there more to it? Is there kind of a deeper personality connection than just on the mound?

CARPENTER: Yeah, I would say obviously baseball, one; and then after that, we fished a bunch. And we spent Spring Training one year, me and him and my wife and his wife before we had kids renting in the same condo. We owned a boat together that Spring Training, and we'd fish every night and sometimes get up in the morning and go fishing in the morning before anything had to start. Golf, I mean, we did all kinds of different things together.

Q. Other the years you've mentioned the influence that Pat Hentgen had on you in Toronto and Doc just mentioned him a while ago in his press conference. What did he mean to your career specifically? And my second question is: Are you looking forward to batting against Doc? Is that something you've always wanted to do?

CARPENTER: Pat, I was very fortunate to play with a lot of guys in Toronto, all kinds of different ways, all kinds of different personalities that touched my career in different ways. I'll never forget Pat, my first big league Spring Training, I showed up, and obviously I had, they had high expectations for me and what I meant to that organization, and back in the day, and I think the game has changed a bit now where the veteran players aren't so hard on the younger players as they were back then, but you walk into Spring Training and you were nervous, you were concerned about if they were going to like you, if they weren't going to like you, how they were going to treat you.

I'll never forget sitting on Field 3 at Engelberg Complex that we only had three fields at the time and a half field, I'm not sure what they've got over there now. But Field 3, I was sitting down there and sitting on the bench by myself and Pat came over and sat on the bench next to me and he just started talking, asking me how I felt, what I'm doing, and we just started having a conversation, a little bit about Spring Training, a little bit about family and all kinds of things. And I couldn't believe what a quality person he was. And he kind of took me under his wing.

After, he truly showed me how to be professional, how to act on the day that you pitch, how serious you need to take that day, how important that day is for you. You get to do it one every five times, and Pat took a lot of pride in taking that ball and going out there, and that's something I took from him.

I'm not going to concern myself with hitting against Doc. I'll let the other guys do that, and I'll I do my best to get the Phillies' hitters out.

Q. The team won your Game 2 start, but I know you may not have been at your best. How badly do you want to get out there and pitch the way you normally pitch for this team?

CARPENTER: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it, no question. I wasn't sharp in Game 2, but I'm looking forward to doing a better job, I can tell you that much, and it's going to be fun. It's going to be an exciting night, great atmosphere, and I'm going to go out and do the best I can.

Q. Tony [La Russa] mentioned that, I guess it was the third inning, where [Dave Duncan] talked to you about your delivery, and you kind of got that straightened out. Can you elaborate on that?

CARPENTER: I was just spinning off a little bit. Like I said, I wasn't as sharp as I would have liked, so I was trying to find any way I could to get the ball where I wanted it, and it just wasn't happening. I started spinning a little bit instead of driving the ball down through the strike zone, and Dunc spoke a little bit about it, and I went out and tried to make the adjustment. I was able to do it and fortunately was able to get through that inning with a zero and gave us a chance to come back like we did.

Q. How do you think that you and Roy helped each other as young pitchers back in Toronto during your time there together?

CARPENTER: Yeah, I've spoken about this before, and I think that even though I'm a little older than him, we went through a lot of the same issues at the same time, so there was a lot of just conversation on not understanding what's going on and why these things are, why we can't get out of the fourth inning and why we can't do this, and there's all kinds of different things. And I think it was just being able to be a sound board to one another of being able to say, "Listen, I'm going through the same things you're going through," and him being able to say "I am going through some of the same things you're going through" and being able to learn and get through those problems and those issues together.

Like I said before, a lot of it was mental. We both knew that we had quality stuff. But mentally as young kids with high expectations on you, this game is hard, and if you can't control that stuff in your mind and the game goes a thousand miles an hour, you're going to have a hard time executing, and fortunately we were able to figure it out.

Q. As ultra-competitive as both you and Roy are, when you're on a boat this winter or fishing together, are you going to be able to talk about this game after it's over, regardless of how it turns out, or will it be too sensitive a subject?

CARPENTER: No, we'll be able to talk about it, I'm sure, no question about it. I mean, we're still friends, even though we're competitive and wanting to win, I mean, we're still friends, and it's not going to end anything. It's not that bad.

Q. Given what you guys have gone through to get here in this fifth game, how special is this group given the battles you've had this final month of the season and in this playoff series?

CARPENTER: Yeah, I said after we got in that night in Houston, this is a real special group of guys. One of the greatest and most pleasurable seasons I've ever had with a group of guys. How much we enjoy being around each other, how much we enjoy coming to the ballpark and hanging out and talking and messing around and clowning around and all those things, and then obviously out doing business on the field and playing as hard as we can and pulling for one another. It's been a pleasure, no matter what, and I said this in Houston after we got in. No matter what happens, it could be a crazy ride and we end up in the World Series or winning the World Series, who knows, but no matter what happens, this group of guys is very special. They can't take anything that we've done away from us. We've had our backs against the wall for a good period now, and we continue to battle back. Our guys just like I said, it's just been amazing. My game against Cliff Lee, who's got, what, seven shutouts or something this year and dominating their rotation, and I'm supposed to go out and set the tone and I give up four in two innings and our guys battle back against a tough guy like him.

We did it the other night against Roy, who had our number, pitched well in the postseason, been very successful, they go out and score two quick ones, we come back on them, get one back in the bottom and continue to battle until we break it open. These guys are very, very special, and it's going to be a year that I'll never forget.