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10/08/05 10:16 PM ET

Adam Eaton pregame interview

Pitcher talks about preparing for potential Game 4 start

How does it feel knowing you may not pitch tomorrow, yet you still have to go through your regular routine and everything? Kind of anxious?

ADAM EATON: Definitely different. Obviously, you know, usually you know for sure that you're going to pitch. Especially in a regular season, games don't get canceled, they just kind of get postponed.

Our season, so to speak, could get canceled here tonight. I got a good feeling that's not going to be the case. I have to go about my business as usual, prepare myself to pitch on Sunday.

You haven't had an opportunity to play in a lot of big games, in a game that obviously is an elimination game. As you look forward to pitching in that game, talk about how you've been able to prepare for that.

EATON: Really just kind of everything's magnified so much greater here in the post season. Especially down towards the end of the season, you know, things just get magnified, games get to be considered more important, even though they're not really more important than the first or second game of the year.

But to be in an elimination game, Game 4, just the same as a Game 5 that I was originally supposed to be scheduled to pitch in, just the emotion of everything. You know, everything's coming down to "this last moment." A lot of times people are judged or determined, you know, what kind of player they are in post seasons or when, you know, things kind of proverbially hit the fan.

The way I've always seen myself is pitching very well in those situations. All those times growing up, things that were meaning a great thing earlier just growing up, high school games, playoff games in high school, you always wanted to be the guy. Now this is a stage that we all prepared for, to a man, in each clubhouse. These days are what we get judged on. Hopefully we can prove ourselves worthy.

We've heard a lot about how the hitters have had to adjust to this place. Can you talk to the idea of how the pitchers have been able to use it to their advantage? Have you been able to challenge hitters more? Are you less concerned with giving up the home run here?

EATON: For me personally, I don't try to judge good outing or bad outing on giving up a home run or two. But this field definitely is a pitcher friendly park. Obviously, we've had struggles here just with the Padres. And other teams, too, have hit balls great, especially gap to gap. The ball doesn't carry there, but down the line it carries okay.

It's obviously a big stadium. It's obviously a big field. Change of approach a little bit. You get a little more aggressive. Fast balls away, don't have to be so perfect keeping the ball down. You can allow a guy to extend his arms a little bit more than normal. But at the same time if they hit it, it does go. We've seen a lot of home runs go to dead centerfield this year, a lot more than last year it seems like.

I think hitters have kind of changed their approach a little bit more to if the ball's in, you know you need to put a good swing on it, get it out. If the ball is away, you can't just flip your wrist at it, you have to drive the ball much more consciously than before I think.

It's a great place to pitch. Look forward to pitching here many more years.

Can you remember the last time you pitched in a game like this? You mentioned high school. Was it high school?

EATON: Any time you pitch in high school, it seems like it's the last game. Especially in playoffs, it's one game here and you move on. There's games back when I was a junior, sophomore, games we should have won. Some of those things are frustrating. One game in particular I was ready to pitch, I didn't get put in. Shoot. Now hopefully I can get to the position where I am put in so I can, you know, kind of prove myself a little bit to myself and to my teammates.

Regardless of what happens tonight, what will you take away as the fondest memory of this season?

EATON: I don't know if it's necessarily considered a fondest memory. But this team has been through so much on the field, and then just personal struggles off the field. Obviously, with Mark Merila. You know, this game really doesn't mean anything tonight in the real scheme of things. Just to be able to be here and overcome all these little things we've had to overcome throughout this season is huge.

We've had a great month of May. Everybody wrote how good we were in May. We're the same ballclub, given a couple faces here and there, they're not the same people. But we're the same ballclub in the heart. Hopefully we can persevere. Our back's been against the wall, you know, for a great part of the season. Hopefully we can relish in the fact that we, you know, performed admirably in those times, and now hopefully we can do the same here.

There was some thought you could start Game 3. They set you up for Game 5. Now Game 4. How has that been for you going back and forth from when you might start, if at all in this series? How is the finger and shoulder? Bochy talked about the a stiffness in the shoulder last time you pitched.

EATON: Finger is great. Really haven't been getting treated on that at all. Shoulder, just stiff. Stiff in the bullpen. Ended up probably throwing one of my better games this season last Sunday. I'm not too worried about that. Good bullpen session the last day there the second workout in St. Louis. Just look forward to having a healthy start.

To speak about pitching Game 3, pitching Game 5, now pitching Game 4, it's obviously a little bit of an adjustment. You know, originally I was planning to pitch Game 3. On the flight over to St. Louis, that changed. I kind of still kind of geared myself up to be able to pitch today if need be. Obviously down 2 0, anything's possible. But, obviously, they're probably not going to use me tonight so I will be able to pitch Game 4.

Really hasn't changed my approach. I think any time you prepare for a game, it's to be healthy. I'm healthy today. I could pitch today. Pitching tomorrow isn't any less of a consolation. Just hope we get there.

With all respect to the team, I don't even know if can you speak to it or not, but are you disappointed that you weren't called on for like Game 3?

EATON: I think anybody's disappointed. You want to be out there and be able to contribute in a guaranteed fashion, for me personally.

But, you know, to pitch Game 5 originally, if it got to a Game 5, just that magnification of every little thing even more so than before, I'm glad that the coaching staff felt confident in me to be able to win that game. Granted, I'd want to pitch Game 3 to enable us to get to Game 5 potentially or to clinch or get 2 1, but that wasn't the case.

I do what I'm told, so I'm going to be pitching Game 4, Game 3, Game 5. Now I'm pitching Game 4. Everybody wants to contribute. Everybody in that clubhouse wants to contribute. Even the guys not on the post season roster right now, they're still going to the bullpen, still getting their work in, doing anything they can do to prepare themselves to be able to help the ballclub down the road.

You had a great start, then injury, now waiting to pitch again. How would you describe for you personally the past six months, kind of what you've gone through?

EATON: Just, you know, you always hear about riding the wave. First three months of the season, that wave was huge. I was just hanging 10, so to speak. I was having a lot of fun. Everything was coming easy. Sometimes those times, you kind of forget about how good they are once you're in 'em, and how quickly they can go away. Just went away one night in Detroit with one or two pitches.

To try to get back to where that same feeling, that same level of execution, has been so difficult. Trying to overcome an injury, rushing back, trying to help a team win, even though you're not a hundred percent, which everybody's trying to do, but just to kind of culminate everything into one. Finally being healthy now to the point where my finger is a non issue, it makes things a lot easier to get to that point.

It's definitely been a rollercoaster. I got pulled up to the top of that first hill, and it was a great ride down. Unfortunately, the ride down the ride took a lot longer to get up on top of the hill again. Definitely a rollercoaster. Hopefully we can get pulled up again that hill right now.

Considering how well you pitched against the Dodgers, how much more frustrating if you don't get another chance? I imagine you walked off that day assuming you would pitch somewhere in this series.

EATON: Definitely. Just like I said before, you just want to be able to contribute. Obviously the game on Sunday didn't make or break our season to that point. Now if I don't get a chance to win a game in post season, it's obviously frustrating. But at the same time it's very rewarding to have been part of a team that's made it to the post season.

I only can do what I'm asked to do. I can't change that. I look forward to pitching Game 4 tomorrow.

Not speaking to tomorrow's start, per se, but the overall approach. The way the bullpen has performed the last two years, has that allowed you to adjust your approach as a pitcher or the rest of the starters in terms of being able to attack hitters a little more directly or be a little more a hundred percent exertion in early innings to get on top of teams and let the bullpen do their jobs?

EATON: Yeah, I think obviously with the way our bullpen I've been fortunate enough to have one of the best closers in the history of baseball obviously with Trevor Hoffman. The game's always been shorter just because of that. But now with the so called three headed monster with Aki, Liney, Trevor being the main head, it makes things a lot easier obviously. You get through six or seven innings, got a two or three run lead, one run lead for that matter, it's just a lot easier to approach the game.

At the same time it doesn't necessarily change your approach to the game. Every time I go out I want to go as long as I can and as deep as I can into the game. So to say I'm just going to go six innings tonight, kind of go a hundred percent for six innings... I go a hundred percent every time I go out there, inning one to inning nine, a lot of times pinch hit in circumstances. Get a couple guys on, pitch count's up, you have a tough lefty up, say you got Todd Helton coming up, there's going to bring in a guy who has a different look, you know, to Todd Helton that game. As you know, if you look at the numbers, every time Todd Helton sees a guy three or four times, the numbers get a little more heavily in his favor.

Obviously, the game dictates how the bullpen's used. Bochy has all the confidence in those three guys, a couple other guys in the bullpen, too, obviously.

If you could be the team spokesman and kind of sum up the last two games, Peavy getting a broken rib, you don't take a lead, is it almost like we haven't seen the team show up yet? What are your thoughts on that?

EATON: Frustration, obviously. You play 162 games, get to the playoffs, not perform the way we want to. We want to get out there and score in the first inning and put pressure on the Cardinals. We haven't been able to do that. We haven't been able to get on top of that starters right away.

The bullpen, we feel confident that we can muster up some offense against those guys. Maybe just one statement would be "missed opportunities," that one big hit, that stolen base, just taking advantage of a mental mistake they've made, not necessarily an error, maybe just a mental mistake, not throwing a guy out when they should have at second base, something like that.

Just frustrated more than anything, especially the way we've swang the bat in the second half of each game.

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