Every decision our skipper, Jimmy Leyland, makes has a purpose behind it. It’s all about matchups, bottom line, just like against the Yankees. If it had been the Mets in the World Series — they have a lot of left-handed hitters — and it probably would’ve matched up a little bit different. But now we have the Cardinals, so I’ll be pitching in Game 3. We have four legitimate starters going out there who are capable of helping us win.
I’ll be pitching at the new Busch Stadium for the first time. I think if I go out there and look around me and see the guys playing behind me, I’ll feel pretty comfortable. It’s tough to get a feel until you get out there on the mound. It won’t take long for me to adjust. If you ask a pitcher, we all recognize mounds that we like a little bit more than others. Once again, of course, I’ll be pitching on the road, but it’s a mind-set of going out there, taking it all in and getting rid of it all. They’re not friendly environments. Never played in St. Louis before, so I really don’t know what it’s like there. But I think that if you can pitch in New York on the road, you can pretty much pitch anywhere.
It’s been a long wait for us this week. I think the biggest thing was that it just opens up time for more phone calls to family and friends. I spent a lot of time on my cell phone. It really actually kind of helped in the off-the-field preparation stuff. Now, it’s time to get that on-the-field preparation stuff finalized today.
It’ll be interesting facing the Redbirds, because there are Cardinals fans in Wichita. They’re a Midwest team, and not very far in Wichita. I will have a following in St. Louis. As soon as people find out that I’m going to be pitching in St. Louis, if they can get tickets, they’ll be there. If they’re friends of mine, I don’t think I’ll have anybody rooting for the red of the Cardinals.
It kind of hit last night how close the Series was to starting. I was checking out the NLCS score while I was picking up my brother from the airport. Instead of it being an 8-0 blowout, where you know who’s going to win late in the game, it was a 1-1 ballgame going into the eighth inning. It’s nice to know, because I was either going to be pitching at home or away. For me, it was a lot different. There were certain guys, I think, who had a better idea when they were pitching for sure. I wasn’t one of them; I was either at home or on the road. Since the last regular-season series against Kansas City, I’ve been wondering where I’d be starting each time, where I’m supposed to pitch and who I’m pitching against. It makes it exciting. Typically, in the regular season, you always know who you’re pitching against. But every single time I’ve started in the postseason, I haven’t known for sure. It’s been fun. Now I have to be ready to hit in Game 3 at Busch.