So it's kind of special getting to pitch with those guys and being behind them. I don't look at it just like at spring training I've been asked the last two years how it feels to be the No. 1 starter, on a staff like this, I don't consider pitching in front of those guys and I don't consider pitching behind those guys in the playoffs, I consider as us as a team; doesn't matter who goes first, as long as we do our job. It doesn't matter who goes first, who goes last.
Roy, it's been so long since you pitched against the Braves yourself. Do you feel like you know this team very well?
OSWALT: I pitched to some of the younger guys that's over there. I got to watch the game last night on a TV. I went up and watched a few innings with Roger pitching against them. I saw a few things on different guys that I'm going to try to do.
As far as myself, a few guys, some weaknesses here and there I thought maybe I could exploit when I go out there and pitch.
But, you know, the basic guys are still there. I faced Andruw (Jones) and Chipper (Jones) and (Marcus) Giles and (Rafael) Furcal for the last three years, so the base of the guys are still there, and I just kind of have to adjust to the new guys.
You haven't pitched since Sunday. Will that extra day off be more of a factor for you this time, or do you do anything different at all?
OSWALT: No, actually, it may help. One more day, it's another 24 hours to get my legs back, back from the last game of the season.
But hopefully, the big thing with me, is getting in a groove early. If I can get in a groove early, I feel like I can carry myself through the middle innings and maybe get late in the ballgame.
After watching Roger and Andy the first two nights, and you picked up from them on a way they were working the Braves hitters.
OSWALT: It's hard to read off Andy just because he's left handed and they have a totally different lineup mostly against him than they do against me and Roger.
I saw a few things Roger tried to do last night, what he was trying to do, where he missed a few spots here and there and they got hits. But I saw the idea of the way he was going about pitching them, and I saw a few things here and there that maybe I could do that maybe he didn't try to do. And I learned two or three different things off different guys that I haven't thrown against that I saw last night on TV.
Personality wise, do you think you and Roger and Andy are very similar, very different?
OSWALT: I'd say Andy and I are probably more alike. Roger, he's a unique person, for sure. I don't know. I'd say we're alike in a lot of aspects on a baseball field, maybe not off the baseball field. But on the baseball field, both of those guys are just like me. They don't think no one can beat them at any time, and that's the mentality you have to take when you're on the mound, that if you have any doubt in your mind, usually you get beat.
But I also feel we're all different in different ways, but we all like the same things. We like competition. I think we have more competition amongst ourselves than we do sometimes on the field. Even on a golf course, we just kind of get hectic by the third or fourth hole. It's fun. It's a lot of fun.
At the end of the season, you were changing some mechanics. How do you feel physically, and had you gotten to the point where you feel good about all the things you were trying to get changed when you were going through that process about two months or so ago?
OSWALT: I feel better. Last game of the season, I felt great, first four innings mechanics was right where I wanted it. Seems like I had the ball a little longer, ball was jumping on guys. Even guys told the catcher the ball was getting on them quick.
What I was trying to accomplish, later on in innings, I was fatigued a little bit earlier than I usually do. Usually I feel stronger in the late innings than I do in early innings. Overall it felt good towards the end of the season, mechanical wise, not getting sore after I pitched. Body feels well. Seems like I'm using the legs more at the same pace instead of one a little bit more than the other.
You joked that now you meet some players you didn't even know played because you're from a small town. Can you talk about what this team means to people in your part of the country?
OSWALT: It's growing, quick. Especially where I live. I know a lot of people that come up to me now that never watched baseball, watch baseball now. The town I grew up in was a big football town. That's all we knew, pretty much, is Friday night football.
So I'm getting a few more people to come over to the baseball side of things. Got a lot of support from back home. Every time I go home, people really support me. I like going home because no one really looks at you different than anyone else. They treat you just the same as you were when you were growing up there.
How many different pitches do you throw, and what is the role of the slow curve in your arsenal?
OSWALT: I throw five different pitches, actually. Most guys don't have that many. I've learned a split here and there with Roger, messing around with him in spring training, and throwing it during a few games here and there.
But overall, you know, I'm a fastball, curveball, slider, changeup guy. Split comes into effect every once in a while. Some days it's real well, some days it's not. At least I have four more pitches to go with.
But slow curveball goes into effect because of the speed difference. The reason I like throwing it is, even if I do leave it in the middle of the plate, there's so much speed difference, that a lot of guys are still out front of it. I know getting up to the plate as a hitter the changes of speeds is the biggest thing, as adjusting to speeds. If I can get my curveball to come out on the same plane as my fastball, I can get guys to swing over it because you're geared up for 93, 95, and here comes 65.
So it's a lot of difference between the speeds.
What did going through the postseason last year do for you? Did it change the way you feel now going into this year?
OSWALT: It helped. Last year it was the first year in three years since I've been in the postseason, and getting to pitch along with Roger through the postseason last year until Game 7 of the NLCS.
But it gives you confidence. You don't have to, I guess, calm your nerves down as much if it's your first one. So hopefully we get a few runs early off the new guy, with Atlanta, with (Jorge) Sosa, kind of get him rattled early.
I don't treat any game as I'm going to lose a game. I always go in every game, doesn't matter if it's first game, spring training or last game of the season, I don't want to lose. I never been a real good loser. My wife can tell you guys that. I go in every game trying to win every game.
We saw last night how the rookies in the bottom of their order can contribute to their cause. Still Andruw and Chipper are in the middle of that lineup. How do you approach them? Are you cautious with them, do you go after them?
OSWALT: They're the main threat on the team. Andruw can hit the ball out, any part of the field.
So it's good, you know, not to leave a ball in the middle of the plate to him. They always had, you know, the guys in the middle of the lineup that can hurt you with the long ball. You get in a situation where guys are on, you have to really make quality pitches. If you make a quality pitch and he hits it, then you tip your hat and you have to get the next guy.
But you keep making quality pitches over and over. Usually the guy that wins the game is the guy that makes the most quality pitches. You may give up one or two here, but you never can beat yourself by trying to do something you can't do.
I've always been the type where I don't like putting runners on base because I attack the strike zone more than most guys do and I may give up a few more hits than people, some other people who throw around the strike zone. But I'm going to make you put three or four hits together to beat me in an inning. Hopefully if I can get some early groundballs and get the ball to sneak and run the way I want it to, I can get some quick outs.
Starting pitching was supposed to be the big edge you took into this series. The fact that you didn't come away with a win in Roger's start yesterday, is there more on you to get a win tomorrow?
OSWALT: It would be great to go up 2 1, especially at home with one more game to play. Pressure's always on me, it seems. But I like big games. Hopefully get the guys going. We're ready to play. The game plan going in Atlanta would be to take at least one game, split the series, if we could take one, that would be great coming back to our home field with our home fans, it's great.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.