Cox pregame interview

Cox pregame interview

What goes through your mind when you think of a matchup of John Smoltz and Roger Clemens?

BOBBY COX: A close ballgame, I guess. Two Hall of Famers going at it. Both of them have had tremendous years. I've always said Roger should have won in the low 20s this year and John should have won 18, 19 or 20, with a little run support here or there. Both of them have had outstanding years. Should be fun to watch.

Do you remember the last time John pitched a postseason game and who his opponent was as a starter?

COX: It was Clemens? I can't remember honestly. I don't recall. I remember him pitching a game in Florida against the Marlins with a torn ligament in his elbow, and that was the last pitch he threw when he came off the mound.

Do you remember about when he faced Clemens six years ago?

COX: I don't recall the game, to be honest with you.

I know I'm getting ahead of myself here, but very often in the first round in the Division Series you have used your starters on three days' rest. Would John Smoltz be capable of coming back in a Game 5 on three days' rest?

COX: I can't answer that. John says he feels great right now to go his first start. After that, quite honestly, we're not sure. We think he can. The one reason I'm pitching Huddie (Tim Hudson) in Game 1 is so that he can pitch Game 5, not knowing if John could actually go.

You might see Huddie go in Game 4 and Smoltzie on Game 5. I don't know. Those are all possibilities that we can go to, but right now we have (John) Thomson, (Horacio) Ramirez for Game 4, one of them.

Andy Pettitte talked about last year how he kind of served as a counselor to their younger players. Is anybody on your team stepping up in that role right now, and is that necessary?

COX: I don't know if it's necessary, but I think any time a veteran player is able to do that, I think it's good. Smoltz is that way, Chipper (Jones) and Andruw (Jones). They're young veteran guys, Andruw and Chipper. But they certainly have the leadership role on this team and they do take care of the younger guys.

Any hesitation at all to put BJ (Jordan) in left ahead of (Ryan) Langerhans because of what Langerhans has done recently, or is that something you wanted to do with BJ's experience?

COX: No reason why we shouldn't play him out there. His knee's feeling good. He's playing terrific defense. All year long when he's been in there he's played great defense. He hit the ball well off of Dontrelle (Willis) recently and even the series when we went down to Florida, the second to last series, he hit the ball well. I'm just hoping to catch a little lightning in the bottle here.

All these trips in the postseason, do you feel the youth is bringing different excitement this year?

COX: They're always exciting, every year. We bring more excitement this year to some of our fans because of the rookies in the roster. They've gotten behind the "Baby Braves". They're little darlings right now. They should be, they played great baseball. You know, going down the stretch, we had some teams chasing us pretty hard, you know, the Phillies and even Florida there at the end. It was kind of like a playoff atmosphere.

And so we're certainly not going to be scared, that's for sure.

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