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Prior looks to pitch Cubs to Series
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10/12/2003  4:57 PM ET 
Prior looks to pitch Cubs to Series
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Mark Prior will start Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday. (Anne Ryan/AP)
  • Pavano looks forward to challenge

    MIAMI -- Mark Prior will be pitching Tuesday. And it won't be a simulated game.

    The Chicago Cubs right-hander will start Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the pesky Florida Marlins, who avoided elimination with a 4-0 victory Sunday. The Cubs lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2.

    "The mindset is I'm starting Tuesday, one way or another," Prior said before Sunday's game. "It's going to be in a real game or a fake game, one way or the other."

    Now, it'll be for real.

    Prior said being up 3-1 was "about as uncomfortable as I think you could possibly feel" because of the Marlins' reputation.

    "[The Marlins] won't give up. You know they won't give up," Prior said.

    Prior is 2-0 in the postseason so far, throwing a two-hitter in the NL Division Series and getting the win in Game 2 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field. He and Kerry Wood are 4-0 in the postseason, but Prior is quick to remind everyone that the Cubs have a four-man rotation.

    "You guys are trying to write off Zambrano and [Matt] Clement, and we don't know why," said Prior. "They've been just as important to this starting rotation as Woody and me."

        Mark Prior   /   P
    Height: 6'5"
    Weight: 220
    Bats/Throws: R/R

    More info:
    Player page
    Stats
    Splits
    Cubs site

    Prior was as dominating in the NLDS against Atlanta as Florida's Josh Beckett was Sunday. Against the Braves, Prior gave up one run on two hits in a complete-game outing, striking out seven. The Cubs like knowing who is starting for them Tuesday.

    "I know Prior is going to come through once again and that'll be everything," Chicago's Sammy Sosa said.

    "Mark Prior's record after a loss has been outstanding," manager Dusty Baker said. "Plus he's performed a lot better on the sixth day than he has on the fifth day, which is why we didn't start him today. He's thrown a lot of pitches and a lot of innings this year."

    The Cubs are prepared for all the attention and intensity of the playoffs. They got a taste of it in June when the New York Yankees came to Wrigley Field for an Interleague series.

    "There were comments -- 'Get used to it, this is what it's like in the playoffs,'" Prior said. "I think it did get us ready for what it was like, being scrutinized on every move you make, the way a guy walks in the dugout. Anything turns into a story.

    "And especially that Saturday game [June 7] with Woody and [Roger] Clemens going together, I think that was as pure and as good of a baseball game that was ever played," he said. "It got us ready a little bit for the intensity and how intense and the magnitude the games are, every pitch throughout the playoffs."

    Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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