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October 5, 2019

Adam Wainwright

St. Louis, Missouri - Workout Day

THE MODERATOR: First question for Adam Wainwright.

Q. After your most recent start with the Cubs, we know the competitor you are, how hard has it been to sit back and wait for your opportunity to come out again?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I think the win the very next day made that a lot easier. That was a painful loss for me. One of the most disappointing starts of my whole career, really, just to not come through in any fashion on that day, it was painful. That hurt me.

But you have to move on, and luckily Jack and the rest of the guys did the job the next day and we are in a good spot now. So we've got to take care of business at home and it starts with tomorrow.

Q. Beyond the fans that will be here tomorrow, acknowledging it will be loud and proud, what are some benefits for your baseball team to play in this stadium tomorrow?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: We play good ball here all year, I feel like. And the crowd, like you said, will be rocking. We know they'll show up in droves and be tailgating all morning long, I just know it. They'll be here waving some sort of towel or something making it cool looking.

We've got cool weather here; it's not 106 out there. It's unlike any game I've ever been part of, those last two games in October. Those were the hottest games ever.

But it's good to be back home and playing in front of an atmosphere that is very comfortable for us, is home for us, and we respond well here.

Q. Do you think this is the first time in your career when you almost have been old enough to be the father of the pitching opponent you have tomorrow. (Laughter)?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: No offense. I always tell these guys, old players means good players. You don't get to be an old player if you're not a good player. Besides that, what a great question. How old is he?

Q. 22.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, I guess I could be. It does happen. I haven't thought about it before now. But probably is. Thank you. (Laughter).

Q. We talked about waiting from the end of the regular season and waiting to get back home. It's been a long wait for you to get back to the pitching in the postseason. What's that period of time been like, and what's it like, whether it's anxiety or excitement, however you describe it, to be back on that stage tomorrow?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, three years -- I heard somebody say the other day, like, the Cardinals have been out of the postseason for the better half of a decade. I was, wow, three years is the better half of a decade. But it does seem like the better half of a decade. It's felt longer than three years. We had a couple close calls there.

But what I just was taking in the other day in Atlanta with a great crowd, the crowd was rocking in Atlanta. Those guys were on their A game, two very good baseball games played. Tense moments the whole time. I remember just looking at Michael Wacha and saying, how awesome is this?

We were losing 3-1 in that first game, and I just looked at him and I'm, like, I feel confident right now and this is awesome. This atmosphere, I've missed this. I had missed that so much.

And feeling that champagne running down your beard never gets old, but feeling that playoff buzz in the crowd when the games are actually going on, you can never replace it or replicate it any other place in life that I've seen. It's just a feeling that is beyond compare.

So I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited to be back in the playoffs.

Q. Your last start in the postseason was the better part of a decade ago, I think, right; is that what we're going with, 2015. How are you a different pitcher now than you were then?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I've got a better Achilles now than I did that year. I don't know how much different my style is, but I have to do things a little differently, which I will not go into right now because that's a scouting report.

But there's no secrets from the other side. They're going to have a very good game plan against me; I'll have a very good game plan against them. It's all going to come down to execution. I think you guys have seen how I've pitched this year in the second half, the way I've been going about things that they've seen how I've been going about things.

So I don't want to give you any more than that.

Q. Being the veteran that you are for this ballclub, how many times have guys come up to you and sought advice about how to approach the postseason or maybe some things they can do differently to prepare them for this?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Fatherly advice, would you say? (Laughter)?

It's been cool. Even some of the older players that have been around a little bit have been picking my brain a little bit, which makes me feel good. I've been part of, I think, nine teams that have been there, seven times I've been active.

We've played through the postseason a few times since I've been here. It's been an incredible ride. But there are things that until you feel that, like yesterday that was Jack's first playoff start. And before he felt that, he didn't know what to expect, really.

Every start is important. Every start is exciting and gets you amped up or whatever a little differently. But the playoff atmosphere is a little different.

You have to account for some of the vibe that's going on out there. You have to be able to calm your nerves and you have to be able to control your adrenaline, because I've seen it where guys go out there and they're feeling on top of the moon and their adrenaline is rushing, and two innings later they're out of gas. I've seen it. I've done it once.

So until you feel that, it's hard to know. So it's been good. A lot of guys have been asking questions. Our young guys on our team do a good job of learning. They really like learning and sponging on guys that have been there and done that.

I see our hitters doing that with older players and I see our pitchers doing it with the older pitchers. It's been good.

Q. Was that one game you were talking about the Washington game? And then secondly, are you in hockey playoff beard mode?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: The playoff beard has started, yes, since -- I didn't shave since my last start. That was the second to last day of season. No reason to shave it for one day, right? Better part of a decade. (Laughter).

I don't remember your question?

Q. The question was, you mentioned the one game you came out. Was that the Washington game that they were talking about?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: No, I actually felt pretty good, that Washington game. The results weren't very good, but I felt very good. And if you look back at that game, some of the pitches they hit, tip your hat, and some of the pitches they hit, man, they should have hit.

It's just a weird executed day on that part. But I'm trying to remember which start that was. I believe it was NLDS Game 1 against Kershaw, 2014, where I had been through the playoffs a bunch of time, but I still let my emotions get the best of me a little bit.

Came out feeling pretty good, got out of an early jam, but in the fourth inning I was pretty tuckered from letting that get away from me too early in the game.

Q. I don't know what role you play in helping the other pitchers, young or old, kind of scout for the next day or do their game plan. But through the years have you gained an appreciation from outwitting the other teams? Is that something you've come to enjoy? And how have you learned to do that through the course of your career?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: It's one of the things I'll miss the most whenever I do hang it up -- not saying it's this year; not saying it's not -- is the preparation, is the game planning for each game. What's he thinking? What did I do last time against him? Is he going to be able to adjust off that? Do I stick with the same thing?

That chess match has really been always my favorite thing about pitching. And to a certain extent you have to go out there and rely on your best stuff and executing what you're the best at, right? And then to a certain extent you have to be able to adjust and move on the fly and realize that that hitter's doing something different and change your whole game plan up mid game. That's one of my favorite parts about pitching, no question.

I learned that at an early age here in St. Louis from Dave Duncan and Chris Carpenter. Those are my two game-planning mentors that taught me how to read hitters, taught me how to watch -- I grew up doing that with my brother a little bit also, watching Braves games: What pitch is he throwing here? He just threw the slider; he just threw the fastball away; this was his reaction; what do you think he's going to come with next?

And so that chess battle has always been my favorite thing about pitching, will continue to be the favorite thing about pitching.

Last night I was watching the game, watching the Dodger game, the closer for the Nats goes out, throws six straight fastballs away. I go, man, if he throws his back foot slider right here he's got him dead to rights. Just had him leaning out over. Back foot slider. Jimmy goes, it's almost like you know what you're doing. I said I know, I was sitting there going, oh, please throw the back foot slider, not because I was rooting for anybody, but just because I wanted to see that pitch sequence break down.

Q. When you talk about that first postseason start and not knowing how that feels until you do it, you watch both Jack and Miles this week get into that first inning, have to kind of fight through a little bit and either get one across or they get out of it. Is there a benefit, do you think, to you being able to be that calming influence and to have an expectation for that environment to maybe have a different sort of story with that first inning tomorrow?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I don't know. I feel like the first inning is usually a pretty important inning. If you go out, can set the tone, put a 0 up, get your hitters a chance score first, set the tone for the game, that's pretty important.

As far as my role as a calming presence, I don't know if that's what you were asking or not, but I'll tell you, our pitchers have done just -- Jack and Dakota and Miles and Walker, they've done an incredible job of doing that on their own. I don't really have to say a whole lot to them.

Occasionally I'll have to light a fire under somebody or occasionally I'll have to be like, hey, that's all they get; relax, whatever. But for the most part, our young pitchers have pitched above their age level to me, I think.

Dakota had a couple of games this year where, he's such a competitor, he's such a fiery -- you all don't probably really know that, but he's so fiery inside, he wants to win so bad.

Occasionally I've had to settle him a little bit. Last year I had to calm Jack a little bit. But this year, man, I haven't had to do a lot with them, they're a bunch of studs, I'll be honest with you.

Q. When you look at the idea of everything: Coming back home; you're pitching Game 3 in Busch Stadium; Cardinals are back in the playoffs; Carpenter's going to be back in the lineup; Yadi is behind the plate, do you sense some sort of symmetry there?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, I mean there's something about that, yeah. Carp's just been dying to have some playoff at-bats. He loves this moment, too. And you know Yadi loves this moment. And I live for this moment, too. So, it's good to see -- Carp's getting old now. I can call him old, older, anyways, he's getting up there, long in the tooth.

It's good to see guys that you're familiar with back there behind you. But we trust our whole roster. Everybody's on the roster because they have a chance to contribute in a major way.

And there's a couple of guys that aren't on the roster, too, that are going to potentially contribute in a major way going forward in this postseason. We've got some guys that are champing at the bit to get out there.

But I'm glad that No. 13 is getting a shot. I certainly think he's earned that over the years here being a great playoff competitor and performer in the past. I can't wait to pitch to Yadi again tomorrow. It's one of my favorite things in the world to do is to pitch to No. 4. So it's cool, yeah.

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