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October 7, 2009

Adam Wainwright


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Adam.

Q. Can you talk about the difference going into the playoffs as a starter as opposed to a closer and how you are approaching it?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: What was the second part?

Q. How you're approaching it?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, as a reliever, as a greenhorn reliever, I didn't know what to expect or how to go about anything. I just followed everyone else. I was a young guy. That's what you do. You make sure you're on time and you follow some veteran somewhere doing something, whereas now I've been to the playoffs one time only but we went all the way, but I know what to expect. I know what the crowd and the opposing team's going to try to do, and I'm just going to go out there and try to make pitches.

Q. Adam, in that context, since '06 how do you think you have changed, matured as a pitcher and even as a person? It was a big step in your life and kind of how did it evolve from there?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: It took me the first half of '07 to sort of find out what kind of pitcher I was as a starter, what was my identity, what kind of approach did I need to take into every game. And really what works best for me is taking a reliever mentality out there to start and get the guy out as fast as I can get him out as many times as I can do it.
If I pace myself or try to save anything for the later parts of the inning -- later, 7, 8, 9, I'm going to be out in the 4th. I figured that out in LA, in '07.
I'm going to give you all I've got for as long as I can give it to you, and that's the best approach that works for me. And it took a little while. It's taken several adjustments every year to get that.
And this year, even, Chicago, I had a big bases-loaded jam, and I got out of it, whatever, we won the game. And Duncan said, "You take that approach, that mentality that you brought today when all those guys were on base, you take that approach every day, every time you pitch, every inning, every batter, every pitch you might go out there and win the Cy Young."
I was like, wow, okay, I guess I got out of my mode that I thought I was in and I just tried to get back into it. And, really, that's been a turning point for me.

Q. You've had success against the Dodgers this year. How much of a confidence booster is that for you going into a playoff game against them tomorrow?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, I'm not going to put too much stock into that. It helps to face the hitters a few times and learn, try to see what their game plan is against you, how they're going to approach every at-bat and what the adjustments they're going to try to make are, what they're going to try to do at every at-bat. It helps to see that. But I do know this team we're facing is a very dangerous team.
Just because they haven't been playing ball doesn't mean we're going to come in there and not be ready to play 100 percent. So I've had success against them because I went out and executed pitches. That's what I'm going to try to do tomorrow.

Q. Smoltz has told us many times he tried to talk you into staying a reliever; that he didn't think it was a wise idea for you to be a starter. Obviously you ignored him for probably the first time. Was there anybody who told you it was a good idea, how did you come to that conclusion there, that winner, and did you have second thoughts in that first half of '07?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: First thing that came to mind when you said that is what do you think Tony would have said if I'd have said, no, John doesn't want me to start, he thinks I should close.
I never thought twice about it. We had Jason Isringhausen coming back. I was confident he would get the job done. But at the same time I knew my whole life I wanted to be a starter in the Big Leagues. I knew I could do that. Even when I was struggling the first part of '07, I never once doubted myself. I remember here in LA telling the press that I've been terrible this far but I'm going to figure it out. I remember saying those exact words.
And I'm not saying that I figured it out but I've certainly made a lot of adjustments and learned a lot about me as a pitcher and starting. So I never thought twice about it. I know it was the right role for me.

Q. I don't want to make too much of it, but there are some parallels between how you came along in '06 and what Hawksworth has come along from mop-up to some bigger roles. As a teammate and as watching kind of a young guy develop, what have you seen of him?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I see a lot of me in him to be honest with you. He's a guy that, just like me, had to make a big mental adjustment. He would tell you -- he'd be the first one to sit on the podium and say he didn't trust his stuff two years ago. When he first got drafted he had this moxie and attitude and pitched great with a live arm or whatever.
Then those middle years of your Minor League career you can go up or you can go down. And he and I both took a step backwards on the mental approach. But we both have made a mental adjustment to get back into the right swing of things.
I see a lot of myself in him. He's attacking the hitter now he wasn't doing that last year. His swagger on the mound is a 180 difference than it was. So I'm proud of him where he's come from. And he battled through it and he's battled through injuries to be where he's at.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Adam.

End of FastScripts

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