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October 11, 2011

Chris Carpenter


Q. How does it feel taking the ball tomorrow night for Game 3 after the team has tied it 1-1?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Yeah, it's going to be an exciting game. It's going to be a great atmosphere, I'm sure, here in St. Louis like it always is, especially at this time of the year.
It's going to be a great game. I'm excited for it. I think the competition is going to be there. We have been competing against these guys all year. It's been a tough battle back and forth. It was there in Milwaukee. We were able to sneak one out there at the last day. So go out and do the best I can and have a lot of fun.

Q. After the way you pitched last week, how much do you turn the page after a start like that? How much do you carry forward? Do you try to say that that's that and move on, or what do you take out of something like that?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Yeah, just like any other start during the year, you've got to take it one start at a time, good or bad. You know, not pitching well in that Game 2, you move on. I know I'm better than the way I pitched in Game 2 and I was able to come back and throw a good game in Game 5.
This is a different team, different series, different atmosphere. We are not in Philly; we are at home. There's all kinds of things that are different, and you go out and prepare yourself for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Q. Results-wise, it's been an up-and-down year for you, tough first half and I wondered, was it a difficult year for you emotionally to go through that, and now is it even more satisfying that your last three starts, with the short rest as an exception, have been in critical games and you've been arguably three of your best starts of your career?
CHRIS CARPENTER: The start is what it is, or it was what it was.
I came in physically ready, felt good. I was excited about the season. I didn't start very well.
But, I could easily have given up, and I didn't. I continued to battle. I continued to go out and try to get better each time, and it turned around. Fortunately it turned around at the right time and I was able to pitch well the second half and pitch well there down to the end and so far here in the post-season. So I think that's a big key.
I said all along, I never evaluate my season by numbers, by results during the season. When the season is over, I'll sit down for a little bit with my family, drink a few beers, watch some football and go back and reevaluate what went on, why did I start slow, what were some of the things I could have done better to not do next year, what made me better at the end of the season. I'll go through all of those things, and start getting ready for the next year.
I'm excited that I was able to turn it around and give my team a chance to win towards the end.

Q. Now that you've had a couple of days to process that Game 5 that you were a part of, have you allowed yourself at any time to savor what a good game that was? Is it too early to do that? And also, the experience of pitching in the elimination game that you did, was there something elevated about that? Was there another zone you were in, another competitive notch that you found or anything like that?
CHRIS CARPENTER: No. The funny thing about this game is if you can keep it simple, it makes it easier. The more relaxed you are, the easier it's going to be. And as competitive as all of us are, if you can keep your mind slow and just enjoy the moment, it makes it easier.
And to be honest with you, that was going on during that game in Philly. With all of the distractions, I'd be lying to you if I wasn't anxious and nervous leading up to the game, knowing how big of a game it was. But that happens in any game. You control your mind, you control the distractions and you try to eliminate those.
And through that game, all I did was continue to tell myself to enjoy this. I might never be here again. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the what we're doing, enjoy all the hoopla about me and Doc, everything that led to us beating the Phillies, not having a chance to beat their pitching in Philadelphia, and the amazing fans there, as loud as they were, half the time you couldn't hear anything. Enjoy that.
I remember smiling on the mound when Ryan swung at the 3-0 pitch and jammed him a little bit and he flew out to right. That's an enormous part of the game and those are things that happen, that if you're not in the moment and not paying attention to what's going on or trying to take it in, you won't remember those things. As a pitcher,3-0, big, huge stud that can hit homers and tie the game up any time, swings at a 3-0 pitch and I get a little lucky and he hits a little lazy fly ball to right field, that was a pretty neat moment. I smiled, I laughed. I thought it was kind of funny and thought it was a good thing for me. But I turned the page and move on. The game tomorrow is just as important, and I'll sit back and think about it, maybe playing golf with Doc this winter sometime.

Q. What was Derek Lilliquist able to do during the time that Dave Duncan wasn't around?
CHRIS CARPENTER: He's kind of gone under the radar a little bit. I've known Lilli for a long time. He was a rehab coordinator back years ago when I was doing my elbow, coming back from my elbow. He was down there when I was coming back from my shoulder, when I first came over here. So he's been a part of this organization for a long time and part of our philosophy for a long time. He's learned a lot. Never mind his own opinions of how to pitch. He's an ex-big league pitcher himself. It's not like he doesn't know what he's doing.
And he really took control. He continued to preach the things that Dunc preaches, but also added a little bit of himself. He's not afraid to give his opinions, and it was really nice. It was fun to have him step in there and you could tell he was confident in what he was doing. He wasn't trying to replace Dave Duncan. I don't think anybody can. But he was willing to step into his role and do his role, take care of his role and he did a great job.

Q. Obviously a lot of runs scored the first couple of games of the series. As a starting pitcher, what are you seeing? Is it the hitting or pitching may not be as sharp right now? How do you evaluate that?
CHRIS CARPENTER: A little bit of both. You are looking at two unbelievable lineups. I have said this -- I said it the other day when we had that little media session. You look at their ballclub from top to bottom. They have got one of the deepest lineups there is. They have two MVP candidates surrounded by All-Stars.
I said the other day, if you don't want a guy like Rickie Weeks or a guy like Corey Hart on your team, you're crazy. These guys play their butts off every day. They compete hard. They are All-Star players. I think Rickie Weeks is probably one of the most underrated players in the League, maybe in all of baseball the ability offensively and defensively he has. And Corey Hart just sits out in right field and just continues to play All-Star calibre baseball.
From top to bottom, their lineup is very tough. And Nyjer (Morgan), doing the things that Nyjer can do from the left side, he puts tough at-bats on you; he can run, he can bunt and does all of the little things. You have the bottom of their lineup with Hairston, he's been doing a great job playing third and Betancourt who just had a break-out year offensively. He's a tough out and puts good at-bats on you. Lucroy has really stepped into his own as the catcher over there, offensively and defensively.
So they all are tough. And then you look at our lineup and it's the same, top to bottom, grinding out at-bats. Just one name after another that you're just like, there's never a break.
That being said, you can still pitch and you can still make pitches and you've got to get the ball down, and I think throughout, so far these last two games, when you saw guys getting outs, they controlled counts, got ahead in the count, kept the ball out of the strike zone when they were 1-2 and 0-2. When they didn't, they were 3-1,2-1,2-0, and if you get into fastball counts where you have to throw a strike, these guys are going to get it.

Q. When Adam (Wainwright) went down in the spring, how much fell to you as a result of that? How did you deal with that? Did you think about that much in terms of how your role changed in a group of five? And did you have to take a role with the rest of the pitchers with Adam not able to go this year?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Obviously it was a huge hit, no question about it. You take a Cy Young calibre guy out of your rotation, but that being said, we spoke about it in the spring; you turn the page. We feel for Adam, not for our ballclub, and there's nothing that we can do. Everybody goes through times of injury and losing key players.
You deal with it and move on. My role wasn't going to change. I don't pitch off of what other guys are doing. I pitch off of myself. I have expectations of myself, and what I need to do. You can't put any more pressure on me than I put on myself, and there's no higher expectation on me than I put on myself.
So my role, nothing changed for me. It changed for McClellan and the other guys that had to fill in.

Q. Leading into Game 5, a lot of the talk was your relationship with Doc and how you're close friends and the close ties with that, and the backdrop to this one is the animosity with the Brewers and what was said. Is that not part of the equation at all when you pitch, just completely devoid of emotions and feelings and that kind of thing?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Absolutely, and that's what I was saying early on. It's about eliminating the distractions.
Every year, and every round of the playoffs, there's distractions all around, all kinds of different things. If you can't eliminate those on your day, you're going to have a difficult time. It can go from family stuff, clubhouse stuff, opponents, friendships, whatever it is; if you can't eliminate that on your day, you're going to have extra trouble.
It's hard enough as it is to go out and compete against these guys with no distractions. Like I said, each round here in the playoffs, it's more and more and you get more media guys, there's twice as many guys here as there was in Philly. There's more expectation level from your fans, from your coaches, from your organization. There's more expectation level of people needing tickets and family wanting to come in and friends everywhere wanting things.
So you have to eliminate that stuff and go out and compete like it's another game, which is what I'll do tomorrow. I'll go out there and have my game plan and go out and execute the best I can. If it results in a win, it results in a win. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I know I'm going to go out there and do the best I can.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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