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October 12, 2011

Randy Wolf


Q. When you pitch as well as you have over the course of a season and you run into a start like you had in Arizona, can you just discard the last one?
RANDY WOLF: You don't completely discard it. You learn from it. You know, but it was kind of just reinforcing what you can't do. I think I threw half my pitches for strikes, and I'm not that type of pitcher. I'm the type of pitcher that I command the strike zone and I mix speeds.
My last game, I honestly could not throw a strike with my off-speed pitches. Fell behind a lot of counts against a team that was offensively very hot and gave great at-bats that whole series.
When you're 2-0,3-1 on hitters that are swinging the bats well, you're basically fighting an uphill battle. You know, I learned that there's some way that I have to find my feel out there. I have to find a way to throw pitches for strikes and figure out early -- you know I was very stubborn with my curveball the last game. I kept on throwing it and it got me behind in a lot of counts. So I have to find out early what I'm going to throw for strikes, and after I do that, the first two or three innings, then you can figure out what other pitches you can go to, and what pitches I need to get back in counts and what pitches I need to get ahead in counts.

Q. I know you're not starting today but when the weather is like this and rain is an issue, how does that mess with a starting pitcher and how you have to prepare for a possible rain delay?
RANDY WOLF: Well, according to my AccuWeather I have on my iPhone, we are not supposed to get any rain, so I think we are going to be okay. It's usually pretty right, too. (Laughter.)
But you know, as a starting pitcher, when there is a possibility of rain, you assume the game is going to start on time. It depends on every starting pitcher what your routine is of what time you start getting ready for the game. If you have not heard anything, you get ready, business as usual, and you assume the game is going to start on time, and mentally you've got to get ready.
You know, my first years in Philadelphia, I was nicknamed the Rain Man, because it seemed like every time I pitched, it rained. But I learned, you just get ready for the game and you don't worry about what the weather is, because that's another external thing you can't control. But I think Yo, today, he's going to be ready to pitch; he always is. I don't think that will be much of a concern.

Q. It seems like whether you have a really good game or not a good game or in between the first inning, is usually a key inning for you, or sometimes you'll scuffle and be great the rest and sometimes it just sets the tone. Have you figured out that first inning, and I assume you always warm up the same way. Have you ever thought of changing anything to get through that first inning?
RANDY WOLF: Well, you know, I would say that a large percentage of pitchers, if they run into trouble, it's usually the first inning. There's kind of -- no matter where you are, the bullpen mound is never the same as a game mound. Your warmups really don't have any indication of what's working that day, and you have a game plan going into the game, and you want to implement it in the first inning, and you don't know sometimes what pitches are going to be working and aren't going to be working, and it's up to you to realize what is or isn't working and whether you can or can't throw for strikes at that moment.
Historically I think most pitchers have a problem in the first inning, but for me, yeah, that's the one inning I would like to get through and breeze through. Early in my career, I learned that I just gave myself more time in between my warmups and the start of the game where early in my career, I would just go right to the bullpen, start the game, and then I think I would go into the game almost tired.
You really -- I think the biggest thing you can do is not make it a big deal. If you go in there consciously thinking, oh, God, I have to get through this first inning, you're kind of making a monster out of sometimes nothing.

Q. When Ron was asked about your end-of-the-season, he said that he would prefer you look at the good game you had here in September. Is that the way you kind of look at it, too?
RANDY WOLF: As opposed to what?

Q. As opposed to the Arizona game or another game or two.
RANDY WOLF: Oh, I would much rather have people look at that game than the Arizona game.
You know, throughout the course of a season, you're going to have good games and bad games. I would say the percentage of bad games I have where I don't pitch well is usually because I'm behind in the count. There's probably one or two games during the year where I actually throw too many strikes, but that's very rare.
So I think obviously it's the playoffs. You have a bad game, it's definitely going to be heightened and it's going to be under a bigger magnifying glass. But I feel the good thing that I've done this year, I've usually recovered and come back the next game and pitched well. I think that you have to have a short memory and you have to learn from it, and you can't beat yourself up over it too badly.
I think the biggest thing that I felt when we won Game 5 against the Diamondbacks, was relief, because if I would have left the season, that would have been my last start and it would have been a hard off-season for me. I wanted to give Yo a kiss, because just to have that opportunity to pitch again was a very big deal for me. Regardless of what happens, I just wanted that opportunity again.

Q. When these two teams played each other, there's a dramatic difference in runs this year between Miller Park and here. From a pitcher's perspective, is there that much difference between the two ballparks?
RANDY WOLF: There's some days in Miller Park where the ball just flies. If you look at the bullpen, the ball travels very well towards both bullpens, especially left-center if you look at the dimensions, we have that little fenced-off area in right field and then it kind of jets out toward the visiting side bullpen.
And on our home side bullpen in left-center it doesn't go back at all. I wouldn't say it's a very big park. It's kind of a hitter-friendly park where I would say St. Louis is more of a fair park, to maybe more of a pitcher-friendly park, if you were going to skew it any way.
I think no matter where you are, you still have to make pitches. If you look at that pitching staff in Philly, all of those guys had 2.0 ERAs and pitch in a very hitter-friendly park. Even for me, I've pitched pretty much balanced. I've pitched pretty much the same at home as I did on the road. I think regardless of where you pitch, both teams are out there hitting, you just have to pitch your pitchers and mix it up.

Q. You've seen the Cardinals a number of times this year. How important is it that you pitched so well against them last time, and especially because it was here?
RANDY WOLF: Well, to tell you the truth, it really doesn't matter, because it's a whole new game. Every game is different. You can't take the past into any game.
So for me, it's a whole new game. They are a good offensive club, and it's up to me to mix speeds and execute the game plan that I have going into it.
You have to respect what they do. They scored the most runs in the National League, so you have to understand that you have to mix speeds, make your pitches, and stay out of trouble. So regardless of what I did in the past, you know, you can't take that into it.

Q. In your two years, did you get to know Gary VandenBerg at all, and do you have any thoughts about wearing the patches for the rest of the post-season?
RANDY WOLF: I think it's great that we are doing that. You know, he's a part of the Brewer family and has been for a while.
You know, it's very sad. I just -- I talked to him quite a bit about certain things. I've always wanted to talk to the grounds crew about things I like or don't like about the mound. And I want to be involved.
The one thing that you learn throughout the years with the grounds crew guys is that they want to make it right. So if I have an issue with the mound, if I think it's too wet, too dry, he was always great, talking to him about certain things, being very receptive towards things.
It's really sad, because, you know, you just see what happened over the course of the year, and just amazing how you could basically have your life just kind of squeezed out of you that way. To watch his deterioration over the year was drastic. I saw him in Boston in the lobby of the hotel and it was sad just seeing somebody, having their life taken away from them in that way. It was pretty sad.

Q. We just heard some brief rumblings of issues with families and seating, we don't get much clubhouse access; has that been a problem in the clubhouse? Have players been upset about it or talking about it or whatever?
RANDY WOLF: If I were to have a list of things to think about, that would definitely be at the bottom. I would really hope that that was not an issue with us. Our thoughts and emotions should be what's going on on the field between the lines. Luckily we have a great traveling secretary that if there are any issues as far as tickets, that's why he gets paid the big Bucks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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