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October 17, 2012

Adam Wainwright


Q.テつ In addition to the fact you guys advanced, how relieved are you that you don't have to have your last start be the one you took into the off‑season?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT:テつ Very relieved.テつ That was not the performance I was expecting to have for a Game 5, winner‑take‑all game, I promise you that.
But really doesn't matter as long as we win the game.テつ And so I look at how I feel rather than the way the last outcome happened.テつ My arm feels great and feeling strong, so very confident in my stuff.テつ I don't worry about that last game.

Q.テつ In the four or five days since then what have you ascertained happened that night or anything you can fix in a major way for this time?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT:テつ Well, I mean, really, the first inning I left three balls up over the plate and all three balls got hit hard.テつ It was my third start in a row against the same team.テつ I may have fell into a pattern.テつ I may have gotten a little predictable there.テつ But they had some big bats over there.テつ I left three balls up over the middle of the plate.テつ They're going to get hit hard when you do that.
I think they wanted to come out, too, and they had some momentum coming from Game4.テつ I think they wanted to come out and make a statement.テつ They certainly did that.テつ I made bad pitches and they hit the bad pitches.テつ I also made a few good pitches and they hit those, too.テつ I think it's just a time you tip your hat and you move on.

Q.テつ In the big picture can you compare where your sharpness, your stuff, all of that is, compared to late in the year in previous seasons?テつ You feel good, we've heard you say that repeatedly.テつ Is there any comparison, better or worse, as far as what the ball is doing for you?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT:テつ I wouldn't say better or worse.テつ I would say right now my curveball is probably the best it's ever been.テつ And I would say the zip of my fastball is maybe a touch down from where it has been in the past.テつ But I think physically from a "how's your arm feeling" kind of standpoint my arm feels probably better than it usually does at this point in the year, for whatever reason, whether it be all the rehab or whatnot.
But certainly the beginning of the season was a grind for me, a really tough stretch where I didn't pitch well, but my arm was pretty much hanging.テつ I'm well past that now.テつ My arm feels great.

Q.テつ What are a few of the things that Mike Matheny has brought to this club, in your view?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT:テつ Well, I think he's a man of immense character.テつ I think he's a role model, a leader that we look to, leads by example, a guy who never gets flustered, always is in smooth control of his mind and his body.テつ And he's the sharpest dressed guy I've ever seen, if that counts for anything.
But, I don't know, he kind of brings that leadership, maybe like a Tony Dungy or somebody like that, that quiet strength you just kind of feed off of.

Q.テつ After sitting out all of last postseason and watching, how excited are you for a night game to start at Busch to get back here and feel the energy and be a part of this postseason and be able to contribute?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT:テつ I'm real excited.テつ Pitching in the postseason is so much fun it's ridiculous.テつ And our team just picked me up and threw me on their back last game.テつ I didn't do well.テつ But I look forward to the next challenge.テつ I look forward to pitching for this team and for this city.テつ I take great pride in that.
I've done everything I can to be prepared for it.テつ And I know the team is counting on me to go out and pitch a good game.テつ So I'll be ready.

Q.テつ Winter warmup you were very clear that this whole 150, 180 inning, whatever thing, wasn't going to jibe for you.テつ 200‑plus innings later, how has that changed?テつ Why do you think that kind of went by the wayside there?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT:テつ I don't know, I think that was the team protecting itself.テつ And if I did start to tire in the middle of the season they could back me off a little bit.テつ But a funny thing about being a competitor, you know your body better than anybody else.テつ 150 innings to me is, I mean, the amount of seasons I've had before I felt like I was seasoned better than 150 innings, whether I was coming off injury or not.
I think that did play a role in it.テつ My body, as the season went on, got stronger.テつ My arm continued to get stronger.テつ I had a stretch there in August where everyone was saying I should be shut down where I won six straight games.テつ It was the best I pitched all year.テつ I didn't really look at the innings number.テつ I just never doubted my ability.
I could easily have pitched over 200 innings in the regular season if I hadn't had four or five duds during the year and if I hadn't skipped my last start.テつ 200 innings is a number I feel like if you're a good quality pitcher you should surpass that.テつ I was feeling good.テつ When I said I would pitch more than 150 innings, and when I didn't feel good I knew I was going to pitch more than 150 innings.

Q.テつ Do you find it ironic that out of your two postseason starts you pitched really well and your team lost and you pitched really poorly and your team won?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT:テつ Yeah, I was thinking about that.テつ I think sometimes that's a product of the quality of the pitcher you're pitching against.テつ In Los Angeles I started to pitch 8 innings, I pitched against Clayton Kershaw and he only gave up two runs.テつ We ended up not winning that game.テつ But the first game against the Nationals I felt like I had great stuff.テつ But pitched against a guy, Gio Gonzalez, even though he didn't have his best command, has great stuff and didn't give up any runs.
Then the last game I completely choked.テつ All part of my plan.テつ You lose the first two and you're pitching great, you've got to wake the team up.テつ I don't want them out there sitting back on their heels.テつ I purposely went out and pitched terribly to be unselfish (laughter).テつ And if you believe that ‑‑ just so everyone knows, that was in jest (laughter).

Q.テつ Back to the innings issue.テつ If you had been a younger pitcher, 21, 22, and maybe didn't know your body as well, might you have been more receptive to limiting it or do you think you would have had the same approach?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT:テつ Well, if I had been a much younger pitcher, whatever I said probably didn't have much clout.テつ And maybe whatever I said didn't have any clout anyways.テつ But I did know my body and I had been seasoned.
And there's ‑‑ whether you're coming off injury or not there's a time in each season that you go through as a starting pitcher where you're going to have a struggle, where you're going to have to find a way to get out when you're tired or your arm is hanging.テつ That's a simple fact of life when you're throwing 200 innings, you're going to have a time of struggle.
And I'll tell you what, right now, you have to learn how to pitch when you're feeling bad or feeling tired or your arm is hanging.テつ If you don't learn to pitch in those moments you're doing yourself a disservice and your team a disservice.テつ There's valuable lessons to be learned battling through that stuff.テつ I learned a lot about my arm and about my stuff and about my competitiveness this year pitching.テつ The beginning of the season I could have pitched left‑handed just the same probably, got the same results.テつ I think you learn a lot about yourself in those moments.

Q.テつ It's kind of strange to think that as much as this team has been in October and as much as you've pitched in October, this is the first LCS start you've made.テつ Is that something that's in your mind?テつ It's hard to imagine you could add any more to an excitement level.テつ But is that the deepest in the season you've started?テつ Is that something interesting or weird or notable?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT:テつ I think it's unfortunate for me.テつ The times I've been ready to rock and pitching the best we didn't make it as far, for whatever reason.
One thing I'm very confident about, I look at the last game and I didn't pitch well, but I am so confident that this team and organization is going to give me so many more chances in the playoffs to rebound from that that I really don't ‑‑ I really don't even worry about that last start.テつ For one, we won the game.テつ But for two, I plan on having a long postseason career.テつ I really think we have a team and an organization that's going to make that happen.テつ You just look to your next start and hopefully I have a whole lot more playoff starts to prove that I'm worthy of pitching in the LCS.
I don't worry about which round I'm in.テつ Every start is you pitch like it's your last.

Q.テつ Shifting gears here, I was going to ask you about Jon Jay and his defense.テつ You've been able to see him the last couple of years.テつ Tell me from a pitcher's perspective what you see?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT:テつ Well, it's been so great watching Jon in the outfield.テつ I think if you look at some qualities he has out there, he's similar in ways to Jim Edmonds, the way they quarterback the outfield.テつ They move guys around.テつ I think Jonny is really a smart baseball player.テつ If the rest of the world doesn't know that yet, they will.テつ He's really a smart player, defensively and offensively, I think, just baseball smart.
But I think he moves around in that outfield as good as I've seen.テつ We're so confident in him out there it's ridiculous.テつ I think he's finally getting some press that is well deserved because he's so good out there.

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