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October 6, 2013

Michael Wacha


Q.テつ There's a lot of talk about home‑field advantage in the playoffs, loud crowds in Pittsburgh and in St. Louis.テつ For you as a pitcher, what do you experience on the mound when you're in a loud road environment and how does it maybe affect you?
MICHAEL WACHA:テつ I think it's just important to just try and focus in on the catcher and try to drown out the crowd and just try and stay as focused as you can and execute the pitch that's called.テつ I think that usually just takes care of the crowd if you can block that kind of stuff out.

Q.テつ Michael, are you a big believer in momentum?テつ And I guess how do you build off your last start, it being such a good one, when it was about two weeks ago?
MICHAEL WACHA:テつ I mean, I think you take the positives from each game and try and use that in your bullpens and in between starts, and take that into the next game.テつ There's always stuff you can work on, and so I think you just take the positives from the last game and just move forward from there.

Q.テつ Michael, you are just barely a year and a half removed from college.テつ Would you have ever expected when you got drafted that you would be here this quickly and pitching in a postseason game?
MICHAEL WACHA:テつ Yeah, I mean, it's definitely been a crazy past year.テつ Whenever I came to Spring Training this past season, you know, the goal was to get up here to St. Louis and help them win some ballgames.テつ And so I wouldn't really say whenever I was in college my junior year that I would ever have thought of this.テつ But I just look at it as an opportunity to take advantage of.テつ I'm really excited about being able to pitch in the postseason.

Q.テつ Michael, yourself, Joe Kelley, so many examples of homegrown Cardinals who get to the Big Leagues and make an impact right away.テつ Have you ever been able to figure out in your short time with the organization what it is the Cardinals do that maybe other teams might not or how they're able to be so successful with homegrown talent?
MICHAEL WACHA:テつ I think it does start in the minor leagues.テつ Every single minor leaguer, they're kind of preached on that whenever you get up to St. Louis, you're expected to win.テつ So they preach on that down in the minor leagues, that we're here to win ballgames.テつ And whenever you go up there, you're expected to be able to contribute and be able to be prepared for the big stage and be able to help them win some ballgames.テつ So I think that's probably one of the bigger things that they do down in the minor leagues.

Q.テつ Michael, Matheny has talked a lot about how the rhythm of your delivery and the first foot, getting that down was a big part of kind of putting the season back together for you.テつ Did that happen in a game, in a bullpen?テつ Was there an epiphany or has it happened over time?
MICHAEL WACHA:テつ I think it's kind of both.テつ Maybe a little bit over time and also working down in the bullpens.テつ My first little stint up here in the Big Leagues, I was leaving some balls up.テつ I was getting hit around a little bit.
So whenever I went back down to Memphis, I was able to get in the bullpen and work on my starts and really just trying to keep the ball down and work on the delivery and get that rhythm right where I needed it to be.

Q.テつ One way or another, tomorrow is going to be an elimination game, either for you or them.テつ How do you in the next 24 hours mentally get ready for a game of that magnitude, especially being a young guy like you?
MICHAEL WACHA:テつ You know, just trying to approach it just like any other start and just trying to do the same stuff.テつ Just go out there and attack the zone, get in pitcher's counts that way I can make my pitch.テつ That way I'm not falling behind.テつ Really just go out there and attack them and throw a lot of strikes.

Q.テつ Michael, Clint Hurdle, when he was in here, was very complimentary about your change‑up.テつ He said in that game against the Nationals, he thought you threw four in a row to Ryan Zimmerman.テつ Was that right, that you backed up a change‑up, change‑up, change‑up, change‑up?テつ And if so, were you surprised to see Yadier keep calling it?
MICHAEL WACHA:テつ Yeah, I did throw quite a few change‑ups to Zimmerman.テつ I think I ended up walking him on that at‑bat.テつ I left the change‑up a little bit high.テつ I feel comfortable throwing that pitch in any count.テつ It's one of my more effective pitches.
And so if I can throw it for strikes, I think it works out pretty well for me.

Q.テつ Michael, where will you watch this game?テつ Will you be seated by certain guys?テつ Will you be by Wainwright?テつ Do you guys talk a lot about each other's approach against the Pirates in a series like this?テつ And how much do you get from watching Lynn or watching Kelly or watching Wainwright in the previous games considering the difference in about the stuff that you guys have?
MICHAEL WACHA:テつ Yeah, I mean, I'll just be watching in the dugout and Wainwright will be right there as well.テつ We talk during the game about pitch sequences, that kind of stuff.テつ Just watching Wainwright go out there a couple of nights ago and watching the way he just attacked the zone.テつ Really, he was in pitcher's counts a lot.テつ That's really what I take it from it.テつ He's been able to make his pitch a lot of the nights.テつ Hopefully I can take that from him and use that on Monday.

Q.テつ Michael, when you look at the Pirates' lineup, is there one guy you have in your mind when you're going to pitch where you say I'm not going to let that guy beat me?
MICHAEL WACHA:テつ Not necessarily.テつ Their lineup is pretty stacked.テつ They have a lot of good hitters.テつ So I just have to make my pitch and make it an effective pitch down, and not catch too much of the plate.テつ But I mean, they do have a great lineup.

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