St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha and outfielder Carlos Beltran both addressed the media following the Cards 4-2 win over the Boston Red Sox in World Series Game 2.
Q. If this had been a regular season game would you have sat out ‑‑
CARLOS BELTRAN: Why do you guys always ask those questions? (Laughing) Well, you know what, I would say that as a player, I’m always going to come to the ballpark to prepare myself to play the game. At the end of the day I believe that being in the regular season, that the manager is going to be more cautious and probably give me the day. But if he let me choose, I always would love to choose to play because that’s what I love to do.
Q. Michael, what were the nerves like coming into tonight and how did you deal with that? Can you talk about that adjustment mixing in the curve a little bit more?
MICHAEL WACHA: Nerves weren’t too bad. Just kind of anxious to get out there. It’s the World Series, big‑time game. So I just tried to use it to my advantage to go out and pitch with some adrenaline, and just try to block out the fans and the crowd. I didn’t have my best stuff tonight. Definitely a little bit more wild. Didn’t have the command. I tried to let my defense be behind me and pitch to contact, and they made some great plays.
With the curveball I was trying to mix that in, as well, and just keep them a little bit off balance.
Q. You set the bar so high for yourself with the other postseason appearances, that it’s a big deal when you give up a couple of runs now. Was this a notably more difficult performance for you than the other three?
MICHAEL WACHA: Yeah, definitely, credit to their lineup; they battled me all night. They weren’t swinging down in the zone that I usually get swings at. They made me work out there. Got my pitch count up a lot higher than I wanted it to be. But I had to go out and battle and let my defense work behind me. They made great plays and got me out of innings pretty smoothly.
Q. Carlos, was there any way that you weren’t going to play in this game? To what length did you have to go to talk to the doctors or whatever to get on the field?
CARLOS BELTRAN: When I left the ballpark yesterday I had very little hope that I was going to be in the lineup with the way I felt. When I woke up, I woke up feeling a little better. And I came to the ballpark, talked to the trainer. I was able to get treatment and talk to the doctors, and find a way to try anything I could try just to go out there and feel no pain. And I did that before BP and went to the cage. I felt like I was swinging the bat okay ‑ not good, but good enough to be able to go out there and be with the guys.
Q. How did you feel physically during the game, and how much, if at all, do you think a day off will help?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Tomorrow I know for sure I’m going to wake up feeling sore. Basically they gave me an injection to kind of block the pain for five hours or six hours. I know for sure tomorrow I’m going to feel sore. The good thing is tomorrow I have the day off, and I’ve got the opportunity to get treatment, and hopefully Saturday I feel better than what I feel today.
Q. What was the injection?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Toradol.
Q. You’ve been nearly untouchable these playoffs, tonight you got touched a bit. Can you talk about the range of emotions, giving up the homer to Ortiz, to the top of the 7th your team picks you back up and puts some runs and gives you the lead.
MICHAEL WACHA: With this lineup that Boston has, you can’t make mistakes or they’ll let you pay. A good hitter like Ortiz, I made a mistake, 3‑2 change‑up up in the zone, and he made me pay. I was pretty mad coming in, but Yadi came up and was like, “Don’t worry. Just hold them here. We’re going to score in the top of the 7th.” Sure enough we put up a big three spot.
Everyone was starting to feel pretty good. Everyone came in, had all the confidence in the world that we were going to put up runs, and they really picked me up. And it was a lot of fun to watch.
Q. Were you worried at all having seen how much Ramirez struggled with the Dodgers last week when he had his rib injury, how you would do?
CARLOS BELTRAN: Yesterday I left the ballpark wondering what was going to happen, because the pain that I was feeling was so bad that I couldn’t be back in the game. So thank God the news that I received was encouraging because everything was negative. And all I had was a big bruise on my chest. I knew that I was going to be able to play, but I didn’t know it was going to be that fast.
Q. When you get a scouting report on a team like the Red Sox, that is going to grind out every at‑bat, drive up your pitch count. Are you thinking about that as you go through your series of battles?
MICHAEL WACHA: No, it doesn’t really change my approach from these past few starts I’ve had. But, yeah, they definitely do battle. They don’t swing at bad pitches, really. You’ve got to throw effective pitches in the zone. If you make a mistake, they’ll make you pay. They did a good job tonight grinding out at‑bats with me and got the pitch count up.
Q. Could you talk about just how you guys feel going back to Busch Stadium and playing the next three games? And also what it’s like to know you’ll have another start, if it comes back here, behind the pitcher going as well as Michael Wacha?
CARLOS BELTRAN: We feel confident and feel good about ourselves because we know how well we play at home. And having the fans on your side is a big factor. It’s like Boston playing here. It’s kind of hard to play here when you play on the road, and you’re playing against everything, the whole team, the fans, everybody. Even though you have to go out and perform and execute and find a way to play good baseball, but it’s comfortable for us to go back home.
Q. Can you talk about the mental toughness of this team? You come in, you’ve had a great run here, you’re getting credit for another great World Series start. You leave the game and all of a sudden they find a way. And you obviously joined a team that had this before you got there. Talk a little bit about that.
MICHAEL WACHA: Yeah, it’s huge. That’s the reason that they’re here right now. It’s huge. They never lose the fight. No matter what the score is, they always come in. They make plays behind you. It’s so much fun pitching out there. They make plays behind you, they come in and they score runs with you. They picked me up in a big time way tonight. And it was a lot of fun to watch.