PostCards: Pete Kozma and Shane Robinson talk before NLCS Game 6


Both Pete Kozma and Shane Robinson addressed the media prior to NLCS Game 6 between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers.
October 15, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Shane Robinson (43) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game four of the National League Championship Series baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Image Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Q. Shane, when did you find out you were starting and how do you feel about that?

SHANE ROBINSON: I found out earlier today when I got to the field. Mike came and told me, and I feel pretty good about it.

Q. Obviously you guys are hoping to rap it up tonight. If it should go to a Game 7, how nice is it to have your ace Adam Wainwright lined up like that? How much of a comforting feeling is that?

PETE KOZMA: It’s always good to have him on the mound. He won 19 games for us this year going out. How many complete games he’s thrown, it will be huge, but we’re not worried about tomorrow, we’re worried about tonight.

Q. How much do you think the divisional competition this year, all the tough games you guys had to play against the Reds and the Pirates have sort of made you stronger for the postseason?

PETE KOZMA: I mean, every game was tough in our division, whether it was the Reds, the Pirates, the Cubs or the Brewers, they’re all tough games. We’re all in the Major Leagues, aren’t we? Every game was tough, but could have prepared us maybe a little better. But we’re both in the playoffs right now.

Q. How different does it feel being up 3‑2 this year knowing that the games are at home as compared to last year when you guys had to travel out to San Francisco?

SHANE ROBINSON: I think it helps a little bit, obviously, with the travel kind of being back in our hometown and sleeping in our own beds and things like that. Just kind of keeps the outside atmosphere a little bit better for us than being on the road and being in downtown LA. But it definitely will work to our advantage, I think.

Q. Shane, just tell us what you felt with that home run that you hit in Game 4, just how that felt for you, your first postseason hit?

SHANE ROBINSON: It’s hard to describe how it felt. Obviously, I wanted to celebrate a little bit more, but just trying to be smart with my actions and kind of keep everything even with my emotions and not really let it get the best of me. But I was very excited.

Obviously, it gave our closer an extra run to play around with. It was a big hit, I guess, for our team and for our bench players as well.

Q. You had that injury with your broken cheek bone in 2011, and then you fought your way all the way back to the bigs again. Tell me about that climb and that struggle that you did to get back to the bigs.

SHANE ROBINSON: Yeah, I mean, even the year before that I had a dislocated shoulder, so I had a few years on the disabled list where I wasn’t sure of what was going to happen with my career and things like that. But I think it was more of a humbling experience than anything, just kind of knocking me down a few notches and making me realize that nothing is guaranteed in this game and to be thankful for every day I get to play it.

Q. When you get to the sixth game and you’re playing against the same team, how much can this feel like the type of rivalry you have with divisional opponents, whether it’s the Pirates and the Reds, or is there just still a divide between those two where those are the teams you’re chasing all year?

SHANE ROBINSON: I think there is a little rivalry with us. There are a lot of common faces over there. So team‑wise, we kind of know each other, know what our tendencies are and things like that. Not sure how much that might play into these playoff games, but there is a familiar aspect to the games just because we know some of the guys were with us and obviously their hitting coach was with us too. But we have a lot of respect for those guys and it makes for a good series, for sure.

PETE KOZMA: Yeah, I mean, Skip, and Punto and McGwire, all three of them have been over here, they’ve seen us play. They kind of know our weaknesses here and there. But we’ve played them a couple of times earlier this year, and we’ve played them five times already. So tonight should be an interesting game.

Q. Can you just talk a little bit about how you weigh trying to work deep in the count and see a lot of pitches, get the other pitcher’s pitch count up when you may not be able to let that good pitch go by. You might not see a lot, so you have to be aggressive at the same time, how you balance those two?

PETE KOZMA: It’s tough, especially when you have guys like Kershaw on the mound. Just kind of selectively aggressive is I guess the word for it. But got to, like you said, grind out the at‑bats and try and get the pitch that you want to hit.

SHANE ROBINSON: I don’t think we necessarily have a focus of getting their pitch count up. I think it’s a solid approach by our hitters all the way around. Kind of have an idea of what pitch you might get that we want to do damage with and waiting for it. But, yeah, a guy like Kershaw up there, you might not get too many pitches in an at‑bat, so you might have to be aggressive a little bit earlier or on a pitch that you might not necessarily want to swing at. But just depending on what the situation is.

Q. As a pinch hitter, how do you stay ready to come in at a moment’s notice and just try to stay sharp as you can before you step up?

SHANE ROBINSON: It’s a little different in playoff situations because you never know when you might be called upon. They could bring a pitcher out early in the game if they’ve given up two runs and have some base runners on to play a match‑up. So honestly it usually start when’s you see things not going your way, whether it be going down in the tunnel and stretching and getting loose, with the colder weather maybe kind of in between innings, doing a little something down in the tunnel to stay loose and warm and taking swings, not too many, just to kind of keep everything loose. I hate to keep using that term, but that’s pretty much what you need to do to be ready off the bench.

Q. What, if anything, have you guys learned from being a teammate of Carlos Beltran? Anything you’ve learned from Carlos that’s helped your game or maybe that’s helped explain why he’s been so good for so long?

PETE KOZMA: I think he’s got something to offer to everybody. I think everybody in this clubhouse has learned a lot from that guy. He’s been around for 15 years, so he’s got a lot to offer to us. He’s been in a lost postseason games, so, I mean, he’s been talking to us a bunch before the games.

SHANE ROBINSON: He’s a student of the game. He studies the game all the time, and he’s always watching guys and learning from guys’ mistakes.

Personally, he’s taken me aside a couple times and just kind of messed around with some things and talked to me about a different approach or just a different mindset when it comes to at‑bats to help me lock myself back in and get back into the groove of things. He’s helped me a few times. I know he’s helped a lot of guys hitting‑wise, just pointing little things out to get them to think about their swing a little bit more or something they might be doing wrong.
But he’s very quiet about it. He’ll approach you if he sees you scuffling or if he sees you working and he thinks he can offer something for you that can help. He’ll chime in here and there with it. He’s helped me out a few times this year.