PostCards: John Lackey on pitching in 2014 NLDS Game 3


St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey addressed the media on starting Game 3 of the 2014 National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Q. The last time you were preparing for a postseason start obviously was winner‑takes‑all in the World Series. Can you talk about the preparation, the approach to that game versus one like this, a swing game?

JOHN LACKEY: Not much different. I mean, they’re all important games this time of year. I try to approach it like most of my starts, like the last five days, I’ve stayed in my routine getting ready.

It’s obviously going to be different once you get out. You’ve almost got to embrace that. I realize it’s going to be different. I realize I’m going to have a little more adrenaline. But if you use it in the right direction it can be a good thing.

Q. One of the reasons the Cardinals were interested in a acquiring you is because of your big game experience. How much pride do you take in the ability to take the ball in these situations and have the team so confident in what they’ll get from you?

JOHN LACKEY: Yeah, definitely take pride in that. I want to pitch well this time of year. But things I’ve done in the past aren’t going to help me tomorrow. The only thing that really helps is that kind of outside things like, you know, the flyovers and the ceremonies and that kind of stuff. I’m prepared for that kind of stuff.
But once I get on the mound I’m going to have to pitch well and perform.

Q. You’ve been at this for a lot of years now and a lot of innings, surgery. How are you more evolved as a pitcher? What are you doing now as opposed to when you were younger?

JOHN LACKEY: More options now. I’ve got more pitches, more things I can do if one thing is not working. Early on in my career I was pretty much a two‑pitch pitcher and now I can kind of manipulate some things; if one thing is not working, try to do something else.

Q. Why do you think it is that you enjoy October so much or what is it about the playoffs that you enjoy so much that maybe separates it from the regular season?

JOHN LACKEY: I look at it, I mean, it’s a great opportunity. I don’t look at it as something to get nervous about. I look at it as something to get excited about. I’ve got an opportunity to do something special tomorrow. I hopefully can do that.

Q. Your two World Series rings, do you wear them or put them away; what do you do with those?

JOHN LACKEY: No, I don’t wear them very much. Maybe to a wedding or stuff like that. They’re a little big and a little flashy, not exactly my style.

Q. You described to us a few weeks ago just kind of the phrase you used was also one that Adam used, about having a dead arm. How do you feel now and how is that different than sort of the sensation you had that would have prompted that description?

JOHN LACKEY: I haven’t pitched in a while. It’s been a pretty good break here. I just got done playing catch. I felt great the last couple of starts the regular season, maybe that little rest I had helped.

Just trying to stay sharp in between this break, threw a bullpen, a couple of fly grounds, that kind of thing. But the arm should not be an issue.

Q. You mentioned the break. So you feel rested. But is there any concern about rust after not being in a game situation this time?

JOHN LACKEY: No, not really. I think there’s going to be plenty of adrenaline. I think I’ll feel fine tomorrow. It’s amazing how things happen this time of year.

Q. You’ve been around a lot, had a chance to observe the other pitchers, what are your observations on Shelby Miller‘s talent and his development?

JOHN LACKEY: Just in this year, I always knew he had a great arm, threw hard and that stuff. But I’ve seen the development, the two‑seam fastball this year, is taking him to another level the last month or so, being able to get deeper in the games, being able to get some quicker outs. And I think the talent is there, but I think he’s starting to realize some things and learn some things that are going to take him to another level.

Q. One of the things that stood out when you pitched against the Cardinals last year in the clincher was the velocity that you had, the jump‑up. I wondered if that stood out to you. Is that something that was, hey, it’s the last start of the season, whatever you have left, let it fly?

JOHN LACKEY: You mean like the last game of the year last year?

Q. Yeah, the World Series.

JOHN LACKEY: I’m going to cut it loose tomorrow, whatever is in there is going to be in there. Yeah, this isn’t the regular season. We’re not saving anything.

Q. I know you’re still in the middle of things and you’ve got a lot left to accomplish. But I wonder how you look back at your career, the World Series, coming back from the Tommy John, and all you’ve accomplished, how do you see your career?

JOHN LACKEY: It’s a little early to look at the whole career. I’m definitely proud of the way I came back from surgery, is the only thing. That’s the only thing I’ve really thought about. I look over the whole thing when I’m done. More focused on trying to get some Dodgers out tomorrow.