Prior to the start of Game 3 of the 2014 National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller addressed the media on starting Game 4 for the Cards.
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Q. Tomorrow night you’ll either be pitching to keep your team alive or pitching to clinch. How do you go about using those emotions to your benefit and not letting them get in the way of what you need to do?
SHELBY MILLER: The biggest thing is whatever situation we’re in, you treat it the same. Even if we’re winning the series 2‑1 or losing, you act like the game is on the line, and every game is the same.
But we’ll see how tonight goes and you’ve just got to be prepared either way.
Q. I know you said all the right things last October. But what was it like to watch the postseason without playing much of a role in it and how does it add to your excitement for the opportunity this year?
SHELBY MILLER: Last year we all know how good our team was, and the four stars we had and all that.
But to be a part of it this year, to be a part of the rotation is exciting, obviously. I look forward to helping the team win however I can and whatever role that is.
Tomorrow it will be starting Game 4, and I think we all know that I’m a guy that’s going to go out there and lay everything on the line.
But last year in the postseason it was so fun to watch. Obviously I wished I could have played more, but at the same time we got to the World Series and had a heck of a year.
Q. We’ve talked over the last month, month and a half, about the addition of the pitches, the curveball and the grip with the sinker. What brought that all together? Was it over time that it all got better? Was it something that you heard from another pitcher that put it together or was it a game?
SHELBY MILLER: I mean, throughout this year had some ups and downs, and wasn’t getting too deep in the games like I wanted to. And I noticed that and a lot of other people noticed that, that my four‑seam, rely on that pitch a lot. And throughout All‑Star break and early on, it wasn’t as effective as it could be.
And with Waino and Lackey and all those guys, who wanted me to mix in a sinker the whole time, I started doing it. And just never found the grip until Masterson got here and I tried it and I liked it. And it’s a pitch we use now. And I think it’s been the difference maker in going deeper in the games. I don’t know, just throwing it early.
Q. Besides the sinker, Lackey mentioned the two‑seamer you’ve been working on has made a big difference. Where does that fit in the mix of how you’ve changed?
SHELBY MILLER: I consider a sinker and the two‑seam as the same thing. It’s a pitch we can run away from lefties, run in on righties. Something just really kind of picked up and just went with it. Yadi has been calling it and we like it. And get some ground balls and been more efficient with the games, going deeper into the games and helping the bullpen out and all those things.
So it’s just more for effect and trying to just get deeper in the ballgame and have those quicker innings.
Q. One way or another it’s kind of an elimination game. Do you think the nerves are the same no matter the situation for you?
SHELBY MILLER: You know, it’s going to be a little better. I know I’ll be nervous, excited. I feel like it’s an awesome opportunity to get to pitch in games like this. My whole life I’ve been excited and been waiting for this kind of opportunity.
I think the biggest thing is just take it all in and whatever situation we’re sitting in, like I said, I’m going to treat it the same exact way as if it were my last. The biggest thing is to go out there and just fight for my teammates.
Q. I think most of your teammates said it for you at Spring Training that you were going to do everything you could not to be forgotten this October. I wonder now that you’re here, was that a real guiding light for you this season, and when Mike let you know you were part of the rotation, is that sort of validation, do you feel that’s a goal you can check off or was it not that feeling that you expected at all?
SHELBY MILLER: You know, my goal this year was to obviously stay healthy, try to do the absolute best I can.
I wouldn’t say in Spring Training, I’m going into Spring Training thinking about not being forgotten in October this year. First off, that’s six months away. And I’ve got a whole season to worry about first off before I think about that.
The biggest thing is to just take it game by game. You can only control what you can. And what I do is I start every five days and I try to give my teammates the best opportunity to win the game. And going forward from that, thinking about October and stuff like that during the regular season, I’m thinking game by game the whole time. And when the playoffs do come and you’re told what your role is, you accept it and get ready for that.
Q. Mike had said that the rest that they built in for you in July he saw that as a turning point for you to finish the season strong. Do you agree with that and also the fact that you’ve gone weeks even before starts, did that help you prepare for pitching on two weeks of rest tomorrow?
SHELBY MILLER: Yeah, I think that any kind of rest is good. Clearly it’s a long season. You grind it out the whole entire time. And when your manager sees something, an opportunity to get you some kind of rest to benefit you, as a player, and your health and just generally just get things back on track when I was struggling a little bit, he took the opportunity to do that. And I think that did help with figuring out some mechanic things, resting a little bit, getting physically back to normal.
And absolutely, I think it helped me down the stretch. But I don’t think the time off would affect me at all tomorrow.
Q. Mike mentioned that when he was at your wedding I guess he had to answer to the grandparents and everything about last year. When he shared the news, you mentioned when he told you what your role was going to be, was it, You’re Game4, or what was the conversation like when he said you finally are going to get a postseason start?
SHELBY MILLER: You know, it was real brief. I think we were just in the lunchroom. Lilli [Derek Lilliquist] had told me initially, Mike just told me if I hadn’t been told what my role was going to be in this postseason, for the first series. He told me it was Game 4.
Of course, I was excited and ready to go. There’s not much more I can say except I’ll be ready tomorrow. And I’ll be prepared.