PostCards: Pat Neshek, Trevor Rosenthal talk before 2014 NLDS Game 4


Prior to Game 4 of the 2014 National League Division Series (NLDS) against the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals pitchers Pat Neshek and Trevor Rosenthal addressed the media.

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Q. Trevor, when you’re in a short series or even the seven‑game series against the same team over and over again, how does that factor or influence your approach with them as you appear against them day‑to‑day, sometimes several days in a row?

TREVOR ROSENTHAL: I think especially against these good teams, we know they have a really good team over there and a tough lineup. So just coming in every day and trying to be prepared for any situation and anticipating some close games, and knowing that we’re going to have to battle and grind through it.

I’m sure that for the hitters and facing these really good pitchers over and over, it’s a tough task for them and they seem to have done a good job of approaching it. But I think that’s probably for them one of the hardest things is knowing that they’re facing a tough pitcher every day.

For us, we know in the lineup, we just try to execute the game plan, and we know we’re fortunate to have a great catcher in Yadi. And he does a good job putting a game plan together for us, and we just try to stick to that.

Q. Trevor, we see you throw 99 and 100 miles an hour, guys like that don’t grow on trees, but yet where you were drafted, I wonder what you were like then in community college and why do you think you were under the radar at that point in your career?

TREVOR ROSENTHAL: Well, I think just starting out in community college, I came in as kind of a two‑way player. I played shortstop, third base, and towards the end of the season started pitching more and that’s where you kind of got seen off the mound obviously with the radar game, got some attention.

But I think probably because I didn’t have too much experience pitching, I don’t know how many innings I threw in college, but it wasn’t much more than ten, not a huge sample size for guys to get a look. So that probably had, I think, the most to do with being under the radar.

Q. Trevor, what have you learned over the last couple of seasons being in the big leagues now?

TREVOR ROSENTHAL: Yeah, just being around this team, being fortunate, I think, the first year it was a blur and then these last two years have really been eye‑opening and made me realize how lucky it is to be a part of a team that goes into the postseason and wins a lot of games and have an opportunity to contribute on a team like that is special. And I think it’s something that I won’t take for granted.

That’s one of the main highlights right now that I can reflect upon is being lucky enough to be a part of a great organization, having people around us that you can see guys come in and they just welcome them with open arms and try and just help everybody get better.
Oct 6, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal (26) pitches during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game three of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at Busch Stadium. Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Q. Trevor touched on it, but when you’re facing somebody who, for whatever reason, was successful the last at‑bat against you, especially a short series like this, how do you go about adapting or here it is?

PAT NESHEK: Well, usually in baseball, the pitcher is going to win eight out of ten times. So for me if I could do what I’ve got to do, hit my spots, I like my chances. And we play these guys so much you kind of get a game plan over the years, and you just stick to that. That’s what I do.

Q. Just wondering, looking back on Spring Training and signing with the Cardinals, making the team and making the All‑Star Team, and being where you’re at now, how much do you sit in downtime and reflect on what this year has meant to you?

PAT NESHEK: You know, for me it’s ‑‑ it’s something I knew I had in me. And it’s so hard to get that opportunity to go out there and get that role. I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to do.

Last year at this time I was with the Oakland A’s, and I was with the team the whole year. We got to October 1st and they said, We’re not probably going to use you these playoffs and we don’t really need you to stick around here. And that kind of fired me up. I was driving back and watching my team play, all my teammates play, and it wasn’t fun.

Q. You drove from Oakland to Florida?

PAT NESHEK: Yeah, I’m pretty cheap (laughter).

Q. That’s a long time to think about that, though.

PAT NESHEK: Yeah, we took it slow. We stopped. It took about three days. But, yeah, you know, you just think a lot, wonder what you can do to change it and try to get better.

Q. This question is for both of you guys. I wonder how you think your styles helped each other this year or helped the bullpen. You guys are quite different pitchers, coming from different slots, throwing different stuff. Do you think that contributed to your success as a tandem?

TREVOR ROSENTHAL: I feel like every time we get into these close games, Neshek the first, the tough part of the lineup. That’s good for me. And just being around Nesh and Choate, and a lot of guys that have experience, that’s been huge.

And Pat’s been on some different teams and had a little bit different journey and a lot of different experiences to draw upon, and he’s been awesome sharing that with us. We talk a lot about different scenarios, different guys around the League, different things he’s seen, and even talking about throwing a slider and how he throws different pitches. That’s been the biggest thing for me, and being able to just be out there in the bullpen and talk and work every day.

PAT NESHEK: Yeah, when I signed over here, first I was kind of amazed with all the guys that threw above 95. I thought I could maybe offer something, come in and get a right‑hander out, that’s kind of what I’ve excelled at my entire career. And then let the big boys do the work.

Yeah, we ‑‑ it’s such a different look. All of our starters have been pretty dominating. And you come in and throw a weird guy like me or Choate and bring the fire with Carlos and Trevor. And even Seth, with how his ball, it moves so much.

Q. You talked about not being on the playoff roster last year. The year before that you were under some challenging circumstances. This year do you allow yourself to enjoy it, is it different this year because there’s not all these other things going on?

PAT NESHEK: Yeah, 2012 was ‑‑ it was one of those, we had a great team and just the stuff, I wasn’t able to really think. And it was kind of just an escape kind of just to try to forget about everything that was going on for a couple of hours.

But the other day was tough for me. Two‑year anniversary. It’s nice to just have a normal playoff.

Q. Trevor, the other night you had that confrontation with Puig, where you were throwing 99 or 100 every time and the crowd was getting into it. What kind of a rush is that for you? Do you ever have the temptation to throw a slow one up there and see how hard he’d swing at it?

TREVOR ROSENTHAL: No, this is what it’s all about, being here, being in those situations.

I joke with my wife at times about having the bases loaded and no outs and one‑run lead and wanting to be out there. And she doesn’t like that idea. But that’s what I think we dream of as players is being in tough situations, being in the playoffs, Game 7, everything is on the line and being able to come through.

It is a lot of pressure but at the same time just remember it’s a game and you go out there and try your hardest. And when those situations come through and you can get strike 3 it’s a lot of fun. I really enjoy out there and being able to play this game.

Q. Do you remember when or can you talk about how you’re still learning to actually be able to use that adrenaline to help you be better, but at the same time not wind up overthrowing or something like that, when did it click that it was an asset to have that kind of adrenaline?

PAT NESHEK: I think that’s what the whole ‑‑ the entire season prepares you for. We do this every day. We’ve been doing it for eight months now. The last month has been pretty nerve wracking and you’ve got to win games. It really prepares you. And I think that’s kind of ‑‑ for me that’s what I draw on.

TREVOR ROSENTHAL: I’m still learning, trying to figure it out. But definitely like Nesh said, I’ve been playing for a while, feel pretty fine‑tuned at this point.

It’s a little different in the postseason with extra days of rest. And obviously we go out there and we know you have a chance to win, you might be feeling a little better than normal, because beating a good team is always really exciting.

But just trying to remember, like I said, it’s fun and just try to enjoy it more than anything and take those deep breaths and try to take it all in.