PostCards: John Lackey on pitching in 2014 NLCS Game 3


St. Louis Cardinals pitcher John Lackey spoke to the media on Monday about facing the San Francisco Giants in NLCS Game 3.

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Q. Two years in a row, you get to the playoffs, how do you manage to avoid the fatigue factor some guys have, or have you?

JOHN LACKEY: I think everybody’s dealing with something this time of year. Nobody is feeling real fresh. I think there’s an adrenaline factor this time of year that definitely helps you push through that sort of thing. And I think, you know, missing a full year two years ago and working hard with the rehab, that sort of thing, has definitely helped me.

Q. It’s been a long time since you faced the Giants but you did face them in the 2002 World Series. What are your memories of that and how are you different as a pitcher now than maybe you were back then?

JOHN LACKEY: Oh, I’m not even close to the same as I was then. I was pretty much a two‑pitch pitcher back then. But threw a little harder back then. Threw a breaking ball.

Honestly the game I pitched here in 2002, I think I got no decision, gave up two or three runs, that sort of thing. Honestly, main thing I remember about that was I got a hit here. Got my first hit (smiling).

Q. You mentioned that adrenaline factor. Your fastball was velocity a little bit down, probably a little due to fatigue. What do you do to sort of harness when you do get that velocity back? What did you do to harness that and not lose command at the same time?

JOHN LACKEY: Yeah, I think the most important thing to think about this time of year is think about the glove, think about location, because you’re going to have a little extra behind it. Don’t force that, and just use it to your ability and try and throw through that thing.

Q. How much of an adjustment do you have to make for not pitching Molina?

JOHN LACKEY: I mean, I do a lot of my own work as far as video and that sort of thing. But when you lose a guy of his caliber, there’s always going to be a hole for sure. He’s probably the best in the game back there and a pleasure to throw to.

We’ve still got to get out there and compete and give it a run.

Q. How do you like playing in AT&T Park?

JOHN LACKEY: Beautiful park. Definitely one of the nicer parks. Probably a little more pitcher friendly than some of the ballparks in the league nowadays. I’m all for it (Laughter.).

Q. You’re matching up with another veteran, Tim Hudson. Can you talk about your impressions of him over his career and what fans can expect with two veterans going head‑to‑head?

JOHN LACKEY: Nothing but respect for Huddy for sure. Had an outstanding career. I remember macing him as a young pitcher in Oakland, going against him, and always respect the way he competed and the way he just went about his business. He always has got‑‑ was getting after it, threw a lot of strikes and never backed down.

Q. There’s speculation that maybe you’ll be pitching to A.J. tomorrow night. What’s your relationship like? What have you come to learn about him, and what’s the process been here with the Cardinals?

JOHN LACKEY: A.J. and I are good. Obviously I threw to him a bunch in Boston this year. So you know, if somebody has to do it, I’m probably the right guy to do it for sure, as far as you know, him getting back in the lineup.

But he’s an aggressive game caller and I think I’m a pretty aggressive pitcher. I think our styles match up pretty good together.

Q. You mentioned you changed over time as a pitcher. You used to throw more of curveball and you’re throwing more sliders‑‑

JOHN LACKEY: I throw a little bit of everything nowadays. If it feels good, I invent stuff on the mound nowadays (Laughter.).

Q. Peavy told me the other day that he didn’t know you very well until you guys hooked up in Boston last year, but he said you developed a really fast friendship. Why was that? Why did you guys click so well?

JOHN LACKEY: Probably first of all, country music and hanging out.

But it’s just he’s a guy‑‑ we have a lot of the same likes off the field, that sort of thing. Both like to get after it on the field and I’ve always respected his career and the way he’s gone about it.

Yeah, it was really easy. He’s definitely a good Buddy now, and you know, it’s been fun going against him in this series.

Q. A light‑hearted one: Who do you vote for for the Boston Beards and how that worked out and also versus the high socks that the Cardinals do, in the way the teams rally around each other this time of year?

JOHN LACKEY: Every team has something. It’s a cool way to come together in the clubhouse. We had the beard thing last year and here they have got the cool, high socks, especially on Sunday, that sort of thing. Just two great clubhouses, really.

Last year we had a lot of pros, a lot of great guys to play with, and it’s been nothing but the same here. They have been welcoming to me and really professional in the way they go about it, and I think that definitely starts with the manager. It’s been a pretty clubhouse to mesh into.

Q. So which league do you prefer?

JOHN LACKEY: Which league do I prefer? I like to face eight hitters instead of nine (Laughter.).

Q. Kind of wish you had done it sooner?

JOHN LACKEY: It would have been nice to see back when I threw it a little bit harder, yeah (Laughter.)

Q. One thing I noticed in 2002, you faced a pretty good lineup including Barry Bonds‑‑

JOHN LACKEY: He was pretty good.

Q. You walked him four times in that series‑‑
JOHN LACKEY: Wouldn’t you? (Laughter.)

Q. Just curious, as you look at this Giants lineup, who concerns you the most?

JOHN LACKEY: I mean, no offense to anybody in their lineup but they don’t got Barry Bonds. They have got a really good lineup. It’s a deep lineup, and especially when you’ve got Ishikawa hitting eighth. That’s a deep lineup. It’s more of an American League style lineup, which I’m pretty well accustomed to.
So I’m going to have to make pitches all the way throughout the lineup. They are good.