PostCards: Adam Wainwright talks before 2014 NLCS Game 4
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright addressed the media prior to the start of 2014 NLCS Game 4 against the San Francisco Giants.
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Q. What was it like being on the bullpen mound the other day, and did you get out of that session what you needed to?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, it was good. It was good to be out there working on things and getting things to click back in place. I felt very good about it coming out of the side.
Q. As accountable as you are to your team, how do you feel about the postseason starts you’ve had this year and also the last couple you had last year?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, the first game, we won the game, that was purely because I motivated everyone (Laughter). It was very unselfish of me, Commish, you know.
No, I have not been very proud of my starts this year in the postseason so far. I also know that I was doing my very best. There was no point in time where I wasn’t as prepared as I’ve ever been for a start, and my arm just didn’t respond like I wanted it to.
But I’m very confident going forward.
Q. Did you feel any different? You talk about your arm responding in the days after this last start, than you did the days after your Division Series start just in terms of health‑wise?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, I actually felt better after my last start than I did the day after I started against the Dodgers or the first game against the Giants. I could have pitched as good or better the next day that I did the day I pitched, as weird as that sounds.
It’s just a very interesting thing I’ve been going through. You know, I came out of it in September, I pitched very well, and I expect to do that in October.
Q. What did you accomplish in your session the other day? You said you were able to work some kinks out. Any specifics you can share?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, the positives to take away were, you know, when your arm doesn’t feel the best, you need everything else to be locked in and your delivery to be sharp. My delivery was not sharp. My arm didn’t feel great the last few times out.
Now my arm feels better and my delivery should be much sharper going forward, so it should be a much more polished pitcher you see on the mound.
Q. I believe it was in Jupiter that you predicted Miller would throw a no‑hitter at some point in time this year. When you look at his season, what you’ve seen from him, where he is now, if there’s even a bit of his development that surprises you or the pitcher that he’s become at this point that really catches your eye?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I’m not surprised by it. I’m very excited that he embraced the idea of making adjustments. I still believe he’s going to throw a no‑hitter at some point. Hopefully, I mean, tonight would be a great time to do that; that would be a great start.
But I think he‑‑ if you look at guys that throw no‑hitters, they have that good fastball. A lot of times, they have that good four‑seam riding fastball that gets swings and pop‑ups and that’s what he has. He’s also added that very good two‑seamer which makes his breaking ball a lot better, as well. He is able to work both pitches into his four‑seam. That’s such a weapon.
I’m very proud of the way Shelby has grown this year and I think you’ll see him get better and better.
Q. You talked about how A.J. helped you in the video going over some stuff. Can you talk about how much more in since you and the pitching staff have become‑‑
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I’m sorry, what was the gist of the question?
Q. He comes over, there’s that acclimation process, but now how much you’re on the same page with the game plan out there.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, he calls a very good game. He always has called a very good game. He’s got magic fingers. He’s called a couple no‑hitters and been a World Champion. He’s a big, wide target.
So we like throwing to A.J. He’s a good competitor. He wants to win, and you know, he’s drawn to the end of his career and he wants to go out a winner.
He still has a few good years left, too, probably. Hopefully we’ll get him a ring this year, but we are all comfortable with A.J.
Q. At this time of year, whether it’s a young guy or a veteran like yourself, is it stuff that gets you through a postseason game, or is it the guts and how you use that stuff? We’ve seen guys with good stuff not succeed. So what makes the difference?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Could be either. Can be either or it can be both. A guy who has got great stuff and the guts to go with it, is pretty nasty in the postseason. You see John Smoltz, Andy Pettitte, somebody like that, those guys have been very, very dangerous. They are known as the big game playoff pitchers for a reason. They want it.
Sometimes a guy just has amazing stuff and can go out there and blow right through a team because he’s just electric. Shelby’s got the guts. He’s certainly got the stuff. So he should be in line for a good playoff career, I think.
Q. This being your third straight year deep into October. Are you as tired, less tired or more tired than the other years?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: No, I’m not tired at all. I’m not tired at all. I’ve battled some things this year injury‑wise that I have not battled those other years. If my body would have felt as good as it did last year with the stuff I was featuring this year, man, would have been fun. Would have been real fun.
But more than anything, what I want to get back into is throwing quality games in the postseason. You know, until last year’s NLCS, I was undefeated in the postseason. I just don’t want to get a bad wrap for being a good playoff pitcher. That’s the time I want to shine the most. That’s the time that every pitcher wants to shine the most. I know I’m capable of doing that.
I just have to have all my weapons out there with me, preferably. If not, I’ll grind my way through it and I’ll find a way to make it happen. But it helps when you’ve got all your weapons.
Q. What do you think about pitching in this ballpark? It’s generally a good pitcher’s park, but as we’ve seen, the wind and the funky bounces off the wall can also work against a pitcher. How do you feel about pitching here?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I like pitching here. I think every pitcher likes pitching here. I do think that, you know, there’s an advantage for playing in this park all the time like the Giants do. They know this wind and they know what the bounces are going to do.
You know, but one great defense against all that is keeping the ball on the ground. You just never seen the wind push a ground ball through the hole or out of the park. That’s our goal is to try to keep these guys on the ground and get quick outs.
Q. You’ve kind of been a key motivator Lance and Shelby and other guys in the season. At this point in the year, do you use those same techniques and do they do anything to motivate you?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: They don’t need any motivation. These guys are great competitors, and they are ready for these starts. Lance has been great this postseason so far. Shelby pitched a quality game last time out against the Dodgers, and I expect that to continue going forward.
I don’t need to pull these guys aside and give them a big ‘Rudy’ pep talk. They are prepared and wanting to win.
They are motivating me by going out and shoving themselves. When they go out and pitch great games, that makes me want to do that.