Oct. 11 Michael Wacha pregame interview
Q. So, did you study harder in college or the last couple of days studying the Dodgers more since you've never faced them before?
MICHAEL WACHA: I probably studied about even. Texas A&M is a pretty tough college, so you have to study for those exams pretty good.
But, yeah, just getting in the film room, checking out these guys. It's a tough lineup, so you've got to go out there and execute pitches against them.
Q. Given that you have not seen the Dodgers yet this year, does the advantage of those situations go to the pitcher or to the hitters?
MICHAEL WACHA: I'm not real sure. I'd sometimes like to see a lineup a couple times, then you really know, you know, if they struggle against a certain pitch or not. But just watch some film on them and talk to some of the guys on the hitters and see how it goes.
Q. I'm curious, it seems like against left handed hitters you've gone away a disproportionate amount this year. I'm wondering how much of that is made possible by the infield defense that's played over on that side with Freese and Kozma?
MICHAEL WACHA: Yeah, I mean, the main thing is just throwing strikes and letting our defense play behind me. I mean, it's a great defense. I really enjoyed having them behind me and making plays, play after play, for me. So just trying not to walk people and give up free base runners in that sense, and really just help put it in play.
Q. The other day in Game 5, Adam Wainwright said something along the lines of he lives for big moments like wanting the ball in a position like that. Are you kind of similar in the fact that NLCS is a big stage? Are you a guy that wants the ball to pitch in front of the big stadiums when the lights are the brightest?
MICHAEL WACHA: Oh, yeah, definitely. Of I think any pitcher on our team in that situation would want the ball in their hands. I'm no different. I think that's just a competitor, and every single pitcher on this staff. They want the ball in big time situations. You saw that with Wainwright in Game 5 just a couple nights ago. And just really impressive to watch him rise to the occasion like that.
Q. A year ago where you when you were watching this series on television, did you imagine you would be starting a game in the NLCS at that time?
MICHAEL WACHA: I wouldn't say that I really would have expected it. But I mean just from spring training on whenever I got the big league invite, it's just been a goal of mine to get up here and help this team out in the postseason. So in that sense, I really wouldn't say I was too shocked about it.
Q. With six rookies on the postseason roster, how would you describe that group of guys that you're a part of? Is there one particular goofy guy in the group? Do you have nicknames for each other? What is that group like the six of you?
MICHAEL WACHA: It's nice to have some other rookies up here with you, you know, so you're not really going through it on your own. Those guys are going through the same thing I am. So it's really cool to talk to those guys as well. We're definitely a close group of guys. They've really just been performing at a high level as well.
I wouldn't say anybody has like real different nicknames or anything like that. But there are definitely some goofy guys on our team. Joe Kelly, for one, is goofy, pretty class clown. But it's just a great group of guys to be a part of a team with.
Q. When you throw a one hitter on national television in the postseason, you kind of blow up. Since that time, what has surprised you the most in terms of a reaction that you can't believe this guy knows who you are? Or what's been the big response that's surprised you the most?
MICHAEL WACHA: Nothing really has changed that much. Just a bunch of old friends contacting you. I mean, in that sense, just a lot of people just congratulating you. Nothing has really changed too much. I still go to Target, go to the grocery store. Nobody really notices me or anything like that. So it's been pretty nice. But nothing has really changed.
Q. You've got a couple of pitchers on your staff in Wainwright and Chris Carpenter that have a lot of postseason experience. Do you rely on them, have they given you any advice on how to handle the pressure or adrenaline that might come in a situation like that?
MICHAEL WACHA: Oh, it's huge having those guys on our team and in the clubhouse with myself and just hearing all veterans talk about their experience in the postseason and how to handle that kind of pressure.
I talked to Carpenter before the game in Pittsburgh, and he said, Hey, you've just got to be able to deal with the pressure and deal with the atmosphere and stuff. So just talking to him, just some of the stuff that he was saying, I think it's really helped out. And I look forward to taking that advice into this next start as well.
Q. After the game in Pittsburgh, Carpenter, Wainwright, some of those guys were talking about the curve and how much more you used it in that game. I wonder if that was something that developed during the game or if it was Yadier getting a read on the effectiveness of that pitch. Was that a purposeful pitch going into that game? Could you describe how far that pitch has come for you in this year?
MICHAEL WACHA: I just think it was looking pretty good in the bullpen warming up. You know, they kind of worked it in there early there for a little bit. It was a pretty effective pitch for me. Kevin kept them more off balance in that sense. I think that was one of the main things when I got my first call up here to St. Louis. I didn't really have that third pitch with the curveball and stuff. I was able to go back down to Memphis and work on that quite a bit and be able to throw it for strikes and in different counts. Since I've been back, it's helped out pretty much quite a bit.
Q. Can you talk a little about going up against arguably the best pitcher in baseball in Clayton Kershaw tomorrow, the challenges?
MICHAEL WACHA: Yeah, it's going to be unbelievable facing that guy. As a pitcher, I think any of our pitchers you just try not to pay attention too much to who is pitching on the other side. Our job is to go out there up and throw up zeros as much as we can. I think that's going to be the main goal in this series.
Q. Can you just talk about the Dodgers lineup? What, in particular, is the biggest challenge and where do you have to be careful?
MICHAEL WACHA: I mean, you have to be careful with their whole lineup. It's a powerful lineup, very dangerous, and so I think to be successful you've got to be able to make your pitches and execute pitches down in the zone or else you can't make too many mistakes against these guys because they can hurt you pretty good.
Q. You mentioned a little bit ago about Memphis. Talk about your time down there and especially they scaled you back on innings, how has that helped you for this month?
MICHAEL WACHA: Yeah, I think that was one of the main goals when I went back down to Memphis. There were times I'd go a couple weeks in between starts. Fourteen days, ten days, eight days in between starts. They really limited my innings down there. So I think it kind of made it to where I could throw innings in the postseason here instead of being shut down right now.
It's been nice. I mean, I definitely wanted the ball while I was down in Memphis. I didn't like just sitting around. But I used that time off to work on the bullpens, work on the curveball, work on my command. I think it's helped out quite a bit.
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