Q. Adam, did you happen to watch last night's game, and what did you think of the atmosphere of the Pirates as a team?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I did watch the game. I was excited to find out who I was going to be pitching against. You know, it's a pretty big game to watch, and I knew either way I was going to have my hands full. A very tough opponent either way.
The Pirates played a great game. They've been playing very well down the stretch here. You know, that atmosphere was rocking in Pittsburgh. It's absolutely one of my favorite stadiums in the game of baseball, there is no question. I've been telling people that for years. When there were 8,000 people in the stands or 50,000 people, that stadium is beautiful. So it's good to see it packed out. We'll enjoy that atmosphere, no doubt.
Q. What do you see in the lineup that they'll throw at you tomorrow night?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: What do I see in it? It's just a lineup that can beat you in a lot of different ways. There is tremendous speed out there with Marte and McCutchen, and guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark all the way down the order, as we saw yesterday. It's a good opponent with a very good starting pitcher on the mound on the other side. So I'm excited for the challenge.
Q. I know this time of year you're supposed to throw out the records, but you have to be a little bit happier to be facing the Pirates rather than the team, given what the Reds did to you last month?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: No, I've learned in my years you never ask for anyone because you've got to be careful what you ask for or you'll get a monster. So watching the game, I had no motives for either one of them to win.
I will say that Cincinnati, because they did to me what they did the last two games I pitched against them, I was very motivated to go out and pitch well. So to flip your question a little bit, absolutely was I not intimidated by the Cincinnati Reds. Just so you know that.
But also know that either way I was going to have a very tough opponent. I have a lot of respect for both teams.
Q. With as much as you've seen in the Central Division in your career, was there anything you can point to with the Pirates over the last three years when Hurdle got there in terms of approach of their hitters, style of play, or just anything else that changed in Pittsburgh when he got there?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, I think he deserves a lot of credit for what he did there, but I think more than anything you've got to look at what those players were able to accomplish. They had the first pick in the draft for years in a row there, I think. Some guys worked out and some guys didn't. But I think when you see Andrew McCutchen and guys like that come on the scene that second baseman is a stud. He's a Pittsburgh homegrown talent. He's a very good player.
I think you look at the players, he's just inspired players that were already very good players to go out and play hard. Just he's a competitive manager. We've seen that over the years. We have a lot of respect for what he does over there.
But I think more than anything, those players got sick of losing and wanted to turn it on and go out and win ballgames. You can see that they're excited. They play the game very hard. They play the game with respect, and we'll have our hands full.
Q. Even though you're a veteran who has been through a lot of postseasons, do you find yourself at all having to calm your nerves before a postseason start like tomorrow?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: No. I mean, we have a long history of playoff games here. The experience that we've had in the past helps us be ready for each and every game. Helps us to naturally control our emotions. What I told the guys today, one thing that really helped me in 2006, Jason Isringhausen said "Just breathe." It sounds simple. It sounds childish, but when you get out there in the moment, to actually take some time to just breathe simplifies the game a little bit, it calms your nerves and allows you to just focus on the pitch you're making.
Q. You were a rookie in '06. What were the keys to taking on that role so young, and have you shared that with any of the young guys in the bullpen this year?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, '06, I think one thing that really helped me was that Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan just brought me along at the perfect pace. They didn't throw me in the fire too early. They started me as the long man, and I pitched the seventh inning, then I pitched the eighth inning, and when I was thrown into the ninth inning role at the end of the season, I was ready for it because I had faced all the Big League moments. There was nothing to be scared of at that point. There was no situation I hadn't faced. They had given me a certain amount of time to have confidence in my ability and in my role.
When I got to the ninth inning role, I was ready for it completely. That's kind of where our guys are now. If you look at where Carlos Martinez is pitching in the game, he started out as a starter in the Minor Leagues, came in, pitched some long inning relief places for us, and now he's throwing a hundred miles an hour out of the back end of the bullpen. So is Trevor Rosenthal.
I think our manager and pitching coach, just like Tony and Dave did, have brought those guys along at the great pace that they have.
Q. For the past decade or so, generally the teams that have scored the most runs in the regular season are ranked near the top in runs scored have done well in the playoffs and gone on to win the World Series. In a series like this, is there anything to the notion in Game 1 to trying to limit that offense? Can that carry over or is that just one game and it's done?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: All things that none of the guys inside that clubhouse think about. All those numbers that people like to point to and I get it, we throw that right out the window. We just know we have to show up and be ready to play. Our talent should speak for itself. We're playing against a very good team. We have tremendous confidence in our club to go out and get the job done, and that's where we leave it.
Q. The way y'all got into the postseason the previous two years was very different than the way y'all got there this year in terms of the urgency in the last couple weeks. Yet this year the urgency was to have the best record. Can you describe the collective feeling this year as opposed to the previous two years when obviously it served you well the last two years?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I would argue that a hair, because two weeks ago we were, what, one game up? Maybe even tied, maybe one down, I don't know. But we were fighting our tails off to get to where we got. We didn't win that division until two games left in the season.
I think it's very similar, actually. The urgency was there. We wanted to playing in that one game playoff last year, we wanted to avoid that. Not saying we couldn't go out and win one game, because we absolutely believe we could have, but it's a much better situation for anyone to go ahead and win the division and not have to play that one game play in game.
So the urgency was, I would say, very similar, if not exactly the same.
Q. You see the Pirates so much during the course of the season. How different is that coming into it before a series like this where you know that club so well as opposed to teams you may not play as much during the course of the year?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I'm sorry. Say that question one more time.
Q. It's just that you've seen the Pirates so often through this year and past years you obviously know that club very well. How different does that make this series compared to maybe facing a team you don't see as much during the course of the year?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, there are no secrets on what either club is trying to do out there. We know each other's players very well. They probably know how I'm going to approach their at bats, and we probably know how they're going to do ours. So the key to all of that is execution. You can have the greatest plan in the world, but if you don't execute it, it's garbage.
Whether they know it's coming or whether they don't, the key is to just go out and execute a pitch or execute an at bat whatever it is. Put a good swing on guys. They have some very tough pitchers, as we know. We have some very tough pitchers as they know. So we'll go out and battle and see who wins.
Q. What was the key to your surge in September? Is there anything particular that you did?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Myself or the team?
Q. After those two losses, the rest of the way you were back to your old self. Did you change anything or did you just shake it off?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, aside from Clayton Kershaw this year, I'd argue that you could look at any single pitcher in the history of the game and they're going to have a bad game or two throughout the course of 35 starts, whatever it is. Just I think if you look at your season as a whole, you most likely at the end of it are going to have a couple bad ones.
If you get caught up in that when you're going through those bad stretches, then they can compound and you start doubting your ability. But what I was able to do is look at those two starts, especially the one start, it was the worst start of my career. I was able to look at that individually and realize I'm much better than that and I had a bad day. I didn't need to do anything different. I just had a bad day.
Q. This team over the last three seasons has played its best baseball when it absolutely had to late in the season. Is that a matter of talent, attitude? What are the factor that's go into that?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, I think when you look at the majority of our team lineup, these guys were here in 2011 when we were fighting tooth and nail every single day or on the verge of elimination multiple times and just kept fighting and clawing and finding a way to win. Those guys are still in there. They have drawn on those moments in their careers to be able to fulfill that this year too.
I think if you look at more than that as a whole, this organization kind of feeds that into you, that never say die attitude. That attitude that when playoff time starts coming around, that's when you play your best ball. When Tony was here, when Red Schoendienst was here, when Whitey was here, that same mentality was transferred.
So that Cardinal way that everyone's heard about that we like to talk about so much, that's what brings that on in my mind.