Oct. 8 Adam LaRoche pregame interview
Q. Adam, you played with a bunch of teams in recent years, what makes this club different than the other ones you've played with?
ADAM LaROCHE: Well, depends what years you're talking about. Early on I was on some pretty good teams, and then went through a stretch there where I was on some teams that were struggling. I think it all comes down to pitching. I think we've proven that all year, how important that is throughout the course of the year; you look at the first couple months of our season where the offense was not doing a whole lot. We had a couple big pieces of our offense missing, and you know, and by having really good pitching, they were able to keep us in there and lead that division.
So pitching has been huge. The bench, the fact that when these guys are hurt, you know, we have had two or three guys come off the bench for a month at a time and be impact players for us.
Q. A lot has been made about the Cardinals' experience, what they went through last year and everything. From your perspective, how much of an advantage, is it an advantage for you, three players with post season experience, how do you look at that?
ADAM LaROCHE: I think when you start talking experience, they have definitely got the upper hand. You know, the majority of those guys were there last year, and obviously did a great job and have been there through all these post season series.
We have got a couple guys that have done it. I've done it a couple times, a long time ago. And then obviously Werth is the one that's probably got the most experience. I know DeRosa, Edwin, some guys have been there.
But it can play to a little bit of an advantage I think, because those guys are comfortable being in this situation and playing in big games. I think it's our job as veterans to get across to these young guys that what we have done all year has obviously been good enough to give us the best record in baseball, and to win this division. No need to change that now; stick with what works.
Q. Everyone reacts to the big stage different ways; does Jordan strike you as a guy who is not really going to let the magnitude of a game like this get to him at all?
ADAM LaROCHE: I don't think so. And knowing Jordan and knowing kind of his demeanor and the way he goes about his business, the way he pitches, I don't think this will affect him. Obviously time will tell on that. But he's got it together out there. It's something about him, he's not scared of anybody; I think we all know that. He's going right after everybody, and I don't think the game or the situation is going to change his mentality.
Q. There was a lot made yesterday of the hitters having trouble with the shadows, seeing the ball off the plate; how tough was it for you to see the ball off the bat, and also a thrown ball. And with the game being played roughly at the same time today, how hard will that be?
ADAM LaROCHE: It's definitely tougher at the plate than it is on defense. Defense wasn't bad. At the plate, it's tough. When the shadow moves in, I want to say about the third or fourth inning yesterday, it got to be where it was really tough to see the ball, tough to pick up spin.
I think that was evident from both sides not getting a lot going offensively; a lot of bad swings; a lot of balls chased out of the zone that probably wouldn't normally be.
Q. A lot of your success here has come against lefties, and you're facing one today, but is there anything this season that has been different about that from your approach that's helped you be a little more successful, especially in the power department?
ADAM LaROCHE: You know, I haven't changed anything. So I don't know, I was always coming up throughout the Minor Leagues I always hit better against lefties. My first year in Atlanta, I was kind of a platoon guy and didn't get a lot of at bats. Took a few years to get back in the swing of things.
Physically or as far as mechanically, I haven't changed anything this year.
Q. With the new format where it's now like 2 3, how much more significant do you think to get at least one game here and go home and finish it off; more of an edge?
ADAM LaROCHE: Yeah, that's obviously been a big topic here lately, whether it's home field advantage or not. Obviously tough to start on the road.
Going back to yesterday, that game's huge. Game 1 in a short series like this is huge. I think more than anything because now for the Cardinals, since we won Game 1, this is kind of a must win. You don't want to get down two games in any series, but definitely not in a five game.
Q. Seeing the way Desmond has kind of evolved and matured over the last two years, were you surprised at all to see the fact that he seemed very unaffected by the moment yesterday, three hits and the defensive plays that he made?
ADAM LaROCHE: No, I wasn't. He's another one of those guys that I don't know that he's kind of proven that all year. He's had some huge hits for us in some big situations. I don't know that he lets the game or the circumstances dictate the way he plays. He's been solid out there all year.
He's been fun to watch from last year and how much he's evolved into a really good, all around ballplayer this year. And I don't know that we've I don't know that he's scratched the surface yet.
Q. Kind of piggy backing on the question about left hand hitting, does it seem like a long time ago in spring training when Davey was talking about platooning you and going with somebody else against lefties?
ADAM LaROCHE: Yeah, Davey had thrown that out early, and I let him know early on that that wasn't going to be the case (Laughter.) And I still make fun of him once in a while about it.
Q. I think there were close to 20 combined strikeouts yesterday, and you mentioned the shadows, that they are some kind of issue. How does that change your approach at the plate? Are you guys more aggressive? Do you try to hang back? How does that impact the approach?
ADAM LaROCHE: I think it becomes more of a battle from the first pitch. I don't think you can take as many chances not being able to pick up spin the way we normally can. I don't know, hopefully it was just yesterday. I don't know if it will be any different today. I don't know if there's any cloud cover or what, but it was definitely tough. I think you almost go into a shorter swing or two strike approach or whatever it is, right off the bat.
Q. They only have one left hander in their bullpen and looks like it did yesterday that it could work to their disadvantage. How much do you think that will help you today and knowing they only have one of those guys in their bullpen?
ADAM LaROCHE: Hopefully it's a big issue for them. That's the goal is to get into the bullpen. So if we can get in there early and make them make a decision when they want to use him, then they have pretty much got either myself or Bryce.
To not have another one backing them up I think can help us out.