Oct. 8 Mike Matheny & Adam Wainwright workout day interview
Q. Talk about what this 24 hour period is like having to wait to get back out there on the mound.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: You know what, you just have to minimize the distractions. I keep saying that. And so I'm on my normal routine. I came in here, ransom light sprints. Nothing different for me.
Q. You've probably talked about this a few times: How much did Game 5 last year sort of stick with you, maybe stick in your teeth a little bit even though I know the team won? But the way that went for you personally.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, well, you know, I'm a motivator, so I knew that day that I was going to need to go out and pitch bad for our team to really get some mojo going. (Laughter.)
No, this year is completely different from last year. I learned some valuable lessons last year. I persevered through some hard times, and the fact of the matter is last year I pitched a good Game 1, terrible Game 5 and a good Game 4 of the NLCS, but there's no guarantee my stuff would have returned in the World Series had we even got there. That's just the truth of the matter. My stuff was hit or miss all year long. I would have been prepared, I would have been focused, but my stuff may not have been there. This year I have all the confidence in the world in my stuff. I will be prepared. I will be confident going into the game. It's just a completely different situation.
But it did stick with me for a while. Any time you pitch a terrible game like that you think back on it, and the opportunity that you let go. But the good thing is we won the game, and that is the most important thing.
Q. Do you have to alter your game plan since you just faced them a few days ago, or just go with your best?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I couldn't tell you that, could I? Just have to wait and see. That sounds like a scouting report. Is that a scouting report? That's a scouting report.
I'll go out and I'll just try to execute my game plan, which I cannot reveal on the set. But we'll be very prepared. Yadi and I and the coaching staff will put together a good plan and we'll go from there.
Q. How would you describe this rivalry with the Pirates? Seems more friendly than bitter. And do you think that it's fitting that we're coming down to a Game 5 after all you guys have been through with the end of season series?
MIKE MATHENY: I don't know if friendly as much as mutual respect. We respect the talent that they have, the way they go about the way, how they fight until the end, just like it's the kind of baseball we want to play. But with that being said, it comes down to going out and competing regardless of who we're playing against and whether there's good history, bad history. It doesn't matter, we're going out to win every single night. And the fact that it is another NL Central team, we've seen a lot of each other. There's a lot of adjustments to try and make, and it's who's going to be one step ahead and who's going to execute. That's what it comes down to. We'll take our chances against anybody if we're executing properly.
Q. Adam, we hear
the term resilient get thrown around a lot, be it a team, be it a player. But this ballclub has a track record of three years going back to 2011 of being just that. Why do you think that is? MIKE MATHENY: Well, I think one reason is we have very good complementary players. If you lose big time players, somebody else steps up. This year when we lost Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, two fifths of our rotation coming out of Spring Training. When we lose those guys, we fill that void with some young fireballers who aren't scared to go out there competing their tails off every week. And when we lose Furcal in Spring Training, Kozma stepped up and played great defense all year long. When we had our closer go down, Mujica stepped up and carried that load for us all year. That next man up policy that we have here, it works, because the next man up is pretty talented.
There is some mindset involved there. These guys are not scared. As a team we know we can compete with anyone. We have a solid nucleus. We have a great pitching staff. When you lose a couple key guys, you know you still have enough key guys to get the job done, but the talent of the guys that are stepping up is incredible.
Q. You've pitched in both elimination moments in the sense of a closer with the bases loaded but also in elimination games. I wonder if you can contrast the feeling of those two things, the approach in those two things, how different those two roles are, and with what you relish about being a starter, I'm assuming you relish being a starter more than a closer, and why that is?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, I do. To answer the last part first, I'd like to be both. I'd like to finish what I start, so I am a closer. That's the kind of mentality I have. But to answer the other part, the bullpen in 2006 taught me so much. I definitely would not be where I am today without that bullpen experience. Going into the end of the games, starting the middle of the game and working my way towards the back end of that bullpen, there's a lot of valuable lessons learned and the urgency of each pitch, going out there and getting a guy out one time like it's going to be the last time you ever face him. That's the mentality that I took into starting.
Before as a starter, I had the mentality of I'm going to go through the lineup without showing all my pitches and just try to get by until the end when I can start springing stuff on guys. What I found was for me to be successful, I have to give it everything I've got every pitch until they take the ball from me. Hopefully they don't take the ball from me. And that's the mentality that works for me.
Q. The last couple games runs have been hard to come by, but your offense has been a little lean. I think you agree, though, the quality of the at bats are pretty good, you're stretching the pitchers out. I guess what I'm asking is how close do you think you are in terms of the hitting approach to getting maybe some better results? And then a second question, tell us what's going on with Matt Carpenter and whether he's handling it okay, because he obviously is a guy that wants to succeed and doesn't want to struggle at this time of year.
MIKE MATHENY: Well, as far as our offense goes, I think the guys have been grinding at bats better. We've had a lot of hard outs. We saw that the first game in Pittsburgh, in key situations guys putting together good at bats and just not finding the spots for the ball to land. But I like the way they're going about it, still not swinging at a lot of balls out of the zone. That's important for our club. And then those fighting at bats, which carries over to your question about Matt Carpenter. We're seeing some of those where he's working some of the deeper counts. Looks like he's seeing the ball better. What he's guilty of is carrying too much and feeling like he's got to do something extra special.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, it's a tremendous honor. I've said this for a while, but I felt like I've been that guy for a long time now, not necessarily from the outward looking in, but internally that's what drove me is to get to that Carp type level. When I was kind of his apprentice for a long time, Chris Carpenter I'm talking about, and I learned a lot of valuable lessons from him, I learned how to be a professional from him and what it takes on a daily grind basis to show up and be ready to play day in and day out.
You know, looking up at him and watching him, that's the kind of role model that I hope I am for these young guys, when I'm working and when I'm throwing my bullpens well, maybe when I'm throwing my bullpens. When I'm working out and when I'm running, making sure I'm doing everything that I know I need to do to get ready for starts. Hopefully these guys see that. When it was Carp, you didn't even have to try and see that because he was dripping sweat off his hat and running through four different shirts when he showed up to the field.
Hopefully I'm that light that these guys can see, that they see something that makes it work.
Q. Your club has been so good in elimination games the last two years. What do you attribute that to besides just the resiliency and the at bats you guys take and the way you battle until the end? Are there other factors involved in that?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, to me, I can't speak completely for the 2011 season, that's just what I saw from last year and what I've seen from the guys this year and what I've heard worked for these guys in 2011 just consistency, consistency and expectation that starts early in the season, how you're going to go about your business. You're training yourself all through spring and through the season to be prepared for these games, and how you do that is do the exact same thing all the time. You've got no regrets that way on a day to day basis, and then when you get to the stage where we're at you're not going to be surprised and you're not going to be shell shocked and you're not going to be wondering what you need to do because you've been practicing and you've been mastering your craft. I think that philosophy is easy to talk about. It's hard to put into play. You need better leadership from a pitching staff, from position players, to be able to put that into play where guys can see it. I think you need consistency through your staff, your coaching staff, and our coaching staff has done a very good job of that, of being the same people every day, just like they're going to be when we show up tomorrow.
You can tell when a team walks into the clubhouse. We saw it with Pittsburgh and I anticipate seeing it tomorrow. They show up like it's another day. It's another great day. It's another opportunity to go out and show what you've got. I think when you put those levels of expectation out there and you have those consistent examples of how to do it, you're primed, you're primed to have a good chance. Now, does that suddenly turn into success? The answer is no. It comes down to execution, which we all know, but I believe you have a better shot at doing it on a consistent basis if you take that route all season.
Q. Adam, hitters almost universally say that the more they see a pitcher the more comfortable they are, the more confident they are. How do you look at that from a pitching standpoint in terms of familiarity with a team, with a lineup and without giving too much about the scouting report, do you look at it as more of a chess match the more you see a lineup in a team?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I'm trying to find a way to answer that without giving too much away. Well, listening to Andrew McCutchen talk, he said they were going to be ready for me, so I'll make sure I'm ready for them, too. I'm going to go out there and not try to do too much. I will have a good game plan. I'll be very prepared, and if they make me get off of that game plan then I'll adjust in the game.
But to over think it right now is to try to find a way to answer this without giving away too much is impossible.
Q. Mike, will Lance Lynn be available out of your bullpen tomorrow?
MIKE MATHENY: Yes.
Q. And with all the talk about the success of the young pitchers, especially in light of what happened yesterday, what's the role of Yadi in that and his role, the impact he's had with those young kids all season?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, invaluable, same as all season long. We've witnessed it, anybody who's followed this team closely. It's been a revolving door at times with the amount of young and inexperienced pitchers we've had coming through here. And then don't ignore the value that he brings to a veteran, either. When you start talking about the adjustments, what guys are going to do, if you have an extra set of eyes back there and someone with an uncanny sense that he has to be able to pick up if somebody is starting to head in a different direction and something you can really only pick up sometimes from behind the batter, and Yadi has that and he has the guts to follow his instincts. He is helping our young pitchers without question. I mean, he gives them a great plan, but he's also a great extra set of eyes for a manager and an extra set of eyes for a veteran staff. Everybody is working together pulling the same direction, and he's just special with what he's able to do back there.
Q. For Mike, I just wanted to get a medical update on Allen Craig. How is he doing and how tough has this been for him?
MIKE MATHENY: I'm sure it's been real tough. Medically things are still the same. But it's tough when you put in the amount of work that he's put in, the amount he's contributed to our club, what he's meant to us, to now sit and not be able to do anything about it. So he's continuing to improve and you just never know how it's going to play out, so we're going to remain optimistic, and I know that he's progressing as he's supposed to be progressing right now, but no major change.
Q. Adam, do you remember when you were able to not just keep the distractions away so you could focus but actually maybe embrace the extra energy and the things where you can actually be better and thrive and enjoy and want this sort of situation? Do you remember, was there a moment or was it just a transition? Do you remember?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, I would say the first moment I mean, all throughout my whole life I've wanted to be in the pressure moments, but the one moment in my big league career that sticks out is going down the stretch in 2006 out of the bullpen, we were down 2 0, and Scott Spiezio hit a three run triple with two outs to put us up by a run, and Braden Looper was warming up and they called down and said sit Braden down and get Adam up, and I threw four pitches to warm up for the game, and I went out and closed the game out. I was just so fired up.
But to flip it a little bit, when we went into the NLCS and it was Game 7 against the Mets, the first two batters reached base because I was unable to avoid the distraction. I was hearing every fan in the stands, everybody who was booing me and cussing me, I could hear it perfectly plain as day right next to my ear, and there was a bunch of them.
And then after those first two guys reached base, I stepped back off the mound and gathered my thoughts and just as Isringhausen told me to do so many times, just breathed. I just controlled my breathing. I got back into my focus level, and then I was able to get outs. So that's the lesson that I learned in that big moment that I've taken forward.