10/06/2012 4:42 PM ET
Oct. 6 A. Wainwright interview
Q. Tell us about the feeling of coming back after the surgery and all that, and now going to be in the post season with the baseball club.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: You know, it's a long journey, recovering from Tommy John surgery. It was ups and downs this year but doesn't matter at this point. We are starting fresh. We are in the post season. I learned a lot about myself as a competitor this year. And I'm excited about the opportunity.
Q. Given the fact that you couldn't play last year, how much a part or not a part of the World Series run did you feel?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: During the time, I felt like I was a huge impact to that team. I'm not so sure I did anything. But I tricked myself into believing I was, you know, pretty important last year. I felt like I was there for anybody who needed me, at whatever level that was. Nothing else to do, right. But looking back on it, it really hits me when autograph seekers hand me a ball and it's a 2011 World Series ball, and then they take it back and say, no, no, sign this one instead. That's when it hits that I really didn't get to do a whole lot.
Q. Keeping on that theme a little bit, because of last year, do you think you appreciate spots like tomorrow more now?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, I would say just as a competitor and as a man, just feeling blessed to be a baseball player, professionally, for a living, I mean, I've learned to appreciate that a lot more. This game I get to play is very special to me, and missing that time last year, I really learned how much I love the game. And so being back in the post season this year, you know, it just and with the St. Louis Cardinals, where we continually, our front office and team just give us year in and year out a chance to go to the post season; just an incredible sense of feeling blessed. I mean, really, I can't describe it any other way than that.
Q. How good of a feeling is it just to get back to the playoffs after you guys had won the World Series last year?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I think it is a big accomplishment. You know, we certainly had some injuries this year, just like every club will probably tell you they do. We lost some key guys to our run last year, some Hall of Fame probably three Hall of Famers in Pujols and Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan. And guys have stepped up and performed amazingly in their absence. Speaks to the core of this club being as strong as it is. A lot of times, and I've been through that, as well, we won in 2006 and in 2007, we had somewhat of a letdown through injuries and whatnot and we didn't make it to the post season, and that was kind of hard; when we had the team that we had and not to make it again. This year, I think as many times as teams can have a hangover the next year, I feel like we went out there and played good baseball when we needed to. We didn't play our best ball, no doubt. I think we have a 100 win club, I really do. But we definitely had some key injuries. We lost Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman, Rafael Furcal. We lost some key pieces along the way. Allen Craig missed a month. These are some big bats. To be in the post season and go in and win a really tough game against Atlanta yesterday is nothing to hang our head about. We have accomplished something great.
Q. Having been in post season a number of times, how much do you think experience counts for, and in what ways does that surface do you think?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, I think it does count for something. I think it depends on the man, to be honest with you, as well. I think some people have it inside of them to step up and play great ball no matter what it is, and some people can get tight. I also think playing in big moments year after year gives you an edge. I feel like you'll be more comfortable in those situations when you're faced with it over and over again. And last year's experience, playing the last month of the season, like every day was your last, and going through that post season where you're the underdog every time, which we always are and which we are again, it gives you an edge. It gives you a sense of being comfortable in tight spots, I really do think that.
Q. You've had kind of two wildly disparate games against Washington 10 0 loss and a 12 2 win. How would you characterize those two outings?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I don't know, I mean, what would you do, take them both out and average them? I don't know. I think the first time around, I was coming off six straight wins, I was pitching really well. Best I had all season probably in that stretch, and I had just a horrible game. And when your starting pitcher has a horrible game, your team is probably going to have a horrible game. The second time around, pitched a better game. Our offense did a tremendous job against a tough pitcher in Edwin Jackson, and it really a lot of times, your starting pitcher can lose the game in five minutes, or it can completely win the game for you if he goes out there and shuts things down. In that case, our offense won the game for us right away. We scored nine runs the first two innings, if I'm not mistaken. With our lineup, that can happen. And they have the same sort of lineup; you go out there and you don't make your pitches, they can put numbers up on you quick. To be honest with you, I'd throw both games out and just know that we have two games teams competing this next go around.
Q. What is your impression of Washington Nationals' offense, and what kind of pitching can we expect from you more?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: What a question. Well, their offense, obviously, just to give them their respect, is very talented. They have from top to bottom a similar lineup to ours. I would think that guys can do damage from all spots. You have young players who can do great things in Bryce Harper and some of those other fellas, and then you have great veteran leadership as well, with LaRoche and Werth. So I think they are definitely a team where you show up expecting to be grinding one out to the very last inning, and I refuse to comment on the other one, because if you know me, you know I'm going to go out there prepared to pitch the game of my life.
Q. With Carp back and Lynn throwing pretty well back in the rotation, five deep starter wise, how does the starting pitching stack up against the rest of the National League right now?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: If you look at what we did during the regular season, what, did we finish second or third in team ERA or something? I think that speaks for itself. I don't think we need to pump up our guys any more than people know what we can do. I think we have quality arms from top to bottom in our bullpen and in our starting rotation.
Q. Did you have the type of season that you expected to have from spring training on, individually?
ADAM WAINWRIGHT: No. Absolutely not. I mean, I pitched well in spring training. I thought I was going to go out and dominate. I'll be the first one to tell you, I was one of the worst pitchers in the first half of the season. That first month, I was an embarrassment to this team and to the game of baseball. I've never felt so lost on the mound in my entire life. I look back at the journey of this Tommy John recovery, I threw a live bullpen session against hitters every third day since January 11 or January 12. That's a good deal of throwing, especially after coming off missing a year. That first half of the season, I would say, especially the first month and a half, I really had no life in my fastball, no slider and absolutely no changeup whatsoever. I had four pitches that if you can finish the season above .500 with three or four pitches, I think you've done okay tricking them. But the second half of the season, I feel like I turned the corner a little bit, got the life back on my fastball most of the time, and my curveball was pretty consistent most of the year but my slider and changeup continued to struggle till the end, and I feel like I made some great adjustments. I totally get now why Tommy John recovery is so hard. Just your arm just takes awhile to get back, it really does, and it's hard for me to say that because I thought I was going to be the exception to the rule. But it takes a while. I'm feeling very confident now, though, about it.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.