Oct. 10 Brandon Moss and Adam Wainwright pregame interview

Q. Brandon, talk about the nature of defense at first base. I know it's a position that you've worked on and learned at and we saw Mark turn that double play last night, which probably doesn't give enough credit as far as how difficult that is. Can you just kind of describe what work you've done and how tricky that is and then also Mark as a defensive player.

BRANDON MOSS: Yeah, I think first base gets overlooked a lot, just because -- you know, I don't know a better way to say it, the body types you usually see over there or the fact that it's known as an offensive position, but first base is involved in every play, you know. Whether you're receiving the ball or a pick-off throw, something is going on all the time over there, and it gets overlooked a lot, and that play last night was a huge play, both at the time of the game and with the degree of difficulty of it. Obviously you see a guy make a play, it happened really quick. You don't know how hard it was, but he had just gotten into the game.

I map, he comes off the bench, I think it was the first inning he's in there, and a sharp-hit ball right to him and he makes a great throw, and he gets back to the bag, double play, gets out of the inning. You're right, it gets overlooked, and we work hard over there.

Some guys are better than others, but the fact of the matter is is, especially in baseball today, with pitching as good as it is and it being more about run prevention than run scoring, you can't just throw anybody over there at first base. You have to be able to field the position, and Mark does a very good job over there.

He's one of those guys that you know that he is superior defensively to a lot of guys over there, and he doesn't really get the credit for it that he deserves.

Q. Adam, what does that one game in the bank for you guys do from your vast experience, and just chopping one leg out from the opponent, first game, how does that affect the series from what you've seen?

ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Well, I think the statistics speak for themselves in that regard. It's a huge game to win, to get out some good momentum obviously, against a very good team, and we know we're going to have to go play them in Chicago, in a hostile environment, and they play very well at home.

For us to get out to a 1-game lead was huge. Today is even bigger. If we can somehow scrap together a win today going into Chicago, that would really be great.

But to win the first game, it does provide some momentum; it does start the series out right, but at the same time that team is very, very capable of coming back very strong, so we're not going to get comfortable. We're going to stay working hard.

Q. Pardon me for looking ahead to Game 3, Adam, but Michael Wacha has kind of experienced the highs and the lows of the postseason each of the last two years. What do you expect from him coming into that start and how do you think he will respond?

ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I think his highs far outweigh his lows. I mean he was one of the biggest pieces of getting us to the World Series in 2013, and last year he had, like you said, a bad moment there at the end of the Giants series, but he hadn't pitched in a while, and he was doing his very best. He's got great stuff. We have tremendous confidence in Michael, and we're glad to see him out there competing on our side. Glad he's on our team.

Q. Adam, if I remember correctly, through the years, you pay a lot of attention to the pitches other guys have and kind of watch what kind of stuff they have, especially guys on your own team. Can you maybe contrast or compare the sinker that Jaime has developed with some of the other sinkers you see and also how Arrieta's cutter has developed and what you see from him as far as where that kind of ranks in the league?

ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I think, as far as sinkers goes, Jaime has a swing-and-miss sinker, which is something you don't usually see. You see a guy that has a good sinker, that gets ground balls, but Jaime has swing-and-miss pitches. Everything he throws is a swing-and miss pitch. It's either a mis-hit or a swing and miss, it seems like.

I've said this before, but it's even hard to play catch with Jaime because his ball is moving so much and so late. He's got kind of a funky delivery. He has great spin on the ball, creates great spin on his slider and his sinker.

On any given day there is really nothing a hitter can do when Jaime is throwing his best stuff up there.

When I look at Jake Arrieta, Clayton Kershaw comes to mind, because Clayton was a four-seam curveball pitcher early on in his career, and then he developed the slider and took off and went to the next level. And I look at Jake, and watching him before, he was four-seam curveball seemingly, and when he started sinking it and cutting it, especially, his game just evolved into a whole different level. And I think the more weapons you can throw at a hitter, the more things they have to think about, the harder it is to square up a ball, especially when it's 93 and cutting or 96 and sinking. You should be able to get outs with that great stuff. He's a tremendous pitcher, though.

Q. Both of you gentlemen talk about the impact an umpire has and how this time of year media people and fans finally pay attention to how each and every game can be impacted by an umpire's strike zone.

BRANDON MOSS: You know, I think this time of year umpires definitely -- you know, during the season you can kinda lose a little bit of focus as players and umpires because it's a long season, but both as players and umpires, you rachet that up this time of year and usually see the very best guys out there.

You know, whether they're tight with a zone or big with a zone, they do their very best. When you've got like this guy throwing or an Arrieta throwing, it's hard for us to tell, and we see it every day, and, you know, we're in the prime ages of 20-35 years old, and these guys aren't as young as we are, but you know, it's not easy!

But at the same time it has a big effect. You know, there is a lot of counts that can be swing counts that sometimes if you miss a pitch, it can turn it in the favor of the hitter or the pitcher. But I think this time of year you see that a lot less than you do during the year.

Again, I don't think it can be said enough that every umpire goes out there and does the very best job that they can. Usually if the zone is big or if the zone is small, it's pretty consistent, and once you know where the zone is, you can battle with that.

ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I would second that and just say that umpires are awesome! (Laughter.)

Q. Why is it such a political thing for players with umpires? Historically it's been that way. I know it's a dumb question, but if you can answer it anyway.

BRANDON MOSS: I think it's because we respect what they do. There are definitely umpires that are better than others, just like there are pitchers that are better than others and hitters that are better than others, but every umpire, like I said, goes out there, and they do the best job they can; and they are the best at their job.

Nobody's perfect. Even these stupid pitch trackers that they put on the TV, those aren't right. A lot of times it will show a pitch that's off on those pitch trackers, and that's actually a strike, and some that it shows as strikes weren't.

It's not a perfect science. Every hitter is a different size; every hitter sets up different in the box. Every pitcher puts a different spin on the ball. I mean some of this guy's curveballs can almost bounce and they cross the strike zone as a strike.

And like I said, when you are dealing with stuff like that as an umpire, you just gotta do the best you can, and they do. And as a hitter we're doing the best we can, and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. It's not political. It's just respect, I think. You know, in the heat of the moment, you might get caught up in it and you might say something, and it's unfortunate when that happens, but it's because we're out there competing, but at the end of the day we respect every one of them because we know that they're doing the best they can, and if they miss a call, they didn't mean to miss it.

Q. How much of an advantage is it when a hitter has never seen you before, because Jaime is going up against most hitters that haven't seen him yet?

ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I think especially in Jaime's case, it's probably an extreme advantage, just not being able to maybe -- not maybe being able to have seen his sinker before, his slider before, but I think in any situation, a hitter's chances go up the more and more they see your stuff. And I remember Albert Pujols when he was here, if you showed Albert your pitches in his first at-bat, you were in trouble the rest of the day because he has seen it and he knew what to look for and he knew like the timing of everything and he was good that he could somehow time four pitches up at the same time. And I think these hitters are so good at this level that the more and more they see you, the better chances they have, and it just comes down to execution for the pitcher, but not seeing Jaime's stuff should help him.

Q. Adam, I know you've talked about this before, but what was the drop-dead date for you this year when you knew you would be able to get back and pitch this season? Point when you woke up and said, yeah, I know I can do this.

ADAM WAINWRIGHT: I don't know for sure the day, but about a month-and-a-half ago or so I started running at full speed on the treadmill. We have a treadmill; it's an antigravity Alter G Treadmill, and I started running at 100% weight on the treadmill, and I had worked up from 20% body weight all the way up to 100% body weight. And I just felt like, gosh, there is still a month-and-a-half left in the season. If I can do this now, surely I can cover first base. I've already proved that I could pitch off the mound and now I just have to do the agility things -- as soon as I started running, I felt like this was going to happen.

Q. Adam, warming up last night, what was that like for you? Did it feel like '06 all over again? You obviously knew the situation you had come into, but that's a higher leveraged spot than you had pitched as a reliever since facing Brandon Inge, essentially.

ADAM WAINWRIGHT: Yeah, but you know what, as a starter you face all those same moments. I've closed out games as a starter where guys are on base and I've got a two-run lead. I've faced all those -- there is no position you can put me in on the mound that I haven't been through. At some point in time, whether I'm young or I'm old, I've done it, and it helps me. I've been there; I can draw on those moments. I don't get nervous as a pitcher. It's very rare that I get nervous. But Trevor had it last night. I was just playing catch. I knew he had it under control.