Q. Kyle, you said before the elimination game that you had looked forward to being able to experience that; now that you've gone through that and World Series games and everything else, how do you draw on all that to go into a game like today?
KYLE LOHSE: Well, I've learned how to handle that adrenaline, all of the other stuff, the ability to block it out. Just go out there and do the things that I know how to do; make pitches and not really care about the situation, just go out there and have fun.
You know, I came through the Atlanta game pretty successfully, and plan on being able to do the same thing from here on out.
Q. With Jackson going today, who obviously you guys know very well, curious, for someone who has been on multiple teams, when you face guys that know you so well, and you've been on that team and they know what you have and know what you do well and don't do well, is that an advantage to you, seeing Jackson so many times?
KYLE LOHSE: It is and it isn't. He's a very good pitcher. You saw what he did to us at this place, I believe it was the end of August. But then you saw what we were able to do the second time around. Just it varies. Sometimes it's an advantage to the pitcher and sometimes it is to the hitter. You know, you're definitely for me, I've got a game plan that I'm trying to go out there and do, and I'm going to stick to that until they make me adjust. I'm sure he's probably the same way, and you know, to me it doesn't really matter how many times you face a team. It's a matter of being able to execute and I'm sure that's probably the same way he approaches it.
Q. The first two games of this series, their starters obviously have struggled a little bit, and maybe even Gio talked about nerves in the playoffs; they don't have a lot of experience, but they have been the backbone as a staff throughout the whole season. How do you view them as an entire pitching staff?
KYLE LOHSE: You saw their numbers throughout the season. You don't have a record like they do without being very strong in the starting pitching department. They did an excellent job. There's nobody on that staff that I think as a hitter, you probably look up there and you can't wait to face.
Unfortunately we didn't take advantage of Gio's wildness that first game. We took advantage in the second game, too. It's just one of those things, I think the first time you're in that spot, you've got to learn how to control the nerves and everything, and we view them as a very strong pitching team and hitting. They have got a great lineup.
So you know, it's one of those things that you just try to take advantage of their inexperience and hope for the best. It's a matter this game is such a fine line of, you know, who is going to make adjustments, who is going to handle pressure situations in the best manner possible. Sometimes when you have someone going through the first time, they are going to make more mistakes, and I think that's what we are able to capitalize on.
Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you've had the opportunity to play with a Gold Glove center fielder behind you before with another team. Wondering how you've seen Jon Jay develop during your time with the Cardinals, and if maybe there was a stride made this year as far as what he does instinctually or even talking to the pitchers to know where to line up and how to get the better jump.
KYLE LOHSE: I think you saw last year him starting to develop into a very high calibre center fielder, and this year, he's just taken that extra step towards becoming an elite defender. He's got great instincts. There's a lot of times where you give up a fly ball, either in the gap or straightaway center, that as a pitcher, you know, sometimes when you expect that ball to be hit the ground and come in for a hit, and he seems like he gets great jumps, great instincts.
And you know, I got to play in Minnesota with Torii Hunter, and he probably saved probably about five or six home runs for me. He's one of those guys that got great jumps, anticipated. I think a lot of it comes with paying attention to where the catcher is setting up. I think a lot times they feel like they have to pay attention to what you're trying to do unless he has eagle eye, he's not seeing the exact pitches being thrown. But to do what he does, you have to have good instincts and anticipate where the ball is going to be hit. You saw the last game, he was pretty fearless going into that wall, to be able to go full speed and make that catch.
So I think he's definitely deserving of Gold Glove recognition and he's just made such great strides to improve his defense. He's not the fastest guy out there. He's pretty fast but he's not like, you know, an elite sprinter, but he does a great job anticipating, and I think that's you know, speaks volumes for how much he cares and is trying to become an all around great player.
Q. Speaking of Minnesota, I was wondering, what you took from your earlier years in Minnesota, maybe even Philly when you were a younger pitcher being on teams that were in playoffs and contending and how you apply that now.
KYLE LOHSE: I've grown a lot, I think, since those times back then. I was probably more of a thrower. I would go up there, I threw a little bit harder but not hard enough to blow guys away obviously.
It was a good experience. I wish everybody always says, you wish you knew what you know now back then when you were younger. That was the case for me, I learned how to pitch a lot better. Got a lot better game plan. Used my experience from those days to get where I'm at now.
Back then, I just threw as hard as I could for as long as I could, and that's not a very good recipe for success. Now I've learned how to control the counts, control my emotions for the most part and go out there and treat it just like any other game. That's one of the toughest things to do is to mentally block out everything else and not worry about anything other than making the pitches that I need to do to be successful. Those are things that you learn over time through experience, and that's something that I've been able to learn from.
Q. Tomorrow's game, you'll either have a chance to close out the series or be taking the mound hoping to extend your team's season. How does that affect your mind set going into the start, and why have the Cardinals had as much success as they have had in elimination games?
KYLE LOHSE: Well, for the first question, I'm not going to handle it differently either way. I'm going out there with the mind set that, you know, I've got this really good lineup that I've got to go out there and do my best to shut down, regardless of whether it's to prolong the season either way, the way I look at it, it's to prolong our season, whether we are up 2 1 or down 1 2. That's not going to change my mind set.
I experienced what it's like to be in a win or go home situation in my last outing and felt I handled that well.
Your second question was?
Q. The success you guys have had in elimination games.
KYLE LOHSE: We learned last year going down the stretch when we were down ten and a half games with however many we had left, what it's like to play under those kind of pressure situations, and we saw how if you just take it one game at a time, we're not looking at, hey, we have got to win two out of three here in Washington. We're looking at it, we have to win today. That's the approach we took last year. We have to win today and worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes, and we've done a good job of that.
You know, winning just about every game we absolutely had to, and I think when you start doing that, you realize you can do that; your confidence goes up. And we have got a lot of young guys and veterans that went through it last year, and you know, you just learn how to block out all that stuff and concentrate on the moment that you're in right now and we have done a good job of that. We look to continue doing that.
Mike Matheny has done a great job of continuing that thought process and keeping us focused on the here and now and not worry about future or what may happen. We've got to stay in the moment.
Q. How important is it for you to have Yadier Molina behind the plate?
KYLE LOHSE: Yadi is definitely getting the recognition we all feel he deserves. He does a great job of studying hitters along with us, knowing our pitchers, our strengths.
This past season, I basically go in at the start, we talk about our game plan and go out there and have fun. I don't really hardly shake him ever I shook him the last game, and that was the first time I shook him in 20 odd games not telling anybody anything they don't know, my curveball is something I kind of have in my back pocket. I don't use a whole lot.
So he does that. He shuts down the running game, which is huge. I'm a guy who people don't try to steal on too much because I vary my time and I'm quick to the plate. But when you have a catcher back there that's as good as he is, just pretty much shuts down that running game and that's a huge advantage to not have to worry too much about that guy and the adjustments he makes in game about seeing what the hitter is trying to do. With me, a lot of times the hitter is trying to take away my changeup and we make the adjustment.
He sees it the same time I do, that, okay, now we have to do something else. I don't have to worry about him just calling pitches, not, you know, paying attention to what's going on in the game. He's very smart and does a great job back there.
Q. What's Mike been like during this? First time he's ever been a manager in the playoffs. Have you been impressed with the way he's handled himself?
KYLE LOHSE: Yeah, he's done a great job of keeping us, like I was saying before, in the moment and not worrying about things outside of our control. It's kind of really been a continuation of what we had last year with Tony. He's done a great job of handling the team, handling the pressure, knowing what comes along; that you guys are going to second guess a lot of things. He stays true to himself and does what he believes needs to be done.
In the clubhouse, we have confidence that he knows what he's doing, and knowing that he has our backs at all times, also, is a huge advantage and I think he's handled it very well; we are here now. He's obviously done a lot of things right to be able to put us in situations where we'll be successful and handle it very well.
Q. Do you get a chance to watch any of the other series, and if you do, do you see any trends? Anything that really jumps out at you this year?
KYLE LOHSE: You know, I watched a little bit. Probably watched quite a bit of the Cincinnati/San Francisco series. You know, you just try I'm not trying to get too far ahead of myself, but you just try to see who's hot, who's not. I haven't watched too much of the American League stuff. It's too early to start worrying about those other teams, because we have to take care of business. But you know, the thing that strikes me is there's no clear favorite, I believe. I think you saw us last year; we got hot at the right time, and I think that's what it takes to win this whole thing is you've got to have guys executing and getting hot at the most crucial times.
I have a lot of confidence in our guys knowing what we did last year and we've got pretty much the same group back. So I don't pay too much attention, but you keep your eye out.