World Series Post-G3 Interviews – Carp/TLR

St. Louis Cardinals World Series Game Three pitcher Chris Carpenter and Manager Tony La Russa spoke from Busch Stadium following their Game Three victory.

Chris Carpenter

You seem to be very effective in cold weather, how come?

I'm just out here pitching. I don't think the weather matters. I was just out here trying to execute a game plan and trying to make pitches and I was able to do that tonight.

Your team is coming off a loss, you come in here and give them eight shutout innings, really knock guys down. Do you think at all coming into the game about how important of a lift that would be for the whole team, not just getting a win, but the way you kind of delivered that win?

You know, my job is to go out and pitch and compete. I was looking to come into this game and try to do the best I can and try to give my team a chance to win. And we sat down before the game and came up with a nice game plan, me, Dunc, Benny and then Yadi, and the key is to be able to go out and execute, and I executed. I went out and kept the ball down, kept the ball on both sides of the plate. My breaking ball was good, my cutting ball was good, I made my changeups. Just a few pitches were left in the middle of the plate, and one was hit for an out. Ordonez early on in the game, I was trying to go down and away and I threw a fastball that came back down the middle and he lined out to right. They got that base hit up the middle there, and a couple that came back on Casey. But besides that I was on the corners and making quality pitches all night long. And when you do that you have success.

Chris, all three of the starters for the Cardinals have done a good job with Polanco, Ordonez and Pudge, of course. What's been the key to silencing them and how important is it to silence those guys?

Making good pitches. Obviously these guys have a great lineup, there's no question about that. They wouldn't be here if they didn't. If you go out there and execute, I'm sorry I can't give you anything better than that, but if you execute pitches, you're going to have success, and I was able to execute pitches. We've been able to execute pitches and Anthony was able to execute pitches. When you do that, it's tough to hit.

How special is it, Chris, to come through with an effort like this when you didn't get a chance to pitch against the Red Sox two years ago? Were you left empty there and does it fill a void for you to have this kind of performance tonight?

Missing '04 was big. I obviously wanted to be a part of it. I was a part of the team all year long and unable to pitch in the postseason. But again, I'm not looking back at '04, I'm looking at tonight's game, and leading up to tonight's game I prepared myself physically, mentally and I was able to go out and do the things I know how to do and make pitches. It feels great, obviously, but we've got a long way go to. That's just No. 2. We need two more against a tough, difficult club that will throw out a guy tomorrow that has great pitches and great stuff, and hopefully Supp can come out tomorrow and do the same thing.

The problem with your hand in the seventh inning, did that just go away, was that a quick thing? Also, when you were allowed to hit in the eighth and it looked like you were going to get a chance to complete the game, what were your thoughts then? And when you found out that you weren't going back out?

The hand thing, my second at-bat he threw a couple of balls inside on me. The second one I got jammed and popped up, and it didn't feel real good. And it felt kind of funny there for -- from that point on. And I get out there in the seventh and I think what they're thinking is I just got jammed and I don't know what muscles or tendons or whatever are in there, but it felt kind of funny. It went away pretty quick and I didn't have a problem the rest of the game.

I was looking forward to going out there tonight and finishing it. The long inning, they came up and said they're not going to send me back out. That's not my decisions to make. My job is to go out and pitch and they make the decisions. If they take me out, they take me out.

Your numbers at home this year were ridiculously good. How comfortable are you pitching in this place?

Very. It's a nice place to pitch, especially in front of our fans. But I've said it before, the home or the road thing doesn't -- I don't know why, I think last year I pitched better on the road than I did at home. Who knows? I was just able to come out and throw a nice ballgame tonight and it's a nice park, like I said, nice park to pitch in, no question about it.

In the last series you weren't even the best pitcher on your staff, and you're going into him tomorrow. Do you expect this run of starting pitching, it's been good starting pitching in every game of the series, from one team or the other, do you expect it to keep growing here as we go deeper into the series?

I hope so. Supp is a professional guy that goes out, he does the same kind of things, he prepares himself mentally and physically and he's ready to go out and compete, and he can execute, also. I've seen that in the last two series. I'm looking forward to him going out and pitching. It's going to be a fun night. Again, this is a tough lineup that you need to execute pitches and make quality pitches on. If you can do that, you can have success and hopefully Supp will do that tomorrow.

After your struggles in the Championship Series, was there any heightened intensity, enthusiasm on your part in regards to coming out?

Not at all. I go one start at a time. I scuffled in Game 2. I came out in Game 6 and I felt better about what I did. My curveball was getting better and better as the game went on. Unfortunately, you know, we're down 2-0 and we needed to get some runs. At the end of the sixth we had a chance to score some runs so they pinch-hit for me. I felt confident about my start in Game 6.

Obviously tonight I came out and my stuff was even better and I was able to locate better. So this makes it nice and this is a big win for us and I'm excited and looking forward to tomorrow night.

Obviously as a teammate of Jim Edmonds, do you all expect him to turn it on and play much better in the postseason and with how he's struggled this year, being gone for a month, how nice is it as a team to see him do so well so far?

It's great. I've known him since I've been here. He's been a great player. And he always seems to step up when the time is needed. And he obviously had a big hit tonight. It's fun to watch him play. He's the best center fielder I've ever seen play. And he can hit, no question about it and he's done it so far this series. It's fun to have him on my team.

There's been a lot of talk about the Cardinals' way of playing baseball. And first of all, what in your mind is Cardinals' baseball and was tonight kind of a textbook example of it?

No question about it. We pride ourselves in coming to the park every single day and battle, grind, take one pitch at a time, one at-bat at a time, and never stop, play hard nine innings, go out and play from the first pitch to the last. And as long as you can go home and look at yourself in the mirror, that you did everything you could and played as hard as you can, the outcome doesn't really matter.

It's a goal of ours to go out and play has hard as we can every single day. We've been able to do it for the most part in the postseason and when you have a club that comes here every single day, a professional club that comes out and grinds and battles and battles and battles and never gives up -- two nights ago in Detroit, it's 30 degrees, and we're facing a great closer and we're down three and we've got some quality at-bats, had a chance to win that game and unfortunately we didn't. So we pride ourselves on that. It's fun, like I said, fun to be a part of.

It seemed like you pretty much suffocated them tonight. Were there any point tonight where you felt like you were in a very tight spot or a difficult jam or there was a sequence or a pitch or batter where you felt like you really needed to come through with anything? It seemed like you were pretty much in control.

No, there wasn't. That's the key of being able to execute and being able to execute your game plan and make pitches and go one pitch at a time, all that stuff around you that's going on doesn't get in your head so you're not even thinking about it. My job is to go one pitch at a time and that's all I can control. I can't control what's going on around me, and if you do that, you can have some good success. And all night I just -- I mean, I literally was focused on one pitch at a time all night long and I was able to make pitches.

Tony La Russa

Did the eighth just go too long to bring Chris back out after you had batted him?

Clearly he was going to be the pitcher in the ninth I think, but we got that extra run and it must have been 15 minutes long, we just didn't think it would be worth the risk. We had good quality arms with Loop and Adam behind him.

What made Carp so dominating tonight?

He showed everything he could do, fastball, third base side, running fast, the first base side. He had good command of his curveball. He got a couple of good outs, up and down. He's got a lot of weapons and everything moves. He had really good command.

You've seen Carpenter awfully good, many times. As far as efficiency goes, low pitch count, everything else, have you seen too many better than this?

You know, the best compliment we can give him is we've seen him do this the last two or three years over and over again. Like last year, I remember Dave said, and he's had so many great pitchers, it was the most relentless streak of great pitching he'd seen.

He's so strong between the ears that nothing fazes him. He has a great game, he gets ready for the next one. Besides the physical talent he's got a good head, good heart, good guts.

Can you talk about what a lift having a pitcher go out and give you shutout inning after shutout inning, just for the rest of the team, confidence-wise and what a lift it gives you in these kind of series?

It has at least a couple of significances, one, you're playing against the other guy and you're not breaking through against him. So that's the only way you're going to have a chance to win the game. We caught a break for the other two runs.

The other one is, our club comes to the park the day he pitches and everybody has got a real positive expectation. So that's a heck of a burden for the No. 1 guy. When he carries it like he does, everybody feeds off it. So there's the true No. 1. Deserves a ton of credit because he has a lot he has to live up to.

Jim Edmonds has a way of coming through in the postseason. So far he's shown that knack for the first three games of this series, how does he do that?

Well, he's coming in here? It'll be interesting to hear -- however he does it, we have to teach it to the other guys. But he's got that quality where the bigger the moment, the more likely he's going to concentrate, not get distracted, and produce. He's done that ever since he's been here from 2000. He really is a primetime guy. And when you consider how he finished the season, sore, not playing much, there's no reason for him to have this kind of time, he's very talented. Nobody on either club is having better at-bats. Beats a left-hander today in the clutch. He's very talented. In moments like this, he just concentrates better than ever.

How is Carpenter's hand? And secondly, Edmonds and the way that he's hitting lefties is so much better in the postseason than the regular season, can you describe why?

Well, first with Chris, you know, occasionally when it's been really hot, he sweats, he gets dehydrated and he would have a cramping problem. This was a strange one, because he was cool. He just relaxed it a little bit and it eased and then he didn't feel it again.

With Jim, over his career he's been a tough hitter against left-hand pitchers. It's a combination of his shoulder was bothering him and sometimes the competition wasn't fair and they were beating him up. When he's right, he hangs in there as well as anybody.

You've had a great starting pitched game in every one of the first three games of the series. With the way the pitching is lined up the rest of the way, do you expect that to continue? On your pitching, is Reyes going in the fifth game, if everything follows through, if it's necessary after that?

Well, I mean I think our offense has produced enough. But one reason that we've gotten from day 1 of the playoffs to today, we're in decent shape has been our pitching, both at the front and back end of the game. And, you know, the good thing and the good confidence that we all have in uniform and we know that each of the guys, like Supp tomorrow, whether it's Anthony or -- each of these guys, they're working hard right through the end of the postseason, nobody is backing off.

He'll come out there ready to go. But we have a lot of respect for the Tigers, it won't be an easy game. You go about it right and you see what happens. All Dave is and I have talked about is keeping our options open. Short series, that's one of the beauties of playing in October, you get to consider bringing guys back on three days' rest, where you wouldn't think about it during the season. Supp tomorrow and we'll see after that.

I understand Carpenter has been good wherever he's pitched, but at home he's been unbelievably good, any explanation there?

Well, I think you said it right. He's been good no matter where. He's had great games in a row. I think sometimes stats are hard to read and this year he's been lights out at home. But he's the same pitcher no matter where he goes. And I think really on the road he had a couple of games where there were clumps of runs, you take those games out of there and his ERA would be in the twos as well.

Fourth inning, bases loaded, nobody out, you get the fielder's choice. In that situation how critical was it that Edmonds comes through, and you don't allow Robertson to get out of that without scoring any runs?

I think it's probably the biggest offensive key to the game because the right-hander didn't get him home, get the force at the plate. You've got a very tough match-up. If you look at what Robertson has done against left-handers, he's been very tough against left-handers to produce something there. One run would have been big, two was huge. Biggest offensive contribution we've had, and it was Jim's base hit.

Everybody talks about the hitting and the pitching, but how huge was the defense tonight?

Well, I said before, when a guy is pitching effectively and working quickly, the defense gets on their toes, and our defense likes working behind Chris because he's competing and he's making pitches. We have a very good defensive club when we play our game, which is most of the time. And I don't think it's coincidental that we played defense behind him like that, you know when he pitches, because they like getting back there and he works quickly and makes pitches and they get good jumps.

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