For the last couple of weeks, Adam Wainwright has fielded questions about the health of his arm and he has been detailed in explaining his confidence in an improved condition. Tonight will provide the ultimate opportunity for Wainwright to answer as he takes the mound to keep his St. Louis Cardinals from being eliminated from the playoffs.
And while those looking in may have their doubts, inside the clubhouse there is firm belief in the pitcher.
“He’s not the kind of guy that is going to make excuses or kind of relay to his teammates that he’s not 100 percent,” said Matt Carpenter. “He does a pretty good job of hiding that, so to speak. But we are all aware of it–we see him in the training room and getting things worked on. But you know, whether Adam is 60% or 100%, he’s still the guy I want out there and I know everybody in that clubhouse feels the same way. If there’s anybody who can battle through some adversity, like arm soreness or whatever the case may be, it’s him. You know that’s who he is, that’s his makeup, and he’s going to give us a good chance to win today.”
“It’s pretty obvious that tonight, our game, we’re playing for the season,” began Carpenter. “Going into this, you have to win four games and we still have an opportunity to do that. Our backs are against the wall, but we feel like they have been that way all season.
“This is a group that’s been resilient and has battled through a lot. So, you know, we feel confident about it and we certainly are going to give our best effort to do that.”
It’s that type of confidence that will keep Mike Matheny from gathering the team around for a big pregame speech.
“At this point, the urgency is no secret,” said the manager. “For me to call together a club like this and tell them they need to play harder would be a huge insult. We have had our backs against the wall and they have responded very well. They’ve played their hearts out. Can we clean-up a couple things? That’s a yes. But once again, human error is going to happen, whether it’s physical or mental or both.
“Right now, we’ve just got to get back to what we do and what we do is play one pitch at a time. We compete one pitch at a time. And if we give everything we’ve got each pitch, we’ve got no regrets. And so, stay the course.
“For me to jump up there and try and be Knute Rockne today would be–it would work, I think, completely opposite of what we would intend for it to be. We need these guys to go out there and play the game that they have played for the last seven months.”
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