ST. LOUIS – Wisdom flowed from Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright Sunday while he was mic’d up during his pregame routine.
“In my earlier years, I would have never agreed to do this. I’ll be honest,” the 40-year-old said to the ESPN guys in the booth, but he allowed them to stick with him through the whole warmup.
Wainwright started off in the outfield warming up his body with no ball. He apologized to the guys in the booth for his “rattlesnakeness.”
“These Braves guys are getting loose right across from me, and I can’t be out here laughing and joking,” Wainwright said. “I got to at least make them think like I’m mad.”
He said he doesn’t overthink his warm up and it’s a little different every time. He wants young guys to know that it’s all about getting loose.
“Warming up is just warming up. Don’t put too much into it,” Wainwright said. “Throwing the ball in the dirt or throwing the ball high does not mean you’re going to do that in a game.”
He said he throws around the same number of pitches every time.
“If you’re a robot to the exact same thing every time, there’s gonna be games here and there where it doesn’t happen exactly the same and then you feel mentally defeated and that’s not the way pitching is,” Wainwright said.
On hot days, Wainwright said he’ll throw about five fewer pitches than usual. He also said his pitching coaches like to guess among themselves just how many pregame pitches he’ll throw.
“Just to mess with them, without them knowing it, I might change the end of the routine up just a little bit every now and then just to keep them on their toes,” Wainwright said.
He said a routine is important, but when that routine becomes superstition, it can be debilitating.
“If you’re out there thinking you got to do the same thing every time to have success, that’s making you a weaker competitor,” Wainwright said. “If they told me right now that I had eight pitches to get loose, I could do that. Cuz you are what your brain tells you you are.”
Sunday was his 384th career start and 200th at Busch Stadium.
Wainwright’s advice to all pitchers is to, “fall in love with the process not the result.”
The Cardinals won 6-3 against the Braves Sunday. They’re six games ahead of Milwaukee in the NL Central. They play the Reds in Cincinnati Monday night.