October 5, 2019
St. Louis, Missouri – Workout Day
THE MODERATOR: We’ll start with questions for Mike Soroka.
Q. Mike, what goes into you having such a terrific road ERA? Not that your home ERA stinks, because it doesn’t, but you’ve been almost a run lower than anyone else in the league?
MIKE SOROKA: I’m not too sure about that honestly. It’s something that we wanted to figure out because we wanted to duplicate those results at home. Part of it might be the preparation that goes into it, being in a hotel, being in an unfamiliar place.
It could be just luck of it as well. Could be had some good games, brought that down. It all goes into it. I can’t really put anything on it specifically.
Q. How about your youth when you did a lot of traveling with the Canadian teams and so forth? Everything was a road game there, wasn’t it?
MIKE SOROKA: Definitely. Every important game I would have pitched in would have been either not in Calgary, not even in Canada, usually in another country — Pan Am’s in Mexico, games in Cuba, all that kind of stuff.
I think maybe I just got used to being in unfamiliar places and that’s when I found I loved to play.
Q. I was talking to somebody today about what makes you more advanced from a maturity standpoint than most other 22-year-old and he talked about the time you spent with Reitsma and Quantrill. How much did they prepare you to just be an advanced pitcher and maybe even just for life in the big leagues?
MIKE SOROKA: Probably more than I even know. I would say I was very lucky to have gotten to hit that learning curve when I was 15, 16, 17 years old, to the point where they made things very obvious to me that weren’t so obvious to regular 16-, 17-year-olds in high school.
Having the mentality that any pitch in any count, when you’re 16 pitching against professional baseball hitters, you know, is really something that we’re still trying to work towards. And that’s not a new subject any more.
It’s things like that that really pushed me ahead, and I have them to thank for it and many more, just being able to go out there and have fun with it, and like I said, learn things earlier.
Q. You saw these guys twice this season. What stands out most to you about this lineup you’ll see tomorrow night?
MIKE SOROKA: They’re strong. Everybody knows that. They’ve got some guys that have done some damage for a lot of years. Talking to Dallas and Mike about how they navigated the lineup and picking your spots to which battles you want to get into and where you don’t want to get hurt.
Little things like that that you’ve really got to pay attention to with this lineup. And then having faced them twice this year, we’ll be able to go back and look at previous pitches, previous at-bats that we want to improve on and basically make a plan.
Q. How concerned were you with that shoulder inflammation you had at the end of the last season? I think it kept you from starting the season out on the roster, too, am I right there about that? You were slow at spring training, right?
MIKE SOROKA: It was actually a separate incident in spring training. But that one’s a little more of other things involved, could have been the weight room as well. But, no, last year obviously it was very concerning because the stigma around shoulder injuries in baseball is not great to understand that shoulders are tricky because there’s so many muscles and there’s so many different things contributing to that.
One thing that I did was kind of dive into it with all the medical staff. Our entire training staff was very open to educating me. I wanted to know as much as possible about that injury and about shoulders in general.
I got to learn a lot through them and then through Eric Cressey as well. Kind of go out and seek the best of the best and got a chance to learn a lot about pitching mechanics and about the anatomy of the shoulder has helped me know where I need to be to stay healthy and hopefully do it year in, year out.
Q. What’s it been like watching Max make this transition to the bullpen, high-leverage spots? How much have you enjoyed seeing his success out of the pen?
MIKE SOROKA: It’s fun, just to watch where Max was in 2016 when we were in Rome and that switch that he makes when he goes to the bullpen, and doesn’t have to worry about saving anything in the tank. He’s as aggressive as it gets.
The stuff that he can show out of the bullpen, we saw last year and this year. I mean, to me it’s as good as it gets. Nobody throws that hard with that curveball on command like he can. And it’s just really fun to watch him go out there and know that he’s going to dominate.
And he’s been huge for us and I know he’s looking forward to helping out in whatever capacity that will be.
Q. Do you envy at all how hard Buehler and Flaherty throw with their hard stuff, or are you quite happy with what you have anyway?
MIKE SOROKA: Like I said, those guys have electricity that not too many do have, especially Walker. Getting to see him a little bit in the same draft class and kind of seeing that arm. And he stands out next to 99 percent of the pitchers.
I do like to consider myself a harder thrower when I want to be, maybe not that hard, but little things like that that you can take from everybody and what makes him successful. But you also kind of have to dive into yourself and look at what makes yourself successful.
I think that’s what we’re doing more than anything is being able to look at how I want to execute my game plan going forward and knowing that whatever happens beyond that I’m doing what I can to be at my best.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports