Adam Wainwright had two of the worst games of his career against Cincinnati this season. But that didn't mean the Cardinals ace was rooting for Pittsburgh while watching Tuesday's National League Wild Card Game. He knows the Bucs' lineup is just as dangerous.

"I've learned in my years you never ask for anyone because you've got to be careful what you ask for or you'll get a monster" Wainwright said. "Absolutely was I not intimidated by the Cincinnati Reds just so you know that. But also know that either way I was going to have a very tough opponent. I have a lot of respect for both teams."

Wainwright was roughed up by the Reds for 15 runs and 17 hits over eight innings in consecutive starts late in the season but he rebounded to post a 1.80 ERA in his last five regular-season starts (35 innings).

"If you get caught up in that when you're going through those bad stretches then they can compound and you start doubting your ability" Wainwright said. "But what I was able to do is look at those two starts especially the [Aug. 28] start it was the worst start of my career. I was able to look at that individually and realize I'm much better than that and I had a bad day. I didn't need to do anything different. I just had a bad day."

Wainwright is the Cardinals' most experienced postseason pitcher. He tossed 9 2/3 scoreless innings of relief as a rookie when the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006 and is 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA in four October starts -- including a one-run allowed 10-strikeout performance in Game 1 of last year's NL Division Series. Wainwright will look to continue that success and set the tone against a potent Pirates offense Thursday at Busch Stadium (4 p.m. CT on TBS).