Matheny interview on Cards' workout day
Q. Can your team at all draw on its success either against Kershaw or some of the other best pitchers in the game, particularly on this stage, or can they draw from their success against Arrieta in tomorrow's game?
MIKE MATHENY: I think there's something to be said about that. We've gone up against a number of teams and a number of pitchers where everybody kind of ruled us out and said you can't do this or that, and I think this team has responded well in the past. Yeah, it's something to have kind of in the archives, but that doesn't necessarily automatically turn into any kind of production.
We understand there's a pitcher on their side that's been throwing the ball very well, and we need to just come out and do what we do.
I think more so than anything else, I think it keeps our club from being overwhelmed by maybe all the noise that comes along with a matchup like this.
Q. With Matt Holliday, even though he hasn't had a lot of hits, it seems like even some of his swings are pretty good, like they just missed. Is that fair to say?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, fair statement, and there were a couple last game that were just missed, got a little bit ahead of and the other one just underneath, but timing is real close.
Q. There's been a lot of talk about the Cubs' rookies this year, but you guys have used a lot of contributions from your rookies. Has that fallen under the radar, and where would you be without them?
MIKE MATHENY: You know, we're okay with being under the radar. But internally we understand that the Stephen Piscottys of the world and the Tommy Phams and just watching some of our young players step up, and Randal Grichuk being one of those, as well, and kind of all the way across the board to some of our young pitchers, too. It has to happen, and as many guys as we had go down at different times this season, there was going to be opportunities, and we saw a number of players step up and do some things on some pretty big stages to prove to themselves that they belong here and to prove to the baseball world.
So yeah, we realize that maybe some other young players are getting more attention, but I think for the good of our club and for what we've been able to do, we wouldn't be here without the contributions of our young players.
Q. You were very vocal a couple years ago about the collision rule at home plate. I'm curious on your thoughts on Utley's slide yesterday and if there's a need to change some of the rules about how players go into bases.
MIKE MATHENY: I think the game is probably moving in that direction anyhow. We're starting to talk about how hard it is to determine that neighborhood play at second base, and just talking about each base being consistent with what's going on. I imagine as you see injuries come around that the league has been very proactive, I believe, in trying to figure out ways to keep our best players on the field, not trying to soften the game, and I know that maybe some purists felt that might be that was the ambition or the intent of changing the play at home plate, which has nothing to do with it. We're trying to keep our players on the field and put a better product out there, and can we maintain the deep roots of this game by small adjustments that keep players or at least increase the odds of keeping them safe and on the field, and this will probably be something that's addressed this winter.
Q. Your pitchers have really neutralized Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. Were they a focus coming into this series and how have they accomplished that?
MIKE MATHENY: You know, we go hitter to hitter. Just kind of how we minimize all of our thought processes and our plans is how do we get this guy out. Guys have been executing pitches. Sometimes you make mistakes and guys jump all over them. Sometimes players are off just a little when you do make a mistake and you get away with it. A couple good hitters that you're talking about right now, we know that they're going to get theirs if we make too many mistakes, and so far, guys have made good pitches against them.
Q. You guys were one of the first teams to take advantage of the rule of letting managers have iPads in the dugout. How have you found that experience and would you like to see them maybe expand to use of video in the future?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, we've just been open. We haven't really figured out how to truly maximize having that technology in there, but we're always open to figuring out a way to see if there is something we can gain, so we have all the data loaded and available to us. Usually the majority of what we need, we already have kind of on paper anyhow, but we just don't want to get caught not being open to where we could get better.
The video, I think that's going to be a tough issue with the league and with the umpires because all that's going to do is cause more instant scrutiny, and I don't think that that's anything that is going to benefit the game at this point.
But it could speed up possibly the replay system. I don't know. If there's something that is good for the game as a whole and for our fans and pace of play, maybe something that they'll look into. But right now we just use it as a tool for -- so we don't have a full binder out there. We'll take some of the things that we don't necessarily need right in front of us on the cards, but we might go address. We'll keep it on the iPad and we can go over and grab it.
Q. Talk about Michael Wacha; recently you had mentioned the ups and downs. Sometimes there are points in the season where a guy gets out of sync. Have you noticed anything improving for him in terms of getting back in sync when he made his last start?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, I like what I see. When he's on, the release point is high, and he's getting a downhill plane and that makes his changeup better, makes his curveball more effective. It just comes down to that timing. Sometimes your arm cooperates and sometimes it doesn't. Once again, there's times through the season every one of these guys are going to be hanging a little bit, and you have to compensate and figure out how to get the job done, and Michael is a guy that just goes out there and competes.
But I like what I've seen from his side sessions. He likes what he's seen from his side sessions. Everything is pointing in a good direction. Velocity has been there, even up a tick, which is great to see from a young player at this point in the season. A lot of things are going in a good direction.
Once again, we talk about execution is what's going to be the deciding factor in how well he can execute inside the strike zone. We know that he's been good on this stage before, so that's not one of those uncertainties. We've seen him. He's proved to himself and now we just go watch him compete against a very good team.
Q. You've managed many games here at Wrigley Field in the past already. Is there anything about the unique qualities of Wrigley Field that might affect in any way how you manage a game?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, I think you always have to be conscious of what the wind is doing. I think we're always conscious, too, that things can happen here at any point in the game, too, and just kind of talking to our guys to just stay the course, and that kind of goes hand in hand with how those flags are blowing. They're blowing out, anything can happen, and no lead seems like it's enough. There have been many games that we've had here, even with the wind pretty still, there's just crazy things that can happen at any point, and especially at the end of the game. So we just continue to tell our guys keep the throttle down, keep playing the game, and don't take anything for granted on the positive side or on the negative side because you know if you stay the course you've got a chance to finish this thing.
You know, with the dimensions, it's just a very unique field that plays a little different than a lot of others.
Q. Two questions on Jaime [Garcia]. How is he physically today, and with him throwing only 45 pitches yesterday, would you consider bringing him back in some sort of role this series?
MIKE MATHENY: It's always possible to bring a guy back if he hasn't had too much work. Physically he looked fine. Even yesterday, part of that communication was I think he had something feeling wrong, but more so than physical sickness was just the fatigue where he said he hadn't slept very well. It all kind of came together at the wrong time. He looks like he's fine today.
Q. You have a lot of playoff experience now as a manager. Going into tomorrow night's baseball game/rock concert that's going to be here, how do you lead your men? How do you manage your men into this environment, into this big moment?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, the same boring way we've been doing it all year. That's part of the beauty of -- you talk about is there any advantage to having experience, and guys who have been here before and been able to play in different settings, maybe not necessarily in Wrigley but they've been in a lot of other cities where it's a lot of excitement. Part of it is the experience of understanding as much as it's built up that we go play the game.
We don't deny that this stuff is special. We don't deny that not everybody gets to play on this stage, so don't be afraid to look around and take advantage of the atmosphere and take advantage of how unique this is. But when it comes down to it, it's baseball, and when it comes down to it, our best chance to be successful isn't to try and be superhuman. It's to go out and do exactly what we've been doing all season long. We have enough voices that are kind of repeating that same story to how they've been successful in the postseason that I think the younger players buy in.
Q. Since last night have you locked down who's your Game 4 starter?
MIKE MATHENY: No. No.
Q. Is [John] Lackey throwing a side session today to prepare for a potential Game 5 start, or do you have him skip that to keep him as an option?
MIKE MATHENY: We're just going to kind of wait on that right now.
Q. You hadn't announced Lance [Lynn] was going to start Game 4 a few days ago. Is it just his appearance?
MIKE MATHENY: We're just going to look at everybody. We don't have to make that decision right now, and always have all of our options open without hemming ourselves in right now.