Q. Wondered if you know Carlos Beltran at all, and if you think there's any parallels between the two of you who have had standout careers and are still trying to get to that first World Series?
DON MATTINGLY: Oh, I know Carlos from watching him over the years. And I remember the first time I got a chance to see him play, and I think I was just kind of a guest coach kind of, per se, down in Tampa, and he was there with Kansas City. I was just like amazed how quick his bat was. So I know him from that standpoint.
I didn't realize that he has not been -- has not gotten to go to the World Series. I just know he's a talent, for sure, and just a great player.
Q. What kind of luxury is it to not have Kershaw for Game 1, but have Zack Greinke as a replacement?
DON MATTINGLY: It's never not a luxury to have Kershaw. But our situation, I think we feel like both guys are our number ones, and so it's nice to be able to start the series out with a guy of his caliber. So, again, I think both of those guys make us feel good, and coming in here with a club like St. Louis and knowing that they've got what kind of ballclub they have, to be able to come in here with those two guys, you feel like they're going to compete no matter where they're at. But in this environment, it's nice to have those two right on top.
Q. Obviously, Zack and Clayton are two very different people. But do you see some sort of common thread maybe in their commitment to excellence?
DON MATTINGLY: I think a lot of similarities. Both guys are really competitive. I think just to be better all the time in all different aspects of it. Zack will work on his hitting, and he wants to be perfect with his pitches. Clayton is the same way. It's just kind of endless. It's one goes into the next. It's just always looking to the next start.
I think the personalities are definitely different as far as the way they go about it and how they are around the clubhouse and things like that, but I think what they're both all about is pretty much the same.
Q. How much more confident is your club coming into this series after just winning three out of four the last time you were here?
DON MATTINGLY: I don't think that really means anything at this point. Atlanta beat us at their place and beat us over the course of the regular season. The regular season is really out the window. It's going to go back, and I know we're always trying to build it up somehow one way or the other, but it's going to come back to who can pitch better and then who is going to get those key hits and key outs. I feel like we're going to be in close games. Both teams have good pitching. They've got power arms all over the place, and it's going to be tough to score runs. We feel like we can pitch also, so it's going to come down to who can get that big hit, make a big play, get that big out you need. Hopefully, the ball will bounce our way a little bit too. That always helps.
Q. Just to follow up, how different is St. Louis, in your eyes, than when you guys faced them? I'm not sure if Molina was out at that point, but what are some of the differences?
DON MATTINGLY: Yadier was out, for sure, and that is the big difference, I think. When he's back there, the guy that seems like he runs that pitching staff, and I'm sure when you have Yadier back there, you have a lot of confidence in what he's putting down. So they're not the same club. But they were pretty much full strength, it seemed like.
When we left here, I didn't realize we won three out of four. But I think we felt like -- I don't know if I texted Mike. I think it was about something when the pitcher got hit, kind of checking on him to see if he was okay. I just remember just leaving him a text basically saying that I felt like they were the best team in that division over there and that they'd win that thing. So we felt like they were the best club in that division, and that they were going to win it and they were going to be here.
Q. In any part of the Postseason, when you consider pitching somebody on three days' rest again or was that a one-shot deal?
DON MATTINGLY: Just flipped the coin that day and it happened to be. If the scenario was right for us, again, that was a scenario that we had looked at early on and knew it was coming or knew it had a chance to come, and we were ready for it. Now we'd probably do the same. We'd look at it the same way. It's a lot quicker turn around into this series now and trying to get our roster set and things like that, so we haven't really gone into three days' rest.
We've talked a little bit about where or when or if you would use one of your guys in the bullpen on a bullpen day, things like that. We'll just have to play that by ear.
Q. You've been a coach on a high payroll team, and now the manager of a record payroll team. I wonder, we all know the perception that that brings for what the organization expects, I wondered if you might share some of what the real pressures and real expectations from your point of view that come with having the highest payroll?
DON MATTINGLY: I think the payroll just gets thrown out there in general, and then it becomes an expectation. That really comes from you all.
From the standpoint of that, in general, fans are going to see it. You've got these high profile guys, you've got big names, guys making big money, you're supposed to win. So the pressure of that is basically kind of just perception of fans, I think, and away ballparks. And people in general have a tendency to go, oh, if you're playing bad, all these guys don't care. They're a bunch of overpaid guys, spoiled, just the things that just come out of people's mouths. So those are the things that we wanted to make sure that we address in Spring Training. That's the stuff that's going to come out of people's mouths, but it's really going to come back to us playing good baseball and getting down to the basics of being ready to play, being prepared, being ready mentally to have to hear that and listen to it. Not a whole lot you can do about it other than just go out and play.
So I think just the general nature of having a high payroll is really people's expectations and the talk you have to listen to.
Q. How do you have your starting pitchers lined up for the series?
DON MATTINGLY: We've got Zack and Clayton so far. We haven't set our roster the rest of the way. Really the reason that it was late is we didn't get out of the meetings over there until late. We haven't set our rosters finally. So we'll be announcing as soon as we're able to kind of get that all straightened out and talk through it. We'll let you know who goes and who we have scheduled for three and four.
Q. Will that be tomorrow, probably?
DON MATTINGLY: I would think, yeah. We sat down for a while and we didn't get to an end on it. So I can't believe we're going to hang around the ballpark here today and be able to finish it, but I'm sure we'll finish it by day's end and be able to know by tomorrow.
Q. How is Ethier feeling today? He said it would determine today how his ankle would feel from last night? He didn't want to say whether or not he'd be able to play more. He said it depended on how he felt today?
DON MATTINGLY: Honestly, I got over, got dressed and came in here, out of those meetings. So I know we had meetings with the players earlier and then we had to finish up. So I haven't heard from the trainers how he's doing today. I'm sure we'll see more today. We tried to push him yesterday. Honestly, for me, it didn't look that great out in centerfield. It looked better than before, but I don't know.
This is the playoffs, and you've got to be able to play a hundred percent or pretty much full speed. But, obviously, he's better than he was before. He's running better, he's moving better, he can do more. We'll just have to see how this looks today again, if he's going to be a guy that we feel like is going to be in centerfield tomorrow night.
Q. What has Mark McGwire meant to the offense this year and with his experience in St. Louis? Do you lean on him a little bit more when you game plan and look at some of the hitters you've got to face?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, the first part, I think he's been great for us. He comes with a lot of credibility as far as his career. He came with the credibility from St. Louis and what hitters were able to do and the development. Some of their young guys seemed like they continued to get better.
And then over the course of the season, he's a steady guy. He works hard. He doesn't look for any attention. I think our guys, as they get to know him and got to continue to work with him, that those relationships just got better and better. He's been great for us.
Then on the other side, we do a little bit -- obviously, in our meetings today, Mack has probably a lot more input than he would on another club because he obviously does know their hitters fairly well and what they try to do and where he thinks how to get some of them out and where their weaknesses would be. So he has had more of an input into the series.
Q. People who work with Zack Greinke often talk about how he's brutally honest. Did that take any getting used to as you got to know him at the start of this year? And can you share an example of some things he said that sort of made your eyebrows raise?
DON MATTINGLY: He hasn't been tough to deal with at all, so I think it makes it easy because he just tells you the truth. If you ask him a question, how you feeling or what's going on? And for me some of them are like just going back out there again. It's like he's just honest with his answers. You talk about using him to pinch hit some, and he's just like I don't see this guy good. He's straight up with everything. So it makes it a lot easier to deal with than another guy that kind of gives you an answer that he wants to look a certain way or whatever. But Zack just tells you how he feels, so it makes it easy.
Q. Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto aren't two of your highest profile guys, but can you talk about what they brought in terms of the clubhouse dynamic to contribute this year?
DON MATTINGLY: They've been great. I think what we do as an organization is you start bringing guys in in the off season and looking at guys that are going to be role players on your club. You want the dynamic in the clubhouse to fit too because you know those guys have to be guys that are team guys that aren't going to complain if they're not playing that want to be playing, but also know their roles.
Those guys come from obviously a winning environment. They were on World Series champion teams. They just bring a lot of clout, as much as you can have from a guy that's not playing every day. They've been huge parts of our mixture of guys. They've been tremendous. We couldn't have asked for anything more. We take basically 25 attitudes just like those two.
Q. With Ryu, is there any type of an injury or physical concern that you're evaluating right now for the purposes of the roster?
DON MATTINGLY: No. No evaluation as far as injury. He's told us he's a hundred percent. He'll be ready to go any time we want him to go. So that doesn't have anything to do with anything right now.
Q. Have you decided how many pitchers you want to carry for this series?
DON MATTINGLY: Again, part of our discussions is how we're going to go. Andre has something to do with that, because it depends if we have to take an extra guy or not. Again, I think I talked about it yesterday, but if Andre, what he can and can't do, again, dictates who else we take on our everyday player type guys, and what type of guys we have to have on the pitching side to be able to make sure that we're covered in a lot of different areas.
We have not finalized it. We've talked about it a lot, but we haven't finalized it.