Oct. 11 Mike Matheny pregame interview
Q. Mike, will Shelby and Lance be available out of your bullpen tonight, and how long did you guys anticipate waiting before you name a Game 4 starter?
MIKE MATHENY: I'll answer the first question yes, Lance and Shelby will both be available. And we'll make that announcement as we see that it's necessary.
Q. A lot is being made about McGwire being the hitting coach on the other side and what insight he can provide. But what kind of factor can Yadier be since he missed the prior series when LA was in town, with him behind the plate and knowing McGwire's methodology as well as the hitters? What kind of affect is having Yadier behind the plate during the game?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, I think you know where I'll go with the Yadier question. We know he's invaluable with what he can do. There are so many things that he does behind the scenes that he doesn't get credit for, how he prepares, how he helps us make in game adjustments.
But as far as how we analyze the other team and who they have and their staff, we've always talked very highly of Mark McGwire and the impact he made and what a great job he did for us. But this game is always about execution. You can go in with the greatest of plans. It's the ability to adapt and adjust and then execute the plans that you have in place. So we all have equal knowledge about each other, and it's just going out and playing the game, and that stuff kind of really as you play out the game, it isn't as important as I think we make it out to be.
Q. I'm sure you ran into this as a catcher when you moved teams, but people are mentioning that McGwire knows a lot about your hitters just as a catcher would know a lot about the pitchers. I'm wondering about the etiquette of then sharing that information with an opposing team with the new employer, and whether that's just assumed that you do that or if there is something about, hey, I learned this stuff with another team, and that was my employer at that time. How do you share that information, and what is kind of the gentlemanly thing to do in that regard?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, not that I've bounced around to that many teams as a coach, but I'll tell you what I would expect Mark McGwire to do and that would be for him to go in there and do everything he can do to win.
There's not a lot of etiquette when it comes to just winning within the rules. There are no rules against using the knowledge that you have to be able to go and help your new club. So I say the same thing for Skip Schumaker, a guy who has a lot of friends in our clubhouse. But I would expect that he would use everything he has in his memory to try and figure out how to beat us. And we would do the exact same thing if the roles were reversed.
Q. I'm curious, having Carlos Beltran who has been a great player for a long time on your team in the postseason, Beltran in the postseason has essentially hit like Babe Ruth over 200 at bats. I'm just curious how you account for that, what do you think is going on there? Have you seen particular things that Beltran does that allows him to have this kind of success?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, how to account for it is he's a great player. Start throwing him in categories with Babe Ruth, that's kind of uncharted territory. But what he's been able to do, his stats speak for themselves, so he's going to compare with the people he's going to compare with.
But for us, when we start getting too far into this, from our perspective as we're trying to get these guys ready, we definitely don't try to put Babe Ruth comparisons into these guys' minds that that's what they need to perform like.
How to explain it? There is not a great explanation except to say that this guy doesn't change his approach once this time of year comes. I'd say also we've seen through this year having the ability to give Carlos a day or two of rest here and there makes a big difference in his production, and the postseason generally lends itself to a couple more off days or maybe some sort of pattern there.
But for every comparison you can come up with, this guy is just a solid baseball player. We've seen it against us, and now we're able to benefit from it. He goes about it the right way, and it's an invaluable, obviously for our club, but also to watch how he goes about it for our young players to kind of emulate.
Q. I know there's been a lot talked about the number of rookies you have on your pitching staff. First of all, for the six of them on the playoff roster now, do you have any favorite nicknames you would suggest for that group of players? And second of all, do they exceed your expectations with how they pitched in the first round?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, I'm not colorful enough to start making up nicknames. But I just have been obviously impressed. We put these guys into situations not necessarily trying to throw them into the spot where all of them have such big roles. They've earned that. A lot of it came from necessity as much as anything else. We got into a spot where we needed guys to pick up big innings and it just so happens our young arms can do it. We've tested them in some tough spots and they answered the bell. They get new assignments. So it's something that wasn't part of the original game plan, but we needed somebody to be able to do it. And fortunately they haven't been fazed by the challenge.
We also, as we got through talking about Carlos, and we've already talked about Yadier, and you think about a Wainwright, a Carpenter, a Holliday, the guys that are impacting these players, these young guys and giving them the opportunity in an atmosphere where they can go out and succeed, I think is very rare. They bring these young players in, and it's constant education and then constant investment into them as players, as well as developing them for their future.
Q. As a follow up to that, do you talk to the guys about this is another level here? Is there escalating intensity as you get further into this month? Is that a conversation you have in the clubhouse?
MIKE MATHENY: No, if I did that, I should be slapped. That's everything contradictory to what we've done all season long. We've been very consistent about going about this the same way. We want them to just keep playing the game of baseball.
Just think, if you were in their shoes and all of a sudden somebody walked in and told them that they have to figure out a way to play them better than what they've done all season long, then there is this sense of uncertainty, a sense of not really knowing what they should expect from themselves instead of the opposite of what we've been able to try to do. I think what our veterans have done a great job of doing, and that is the consistency of playing the game the right way from day one. When you do that and you actually put that into play, what is expected is very clear moving forward. And I think that's where we are right now.
Q. On Michael Wacha, what is it about his mentality that allows him as a young kid to be pitching as well as he's pitching in these big moments and situations? And secondly, having never faced the Dodgers, who has the advantage in the situation like that? The pitcher or the hitters with the unfamiliarity?
MIKE MATHENY: Michael has done a nice job. He's obviously young and has a long way to go, but to me still room to improve and things that he is willing to work on to get better. But why he's been able to be successful so far is that he has trusted himself. He's trusted the game plan that's put in front of him. He's trusted his catcher. He's trusted his stuff. Then it comes down to taking the distractions and minimizing them. He's done a nice job of that. He did a great job in Pittsburgh, and hopefully he can continue to do that here in this series.
Overall, who is going to have the advantage? There is not that much advantage either way. They have lots of film. They have lots of scouts. We have the same thing on our side. So we're taking all the information in that we can. A lot of it is going to be adjust on the fly when they get in the box for them and for us. There is no huge advantage one way or the other. It just comes down, once again, to who is able to stay the course, stick with the plan and then execute.
Q. Particularly with your perspective as an ex catcher, what are some of the things that impress you about Clayton Kershaw?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, there's not a whole lot not to be impressed with. I mean, he's obviously been one of the League's top pitchers. You throw him from the left side, first of all, then you put the velocity and the ability to control the counts and both sides of the strike zone and use his off speed pitches. I mean, that's just basic fundamental foundation for being able to be successful in this league.
He's a guy that I any thrives also, much like our number one does, and being number one, on being the ace of the staff, and taking the ball and figuring out the way to get it done. So we know that he's a guy that likes to compete, and he's a guy that our guys don't mind competing against. We know that he's one of the best in the League, and that usually brings the best out of some of your guys competitors.
Q. How are you seeing your two lefties, Siegrist and Choate settle into and grow into roles, specifically into the postseason and now into this series, the benefit of having a guy like Choate who you guys pursued for a very specific reason that seems to probably come up most in October?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, well, it came up a lot obviously during the season too. He was our go to lefty before Kevin really established himself. And I do have to give Randy a lot of credit how much he's helped a young Kevin Siegrist and Sam Freeman, and Tyler Lyons and the other guys that have made their way through this club from the left side and trying to prepare them for the left left match up. But Randy has been a great addition to a very young bullpen where we needed some leadership, some experience down there. But obviously the Dodgers know him well, what he brings, the ability to come in and face a tough left hander and figure out how to make a tough at bat an out.
So he's done a great job for us this year. He and Kevin are trying to figure it out together as we give them the opportunities. But Randy is one of those guys that sits down there constantly talking about if I get in there before you, this is what I'm going to do. And this is probably something that might be available for you to do.
Q. You mentioned Shelby and Lynn available out of the bullpen. Do you see those guys as long guys? Could there be a shorter stint later in the game when you look at those two?
MIKE MATHENY: Yes.
Q. Yesterday Don Mattingly mentioned that he had texted you after Shelby got hurt just to make sure Shelby was okay and said that he thought you had a good shot at winning the division. What kind of relationship do you and Mattingly have? Was that a professional courtesy sort of thing or do you have a little bit of a friendship there?
MIKE MATHENY: We've been able to bump into each other at different charity events. Obviously, as a former player who played against him, have a lot of respect for what he was able to do in his career as a player and now what he's been able to do as a manager, the way he goes about his business. We talk about that a lot around here, about guys that go about the game the right way. And Don Mattingly is definitely on that list.
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