Oct. 12 Don Mattingly pregame interview
THE MODERATOR: First question for Don.
Q. Are you concerned at all, and of course, having played here, are you concerned about the atmosphere tonight?
DON MATTINGLY: Kind of excited about the atmosphere tonight, to be honest with you. I think it's going to be electric and kind of looking forward to it actually.
Q. Utley has had pretty good numbers against Harvey, why isn't he in the lineup? Also is there any remnants from the shot that he took in his head a couple of days ago?
DON MATTINGLY: I think he's doing okay. As far as concussion protocol and all that kind of stuff, and really just a decision, we thought Howie has been swinging the bat good, and feel like he gives us the best chance to win today.
Q. Just to follow up, there's no thought of Utley not being in the lineup for reasons other than baseball reasons?
DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, baseball reasons.
Q. Safety reasons?
DON MATTINGLY: (Shook head). Baseball reasons.
Q. Your pitcher for tomorrow and your decision on why you made it?
DON MATTINGLY: Kershaw. Do you have to explain that one? (Laughter).
He's pretty good. I mean we just feel like he's that guy, no matter if we're -- you know, we're down 2-1 or up 2-1, we feel like he's the right guy.
Q. Trying to get past the "gives us the best chance to win" line, but was there something you saw in the first two games with Corey Seager that made you decide not to play him tonight?
DON MATTINGLY: No. Just felt, again, I know you don't want to hear it, but I feel like Jimmy gives us the best chance to win tonight. It's what we've been doing all year long for the most part. Again, we put all the kind of ingredients into the decision, try to weigh it all out, and Jimmy is the guy we think.
Q. Just given your personal experience with New York crowds, can an opposing team actually use that energy to their advantage, and if so, how do they go about doing it?
DON MATTINGLY: I think so. Obviously you gotta insulate yourself a little bit as a team when you're playing in that kind of environment. So obviously, we're just kind of depending on each other.
I think the main thing is really keep your focus on playing and executing and what the task at hand is. Knowing I think you prepare your mind that it's going to be loud; it's going to be a lot of energy. You're on the road. It's what you expect. So I think you try to prepare your mind really for what you're going to have to deal with. But it really gets back down to just focusing on what you have to do, executing your game plan, you know, trying to block all that out as much as possible.
Q. When I think it was in San Francisco whenever it was, you talked to Jimmy and told him Corey would be sort of the guy going forward. Did you talk to him specifically about scenarios in which he would play and Corey would play?
DON MATTINGLY: I talked to Jimmy about he wasn't going to play?
Q. Well, whatever that conversation was that you had with Jimmy.
DON MATTINGLY: There you go.
Q. Well, did you talk about scenarios in which he would play and which Corey would play?
DON MATTINGLY: Jimmy is part of our club. I mean again, we're going to put the best lineup out there that we think that day. And I can argue for Corey. I can argue for Jimmy. I can throw all the scenarios of experience, inexperience. You can throw all that in there, but Jimmy's name came out for us today.
Q. What was your reaction when you had heard that Utley had been suspended for two games?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, doesn't really matter what my reaction is. I think the fact that Chase is appealing, I thought the fact that, you know, obviously we stand behind Chase 100 percent in his rights and just let the process take care of itself.
Q. Given all the attention paid to the Utley slide and the suspension, have you said anything to your team about changing their behavior on the field or avoiding collisions?
DON MATTINGLY: No. We haven't talked about anything. We want to play hard. We're not trying -- again, we're not trying to hurt anybody. You know, we're just playing the game that you're trying to break up two right there. We're going to play baseball.
So you know, I thought MLB, I watched "The Show" today a little bit, and they showed four slides, and they showed the Didi Gregorius slide in the play-in game, the Yankees and was it the Astros, on Altuve. They showed, I think it was Odor slide against the Angels and Giavotella. They showed Matt Holliday's slide in a Division Series or Championship Series against the Giants. All really, really similar. Nobody got suspended.
Q. Just curious, Terry talked a lot about preparing his team emotionally to come in and prepared to focus on the game and I'm just wondering if you had conversations with specific players or the team as a whole about what happens if there's an incident, if there's something that comes up of retaliatory nature tonight.
DON MATTINGLY: We don't talk about that as far as anything that could possibly happen. I think that can always happen and guys can handle themselves.
I think we have had conversations with guys about just keeping our focus and really the most important thing is the game, and I think I'm sure it's the same thing Terry is talking about is that you can't let anything, you know, the testosterone get flowing and change what you're trying to accomplish. So I think that's the one thing, you want to be focused. You want to be, you know -- I don't think you can get any more emotional than you already are. It's the playoffs. Everybody is trying really hard. You can't try harder than what you should be trying in the playoffs.
So I think everybody is ready to play. You just want to make sure that we channel that into winning a game, not getting caught with all the other talk and stuff that gets talked about in situations like this.
A couple of specific things we will have to talk about and have talked to a couple of guys is your extra guys in a situation, if anything would go on, then just about their involvement in it.
Q. Has there been any kind of preemptive warning before tonight's game and if not, do you expect that to happen before the first pitch?
DON MATTINGLY: There has not been yet. I think there is some type of meeting that we're going to have before the game starts. We had it first day in LA. This is kind of an extra one. So I'm assuming we're going to have some type of conversation about representing ourselves and the game and all that, those type of things, which I think, you know, this is the time of year you want people watching the game and you want them to see a great product. And I think we're all for that. So I think we'll be having some type of conversations about representing that.
Q. Steven Matz going for the first time in three weeks tomorrow. Do you expect to see the same pitcher that you saw in July? And if so, how do you approach hitting him?
DON MATTINGLY: I think we just prepare for him. We're able to have video from when he faced us. And I think we have to prepare for what we see as his best and expect that out of him and then kind of go from there, put a game plan together for his best stuff, his best locations, expect him to be able to do that and then work backwards from there.
Q. Did Chase want to start this game? Did you have any conversations with him about that?
DON MATTINGLY: I just talked to him about how he was feeling, how everything was going. We've had numerous conversations since the other night, you know, with all the stuff off the field that has happened, and just all the stir about it and just to make sure he was physically good. You know, those type of things and make sure he felt comfortable as far as being safe, make sure his family felt comfortable as far as being safe, those type of issues. Those are the things that get in your mind.
Chase has played a long time, played in big games. So I don't think the moment has got anything -- that part of it you don't worry about him being ready for that. You worry about does all that other stuff get in there and make sure he's comfortable with MLB security, MLB taking care of all the issues that, you know, obviously stuff that, you know, when those kind of things get talked about, you know you're over the line.
But in today's society I don't think you can take that lightly, and so I just wanted to make sure he's comfortable, you know, his family is comfortable, really all our families are comfortable in that situation, that everybody is keeping -- you keep this thing in perspective.
Q. For Game 5 would you go with Greinke on three days' rest? Is that a consideration?
DON MATTINGLY: He'd be on normal.
Q. On normal?
DON MATTINGLY: Yeah. He'll be on regular rest.
Q. Just to clarify your comments on Chase, is his family here and do they have extra security?
DON MATTINGLY: I don't know if I really need to get into who's here, who's not here, but you know, he feels comfortable.