Oct. 12 Mike Matheny pregame interview
Q. After a game like that, is it hard to sleep at night? Does it take a while for your mind to finally slow down?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, I think everybody had a little trouble coming back down. You never know how long that's going to last, so you just try to keep yourself pushed.
And I know the guys are trying to keep themselves amped up. It's hard not to, and with the crowd and the situation. But then it's hard to come back down. You look up at the clock and it's 12:30 when you're getting out of here, and you're looking at the clock at 2:30 trying to get some sleep.
Everybody came in good this morning. They look like they're ready to go. Both sides are dealing with the same thing.
Q. What is it about your team that's made it so opportunistic against Kershaw? I know this year he's given up three runs in his two starts. But last year you guys got him for seven or eight here at Busch Stadium. What makes you guys so different than other teams?
MIKE MATHENY: You know, just one of those things that we really don't talk that much about. We always do try to point out some of the successes we've had, but you never believe or fall into the trap the thing that it's automatically going to translate into future success.
Basically, our guys have been able to stick with a good approach and a good plan individually. We understand, just like last night, we've got a very good pitcher on the mound, and we're going to have to be on top of our game. I've seen this group of guys, in particular, thrive on rising to the occasion and trying to figure out a way to make something happen when it doesn't look like it's going to be possible.
Today, same thing goes. Just trying to put a simple approach and then execute.
Q. Can you share who the Game 4 starter is going to be and how last night with Lance and Shelby up and down in the roles how that decision evolved or changed?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, the Game 4 starter is going to be Lance Lynn.
Last night we just had to kind of watch and see how things progressed. The intent was to try to get Lance a couple innings. It would be similar to what his side day would be, and then we'd have Shelby ready to go as long as we needed him to go.
Shelby did get hot, but still should be available to pitch again today. But Lance will be our Game 4 starter.
Q. Last night in the transcripts it said that you had Siegrist on the bench. I wondered, he warmed up a few times but didn't get in the game, if there was anything to that or if that was just a description that you meant he was in the bullpen. If so, why he didn't factor into last night's game if everything's all right?
MIKE MATHENY: Everything's more than all right. He's great. We had him up a couple times. And the way that we see Kevin Siegrist, when you look at the lineup, the way the Dodgers had it lined up last night is we needed to bring him in in a big situation to get a big left‑hander out. We had him ready a couple times and it didn't work itself out.
As far as my statement about bench, he was prepared in the pen. We could have used him. But at the time we got too late in the game, the majority of the left‑handers had been pulled in the game, and it was time to move with our right‑handed relievers.
Q. With Red being honored today, I'm wondering if you could talk about what it's like to have him on the staff, and the advantages therein. And also saw you talking to him prior to Game 1, if you could divulge anything about that conversation, and what that conversation was like?
MIKE MATHENY: Red Schoendienst?
MIKE MATHENY: I think Red Schoendienst is one of the treasures of this game, and the people of St. Louis know that. What an honor to be able to spend time around this guy with the experience he's had, the wisdom he has. But also his wisdom in his delivery. He's a guy that knows and probably forgotten more baseball than most of us know, and still has ‑‑ he's so sharp and always paying attention and he's never a guy that's coming around and forcing the issue. But always there to listen. You have to do a lot of asking with Red, because he's so humble. He doesn't want to be a guy that comes around and forces his opinions down anybody's throat, but he's always got one. And it's amazing what he sees.
People ask all the time about this organization and some of the things that make it different. The fact that this organization understands the value of a Red Schoendienst, and a Lou Brock, and Bob Gibson, and Herzog and Smith, and Bruce Sutter, our Hall of Famers have helped define what this organization is all about. But they're not just kind of hood ornaments. They stay involved, and they want to help, and they want to pass on what the expectations are, what the culture is here.
We're fortunate that Red can be around just about every day. But this guy is amazing. He walks in there and you can see the respect that everyone has.
Q. Mike, can you think back to the best curveballs you've seen and where Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright may be ranked on that list? And also when he's locating it, how important that pitch is to what Adam does on the mound?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, Clayton definitely has one of the better left‑handed curveballs. And Adam Wainwright, in my opinion, is one of the best on the right side. Seen some good ones over the years, and one that comes to mind is one of my close friends with Darryl Kile, just a warrior of a competitor and a guy who pitched very similar to both of those two pitchers that you mentioned. The fact that you had to respect that pitch at any time, and he could execute it in a number of different ways and change the brakes, use it in the zone and for chase.
It's an art that not many people have, and then to be able to have a little velocity with it, which both Adam and Clayton do have, makes it for a tough assignment. But it's fun to catch, I know that, when you can have that much of a differential between a 94, 95 mile an hour fastball, and a 70 to 72 mile an hour breaking ball. Big adjustments to make.
Q. We haven't seen a lineup yet. Did you make any adjustments with the match‑up against the lefty?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, the lineup today will be Carpenter, Beltran, Holliday, Molina, Freese, Adams, Jay, Pete Kozma.
Q. Jon Jay was pretty candid about his game yesterday. He called it pretty frustrating, and I think he said difficult and even very bad game. Just your thoughts on how he got through it? He did eventually play some role in it, and what it means to go back to him against Kershaw today?
MIKE MATHENY: I think very bad was a poor description. He had a couple opportunities with getting a bunt down. Jon can do that. We know that with Yadier on base, you're going to have to get a good bunt down, and Jon can do that. He does those things. The small things, the little things every day so well. The things that go unnoticed. I know he takes a lot of pride in the little things that don't go noticed. That is part of being the quarterback in the outfield.
But these guys hold themselves to high expectations. They know when they can get something done, and it doesn't happen, especially those little things. We've talked about that as a group. How much our team celebrates the grinding at‑bats and doing the little things right. A guy gets a bunt down, you'd have thought he hit a home run when he hits the dugout, because the guys know that that's a big deal. It kind of preserves that selfless attitude that we think contributes to winning baseball.
When that happened, Jon didn't get it down in a big situation late in the game, he's frustrated. Then right behind that doesn't get back on the ball to right. These guys are hard on themselves, harder on themselves than our staff is, for sure. But we do know that's what pushes them to the next level and turns very good players into great players.
Q. Just curious, in terms of Pete Kozma, you saw him make several great plays yesterday and some key plays in the game. Just with the full season of him, how you view the offense‑defense tradeoff that you have with some of his struggles at the plate?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, first of all, I'd say the exact same thing to Pete. There is much more in the tank offensively than what Pete has shown so far. He's still learning. He's still a young player, but with huge potential. The hand‑eye coordination, the athleticism. Defensively, I've said it a number of times, I think he can play as good a defense, shortstop as just about anybody. We've seen him do that. We've seen him improve on some of the things he needs to improve on, and there is still room there it too. He's an exciting player to watch, no question. And offensively, he's just fighting his way through right now. This thing of hitting, it could frustrate and has frustrated everybody that's ever put on the uniform. It's just a matter of the mentally tough ones that continue to stay the course and figure out a way to get through it and learn.
He's willing to do both. He's got the capacity to learn, and change and improve. So I see him getting better over time.