Oct. 14 Mike Matheny pregame interview
Q. Can you talk about when Chris Carpenter went from we're not going to see him until Spring Training to he might actually pitch for us this season?
MIKE MATHENY: In his mind it was before he went into surgery. And we had that discussion, too. He knew that he didn't know how his body was going to respond to it and really nobody did.
So it was a conversation he had as soon as he got back, too. He said, Don't count me out on this thing. We're not going to talk about it much, but don't count me out. And we didn't.
Q. You've probably seen more of Carp's career than anybody, you have a unique view on him. How has he evolved not so much as a pitcher but as a teammate, as a person over the years from when you saw him as a kid to when you saw him starting out in St. Louis to now?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, I was fortunate to watch he and Roy Halladay early in their career, when they were the ones that were walking around asking all the questions. You could see that they were both going to be pretty special. Just their stuff speaks for itself, but their makeup. And people investing into them, like a Pat Hentgen at the time and over into St. Louis is a Matt Morris and Darryl Kile made an influence there.
It was one of those situations where you just saw a young player taking advantage of all the knowledge. And the reason I bring that up is that's really who he's become now. And the credentials speak for themselves for what he's been able to do. But the way he goes about it and how he can't wait to help the next guy along is pretty rare. He's made our staff better. He's made our team better by how he's taken that concept and pushed it on to the position players and everybody in that room to where it's not about them. It's about us. And that's pretty special.
Q. He's gone through so many things that a lot of pitchers, a lot of players would just say, okay, you know what, this has gotten the best of me, maybe it's time to hang them up. I won my World Series and all that. But he has such a desire to pitch and get through this. Can you talk about that. Because if there was anyone that can overcome what he has, it seems like Chris is that guy.
MIKE MATHENY: He's a competitor, like I've never seen. The guy just finds a different gear when it becomes his turn to do something special. That's why we were so excited as we watched him throw a couple of bullpens, just the thought of down the stretch what he would mean to us. And it proved itself true not just with what he was doing on the mound.
You use our last game there in Washington as an example. That guy, you would have thought that his life depended on us winning that game. And he's contagious. He was screaming at everybody like he always does. But the message was: Believe in yourselves and believe in us and we can do something here, no matter what the odds. And that's something somebody can try to sell, but when you believe it like he believes it, it's viral.
And he's just that's his makeup. He can't wait for somebody to tell him that he can't do something, because he's going to prove them wrong. We have a few guys in the clubhouse like that. Fortunately they take advantage of that platform and make a difference.
Q. It's been several weeks since Schumaker has allowed him to play. How important has his presence been, even if he hasn't been on the field?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, he's a pro. And it's been hard to try and keep him sharp, especially as the guys are playing well right now and you don't really want to mess with that. But he understands. We've had quite a few conversations through this year. His reply is basically, your soldier's reply is: Whatever it takes, whatever you need I'll be there, don't worry about me.
To that, for a young, inexperienced manager to have a veteran on his team that he knows understands and is willing to share that kind of personality and that kind of perspective really puts out a lot of other fires with some guys who might not be happy, as well. I don't want them happy when they're not playing. I get it. They want to be out there on the field. That's the way it's supposed to be, and if they didn't, they probably shouldn't be in our clubhouse.
But with that being said, I'll go back to that phrase before, it's not about them, it's about us. And we're all trying to do what we can to give us the best chance we can. And Skip has been incredible with how he's led inside that clubhouse in that regard.
Q. Could you have foreseen at any point during the season where never mind October, but any time you would have wanted to put the same guys on the field six or seven days in a row?
MIKE MATHENY: It's tough as we try to do that during the season, especially as we had so many uncertainties at second base. And we had guys going through injuries, like Skip did. Some other times we had Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene both trying to find a swing and really fighting themselves, and none of them getting enough consistent playing time to do anything with it. That was part of it.
And the injury factor, we had our share this year. And that really kept us from consistently throwing out the same guys. But, you know, you just have to play along with the schedule and we understand that the game isn't meant to be played for 162 by each guy, that kills our bench and then effectiveness off the bench as well as running our guys into the ground.
But in general the guys have had a strong run of playing whenever they can. And right now, fortunately, we have some health on our side where we can put the same guys out there every day.
Q. Between you guys and the Yankees we've seen the last couple of days that a four run lead is not safe and a six run lead is not safe. How big a lead is safe in these playoffs and how does that effect the way you manage a game with a lead?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, I don't think there is a safe lead. I think you said it right. I do appreciate the fact that here in San Francisco it's a very fair ballpark. And I believe in St. Louis the same thing goes, where you don't see the ball, at least pop ups jumping out. That's nice to see.
But I understand and our club has a very good understanding that Giants have the ability to score a bunch of runs. If we put our head down for a second it could come up and bite us. We just put our head down, keep playing. These games are just like the rest of them, you just take nothing for granted. You've got to respect the game. You've got to respect the opposition.
Q. During the season a lot of times you'll look at the matchups or left to right and you might move where Kyle Lohse hits or who starts the second as a result of that. During the postseason do you not do that? Do you not look at the matchups and alternate in that regard, do you think this is the time of year where it is to ride the guys that kind of got you here and go with the same lineup?
MIKE MATHENY: We look at everything. So we get all the information we can. We go through it. But when you have something going pretty well I believe we need to keep riding it. Especially if the guys are feeling good.
So right now is not the time to start making those changes. But during the season once again you're looking at trying to grind, the guys do 162, there's quite a bit to go into that. I would like our guys more at bats. So far it really hasn't made itself that available yet.
Q. You said the other day that when you gave Descalso credit you said that his manager didn't get him a lot of at bats down the stretch. Where does his confidence come from, him and Kozma?
MIKE MATHENY: I believe success breeds confidence. He just he stayed with a good game plan. And it's rewarded him with some good, tough at bats. The big hits usually put you on the spot where you trust in your approach. Danny is a ballplayer. He understands the game well.
Like I said, early in the season he was just pushing so hard, I think he was choking himself off a little bit by wanting it so badly. And the only reason I know anything about it is I've been a victim of that, myself. And I've seen it firsthand.
Right now he's playing the game. He's trusting his instincts. And he's had a little bit of success to let him believe in what he's doing.
Kozma is the same. We haven't had as much experience with Pete. But what we've seen, I'm going to continue to say, this is with who he is. This is the guy we've got. We're happy with what he's doing and want him to keep doing exactly what he's been doing.